Response to Malthus Prompt


I believe that we as humans have far exceeded the Earth’s carrying capacity for our species. There is no doubt that we have surpassed the natural ability of the Earth’s resources to sustain us, but advances in technology have expanded the production of viable food far past that.  The Green Revolution had a drastic effect on agriculture, especially in developing countries starting in the late 1960s. This movement involved the spread of agriculture technologies including synthetic fertilizers, hybridized seeds, and pesticides to countries struggling with food production. The huge impact these technologies had deemed the movement a panacea and credited it with saving over 1 billion people from starvation.


Though well intentioned, this widespread and rapid adoption of new technology had many unintended consequences. The resulting increased food supply led to population growth in these already potentially overpopulated countries but did not succeed at eliminating or reducing poverty as was promised. In addition, the high yield varieties of crops depend on substantial fertilizer inputs and greater demand for irrigation than previous farming methods, causing pollution and strain on scarce resources. 


The implementation of technologies like these is meant to help society by saving people from starving, but in reality just artificially enhances the perception of Earth’s carrying capacity. Increased food production means increased use of fossil fuels and environment degradation, as well as overpopulation. I don’t think that we will be extinct in 100 years, at least not from lack of food, but I do believe that the consequences of climate change, degraded land and water, and the host of other problems caused from putting too much strain on the environment will have increasing and devastating effects on our population. 


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