How did we manage to become this many?
We discovered a magic energy source. Fossil Fuel. To be precise, Oil. And the oil is going away.
Numerous sources are adamant that Peak oil has been reached.
None of this should raise eyebrows by now.
But what is the connection between Oil and population?
“In their refined study, Giampietro and Pimentel found that 10 kcal of exosomatic energy are required to produce 1 kcal of food delivered to the consumer in the U.S. food system. This includes packaging and all delivery expenses, but excludes household cooking).20 The U.S. food system consumes ten times more energy than it produces in food energy. This disparity is made possible by nonrenewable fossil fuel stocks. “
In other words each calorie of food we eat is produced using 10 calories of oil.
We eat oil.
This has enabled us to breed prolifically.
Now, if we never found safe nuclear energy the Business as Usual scenario of the Limits to Growth team would play out.
And this is what the Business as Usual graph looks like.
So what would happen if we had copious amounts of energy?
Well for starters we could extract phosphorus from ocean water.
Phosphorus is one of the limiting factors, due to its position in Adenosine triphosphate, ATP, the energy carrier of all living organisms. It so happens that all the rich deposits of Phosphate are depleted. Lower grades of ore require more energy of remove the “other stuff”.
We could also continue industrial farming which is now in jeopardy because we shan’t have anything to fuel our Headers.
All this too has been modeled by The Report.
Here is what happens if we double our resource base.
Look what happens to pollution. Look too at the steep downward slope of population. This is not ideal.
Now that we have an infinite amount of energy, population pressure is going to force us to leave this gravity well. We have to cut the umbilical cord.
But all is not Buck Rogers of Hollywood, or even Star Wars. As a matter of fact Hollywood is not an authority on the colonization of space.
Dr Gerard K O’Neill is or rather, was.
He asked his students “Is the surface of a planet the right place for manufacture?” “No.” And took it from there.
This is what they proposed.
We are going to do what we have always done when we have used up the possibilities of one geographical location.
We are going to move on.
This time we are going Up.
Love it or hate it, we have no choice.