I read two things recently; the first makes some dire predictions about our future.
The natural health of planet Earth has declined by about 30 percent since 1970, according to new calculations from the World Wildlife Fund.
It's an impossible — and dangerous — trend, the fund's experts say.
Impossible because at current rates, humanity is using up the planet's resources so fast that by 2050 — when the human population will have grown by an additional half to 9 billion — we will need two Earths to meet the demand.
It is funny that I happened to revisit a great science fiction book that made some bold if not frightening predictions about our current time. 30 years ago Arthur C. Clarke wrote this in 2001 A Space Odyssey.
The population of the world was now six billion—a third of them in the Chinese Empire. Laws had been passed in some authoritarian societies limiting families to two children, but their enforcement had proved impracticable. As a result, food was short in every country; even the United States had meatless days, and widespread famine was predicted within fifteen years, despite the heroic efforts to farm the sea and to develop synthetic foods.That should put the first statement into perspective. 30 years ago, alarmists were making claims that by 2001 we would be in dire straits today. But the fact is that farms have never been more productive. Don’t listen to those that would have us live as if we were in the third world.
Will we reach 9 billion? I’m sure we will; will we all stave to death? Don’t count on it! Never discount human ingenuity and advancement. We won’t all starve to death in 2050. Farms will be even more productive in 50 years than they are now. Technology will provide new and innovative techniques for farming and land use. It won’t just be the US that benefits either. The whole world will benefit. I expect that in 2050 my grandchildren will read the following headline. “In 2100 the World’s population will reach 12 billion. Widespread famine is expected!”
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World Wildlife Fund
Arthur C. Clarke
2001 A Space Odyssey