Posted: January 10th, 2023
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Biologists define carrying capacity as the maximum population of a given species that can survive indefinitely in a given environment. It was originally applied to relatively simple population environments such as the number of sheep or cattle that could be maintained on grazing land without degrading the land so that it could no longer support the animals.
There are limits to the resources the earth can provide us; every species has a carrying capacity – even humans. However, the consumption habits of humans are much more variable than those of other animal species, making it considerably more difficult to predict the carrying capacity of the earth for human beings. For example, Americans make up about 5% of the world’s population, but account for 24% of global energy consumption. The human population is about 7.5 billion; over 10% of whom do not have access to clean drinking water today. Many scientists think Earth has a maximum carrying capacity of 9 billion to 10 billion people.
What do you think – will we reach the carry capacity for humans? Are we headed for a global food crisis?
Or will we learn to manage our resources wisely before we reach that point? What innovations might we come up with to help with this problem?
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