ruminations about architecture and design

Friday, December 24, 2010

world population and its consequences

National Geographic had a pretty good article on world population. We now have about 7 billion people hanging out on this planet. We've spread out to quite a few different places, but we still have a tendency to cluster in lateral hives called cities that are usually next to bodies of water. Our habitats are distinguished by robust communication and transportation networks. We have more similarities than differences but still find reasons to kill each other with tragic frequency.
The issue of resource management is a deeply controversial and, because our measurement systems aren't as good as they should be, a thoroughly political issue. We have large amounts of essential resources like sunshine, air and water, but spend most of our time squabbling over things that have high margin extraction costs, like oil. People in the future will probably find our value system a bit unusual, but they'll be living in a paradise with a cheap solar power infrastructure that was built with the final dregs of hideously expensive fossil fuels.
Above is a picture of North Dakota. If Paul Ehrlich had spent some time there he might have had taken a more nuanced position in his book The Population Bomb.

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