Perspective - Fun with Numbers
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Started by madmechanic - Aug. 8, 2021, 3:02 p.m.

Felt like having a little math fun today.

One of the other 'scares' that I have heard along with the climate change scare is the one that says humans will either overpopulate the earth or have already done so.

It's often interesting to question by what metric the people making these claims are using to judge overpopulation. I am going to debunk one possible metric right now: land area.

This is actually really simple to do. First we need the approximate population of the earth. A quick google search tells me that the estimated population of the earth in 2020 was 7.8 billion. For the purposes of my math lets just round that up to 8 billion even.

Now, let's decide how much land area we will allot per person. Lets go with 900 sq ft per person. And yes, I chose this number for a reason that will become clear by the end of this.

So, to determine the total land area required for 8 billion people to have 900 sq ft each, we simple multiply 900 sq ft by 8 billion. The result of this is a LARGE number: 7,200,000,000,000 sq ft. (7.2 trillion sq ft)

So, what can we compare this number to? Well, why don't we compare it to the land area of Texas?

According to Wikipedia, the total land area of Texas is 261,231.71 sq mi., which is 7,282,722,100,000 sq ft.

So, if every man, women and child was allotted 900 sq ft of land area, we could fit all 8 billion people into the land area of Texas with room to spare.

Yeah, humans are nowhere near close to running out of land area due to population growth.

More pressing is the matter of resources, mainly food and fresh water. While we hear a lot about people starving in various countries, I also know that many developed countries around the world throw out food that is 'past it's sell by date' at grocery stores. Food that could possibly be made available to those in need. Plus, as Mike has shown time and again, crop yields around the world have been booming in recent years.

That does leave the issue of access to fresh drinking water. To be honest I don't have any ideas for this. Desalination plants are an option but they are expensive to build and operate.

Anyway, just thought I would have a little fun with numbers today and debunk another 'scare argument'.

By metmike - Aug. 8, 2021, 3:23 p.m.
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Wonderful discussion on this madmechanical engineer.

Another very much related subject to this includes the use of fertilizer, most of which comes from using fossil fuels(natural gas). This link really hits on some profound points about all the inputs contributing to world food production.

Population, Resources and Food Production

Evans Adapted Final


This thread has more information about that fertilizer.

Another secret about fossil fuels: Haber Bosch process-fertilizers feeding the planet using natural gas-doubling food production/crop yields. September 2019

By metmike - Aug. 8, 2021, 3:24 p.m.
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I consider my discussion in the thread below to be woefully incomplete but here it is. 

I would say that of all of them, like you mentioned, the lack of fresh water is to most immediate and serious crisis for a billion+ people. 

The real environmental crisis's/insects dying-dead zones-aquifers drying up-plastics in the ocean-landfills/trash-over consumption of natural resources(metmike is a PRACTICING environmentalist): April 2019