Based on the data presented in Chapters 2 and 3 of the book a grim future for humanity is seen wherein farmlands have turned into deserts, freshwater is nonexistent, the climate is hellish and natural disasters abound as a result of the ill-advised nature of the voracious human exploitation of the planet’s resources.
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Insights gained from the chapters reveal that the main reason behind the problem of resource overconsumption which threatens the very future of the planet is the rampant overpopulation of humanity which threatens to drain the resources of the planet. It is revealed that as the population of humanity grows so to does the strain the human species places on the planet.
This strain can be seen in the increased consumption of water which has drained underground water reservoirs; formerly lush plains turned into arid deserts and the very sky itself filled with CO2 gases as a result of humanity’s rampant consumption of fossil fuel-based products and resources.
The impression I got from the book itself is that humanity can be compared to a swarm of locusts, consuming everything indiscriminately in its path and leaving nothing but ruin in its wake.
I say this because if current trends are not changed what will be left will be nothing more than a dry empty shell of a planet with few exploitable resources and nothing more than a hellish environmental scenario for future generations.
As such in order to prevent this future from coming to pass one of first initiatives that should be undertaken is population control since with fewer people utilizing resources the more time humanity has in fixing the problems it started.
The Problem of Overpopulation
The inherent problem with the concept of overpopulation is the fact that the finite resources available on Earth cannot hope to support the potentially infinite expansion of humanity. The Earth itself is a closed-off ecosystem with no resources entering into it, as such its surface can only support a certain population of species, both human and animal alike before the ecosystem inevitably collapses in on itself as a result of a severe strain on the planet’s natural and ecological resources.
Nature itself has a specific system of prevention in place that prevents populations from growing beyond their means due to the predator and prey dynamic. Humanity, which long ago evolved to be the dominant species on the planet, does not have an imposed system of control placed upon it by natural forces and as a result can expand exponentially due to this apparent freedom. It is this exponential expansion that I believe is at the heart of today’s problems involving land, water, and climate change.
While there are initiatives towards conservation and the use of renewable energy resources through energy transition the fact remains that such initiatives will become totally useless in the face of a growing human population that has already exceeded the means by which the Earth can support it.
An Examination of an Inconvenient Truth
In the movie, “An Inconvenient Truth”, Al Gore presents viewers with the results of human activity on the planet. He shows how storms are getting stronger, droughts are getting longer and dryer and as a result of humanity’s unmitigated use of fossil fuel resources the Earth is getting hotter resulting in global climate change which has severe ramifications for the future of humanity.
He explains that it is within the past 70 years that humanity’s expansion and consumption has reached a critical point resulting in the slow decline of the planet’s natural ability to replenish resources. ).
The rapid expansion of the global population following the period of the 1960s resulted in humanity consuming more resources than the planet could replenish resulting in the present-day conditions wherein 6.8 billion people are consuming the equivalent of 1.4 Earth’s.
This phenomenon described as an “ecological overshoot” can be seen in the rapid degree of deforestation in various countries around the world, the rampant overpopulation in developing and Third World countries as well as the sheer amount of pollution currently in the planet’s ecological system.
This has affected weather and climate patterns to such a degree that it has actually caused artificial climate changed resulting in an increasingly warm atmosphere due to the accumulation of pollutants such as C02 in the air as a result of cars and fossil fuel burning power plants. Based on the information presented it can be seen that the current growth of the human population is unsustainable in the long run due to the finite resources on the planet.
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As a result, the problems currently facing humanity will only get worse if nothing is done to prevent human overconsumption and ecological abuse from permanently disrupting Earth’s natural ecosystem. Based on the movie and the earlier statements involving chapter 2 and 3 it can once again be seen that main problem is not really humanity’s overconsumption but rather the size of the population that has lead to overconsumption.
The problems that Gore states can never be truly overcome so long as overpopulation persists, If true change is to be established what is needed is to reduce the problem of humanity’s burgeoning population which would result in the other problems taking care of themselves over time.