Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Soylent Green: Overbudget and Behind Schedule

But we get there. There is human food ecosystem collapse. No technological rabbit pulled out of a hat will fix this. By 2052 or earlier, no more food except at subsistence levels. The Monkey Singularity has done exactly what it promised, easy lifestyle, at the cost of eating everything in sight. Greedy monkeys. But it's not the end of the world (far from it, this old bitch Earth has been through worse than us). We are going to go through a bottleneck.

So where are we at? 11 eleven years ago, I lamented human carnage on our world:

Soylent Green predicted 7 billion people in 2022, with 40 million in NYC alone. Those numbers are a little off. We are at 7 billion now, with 2 billion more expected by mid-21st-century. Right now, 80% are at poverty level. It's true that some billion or so have been lifted out of poverty since the 1980s, but that just means an even bigger human maw to feed.

Half of the world's forests have been consumed, most since 1950. 90% of all large wild fish have disappeared from the world's oceans - all from industrial fishing. Dead zones from agricultural run off are spreading at an unprecedented rate. "Garbage patches" of floating and sinking plastics are on the uptake in size and numbers. The oceans are rapidly acidifying, and soon will be fit for naught but the most primitive life forms - jellyfish and microbes. It is estimated that humanity now diverts and consumes one quarter of the energy of Earth's biosphere. We are beyond a force of nature.

Despite concerns about resource depletion, energy is still plentiful. We will run out of fossil oxygen long before we run out of fossil fuels. Some 70 precent of the oxygen we breath is provided by underwater life. Blue green algae provide 20% of the oxygen in the atmosphere, other algeous and planktonic species, sea grasses, mangroves, kelps, provide oxygen and carbon sequestration.

All are in decline.

It is so much more worse now, I don't need 1950 as a benchmark. Insect populations are crashing. (My own anecdotal evidence is my car windshield. In the 20th century I would have to pull over and clean the bug splats off for visibility. Now, eerily clean windshields).

80% of global fisheries are in distress. People want to deep sea mine, which is the dumbest thing. The abyssal plains are not desolate. They are a fucking grocery store of microbiota. Fuck that up, harvest the twilight zone of little critters to feed farm salmon the Li'l Lisa Slurry, and you got yourself a Soylent Green, and god speed. Supply chain collapse, and thus a bottleneck. Not an apocalypse, a bottleneck.

Only behavioral change gives us a short bottleneck. Stop fucking killing things would really help.

Not that it matters to me, way past my deadtime. I've no dog in the fight unless I go all Tony Randall and have babies with a twenty-something assistant. And everyone thought he was gay.

Even then I won't care about my progeny, being dead before they reach adulthood. But Gen Z is having babies, and none too worried about the future. I mean we know and understand a world of squalor and want. Hell, this world, right now, must look like the planet Dune to our hunter/gatherer ancestors, who in their turn, decimated the world. But I would note the megafauna extinctions were after the last competing hominid had been eliminated. Homo Sapiens? More like Homo Orcus

Sure stinks like the Age of Orc to me. The Age of Men (Neanderthals) is long over. 

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