Impact of Continued Growth
Impacts of continued growth in human populations include:
• Increased hunger/starvation while food production levels off or even declines (i.e., less food/person)
While grain yields per acre have been increasing steadily until 1990, the rate of increase has fallen off in the last 10 years. Most of the benefits of irrigation, machinery, fertilizer and plant breeding have already been realized. The production of grain per acre is close to the maximum obtainable through photosynthesis. Geneticists are working on improving the efficiency of photosynthesis, and that may turn out to be possible, but given that nature has been working on the problem for several hundred million years, there is no guarantee that we can improve on the process in the next 10 to 20 years. See www.whole-systems.org/grain.html for more information.
• Increasing desertification
Desertification is the conversion of productive rangeland or cropland into desertlike land. It is usually caused by a combination of overgrazing, soil erosion, prolonged drought and climate change.
• Increased number of refugees
• Increased urbanization
Cities may offer opportunities for the people of developing countries. However, the danger lies in the structural inadequacies typical of many cities in these countries. The most obvious of these inadequacies are those of public sanitation. Insufficient or non-existent sewage systems in exist in many parts of these cities. Water supplies can thereby become polluted, leading to the high incidences of disease.
• Emerging diseases
Global warming may allow certain diseases/parasites to flourish
• Dying seas and rivers, for example:
- Colorado River
- Gulf of Mexico dead zone