The Doomer David Attenborough hates humans and data. He desperately wants fewer humans and ignores data which shows how wrong his ideas are. This is a dangerous level of ignorance. This ignorance and constantly wrong belief has harmed millions of people and will harm millions more if is not 100% refuted. This is a simple 100% refutation of the people endanger the planet belief.
Attenborough praises Thomas Malthus and does not understand why the writings of Malthus are being ignored today.
Malthus wrote back in 1798 that population will rapidly grow to eliminate abundance. Malthus wrote this 220 years ago. Malthus is wrong by over 50 times on how much population the world can support. Malthus was over 100 times on wealth and abundance.
If Malthus was right about population rapidly grow to eliminate abundance, then the world population would be over 100 times higher and we would still be at 1800 per capita GDP or less.
World Population Will Soon be Ten Times Higher and Wealth is 100 Times More
The world population was about 1 billion in 1800. World GDP was 100 times less. The wealth per person was 30 times less in 1800. $500 per person. World per capita gdp on a ppp basis is about $17,000 now.
Doomers like Attenborough and Malthus use “the people (population) numbers are big – we can’t feed them”. People seem to have an intuitive urge to believe this lie. It is a quick elevator pitch and it drives the wrong decisions. Doomers say there will not be enough water, energy etc.. The not enough argument reaches lingering caveman psychology that there will not be enough.
We do not have a caveman world society. Malthus and Attenborough can only understand a caveman society.
How Many People and How Much Wealth?
The World is NOT just barely getting by.
The average person in the United States is eating double the meat that they should be eating. Beef takes ten times the grain and water to produce as plants. If we converted to chicken, fish and soy instead of cows and only ate the amount that we should eat to be healthy then the US would eat less than half of the food that is consumed now.
30-40% of food is wasted in the US. There is significant food wastage in India and other parts of the world as well. This is not the food you are tossing out for your daily meals. This is spoilage of crops in India from stacking up harvested crops in open fields instead of granaries.
This is food going bad at supermarkets or at restaurants. France does better with this by requiring supermarkets to deeply discount food that nears its expiration date.
Beef production and other more water and grain expensive production of meat is extra slack in the world food system. Biofuel production in the USA and Brazil is also slack in the world food system. We have so much agricultural productivity we can stick a hundred million ton of food production each year into SUVs and burn it.
If the world had to feed three times the people we could actually try to prevent food waste, prevent excessive overeating, and shift from wasteful meat production.
This is not deep rationing. This would be rationing to what the medical people say people should eat to not be obese.
UK level of rationing during world war 2 would be getting by on ten times less food.
Attenborough recognizes that the Green Revolution caused previous predictions of famine to be wrong. However, he made no effort to figure out what else is happening in terms of a food revolution.
The World is already deploying another Green Revolution to triple food production again. The world can produce greenhouses and new food factories to boost production by another 100 times.
This is before really tapping into biotech or other science and production capabilities.
Another Tripling in Agricultural Production
The Green revolution was a tripling of agricultural production from 1965-1985.
There are further green revolutions (GR 2.0) that are continuing to boost agricultural yields.
Food production is increasing by a lot. The productivity of agricultural land will triple by 2030-2040. This not magic. Dozens of hectares with higher productivity are being grown now. China and other nations will scale them up.
We are successfully feeding the 7.7 billion now. The world will have about 10 billion people by 2050 because of continued population growth in Africa. The World population will be about 12 billion in 2100. Attenborough does not even get population projections right. He thinks world population will stabilize at 8 to 10 billion. Africa’s population growth is not stabilizing.
Farm productivity is about 6 tons per hectare. There are large research farms growing 17 tons per hectare. China’s Yuan Longping has set a goal of reaching a rice yield of 18 tons per hectare by 2020 and is in a race with other researchers.
Ten Times More Productivity from Greenhouses Which is 300-Year-old Technology
Greenhouses are over 200 years old. Even the old greenhouses are ten times more productive than open land. Even if the land has irrigation and fertilization. Greenhouses keep out the bugs and provide optimal growing conditions. The Netherlands, Denmark, and China have a lot of greenhouses.
Can we build enough greenhouses? China builds a megacity every year in new buildings. China builds 2 billion square meters of new buildings. 450 million square meters goes unsold. China’s construction industry has a problem of not having enough opportunities to build.
Old greenhouses were already ten times more efficient than open-air farming. There are greenhouses that are thirty to fifty times more efficient. There are 13 billion hectares of farmed land in the world. A hectare is 10000 square meters.
Mass greenhouse construction could be built to replace 1% of the farmed land every year.
Biotech Can Boost Food Production Efficiency by Well Over 40%
There is a recent genetic hack to boost crop efficiency by 40%.
We can tap into kelp growth capabilities if needed. Kelp naturally grows at 2 feet per day.
World Energy and Water
Energy, food and water are linked in the global system. Energy production went up over 20 times since 1800.
Factory Grown Meat
We have begun to produce beef from the lab and factory which is ten times more efficient in terms of energy and water.
Factory grown meat can boost food productivity by 10X in terms of energy and water.
So we already have 3 times the food than we really need. The world can drop by 10 times and get by.
Food production will go up 3 times within 20 years using business as usual agriculture.
There is an option to use greenhouses on a larger scale for 30 times more food. Dedicated skyscrapers for greenhouses can boost food produced in a spot by 100X beyond greenhouses.
Factory produced meat can increase food production efficiency in terms of energy and water by 10X or even 100X.
World population will grow at most 3X by 2100 and 5X by 2150.
The World can increase the population by another 10X and have wealth increase another 30X and not overburden the earth. This would be repeating the gains of the last 220 years since the time of Malthus.
Attenborough is repeating the mistakes of his historical hero. Malthus had the excuse that he was living in an age of cluelessness. Attenborough does not have that excuse. Attenborough is actively seeking cluelessness. Attenborough insults economics and other sciences.
Attenborough is speaking in front of Prince Charles. Prince Charles is also anti-human. I believe Attenborough and Charles want their own personal nature preserves, without any peasants to bother them as they ride around and enjoy their nature.
Malthus was wrong then and Attenborough is wrong now. They are not just harmlessly wrong. These kinds of anti-human ideas have been used as justification for massive numbers of forced abortions and other harm to babies and humans.
The correct answers do not require an understanding of advanced science and technology.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
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