Re: Overpopulation (was Re: Exowombs & AGING: a few billion toomany)

From: Eugene Leitl (
Date: Fri Feb 22 2002 - 11:31:29 MST

On Fri, 22 Feb 2002, Damien R. Sullivan wrote:

> It's absolutely true that we're not overpopulated in a living-space
> sense. The whole world could be packed into the United States at light
> suburban densities (four people per acre, 1000 people per km^2. LA is
> 3500/km^2, NYC about 12,000, Manhattan 30,000)

1000 people/km^2 does only sound not overpopulated if you're talking about
ambulatory trees.

> But you do have to feed and water those people. Much of the US is

You have to allow them to locomote. To supply them with energy, and a
survivable pollution density. Food and water, yes, equally canalization,
and waste disposal. Material and energy fluxes in general, including
people themselves (typically in "car" packages).

> basically desert, even parts like the Great Plains not typically thought
> of as desert. I'm not saying you couldn't support 2 billion people in
> North America, but it wouldn't be trivial, and there might be a lot of
> adjustments, like reducing water-heavy industries.

Population density of 1000 people/km^2 is not possible at current level of
technology. Dramatic change in lifestyle, routing mesh traffic and
delivery system, telepresence, photovoltaics, fuel cell, closed loop
ecosystems, symbionts and nanotechnology could eventually allow higher
densities. But, clearly, the best solution would seem to get people off
the substrate and offplanet.

> (Drinking water's actually easy to get from rainfall, even in really dry
> places, if you set out to collect it. Irrigation and industry totally
> dwarf human consumption.)

A bipedal primate for itself only burns few 100 W, and has negligable
material flux in terms of kg/h. A faux reality solution suggests itself.

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