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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat russellsimpson's Avatar
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    Optimum Human Population

    In reference to the article below I would be more interest in what a reasonable achievable human population would be. I think perhaps around five billion. The Chinese population is growing at such a slow rate nowadays that they are becoming concerned about the sustainability of their overall economy. Even India has states where the female population is relatively well educated and the population growth rate hovers around the rate of most Western countries. So these are not pipe dreams we are discussing.

    CONTACT: Stanford University News Service (650) 723-2558

    Optimum human population a third of present, scientists say
    STANFORD -- Until cultures change radically, the optimum number of people to exist on the planet at any one time lies in the vicinity of 1.5 billion to 2 billion people, about a third of the present number, three California ecologists estimated in an article published in the journal Population and Environment.

    Paul and Anne Ehrlich of the Center for Conservation Biology at Stanford University and Gretchen Daily of the Energy and Resources Group of the University of California-Berkeley said that figure, "if achieved reasonably soon, would also likely permit the maximum number of Homo sapiens to live a good life over the long run."

    "Determination of an 'optimum' world population size involves social decisions about the lifestyles to be lived and the distribution of those lifestyles among individuals in the population," the scientists wrote.

    Between a minimum viable population size (one just large enough to ensure against extinction) and the maximum number that can be supported by Earth's life-support systems ("housed and nurtured by methods analogous to those used to raise battery chickens"), determining an optimum becomes a problem of choosing what lifestyles are to be led. Community-level, national and international discussions of lifestyle preferences will be required before population size targets can be established.

    The team predicated their estimate on a desire to preserve the great diversity of human cultures and also to secure basic human well- being for all the world's people, including future generations.

    "In general, we would choose a population size that maximizes very broad environmental and social options for individuals," they wrote. "For example, the population of the United States should be small enough to permit the availability of large tracts of wilderness for hikers and hermits, yet large enough to create vibrant cities that can support complex artistic, educational and other cultural endeavors that lift the human spirit."

    Daily and the Ehrlichs said that, since the present population has already exceeded 5.5 billion, even if the optimum were actually 4 billion, "the policy implications of our conclusions are still clear." In other words, any reasonable optimum already has been passed; thus, not only a halt to growth, but subsequent shrinkage, is required.

    It will be decades before growth can be halted and shrinkage begins - time to reach a consensus on what is the optimum size where the shrinkage should be stopped.

    The Daily-Ehrlich team arrived at their estimate of the optimum by "using humanity's energy consumption as a rough indirect measure of the total impact of civilization on Earth's life-support systems."

    The use of energy, "especially that provided by fossil fuel and biomass combustion," directly causes or underpins activities that cause many global environmental problems, they wrote: air and water pollution, acid precipitation, land degradation, emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, and production of toxic and hazardous materials and wastes.

    Today's technologies and total energy consumption of 13 trillion watts (13 terawatts) already cause serious environmental deterioration and are clearly not sustainable in the long run. Each American, on average, contributes almost 12,000 watts (12 kilowatts) to that total, more than 10 times that of the average citizen of a poor nation, they wrote.

    "Suppose population growth halted at 14 billion and everyone were satisfied with a per capita energy use of 7.5 kilowatts, the average in rich nations and about two-thirds of that in the United States in the early 1990s. A human enterprise that large would create a total impact of 105 terawatts, eight times that of today and a clear recipe for ecological collapse," the research team wrote.

    The article describes energy expert John Holdren's optimistic scenario in which population growth stops at 10 billion and both rich and poor nations converge at a level of energy use less than one-third of the current American level. That level could be reached with technologies now in hand and with an increase in the quality of life for Americans.

    Optimum human population a third of present, scientists say


  2. #2
    Thailand Expat
    Takeovers's Avatar
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    I recall an old documentary on the subject, about 50 years ago. They concluded that 500 million people should be a sustainable number. Large enough that all kinds of skills are represented and small enough for a sustainable life style.

    Only problem, how to reduce population to that level?

  3. #3
    Thailand Expat russellsimpson's Avatar
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    I do believe 500 M would not be sustainable.
    Around 5 billion has always seemed reasonable to me. And this number is quite remarkably achievable over the course of perhaps four or five generations

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by russellsimpson View Post
    I do believe 500 M would not be sustainable.
    All that is needed is a couple of handfuls, who knows how to close the nuclear powerplants down

  5. #5
    ความรู้ลึกลับ HuangLao's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Takeovers View Post

    Only problem, how to reduce population to that level?
    Nature might be working on this as we speak - long term.

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    Thailand Expat russellsimpson's Avatar
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    Those are my thought entirely. Although sperm counts are healthy in most third world countries those same counts are falling quickly in the western industril world.

    Fertility rates worldwide comparisons are interesting.

    Total fertility rate
    Total fertility rate (TFR) compares figures for the average number of children that would be born per woman if all women lived to the end of their childbearing years and bore children according to a given fertility rate at each age. TFR is a more direct measure of the level of fertility than the crude birth rate, since it refers to births per woman.
    DOWNLOAD DATA
    Rank Country children born/woman Date of Information
    1 Niger 6.91 2021 est.
    2 Angola 5.90 2021 est.
    3 Congo, Democratic Republic of the 5.70 2021 est.
    4 Mali 5.63 2021 est.
    5 Chad 5.57 2021 est.
    6 Benin 5.47 2021 est.
    7 Uganda 5.45 2021 est.
    8 South Sudan 5.43 2021 est.
    9 Somalia 5.41 2021 est.
    10 Burundi 5.10
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    217 Romania 1.38 2021 est.
    218 Japan 1.38 2021 est.
    219 Bosnia and Herzegovina 1.35 2021 est.
    220 British Virgin Islands 1.34 2021 est.
    221 Montserrat 1.31 2021 est.
    222 Puerto Rico 1.23 2021 est.
    223 Hong Kong 1.22 2021 est.
    224 Macau 1.21 2021 est.
    225 Singapore 1.15 2021 est.
    226 Korea, South 1.09 2021 est.
    227 Taiwan 1.07 2021 est
    __________________________________________________ _____
    (Europe)
    160 Finland 1.74 2021 est.
    175 Liechtenstein 1.69 2021 est.
    177 Jersey 1.66 2021 est.
    181 Luxembourg 1.63 2021 est.
    182 Estonia 1.61 2021 est.
    183 Lithuania 1.61 2021 est.
    187 Slovenia 1.59 2021 est.
    189 Moldova 1.58 2021 est.
    190 Guernsey 1.58 2021 est.
    191 Switzerland 1.58 2021 est.
    193 Ukraine 1.56 2021 est.
    195 Latvia 1.54 2021 est.
    196 Albania 1.53 2021 est.
    197 Monaco 1.52 2021 est.
    198 San Marino 1.52 2021 est.
    199 Spain 1.51 2021 est.
    201 Belarus 1.51 2021 est.
    202 Austria 1.50 2021 est.
    203 Malta 1.50 2021 est.
    204 Bulgaria 1.49 2021 est.
    205 Czechia 1.49 2021 est.
    206 Germany 1.48 2021 est.
    207 Cyprus 1.48 2021 est.
    208 Hungary 1.48 2021 est.
    209 Italy 1.47 2021 est.
    210 Serbia 1.47 2021 est.
    211 Slovakia 1.45 2021 est.
    212 Andorra 1.44 2021 est.
    213 Croatia 1.44 2021 est.
    214 Portugal 1.42 2021 est.
    215 Poland 1.39 2021 est.
    216 Greece 1.39 2021 est.
    217 Romania 1.38 2021 est.
    219 Bosnia and Herzegovina 1.35 2021 est.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by russellsimpson View Post
    Although sperm counts are healthy in most third world countries those same counts are falling quickly in the western industril world
    Quote Originally Posted by russellsimpson View Post
    Total fertility rate
    Apples and...melons ?

  8. #8
    Thailand Expat russellsimpson's Avatar
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    ^ Are you suggesting that sperm counts and fertility rates are unrelated?

    I hadn't considered that. You may be right.

  9. #9
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    Have you ever considered the reasons why couples in the third world have 7 kids ?

    There are atleast 4, so have a go

  10. #10
    Thailand Expat russellsimpson's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=helge;4258221]Have you ever considered the reasons why couples in the third world have 7 kids ?

    There are atleast 4, so have a go[/QUOTE

    Off the top of my head,

    financial security
    social standing/demonstrating fertility
    women are very poorly educated
    ???????????????????????

    You may find the last one surprising?

    Look at India. Fertility rates in Kerela, where women are well educated, are around the same as in western nations. Head up then into the Northern states and rates rival those in some African nations.

    I'm too lazy to use google here and many years have gone by since my head was buried in demographic studies.

    Anyway I am interested in the four reasons.

    Shoot.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by russellsimpson View Post
    Anyway I am interested in the four reasons.
    You are well on the way Russ.

    Not much to do with sperm, has it ?

    Quote Originally Posted by russellsimpson View Post
    Shoot.
    Rubber bullits ?

  12. #12
    Thailand Expat russellsimpson's Avatar
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    I am going to have to dust off a few old books helge.

    Sperm counts are a very interesting phenomenon. Just exactly why sperm counts are dropping so dramatically in the west is a mystery. Why are virility rates in men of western industrial democracy decreasing. Perhaps virility is dropping in African men with with the possible exception of the Lords Resistance Army*wink*

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    Buckaroo Banzai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by russellsimpson View Post
    I am going to have to dust off a few old books helge.

    Sperm counts are a very interesting phenomenon. Just exactly why sperm counts are dropping so dramatically in the west is a mystery. Why are virility rates in men of western industrial democracy decreasing. Perhaps virility is dropping in African men with with the possible exception of the Lords Resistance Army*wink*
    Unless you are a member of a particular set of people,counting sperm must be the world's worst job.

  14. #14
    Thailand Expat
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    Quote Originally Posted by HuangLao View Post
    Nature might be working on this as we speak - long term.

    It's not nature. It is the pill that might kill western civilization.

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