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[Jul. 24th, 2007|08:54 am]
Silicon Rose
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This article makes a brilliant point.
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[User Picture]From: froborr
2007-07-24 04:55 pm (UTC)
Norman Borlaug won the Congressional Medal and I missed it? Argh! I'm a big Borlaug fan; he's done more than any one other person to delay the inevitable. And if we delay the inevitable long enough, maybe we can get the entire world up to first world economies, our best bet for stabilizing the population.
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[User Picture]From: pristis
2007-07-24 05:51 pm (UTC)
Our best bet for stabilizing world population, yes, but so far our worst best for reducing energy and resource consumption. I don't think we can rely on environmental Kuznets curves to stall the sixth mass extinction.

Where did you hear about Borlaug? I hadn't heard about him, and I make a point of noting these things; it is very unfortunate that I missed this, and I consider it something of a failure on my part.
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[User Picture]From: froborr
2007-07-24 07:06 pm (UTC)
Originally? An SF story. I cannot remember the name of either story or author, but it was about horrible unintended consequences of the unrestrained application of agricultural biotech in India, and mentioned in passing dwarf wheat as a an early triumph of the science. I got interested, so I looked it up to see if it was real, and it was.
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[User Picture]From: froborr
2007-07-24 07:10 pm (UTC)
Argh, I am terrible about double-posting today! Sorry, SR.

While population stabilization alone won't stall the sixth mass extinction, if we simultaneously increase energy efficiency and resource recycling in first world economies the combination just might be enough, if we're very lucky.

As near as I can tell, *every* proposed solution to forestalling the sixth mass extinction requires us to be very lucky, though some are worse than others in that respect.
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[User Picture]From: pristis
2007-07-24 05:45 pm (UTC)
I would just like to note that what the article says about organic food is completely true, especially the bit about the fertilizer. (or at least that's the information I got from my Applied Ecology class.) However, it does gloss over the fact that our present system is unsustainable; there are some serious issues with topsoil erosion, agricultural runoff, monocultures, and so on. What particularly worried me was the fact that we definitely can't continue to use the present system indefinitely, although we won't be running out of, say, phosphorous anytime soon.
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[User Picture]From: pristis
2007-07-24 05:52 pm (UTC)
I have lost my main reference on this subject, and so cannot say anything terribly authoritative. I'm sorry about that. :(
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[User Picture]From: froborr
2007-07-24 07:11 pm (UTC)
Not to mention plunging water tables.
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