The Safari’s notes from yesterday we didn’t get to post...
Our trip to work on Thursday morning was somewhat ruined by the heap of soil placed in R’Ouzel Puddle – someone has sussed it shouldn’t be a wetland and is doing their best to turn it back into amenity grassland.
Things weren’t going well that morning. All we could get on Patch 2 was 49 adult Black Headed Gulls with a single juvenile, not a great ratio. Having said that we seem to remember there was a dearth of juveniles on the beach last year but other inland sites locally had reasonable numbers – we’ll have to see how this year matches up. The only other sighting of any note was of about two dozen Common Scoters bobbing around on the chop to the south.
Not long before we’d got to the seawall SD had seen two Little Egrets and two Arctic Skuas go past, we’re still waiting four first Patch 2 Little Egret. Shortly after we’d left disillusioned with the lack of birds/mammals/anything news broke of a Marsh Harrier over the airport which is only a couple of hundred yards away as the harrier flies...probably not our day then!
World Population Day was 11th July and there are now nearly 7 billion of us, way more than twice as many of us than we first saw daylight on this beautiful planet.
The Green Revolution
In the 1950s and 1960s, agriculture underwent a drastic transformation commonly referred to as the Green Revolution. The Green Revolution resulted in the industrialization of agriculture. Part of the advance resulted from new hybrid food plants, leading to more productive food crops. Between 1950 and 1984, as the Green Revolution transformed agriculture around the globe, world grain production increased by 250%.4 That is a tremendous increase in the amount of food energy available for human consumption. This additional energy did not come from an increase in incipient sunlight, nor did it result from introducing agriculture to new vistas of land. The energy for the Green Revolution was provided by fossil fuels in the form of fertilizers (natural gas), pesticides (oil), and hydrocarbon fueled irrigation.
The Green Revolution increased the energy flow to agriculture by an average of 50 times the energy input of traditional agriculture.5 In the most extreme cases, energy consumption by agriculture has increased 100 fold or more.6
In the United States, 400 gallons of oil equivalents are expended annually to feed each American (as of data provided in 1994). So it’s probably more now!
Considering the utter necessity of population reduction, there are three obvious choices awaiting us.
We can-as a society-become aware of our dilemma and consciously make the choice not to add more people to our population. This would be the most welcome of our three options, to choose consciously and with free will to responsibly lower our population. However, this flies in the face of our biological imperative to procreate. It is further complicated by the ability of modern medicine to extend our longevity, and by the refusal of the Religious Right to consider issues of population management. Though this is probably our best choice, it is the option least likely to be chosen.
Failing to responsibly lower our population, we can force population cuts through government regulations. Is there any need to mention how distasteful this option would be? How many of us would choose to live in a world of forced sterilization and population quotas enforced under penalty of law? How easily might this lead to a culling of the population utilizing principles of eugenics?
This leaves the third choice, which itself presents an unspeakable picture of suffering and death. Should we fail to acknowledge this coming crisis and determine to deal with it, we will be faced with a die-off from which civilization may very possibly never revive. We will very likely lose more than the numbers necessary for sustainability. Under a die-off scenario, conditions will deteriorate so badly that the surviving human population would be a negligible fraction of the present population. And those survivors would suffer from the trauma of living through the death of their civilization, their neighbors, their friends and their families. Those survivors will have seen their world crushed into nothing.
The questions we must ask ourselves now are, how can we allow this to happen, and what can we do to prevent it? Does our present lifestyle mean so much to us that we would subject ourselves and our children to this fast approaching tragedy simply for a few more years of conspicuous consumption?
May be not quite right in view of a recent assessment of the current available oil reserves. As the price has risen and technology developed the harder to get at reserves are now within grasp...we know the cost but what’s the price?
Have a blimp here – don’t expect you to read all 891 comments!
Scary times ahead or doom-mongering?
Can we keep adding more humans to the planet ad-infinitum? Sooner or later carrying capacity will be exceeded and you only have to look at the fate of millions of lemmings to see what happens then...and no they don’t all throw themselves off cliffs in a hopeless waste.
On a lighter note we’ve taken some pics of our wildflower areas at work that most people call weeds.
The flower beds are being monitored for their wildflowers. You may recognise some of them as ‘weeds’. But what is a weed; and who decides?
In nature bare soil is a scarce commodity, being ‘made’ by animals such as pigs grubbing up areas, tree falls allowing light to otherwise shaded areas or lifting the root plate, landslips etc and these provide a rare opportunity for plants to take advantage of.
In these beds we are leaving the Thistles, Dandelions, Fat Hen and other ‘ephemerals’ to see how the species composition changes through time. Ephemerals are those plants which can successfully seed into bare soil often having thousands of seeds that blow on the wind as many will land in unsuitable places.
The flowers, leaves and seeds, even the roots, of all these ‘weeds’ are a very valuable resource to our native insects. How many different species of bees are on the Thistle flowers? Dandelion flowers are a very important food source for butterflies many of which are in rapid decline. Most of the ephemeral species are short lived and will eventually be out-competed by perennial wildflowers, some of which have we have planted, such as the Meadow Cranesbill.
Remember ‘untidy’ is not necessarily uncared for or unmanaged...it is what our native wildlife needs.
Note the ‘tidy’ mown edge to show that it is being maintained.
Not a lot doing today just a couple of gannets offshore along with three neatly spaced Grey Seals and a small flock of resting Common Scoters – then the rain started...again.
Where to next? Hopefully the rain will have passed over and we can get the mothy activated tonight, which could be good if it stays muggy and mild overnight.
In the meantime let us know the carrying capacity of your outback.