General Question

lloydbird's avatar

Is there plenty on this Earth for all to have plenty?

Asked by lloydbird (8730points) June 14th, 2009

Just a question of uneven distribution?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

23 Answers

Ivan's avatar

Depends on what you mean by “plenty.” There isn’t enough on this Earth for all to live like Americans.

lloydbird's avatar

@Ivan Sufficient to meet basic daily needs plus a reasonable/sustainable amount of luxuries.

juwhite1's avatar

Any Fluther members in an African country want to tackle this one? Or in any of the Global South countries?

juwhite1's avatar

There are plenty of nations where the people are living on the equivelant of less than a U.S.. dollar per day… I’m not sure there is enough for all of us to continue to have luxeries, and still meet all the basic educational, nutritional, and healthcare needs of the world. Maybe there is, but I doubt we’ll ever know because those of us in wealthy nations don’t seem to be jumping at the chance to give up our excesses for the benefit of those who have nothing or next to nothing.

rooeytoo's avatar

It is still all relative, what is a luxury to one may be a necessity to another. I see people who are hungry but it is often a choice because their disposable income is spent on things other than food. But I am in Australia.

There are people starving in other countries of this world but is it the result of corruption in their government or lack of knowledge of how to sustain oneself.

How will giving up my luxuries/necessities feed the people who are starving?

Good question.

lloydbird's avatar

@juwhite1 ”...plenty of nations where people are living on the equivalent of less than a U.S dollar per day..” But is this by accident or design, and does the elevation of the poor depend on the rich having to ”....give up our excesses..”? Might the cause not be systematic? Does the current system (essentially competition based) have an inbuilt need for people to have need?

SirBailey's avatar

Actually, there is plenty on this earth for all to have plenty of food and water. It is the political systems that interfere. In third world countries, clean water is not to be found. Here, in America, we have so much water that we PLAY in it in water parks.

YARNLADY's avatar

While there is apparently enough calorie equivalents in the world for the current population, it cannot be harvested and distributed properly, and there is not enough potable water available to cover.

Strauss's avatar

There is a system proposed by the Ringing Cedars series of books that proposes one hectare of land (approximately 2.5 acres), can be made to produce enough to sustain a family.

lloydbird's avatar

I read, some time ago, that ALL the people in the world, could fit, stood shoulder to shoulder, on the Isle of Wight in Britain. If true, what overpopulation?.

Ivan's avatar

@lloydbird

Overpopulation has nothing to do with the physical space that we occupy. It has to do with the amount of land needed to support us. Each person requires several acres of land to support them with food, water, and other resources.

lloydbird's avatar

@Ivan Fair point, but does the statement(allegation) not still hold?.
Ref: Yetanotheruser’s assertion re-Ringing Cedars.

Ivan's avatar

If everyone lived like Americans, we would need multiple planets to sustain the current population. It all depends on the quality of living that you require. It also depends on the carrying capacity of the land. If our methods become more efficient, the land can support more people.

mattbrowne's avatar

Everyone could live like Americans if we completely switch to renewable energies and cradle to cradle manufacturing. We also need to use freshwater supplies wisely and reduce overall meat consumption. However even then the limit might be 10 billion humans. Beyond that, there’s space.

YARNLADY's avatar

@mattbrowne Everyone could live like American if we quit living like we do hahahaha

Strauss's avatar

@mattbrowne, @YARNLADY

OK,no more manufacturing of cradles

But seriously, though, I tend to agree with @mattbrowne, if we decrease our consumption of renewables, it would go a long way. In our society, we have come to view certain conveniences as necessities. As I’ve stated elsewhere, I have definite concrete plans to put solar panels on my roof. This will benefit in many ways. First, and most obviously, it will cut my electric bill. Second, it will mean that that power will not have to be generated using fossil-fuels. Third, any excess will be put back into the grid, and I will be paid for it. Fourth, that excess will be power that is available to the customers of the utility without being generated by fossil fuel.

It’s a small step, and it will entail a front-end cost, but that cost will be more than made up for in short order, and then I will continue to see an income where I formerly saw a bill.

There are other ways we can reduce consumption without sacrificing too much of our lifestyle.

rooeytoo's avatar

@Yetanotheruser – I have read (but I am convinced that whatever you are reading is dictated by whomever funded the research, directly or indirectly) that the energy needed to created solar panels and wind mills is much more than they repay in their lifetime. So from that perspective you are actually not saving but instead costing. Don’t know how true it is but it makes you stop and think. We have solar hot water but the temp rarely goes below 70 here and is always up in the 90’s during the day so it is pretty effective and the unit has been in use 25 years. I don’t know where the break even point is because you rarely need hot water at all here.

I know someone will ask where I read it and it was in a newsfeed on the net probably a newspaper but I can’t tell you which or when.

Strauss's avatar

@rooeytoo, good point. There are several websites out there, such as Earth 4 Energy, which will help you find sources for inexpensive used components, as well as instructions for building your own panels, if one is so inclined. There are several sites out there, and they usually have a one-time fee (about $50 US), and have a plethora of information for solar, as well as other “green” projects.

mattbrowne's avatar

@YARNLADY – Yes, quit relying on dirty fuels and dumb electrical grids and so forth. The same is true for Western Europe, although we managed to achieve the same level of comfort with half the energy and half the freshwater resources for example.

@Yetanotheruser – It would help if the US created feed-in tariffs, see

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feed-in_Tariff

@rooeytoo – Sorry, but this is a short-sighted view. The amount of energy to find oil, drill for it, convert it to gasoline and use it by cars in the 19th century was significantly higher than feeding a horse.

Photovoltaics liker others is an emerging technology. Break even points are not far away.

rooeytoo's avatar

@mattbrowne – but cars are a lot more efficient than a horse in just about every aspect you can think of so there was a gain. Solar or wind is not more efficient than current productions methods so they don’t save in real time and wear out before they pay for themselves so there is no gain. I don’t understand your example.

But @Yetanotheruser – says use recycled components so unless a lot of energy is needed to convert those components so they can be used in windmills or solar panels, then it makes sense.

The original question was is there enough for all to have plenty. How is my using solar or wind power going to feed the hungry or dig wells for thirsty people. Making the me feel guilty for using what our predecessors and I myself worked for and created seems unreasonable and unproductive to me.

mattbrowne's avatar

@rooeytoo – More efficient than a horse? Are you kidding? Old-fashioned cars require million of years of sunshine and photosynthesis. Horses require a few weeks of sunshine and photosynthesis. They eat the grass and off you go.

Production methods for solar and wind will improve continually. The electric car engine is far more efficient compared to combustion where most of the energy is converted into heat. Oil drilling will decline.

rooeytoo's avatar

@mattbrowne – No I am not kidding, if next time I start into town I ride a horse, I should get there in about 3 days, or I could drive the car and get there in less than 3 hours. Guess it depends on how you define efficiency. And if we are going back to the “good old days” the bridges of steel and concrete would not be there and I would have to swim across the croc infested rivers, so I would probably need a couple of horses cuz crocs particularly love horse meat!

And some scientists say the amount of energy needed to produce the batteries in an electrical hybrid car plus the problem of disposing of them makes their actual energy saving negligible.

So as I said above, I think who is funding the scientists research has a definte effect on the outcome of the research.

mattbrowne's avatar

@rooeytoo – We need to try new stuff. Converting fossil fuels into carbon dioxide and water over a period of 150 years looks to me like a temporary solution. New stuff takes time to mature. Yes, the only statistics you can trust are those you falsified yourself.

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