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August 30, 2012

Science and Population 2

Last week I posted a short entry on the noxious environmental effects of overpopulation. Since then, I've had a bit more time to look at the issue from a variety of different viewpoints and have found that, like so many other problems we haven't had time to think about for a while, all aspects have become worse a lot faster than was thought possible. It's not just greenhouse gases and our failure to address the climate problem; it's also about the impetus our rapidly growing US population (which has at least doubled since the end of WW2) is having on American farming. In a word, Agricultural industrialization since the Fifties, largely driven by greed, has been a disaster. Meat production has been streamlined and consolidated for beef, pork and poultry. Animals are treated less humanely than ever in crowded conditions, they are fed a generally unhealthy diet in the interest of diminished cost and convenience.

Waste storage and disposal are major problems with all three industries and has a significant ripple effect, on the environment, on water, on other crops, and also on human consumers. Ultimately, grain fed beef is almost certainly contributing to human obesity. We are also receiving obligatory hormones and antibiotics from all.

A current environmental example is that the Gulf Coast states now being inundated with record rainfall from Hurricane Isaac also account for the bulk of our record chicken production; thus massive stream and groundwater contamination must be taking place as this is written.

It's also interesting that John Calhoun, the modern researcher who identified and forecast this problem also carried out a classic experiment that demonstrated the noxious effects of overcrowding in Norway Rats alongside of the emergent Agricultural Industries that were busy proving his point.

Behavioral trends also suggest that humans are starting to respond to the emotional stresses of overcrowding in much the same way as Calhoun's rats.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at August 30, 2012 11:49 PM