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The accumulating crises of our time

The accumulating crises of our time

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The accumulating crises of our time

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  1. The accumulating crises of our time

  2. "A misunderstanding of exponential arithmetic is one of the most dramatic shortcomings of mankind". • (Professor Albert Bartlett 1997)

  3. The problem of exponential growth • Doubling time • 7.5% p.a. = 10yr doubling time • The chessboard and the Persian(?) King • Fold a piece of paper • How thick after 40 folds?

  4. The lily pad • Lily grows exponentially • Will fill pond in 30 days • When will it half fill? • Imagine wonderful discovery of 3 new ponds!!! • To keep the system running, the discovery of ponds has to accelerate

  5. Reindeer • 29 introduced to St Matthew’s Island, Alaska in 1944 • Summer 1957 1,350 • Summer 1963 6,000 • Summer 1964 <50 • NB evidence indicates slowdown of growth prior to 1963

  6. Overshoot • Temporary abundance • Temporary overpopulation • Crash and… • Return to equilibrium? • Extinction? • Bounce?

  7. Overshoot 2 • Problem is absence of feedback • System goes beyond limits • One limit becomes critical

  8. Liebig’s law • “Law of the minimum” • Growth is limited by the scarcest resource • Capacity limits

  9. Human population

  10. Limits to Growth • Club of Rome report 1970 • Proven correct over last 35 years • Computer modelling • Once one problem is solved, another rears its head

  11. Human population 2 • Additions peaked in 1987 • Growth is slowing down • Each year c 2m less added • Probably now peak 2025-2030

  12. Human footprint • How many earths? • http://www.myfootprint.org/ • 3bn sustainable??

  13. Sober conclusions • Either we change our way of life and abandon growth • Or we hit the wall and suffer collapse • God is bringing our way of life to an end • We either follow God’s will, or we are destroyed • NB Growth is not the same as development

  14. Possible limits 1 • Energy • But we’ve talked about that one

  15. Possible limits 2 • Water • 1/3 population ‘water stressed’ • Australia: Murray-Darling basin in 6th year of drought • Wheat harvest collapsing – world stocks at lowest for 25 years…

  16. Lima in Peru

  17. Ogallala • On average being used up 4X replacement rate • Southern areas 100X replacement rate • Major water source for ‘bread basket’ • 6m hectares irrigated

  18. Middle East… • Of 14 ME countries 11 are already in ‘water scarcity’ • Saudi obtains ¾ of need from groundwater ‘mining’

  19. Possible limits 3 • Food • Per capita peak in 1985 • 1 in 8 worldwide malnourished • 30% of sub-Saharan Africa • 40m pa die of starvation • Absolute peak in 15yrs? (LTG)

  20. Possible limits 3b • Soil • Land • Cultivated land per person halved 1950 - 1995

  21. Possible limits 4 • Pollution • LTG model 1 doubled resources – crashed from pollution • More vulnerable to disease? • Asian flu • Ebola • Etc etc etc

  22. Possible limits 5 • Global Warming

  23. The accumulating crises of our time • Worldwatch Institute • “The Litany” • Litany is often wrong • More often irrelevant

  24. Bjorn Lomborg • The Sceptical Environmentalist • Remember Peak Oil • Point of maximum available energy

  25. Consequences • Signs of crisis are all around us • If only we have eyes to see • Blinded by idolatry • Idolatry = inability to receive feedback

  26. Consequences 2 • Resource Wars • "Oil wars are certainly not out of the question.“ • US Army Corps of Engineers, Report on Peak Oil, 2005 • ‘Fourth Generation Warfare’ • Eg Hezbollah vs Israel

  27. Consequences 3 • Collapse of many states • See: Shield of Achilles • Organised crime • Bottom up • (the future is local) • Drugs • Human trafficking and slavery • Therefore terrorism

  28. Consequences 4 • Mass migration • Hordes of starving millions outside the wall • Hordes of frightened westerners inside the wall • The wall won’t last • George A Romero

  29. The Four Horsemen • White: conquering from without • Red: battle • Black: famine • Pale: pestilence • “They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague…” (Rev 6.8)

  30. "If a path to the better there be, it begins with a full look at the worst."-- Thomas Hardy