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  • Luis

    The planet we inaibht is a self-regulating, self-sustaining and self-renewing home, one that has worked well for millions of years. Our ancestors lived here as hunter-gatherers. Presumably, their numbers fluctuated in cyclical manner, based upon food availability. In early times more obtainable food gave rise to more people and the lack of food to less people.Green plants are at the base of the food chain. The plants are consumed by other life. In turn, other forms of life eat those creatures. Consumers of one species are consumed by other species. In the natural order of all living things, food populations and feeder populations oscillate in equilibrium; they control one another. As food increases, the feeder population increases. A point is reached when feeder population increases result in a decline in the amount of available food. Then, as the food supply decreases, feeder numbers stop growing. As the feeder population declines, the food population increases. This is a negative feedback loop. An example of it is something with which we are familiar, a thermostat. This instrument maintains the temperature in our homes by means of switching off the furnace when the temperature gets too hot and switching it on when the temperature becomes too cold. In a negative feedback loop a point is reached at which extreme changes in temperature are halted. That is to say, the temperature of the house is maintained within limits. The house cannot get too hot or too cold because the thermostat arrests excessive changes in temperature.Several thousand years ago humankind unknowingly shut off nature’s ‘thermostat’ that controls extreme changes in human population numbers. At that point we shifted from hunting and gathering food to growing and storing it in amounts that were greater than what was needed for immediate survival. A culture shift from foraging to producing food occurred. More food gave rise to more people, who produced more food, which gave rise to more people, who produced more food, which gave rise to more people, and so forth. Soon the increasing human numbers led to the perception that the production of more food was necessary to feed more people. The increasing food supply and increasing absolute human numbers were continuously accelerating in a food-population spiral. This is a positive feedback loop. The ‘thermostat’ to regulate the relationship between food and feeder populations with regard to the human community was rendered inoperative by the developing capability to increase food production at will, and seemingly without limits. Scientists have observed that the production of food to feed a growing population, as has occurred thoughtout human history in our culture, results in an even larger population size of the human species.Agriculture gave rise to the culture shift from hunter-gatherer to food producer and provided the very foundation for an economic system that depends upon the relentless increase of capabilities production, come what may. The continuous economic expansion we see today follows a course established at the dawn of our culture and may be about to reach a point in human history when human numbers and unbridled production could overwhelm the Earth. The longstanding cultural preference for continously increasing production appears to be a primary basis for the human population explosion. Since increasing the amount of obtainable food gives rise to increasing human numbers, that there are options becomes clear. Certainly, one choice is another culture shift. The earlier shift was to continually increase food production. In discerning that a culture shift is necessary in our time, leading to the stabilization of production, we could conceivably take a giant step toward addressing the looming global challenges posed by human overpopulation and human over-consumption. Evolutionary change is the way of all life; so, too, do the thought and behavior of beings in a human culture evolve.We humans appear to have an artificial, inflated view of ourselves due to commonly held beliefs in illusory cultural transmissions about the placement of humanity in the natural order of all living things. Cultural transmissions abound about the grandeur of the individual, while silence persists about the reality of human beings as one among many wondrous creatures to inaibht a small, finite, frangible planet. Although we recognize ourselves as members of a species, we have little appreciation of human creatureliness. Whatever else we may say about ourselves, we can assuredly note that humankind is an organism that evolved within the biological community. And, according to the emerging research, humanity’s population dynamics is common to, not different from, the population dynamics of other organisms. Humankind could be the most complex and miraculous species ever to live in this place in the solar system. Even so, humanity remains an integral part of nature, not apart from it, and in so many ways, humans are like the marvelous creatures that surround us in our earthly home.Based upon a culturally shifted view of human beings as one of many creatures, the stabilization of unbridled human production capabilities would be seen as a path to a future marked by human wellbeing, environmental health and sustainability.In the light of history, humanity is transparently seen as capable of a cultural shift in thought and behavior. This shift in certain of our values and lifestyle could save many familiar creatures from being extirpated, preserve limited resources from being recklessly dissipated, and protect global ecosystems. As an example, humankind needs to recognize the sufficiency of current levels of global harvests to feed people in the world. To longer follow an obsolete course of continuous, seemingly endless economic expansion will result in further biodiversity loss, even greater degradation of the environment and, perhaps, the irreversible destruction of the planet as a fit place for human habitation.Consider this proposal: We change thought and behavior so that Earth is preserved as viable for habitation, humanity is protected from the potential danger of extinction, and biodiversity is hopefully saved from the same but more imminent fate. We either stay the current ‘business as usual’ course by continually increasing production, thereby allowing economic globalization to commandeer habitats, expunge biodiversity and engulf the planet, or we stabilize production, a remedy that is consonant with the preservation and nurturance of human and other life on our fragile yet resilient planet.The explosion of human population worldwide is a huge challenge; but we can take the measure of it and solve the problem.