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Probaway – Armageddon Sonnets – #3

When murder and research are highly paid,
Set high as proper things for men to do,
Then all should know, there’ll be uncalled for deaths,
With suffering moms and dads and young girls too.

How strange that we are known as homo “sapiens”,
When our most brilliant children plan our demise;
A noble god says “That group gets no paeans;
Early death be theirs!” What else can we surmise?

Why do we claim ourselves to be so wise,
When we so simply fall dupes to fools’ ploys,
Unable to see through their simple guise,
Or spot the naive tricks that they employ?

It’s for the common good that we must strive,
For all are victims when foul research thrives.

With the intellectual world of Science we have a similar problem to the one deep within the workings of Capitalism, and perhaps even of Democracy, and Individual Freedom as well. The problem lies in the fact that these systems work too well. Because they work so very well the population of the world has exploded to well beyond the carrying capacity of the planet. It is our very success which has created the problem. The last time we were in balance with the Earth was about the year 1825 when the population was about a billion people, most of whom were farmers, living by the sweat of their labors. The simple, and obvious proof of this assertion is the graph of total CO2 in the atmosphere.

The data presented on the chart can be reliably measured, and are no longer contested by responsible scientists, but the question of how soon the effects will become serious is contested. After 1825 the Earth was no longer able to digest the CO2 in the atmosphere, and it began accumulating above the solid surface of the Earth in the air, and water. Since the average high tech person creates more than ten times as much CO2 as a farmer did in 1825 it means that a stable population of high tech people must be less than one tenth that of the population of 1825. In other words a modern population would have to be under 100 million people to remain in CO2 balance with the atmosphere. A hundred million sounds like a lot but there are presently 6.7 billion people and that 0.1 represents only the last decimal point, the 0.7 versus 0.6 and that is about the amount we are adding to the population every year. It is about 75 million per year says the Wikipedia world population article. The world population is expanding every year by an amount equaling its total carrying capacity, and the base number of modern people has exceeded that sustainable number by about 67 times. ( 6.7B / 0.1B = 67 ) Obviously this extreme out of balance condition can not persist for very long until something happens to bring it back to below the carrying capacity. Because of various despoliations the carrying capacity is probably much lower than it was in 1825.

CO 2 graph from the year 1000 to 2000

However, these types of adjustments, called catastrophes in mathematics, don’t smoothly come back into a balance slowly like a balance scale librating, but rather they come back to a static state more like a mouse trap snapping after some critical tipping point is tripped. The environment will snap back to well below where it would have maintained a steady and stable population before the catastrophe. In other words it will snap back to well below one billion people when Doomsday happens even without the added complication of nuclear winter, and radiation poisoning, and general die off of the stabilizing species. But, it is virtually certain that there will be those added complications, and the population may well drop to a very low level, probably below one hundred million. Perhaps back to those in the Lifehavens themselves. The Lifehavens are intended to be survival banks filled with seeds, and other genomes as well as people. They will be useful — even critical — in reestablishing a livable world. Even if more than one hundred million people survived there is a good chance that all of the life, and perhaps potential for surface life in the Northern Hemisphere would be destroyed, and this land would be best replanted with whatever was there before the Doomsday event.

— The time is ripe for Doomsday