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Earth

Have We Reached Maximum Sustainable Population Size? 1070

Hugh Pickens writes "Pulitzer prize winning writer Thomas Friedman writes that in few years we may be looking back at the first decade of the 21st century — when food prices spiked, energy prices soared, world population surged, tornados plowed through cities, floods and droughts set records, populations were displaced and governments were threatened by the confluence of it all — and ask ourselves: What were we thinking? 'We're currently caught in two loops,' writes Friedman. 'One is that more population growth and more global warming together are pushing up food prices; rising food prices cause political instability in the Middle East, which leads to higher oil prices, which leads to higher food prices, which leads to more instability.' According to the Global Footprint Network we are currently growing at a rate that is using up the Earth's resources far faster than they can be sustainably replenished, so we are eating into the future. Right now, global growth is using about 1.5 Earths. 'Having only one planet makes this a rather significant problem,' says Paul Gilding. 'We either allow collapse to overtake us or develop a new sustainable economic model. We will choose the latter. We may be slow, but we're not stupid.'"

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