What Happens When the Earth Is Full?
Published 05th March 2012 - 1 comments - 1590 views -
The photo at the right, shot from Apollo 11 as the Earth rose over the moon, reminds us of how beautiful the Earth is. It also reminds us, that though the Earth seems large to us, our space is limited and our resources are finite. What will happen when the Earth is full?
"In 1907 the deer population was unusually low with only 4,000 head. The carrying capacity was 30,000 at this time, so a massive campaign was waged against the natural enemies of the deer. Between the years of 1907 and 1923, the natural predators of deer (mountain lions, wolves and coyotes) were eliminated by hunters in order to increase the deer population. As the following graph shows rather dramatically, the deer population increased rapidly to 100,000 by 1924, but then died off rapidly to a mere 10,000 by 1939. Because of severe overgrazing by excessive populations of deer, the carrying capacity of this region was reduced to approximately 10,000 in 1939, and the deer population was reduced accordingly."
The graph at the right shows what happened to the deer population during this period. When the carrying capacity of the environment is exceeded, natural populations do not reach an equilibrium point and stay there.The result is a massive die off, and the population is decreased below their original carrying capacity. The Earth has a carrying capacity for man, and though we are not exactly sure when we will reach it, it will undoubtedly be within this century. What will happen then?
(c) 2012 J.C. Moore
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