Makes you think…


On my bad days, I wonder whether this might not be a good idea.

Of course, then I consider the down sides. The expense and energy of making all these mulchers, loading up all the tankers with goo, transporting it to New York, and then spraying it all out into Central Park. The shaping is kind of impossible, too, because I’m pretty sure the slime would slump into a mess that would flow into the streets and drip off the edge of the island into the Hudson and East River.

There might be some other minor difficulties.

Comments

  1. raven says

    Goodreads.com edited for length
    Empty Planet: The Shock of Global Population Decline
    by Darrell Bricker, John Ibbitson

    From the authors of the bestselling The Big Shift, a provocative argument that the global population will soon begin to decline, dramatically reshaping the social, political, and economic landscape.

    For half a century, statisticians, pundits, and politicians have warned that a burgeoning planetary population will soon overwhelm the earth’s resources. But a growing number of experts are sounding a different kind of alarm.
    Rather than growing exponentially, they argue, the global population is headed for a steep decline.

    Throughout history, depopulation was the product of catastrophe: ice ages, plagues, the collapse of civilizations. This time, however, we’re thinning ourselves deliberately, by choosing to have fewer babies than we need to replace ourselves.
    In much of the developed and developing world, that decline is already underway, as urbanization, women’s empowerment, and waning religiosity lead to smaller and smaller families.

    They find that a smaller global population will bring with it a number of benefits: fewer workers will command higher wages; good jobs will prompt innovation; the environment will improve; the risk of famine will wane; and falling birthrates in the developing world will bring greater affluence and autonomy for women.

    7.9 billion people on the planet is a lot.
    I remember when the earth’s population crossed 3 billion around 1960, shortly before the Beatles appeared.

    Some scholars are claiming that the earth’s population will soon peak and then start declining. Already in most of the first world, the birth rates are below replacement. As the third world catches up, the same causes of women empowerment, education, wealth, and urbanization will do the same thing to their birth rates.

    It might well happen this way. We will all just have to wait and see.

  2. davidc1 says

    I don’t want to be mixed up with any repubs ,or RWRNJ’s ,can we have two separate balls of gloop ?

  3. raven says

    Of course, some people say that falling populations is going to be some sort of demographic disaster. Notably the Wall Street Journal crowd who see continuously increasing populations as a key economic driver.

    It’s nonsense. If your economic model depends on continuously increasing populations, then your economic model is broken.
    A declining population will put stress on Social Security and Medicare but so what. These are temporary problems and fixable. Continuously increasing populations substitute a permanent problem for a temporary one. Not smart.

  4. davidc1 says

    @1 Yes ,but by the time the human population has declined to 3 billion again (,for example ),the rain forests would have all been cut down ,the ice caps melted ,and we will all be floating around drinking recycled urine ,or Skol Lager .

  5. raven says

    @4 davidc1

    That is quite possibly true. The demographic trends Empty Planet use show that the earth’s population will peak at 9 billion by 2050 and then start declining.

    As a Boomer, I am not going to be around in 2050.

    It’s possible that we are in a race between slowly declining population growth and how fast we are wrecking our planetary life support systems.

  6. Thomas Scott says

    “I’m pretty sure the slime would slump into a mess …”

    Perhaps that could be remedied with enough poly phosphate.

  7. robro says

    …slump into a mess that would flow into the streets and drip off the edge of the island into the Hudson and East River.

    Once again, humans would pollute the environment.

  8. imback says

    If you put our collective goo sphere through a massive dehydrator, it would be half the weight and would probably maintain its shape better.

  9. weylguy says

    I didn’t check the math, but if true then it’s amazing that this relatively tiny sphere is responsible for so much environmental damage.

    I think I also read somewhere that all the earth’s refined gold would amount to a sphere about 50 feet in diameter. Beyond jewelry and a few electrical applications, gold has little practical value, yet its mining and refinement and the wars it has caused have also cost Nature dearly.

  10. beholder says

    That’s an enormous period.

    @1 raven

    It might well happen this way. We will all just have to wait and see.

    We are already well past the point where our population is overwhelming Earth’s resources, so we’re in for a steep decline in any case. The problem, of course, is that we’d like to avoid an abrupt collapse of the food supply and the subsequent steep population decline by mass starvation, which seems far more likely. I am not convinced that a properly “developed” economy would offset its total consumption by the tendency to have less children; if anything, the consumption per individual seems to skyrocket first, and then there’s really no social pressure stopping the bourgeoisie from having lots of children anyway.

    Your forecast strikes me as an excuse not to think about overpopulation, along the lines of, “If we ignore it, then it will go away.”

  11. raven says

    Your forecast strikes me as an excuse not to think about overpopulation, along the lines of, “If we ignore it, then it will go away.”

    It is not my forecast.
    Trying actually reading something for comprehension once in a while.
    It is a review summary of a book.
    Empty Planet: The Shock of Global Population Decline
    by Darrell Bricker, John Ibbitson

    We are already well past the point where our population is overwhelming Earth’s resources, so we’re in for a steep decline in any case.

    This is an opinion off the top of your head. It is not a fact. You’ve presented zero facts or data to back this up. It is an assertion without proof or data and may be dismissed without proof or data. You are wrong.

    Actually you may be right.
    In realityland, no one knows including myself. Paul Ehrlich and a few others have been predicting this since the 1970’s. They’ve so far been wrong.

    Serial killer beholder.
    “If we ignore it, then it will go away.”

    Another killer. Of strawpeople. I didn’t say that. Neither did Bricker and Ibbitson.
    We are looking at what will probably happen, not what we want to happen.

    The people you really want to watch our for are the Wall Street Journal crowd. They look at any predictions of slowing population growth as some sort of huge disaster.

  12. raven says

    Wall Street Journal
    U.S. Population Growth, an Economic Driver, Grinds to a Halt
    Covid-19 pandemic compounds years of birth-rate decline, puts America’s demographic health at risk
    By Janet Adamy and Anthony DeBarros
    July 25, 2021 12:49 pm ET

    America’s weak population growth, already held back by a decade long fertility slump, is dropping closer to zero because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

    This is what passes for thinking for right wingnuts.

    According to them, if the US and world population stops growing, this is bad for the economy which makes it an unfortunate trend.
    The population can’t keep growing forever and the linkage between population growth and economic growth isn’t necessarily all that high anyway.
    What really matters to people isn’t economic production per se, it is per capita economic production and the equitable distribution of said economic production.
    Who cares if the US economy keeps growing and it all ends up with the 1%, which is what we have now.

  13. birgerjohansson says

    The person who wrote about the human goo sphere must be influenced by XKCD.

  14. beholder says

    @19 raven
    Okay, fair enough. It’s not your forecast, but you lend it a tentative endorsement by omission of the other, more likely forecasts. I will assume that was not your intention.

    @20
    What passes for the intellectual tradition propping up capitalism isn’t even trying anymore. All they have left is antidemocratic power and propaganda, which I expect them to push a lot harder as they feel their back is against the wall.

    Basically, democracy and social inequality are incompatible, and we should expect the Wall Street Journal crowd to openly advocate for a transition to a lassiez-faire authoritarian regime pretty soon.

  15. dean56 says

    “Steve McQueen’s going to need a bigger fire extinguisher.”

    :) We have a winner

  16. raven says

    Okay, fair enough. It’s not your forecast, but you lend it a tentative endorsement by omission of the other, more likely forecasts. I will assume that was not your intention.

    I don’t know of any “more likely forecasts”. These guys took all the currently available data and trends and simply projected them into the future by a century or so.

    The future is notoriously hard to predict because it is contingent. It depends on decisions we take today. It also depends on future events that we have no idea about. Who would have predicted at the beginning of 2019 that by December, 2019 the world would be entering a multi-year pandemic of a new Coronavirus?
    Ask Paul Ehrlich about that. I read his book, the Population Bomb at the time it came out. It’s been wrong for 50 years.

    What Empty Planet says, is that with present trends, the world’s population will peak at 9 billion in 2050 and start going down.

  17. MetzO'Magic says

    @Marcus Ranum #8:

    Why not just consider a spherical cow, and extrapolate from there? (yeah, I know that’s where you were going)

  18. says

    Raven, you’re wrong about overpopulation. The earth is past capacity already. People are literally starving to death because there’s no food.

    Humans are the worst kind of invasive species.

  19. Rob Grigjanis says

    WMDKitty @26: Global food shortage isn’t the problem.

    According to the IPCC, around 30 percent of global food production is wasted each year, mostly in high-income countries. By ending food waste and distributing food surpluses more fairly, we can put an end to hunger while actually reducing global agricultural output. Scientists estimate that this could liberate several million square miles of land and cut global emissions by 8-10 percent, taking significant pressure off the climate.
    ….
    According to research published in the journal Climatic Change, cutting beef consumption in favor of nonruminant meats or plant proteins like beans and pulses could liberate almost 11 million square miles of land—the size of the United States, Canada, and China combined. This simple shift in diet would allow us to return vast swaths of the planet to forest and wildlife habitat, creating new carbon sinks and cutting net emissions by up to 8 gigatons of carbon dioxide per year, according to the IPCC. That’s around 20 percent of current annual emissions.

    https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/08/21/the-global-food-crisis-is-here/

  20. Marshall says

    The problem would be adding those final people to the ball. Getting it into central park would obviously require millions of workers, and they’d have to set up a “final machine” like a woodchipper that they’d all have to jump through, which automatically deposited their remaining goo onto the top of the blob. Imagine being that last worker.

  21. christoph says

    @ WMDKitty — Survivor, # 26: I don’t think it’s overpopulation. Most-if not all, famines are man made. Famine and starvation are weapons of war and genocide.

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