Home » Uncategorized » Our Population’s Biology: Where’s the Balance?

Our Population’s Biology: Where’s the Balance?

We hear the word balance used in many ways. We balance our checkbook, eat a balanced diet (at least some of us), balance work with family life and seek to balance our future against what we do in the present. Balance has a very different meaning when we look at how the other animals on the planet interact with their environment. Every species on the planet has evolved a balance with the environment that it lives in – except for humans.When other species experience an increase in their food supply or living space they expand into it but reach a natural limitation (balance) based on the available amount of each, which is a form of negative feedback – there are also predators and diseases, which provide additional negative feedback. These environmental feedback mechanisms provide triggers that cue internal biological responses. An example of these responses are work is the whitetail deer. When food is in short supply the females will give birth to only one fawn not the usual twins because she is unable to produce enough milk for two. Due to the lower birth rate the one fawn has a better chance of survival than if there were two. In salmon if there are too many spawning fish when a salmon clears out a place in the gravel streambed to spawn she will dig up the eggs from another female, which will be carried downstream and lost to predators.Apparently, only humans have enjoyed virtually unchecked growth as they have evolved. Natural resource limitations were a strong form of negative feedback in the beginning but once agriculture was developed growth began to increase exponentially. Humans have viruses, bacteria and parasites that helped to keep their numbers in check (the Black Plague killed off one third of the people in Europe during the early middle ages). Up until the advances of modern medicine came on the scene they were doing a reasonable job of slowing human population growth but not controlling it. Some books on this topic include: “Plagues and Peoples” and “Guns, Germs and Steel”.The most recent population statistics indicate that the United States has ovre 300 million people and has the third largest population on the planet with India second (1.08 billion) and China (1.3 billion) first. The entire planet contains approximately 6,495,884,557 humans. There is a population clock for the US and the world at the following web address – if you are interested in more exact up to the moment data http://www.census.gov/main/www/popclock.html.In the United States there is one birth every seven seconds, one death every 14 and one migrant enter the US every 29, resulting in a net gain of one individual every 10 seconds. Not even considering consumptive driven western society is doing to the planet, it appears that we are “digging up our streambed” at a rate that will soon have negative effects on our specie’s population. The recent TV news stories about the ˜outsourcing” of US jobs and illegal immigration are a form of negative cultural feedback to our population. If you do not have a job it is probably a good idea not to have children.

Think Global – Act Local!


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