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Burra Maluca
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'Truth' and 'population' are two words we tend to avoid here on permies, but this video was a real eye-opener on current trends and what is being done, and what remains to be done.

Also uses some amazing visuals to illustrate the statistics, and a few pithy views on Brits, education levels and pre-conceptions (no pun intended).

Edit to update link.
 
Landon Sunrich
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Dare I touch this one?

Population growth is a big deal, but framing it that way buries the lead, which is in fact the massive demographic changes brought about in the post WWII period.


The fear in the ongoing population growth in the 21st century is largely due to the fragility both of the environment and politics of the areas undergoing the most growth. There is an extraordinarily interesting (though by now perhaps slightly dated) book by Mike Davis entitled 'Planet of Slums' which examines amongst other things the "Zwischenstadt" (a concept which originally looked at western industrial sprawl) here focusing on the rise of third world mega cities and mega-slums. ]

What one sees upon looking at population growth and distribution from 1950 to a projected 2030 is that population increases for 2.25 billion to 8.1 billion. There is almost no appreciable shift in population in rural areas or the cities of the developed world. But there is an explosion urban population in underdeveloped countries, ballooning from perhaps 150 million people to 3 billion. The effect being that slum cities of 16 million are springing into existence seemingly out of nowhere. These area's of informal housing (with no modern amenities) are precisely the areas which are growing the quickest as more and more people are forced off of their traditional lands. These are area's with little to no water access and moreover there is very little that can be done about that lack of access. These areas of 'surplus population' (not my term, please don't jump on me for it) are extremely vulnerable and are even now teetering on the brink on instability and seemingly are moving towards greater instability.

Egypt is a pretty damn good example of this. Another would be Pakistan which is the most heavily irrigated country in the world (70 percent of total area) and the Indus river is largely glacially fed, and its headwaters (like many of the regions greatest rivers) are controlled by countries with competing interests in an era of food insecurity. Now the population growth rate of both of these countries has (thank god) peeked, but they did not do so until the early 90s which means both countries have a huge bubble of young people.

West Africa's problems are somewhat different but also largely due to water (and the lack of it via drought), land ownership, and the mass exodus to city slums which are compounded by the worlds highest population growth rates.

Closer to home there is a real concern (largely unknown and generally not discussed) that the American southwest as well as northern and central Mexico could be dramatically effected by climate change as Lake Meed and Powell are being exploited at a rate which is not in keeping with they're natural recharge rates. This is a primary water source for much of Southern California, Nevada, Arizona and Northern Mexico.

Anyway... the original video is down.
 
Burra Maluca
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Landon Sunrich wrote:

Anyway... the original video is down.


I've updated the link. It's not such good quality but I think it's all ok.
 
Chris Kott
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This sounds cold, but I will flesh out what is being alluded to, or should have occurred to the permies out there.

Earth has mechanisms for controlling populations that get out of control. Starvation will happen in underserved urban slums, and that plus overcrowding and not enough washing will lead to disease.

The treating of such disease without treating the causes will result in more strains of drug-resistant disease.

Poor populations, or everyone but those with money for food and the most recent medications, will likely cause civil disruptions.

Warlords and politicians (the distinctions will likely blur) will use fear to make people do things they would otherwise see as wrong, even if it's just voting for the guy that promises increased economic growth at the cost of environmental concerns.

Does any of this sound familiar?

-CK
 
Landon Sunrich
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Burra Maluca wrote:
Landon Sunrich wrote:

Anyway... the original video is down.


I've updated the link. It's not such good quality but I think it's all ok.


The original video is was a TED talk by Hans Rosling for those who want the short version of it. The end of this (current) video when they start talking about meta data and "collecting feelings" was mindblowing
 
Landon Sunrich
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Chris Kott wrote:This sounds cold, but I will flesh out what is being alluded to, or should have occurred to the permies out there.

Earth has mechanisms for controlling populations that get out of control. Starvation will happen in underserved urban slums, and that plus overcrowding and not enough washing will lead to disease.

The treating of such disease without treating the causes will result in more strains of drug-resistant disease.

Poor populations, or everyone but those with money for food and the most recent medications, will likely cause civil disruptions.

Warlords and politicians (the distinctions will likely blur) will use fear to make people do things they would otherwise see as wrong, even if it's just voting for the guy that promises increased economic growth at the cost of environmental concerns.

Does any of this sound familiar?

-CK


You know that does sound familiar and cold and bleak. I mean yeah, its spot on and we are watching it play out - I think the real concern for many people is "how far will it go"? And that answer depends largely on 'how we act'

 
Nick Kitchener
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Hi all,

I have heard Paul and Geoff mention a couple of times that the North American population was similar to what it is now, back in 1500 AD.

Can anyone provide links to the materials these claims are based on? I trust it's based on something...
 
Cj Sloane
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I think it's based on 1491:_New_Revelations_of_the_Americas_Before_Columbus. Bill Mollison has mentioned it too.
 
Landon Sunrich
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Nick Kitchener wrote:Hi all,

I have heard Paul and Geoff mention a couple of times that the North American population was similar to what it is now, back in 1500 AD.

Can anyone provide links to the materials these claims are based on? I trust it's based on something...


The current population of North America is somewhere around 550 million people. The highest estimates I've seen for the population of the Americas (North and South) is around 100 million. Current Population for both Americas is just under 1 billion. So there are around 10 X more people living in the Americas now than in the 15th century.

I do think it is very likely that The Americas could have had 100 million people between them - these where well adapted, developed, sophisticated societies. But to equate these populations with the modern population of the Americas is almost certainly hyperbole
 
Chris Kott
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Uh huh. Modern anthropology disagrees. Look at the mound's ofpottery shards in Belize. Similar in composition to the ancient city dumps outside of Rome, but larger. I think that most low counters make a number of assumptions based in an Eurocentric historical view that discounts the anthropogenic causes of much ancient land-shaping, which is then attributed to the actions of wind and water. We know that savannah was only really kept open by the routine burnings of forested areas by native American cultures, and that they were responsible for keeping bison numbers down. The 90% post-columbian die - off explains the bison population explosion thereafter; there wasn't enough manpower to keep managing the ecology.

Mesoamerica also saw control of hydrology through the use of Chinampas for agriculture, and earthen fish weirs to take advantage of fish migrations, not to mention cause ways and terracing on scales that make them visible from space. They had no domesticated beasts of burden and no wheels except on small toys, and their use of metal was limited to decoration and status symbols. Look at what had been accomplished before an European invasion too primitive to understand destroyed it all for gold. There was more than enough productivity to support the populations necessary, and the works discussed are too large in scale to have been achieved by the scattered numbers suggested.

I am currently reading a book entitled "1491:New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus" by Charles C. Mann, and will read the sequel, "1493:Uncovering the New World Columbus Created." Lots of information and intriguing analysis. One on how the Noble Savage/cruel, childlike, backward Indian dichotomy evolved, and how they are equally politically motivated and unbalanced. I encourage anyone looking for a good non - fiction read to fuel permacultural ideas to read them. (Caveat: I only just started the first one, but I'm sold already. Very cogent.)
 
Landon Sunrich
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Chris,

Seeing as you are reading the book could you share the numbers the author sites?

I think we're in pretty close agreement but 'Uh Huh' and 'Uh huh' carry completely different connotations. For contrast, The Roman Empire at it's height which spanned from Scotland to the the Sudan and from the Atlantic to Persian gulf (Including the Tigris, Euphrates, and Nile river valleys) Had a peak population of around 55 Million. Some of the low estimates for indigenous populations of N. America put the number around 800,000 which to me says two things 1) they aren't counting the civilizations of Mexico and 2) They have their heads completely inserted into their eurocentric rectums. I see numbers in the 10 - 15 million (for N. America) floated pretty often and seemingly as the general consensus. These numbers seem pretty damn low to me. 550 million seems way too high though.

I think I'm going to put 1491 on hold at my library. I could use with a good read on rainy ass days like today :/
 
Chris Kott
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I am listening now, and hope to do so a second time, taking notes. At that time, after I have the context and tone right, I will be happy to give a breakdown.

-CK
 
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