>>>The human race (now 6 billion strong and growing) has entered an era
>>>in which conventional approaches to biological problems are reaching
>>>Agriculture needs solutions to problems such as chemical dependence,
>>>drought, high salinity and pests; solutions that conventional
>>>methods are not likely to provide.
Somehow all this discussion is missing the obvious nature of the problem.
At the present time, we have enough food to feed the world population.
What we don't have have is the correct economic system to distribute the
food to the world's population. The Worldwatch Institute just released a
study showing that the number of overweight and underfed in the world
population is roughly equal at 1 X 10**9 each. The problem is political
and economic not agronomic.
The second point is: What divine law says we have to breed ourselves into
Yes if we keep dropping more people on the earth then just like the fruit
flies in the bottle, we will have a population crash, GE foods or no GE
foods. If we do not have the moral gumption to take charge of our
population growth, then it is better that we starve sooner than later, that
way there will be fewer people to suffer and die when the crash comes.
To illustrate this point I will post the excerpt from Am J. Phys, 46(9),
Sept. 1978 pgs. 876-888 again. It will shed light on the true meaning of
"sustainable". Mike Miller
Forgotten fundamentals of the energy crisis
Albert A. Bartlett, Dept of Physics, Uof Colorado, Boulder
IV. Exponential Growth in a Finite Environment
Bacteria grow by division so that 1 bacterium becomes 2, the 2 divide to
give 4, the 4 divide to give 8,etc.. Consider a hypothetical strain of
bacteria for which this division time is one minute. The number of
bacteria grows exponentially with a doubling time of one minute. One
bacterium is put in a bottle at 11 a.m. and it is observed that the bottle
is full of bacteria by 12:00 noon. Here is a simple example of exponential
growth in a finite environment. This is mathematically identical to the
case of the exponentially growing consumption of our finite resources of
fossil fuels. Keep this in mind as you ponder three questions about the
1. When was the bottle half-full? Answer: 11:59 a.m.!
2. If you were an average bacterium in the bottle, at what time would you
first realize that you were running out of spaced?
Answer: There is no unique answer to this question, so let's ask, "At
11:55 a.m., when the bottle is only three percent filled(1/32) and is 97%
open space (just yearning for development) would you preceive that there
was a problem?"
(snip time dated illustration) See below.
11:54 am 1/64 full
11:55 am 1/32 full
11:56 am 1/16 full
11:57 am 1/8 full
11:58 am 1/4 full
11:59 am 1/2 full
12:00 noon full
Suppose that at 11:58 a.m. some far sighted bacteria realize that they are
running out of space and consequently, with a great expenditure effort and
funds, they launch a search for new bottles. (Snip time dated material)
and at 11:59 a.m. they discover three new empty bottles. Great sighs of
relief come from all the worried bacteria, because this magnificent
discovery is three times the number of bottles that had hitherto been
known. This discovery quadruples the total space resource known to the
bacteria. Surely this will solve the problem so that the bacteria can be
self-sufficient in space.
3. How long can the bacterial growth continue if the total space resources
are quadrupled? Answer: Two more doubling times (minutes). See below.
11:58 am Bottle 1 is 1/4 full
11:59 am Bottle 1 is 1/2 full
12:00 noon Bottle 1 is full
12:01 pm Bottle 1 and 2 are both full
12:02 pm Bottles 1,2,3,4 are all full
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