For decades people have been predicting overpopulation would wipe out energy resources if not the entire planet. Every year the population bomb and peak oil crowd have been proven wrong. But how long can the status quo of generating growth by population explosion last?
Every year the population bomb and peak oil crowd have been proven wrong. But how long can the status quo of generating growth by population explosion last?
Reader Rick Mills at Ahead of the Herd addresses the subject in a guest blog that first appeared on his blog as Earth Overshoot Day.
Earth Overshoot Day
The second half of the 20th century saw the biggest increase in the world’s population in human history. Our population surged because of:
- Medical advances lessened the mortality rate in many countries
- Massive increases in agricultural productivity caused by the “Green Revolution”
The global death rate has dropped almost continuously since the start of the industrial revolution – personal hygiene, improved methods of sanitation and the development of antibiotics all played a major role.
The term Green Revolution refers to a series of research, development, and technology transfers that happened between the 1940s and the late 1970s.
The initiatives involved:
- Development of high-yielding varieties of cereal grains
- Expansion of irrigation infrastructure
- Modernization of management techniques
- Distribution of hybridized seeds, synthetic fertilizers, and pesticides to farmers
Tractors with gasoline powered internal combustion engines (versus steam) became the norm in the 1920s after Henry Ford developed his Fordson in 1917 – the first mass-produced tractor. This new technology was available only to relatively affluent farmers and it was not until the 1940s tractor use became widespread.
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