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Visit later or scroll below to explore the presentation below addressing "Population Growth and "The Open-Space Delusion"







   Population Growth and
the Open-Space Delusion



There is a widely-held misperception within our species that human population growth and overpopulation cannot be truly serious so long as “vast amounts of open space” remain.


For example,

the dot in the illustration below denotes
two one-thousandths
  of  one percent


while the remaining  99.998 72%  of the rectangle

represents an enormous quantity
of unoccupied "empty space"


In the ocean, real-world populations
  of red-tide dinoflagellates such as

              Karenia brevis 

      which constitute one of nature's
           quintessential examples

 of environmental calamities arising
as a  result of population explosions


generate severe red-tides and their associated
fish-kills when their populations reach

concentrations of 
        100,000 - to- 1,000,000
   or more K. brevis cells per liter 


Because each cell releases, on an on-going basis, small amounts of poisonous “brevetoxins,” the accumulation of such toxins reaches calamitous levels within the aqueous environment in which the population resides.


In one liter* water samples
       from a red-tide

* 61.024 cubic inches of water- which are represented by
   the mostly empty rectangle in the illustration above

the entire population of K. brevis cells
responsible for the deadly calamity

physically occupy 

                      less than
two one-thousandths of one percent

of the total volume that appears to remain
       theoretically-available to them

In the illustration above, one million such cells all
together could physically-occupy the area denoted by dot




Visitors wishing details of the mathematics of this critique can find step-by-step
calculations by clicking on "Supporting Mathematics" in our navigation bar.



This means that the above dinoflagellate
population manages to visit calamity upon
themselves and the aqueous environment
in which they reside

even though they physically-occupy

less than two one-thousandths of one percent

of the volume that seems to remain theoretically-available to them




In other words, despite an apparently
enormous amount of open space,

and despite the fact that the Karenia 
population occupies a 


portion of the available “open space,” 

they have, by their combined overpopulation and their
production of unseen, invisible, and calamitous wastes

catastrophically-damaged the watery surroundings in which they live


Similarly, two classic studies of reindeer herds (reported by Scheffer, 1951; and Klein, 1968) each showed that a
period of exponential growth in each population was followed by a collapse in which a catastrophic 99% die-off took place.

More recently, calculations* show that in each case, these two reindeer herds physically-occupied
less than one-tenth
 of  one percent of the area theoretically-available to them at the time of the collapse.


                  * What Every Citizen Should Know About Our Planet
            (Anson, 2008)



Notice then, that we have two straight-forward examples involving dinoflagellates and reindeer herds that illustrate real-world population disasters that routinely occur even when "vast amounts of open space" remain theoretically-available. 


Why should we imagine that our own species is invulnerable?






Click here to visit population PDFs







“A continuation of today’s demographic tidal wave may constitute

the greatest single risk that our species has ever undertaken.”


What Every Citizen Should Know About Our Planet






 GPSO 2010

The comments, illustrations, mathematics, and data presented on this site

are offered as a contribution to the Global Population Speak Out dialogue


































Copyright 2010, Randolph Femmer.

All rights reserved.