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Black Death the plague 2025 AD
FIGURE 1-5 World population graph
http://www.susps.org/images/worldpopgr.gif
One
FIGURE 1-6 Sunlight in a forest
http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Experiments/ICE/panama/Images/panama _canopy.jpg
By 1950, the population had grown to more than 2.5 billion people. If you think about this fact in terms of the human timeline, you ll see that the population grew in 200,000 years to 1 billion people, and then, in only 150 years, another billion people were added to the planet. How did this occur And why did this occur after hundreds of thousands of years of stable population growth The answer is mechanical assistance the mechanization of the world, first through windmills, water wheels, animals, and iron tools, and then the industrial revolution upped the ante. More than any other factor, the mechanization in farming allowed the world s population to explode. The tractor (Figure 1-7) is probably the single most important reason for the increase in available food and therefore the increase in population. Anywhere sunlight was available, humans could add irrigation, fertilizer, and increased production through the use of mechanical means.
FIGURE 1-7 Tractors are the most important factor in increasing food yields.
http://www.fsa.usda.gov/Internet/FSA_MediaGallery/tractor_ut332933191.jpg
The History of Solar Energy
FIGURE 1-8 The 1970s gas shortage
http://www.nrel.gov/data/pix/Jpegs/00573.jpg
From 1950 to 1970, the population grew by another billion people. From 1970 to 1985, another billion people contributed to the world population, then at almost 5 billion. All competed for the same finite resources from a limited planet, a fact that became all too apparent during the 1970s, when the United States and other countries experienced gasoline shortages (Figure 1-8).
The Future
Events in our past can help foretell our future. Today, the world, and especially the United States, depends heavily on the fuel products created by sunlight coal, gas, and oil. What if tomorrow you awoke to find no water in your home No heat or electricity in your house No food being delivered to the supermarket because no fuel was available for the trucks that deliver it This is our imminent future if we do not change how we live. Producing the oil and coal we use today took the Earth and sun hundreds of millions of years and five mass extinctions (Figure 1-9). The amount of oil that remains underground and available is debatable (Figure 1-10). But most scientists believe that fossil fuels, and that the Earth s ability to create them, is limited. That said, it seems reasonable to depend on the sun as a source of more energy. We should be using more sunlight not fossil fuels as a nonpolluting, ever available, energy form. By 2011, the world s population is estimated to reach 7 billion people. We have been overusing our stored energy reserves to the point at which we may lose them. We are not able to grow sufficient amounts of food to support the current world population, which is expected to grow to more than 9 billion people by 2050 (Figure 1-11). All of this points to one simple fact: We have been completely dependent on sunlight, stored or fresh, for all of humanity and all of life. And the sun is one resource we can always count on.
Extinction rate 250
150 100 Million of years before present
FIGURE 1-9 Five major mass extinctions
http://www.lbl.gov/Science-Articles/Archive/images5/raup-sepkoski-plot.gif
Saudi Arabia* Canada Iran Iraq Kuwait* Venezuela UAE Russia Libya Nigeria Kazakhstan
43.7 36.2 30.0 60.0 115.0 104.0 99.4 97.8 136.2 178.1
Source: Oil & Gas Journal, Jan. 1, 2009 *Including Share of Neutral Zone
Billion barrels
FIGURE 1-10 The world oil reserves
http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/Kuwait/images/09-03-kuwaitworldreserves.gif
The History of Solar Energy
10 9 8 Population (billions) 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020 2030 2040 2050 4 Billion 3 Billion 5 Billion 6 Billion 7 Billion 8 Billion 9 Billion
Year
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, International Database, December 2008 update.
FIGURE 1-11 Projected world population
http://www.census.gov/ipc/www/img/worldpop.gif
Food Production and Declining Natural Resources
The chemicals, herbicides, bioengineered seed, fuel, and mechanization used in farming today are completely dependent upon an energy-rich society. Industrialized agriculture demands fossil fuels in two essential ways: in their direct consumption on the farm, and indirectly in their consumption by manufacturing. Direct consumables include fuels, lubricants, farm vehicles, and machinery. Farms use oil, liquid propane, natural gas, and electricity to power dryers, pumps, lights, heaters, coolers, and other machinery. Indirect consumables comprise mainly oil, natural gas, and coal used to manufacture fertilizers, pesticides, and packaging and allow transportation, consumption, and waste disposal of food and non-food items. Because of our dependence on fossil fuels, an oil shortage would definitely impact our food supply. Some farmers using modern organic farming methods have reported yields as high as those available from conventional farming without the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. The organic crops also have shown to be more resilient, drought-resistant, and nutrient-rich. However, the reconditioning of soil to restore nutrients lost during the use of
One monoculture agriculture techniques made possible by petroleum-based fertilizers requires years.
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