Article Title: Are We Really Talking About the Same Thing?

 

Article Summary

This article aims at explaining how the claims of scientists that – Earth can sustain, at most, only 7 billion people at subsistence levels of consumption – is shallow and inconsiderate of human contribution of re-engineering the environment to produce more to cope with the rising consumption. The author argues that most scientists consider humans as protozoa that keep breeding and consuming until the resources are exhausted. The author, however, says that modernisation has caused falling fertility rates and demographers project that the human population will peak, and then begin a slow decline, in some cases before the end of this century. The consumption of people is saturating.

The author does agree that we might exceed the planet’s carrying capacity but feels that this view is deeply ahistorical, assuming carrying capacity to be static. Humans are, in fact, finding alternatives for energy sources, modern agriculture is promising enough food for people and with wisdom and ingenuity, humans can continue to thrive. The author feels that the pseudo-scientific claims advocate limits on human societies to consume less. He refutes this because humans are unlike flies and cattle. Humans have remade the planet again and again to serve our needs and our dreams. And this is how it is meant to be.

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Words to learn from this Article:

Subsistence – the action or fact of maintaining or supporting oneself, especially at a minimal level

Transgress – go beyond the limits of (what is morally, socially, or legally acceptable)

Nebulous – vague or ill-defined

Volition – the faculty or power of using one’s will

Demographer – a person who studies changes in numbers of births, marriages, deaths, etc. in an area over a period of time

Impend – (something bad) about to happen

Protozoa – an organism; a single-celled free-living parasite

Agrarian – relating to cultivated land or the cultivation of land

Haul – (of a person) pull or drag with effort or force

Prodigious – remarkably or impressively great in extent, size, or degree

Ahistorical – lacking historical perspective or context

Paleoarchaeology – The archaeological study of deep time, specifically focussing on hominid fossils up to 15,000,000 years in age

Idyll – an extremely happy, peaceful, or picturesque period or situation, typically an idealized or unsustainable one

Anathema – something or someone that one vehemently dislikes

Proponent – a person who advocates a theory, proposal, or course of action

Hubris – excessive pride or self-confidence

Ingenuity – the quality of being clever, original, and inventive

Egalitarian – believing in or based on the principle that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities

Pseudo-scientific – a system of theories or assertions about the natural world that claim or appear to be scientific but that, in fact, are not

 

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