Should We Extend The Human Lifespan Indefinitely? (Session 5)

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Opening questions:
Opening quotes about population size: (Go to full quotes and references)
Quotes about elders:
For discussion
More information:
Complete quotes plus their sources:
URLs as bibliography:
Articles as bibliography:

Stem cells and aging

Opening questions
:

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What SHOULD be the average normal acceptable standard of living for the world’s human population? What is the desirable goal? U.S. middle class?

Who would a change in longevity affect? ( I suggest that if aging were slowed and mean longevity increased now or in the near future, such changes would affect everyone already alive, especially today’s youth. These youth, and those soon to be born, would expect to be alive well beyond 2025, or even 2050, and possible beyond 2100, if mean longevity were increased substantially.)

What would happen to the age of menopause if aging is slowed? What effect would any change have on birth rates, fertility rates, and population stability?

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Opening quotes about population size: (Go to full quotes and references)

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All the projections assume no interference with “natural” life expectancies due to “normal” aging. There are no projections assuming altering rates of aging !!

Global population increase is currently equivalent to adding a new Israel, Egypt, Jordan, West Bank, and Gaza to the existing world total each year.

In the United States, the population is projected to increase by nearly 130 million people - the equivalent of adding another four states the size of California - by the year 2050.

According to Census Bureau projections, world population will increase to a level of nearly 8 billion persons by the end of the next quarter century, and will reach 9.3 billion persons — a number more than half again as large as today’s total — by 2050.

More than 1 in 5 people in the world do not get enough to eat.

Each year, an estimated 27,000 species of animals, plants, fungi, and microorganisms become extinct, taking their ecological services and genetic secrets with them.

The world's population 'boom' is not a result of an increase in birth rates, but rather a decrease in death rates.

Two demographic events have occurred in the second half of the twentieth century that have softened the surge in human numbers. The first is the progressive decline in fertility levels that has occurred, ……… The second event is the emergence of the global HIV/AIDS pandemic, ……..

Though a fertility rate of 2.0 seems to provide population stability, it does not have this effect until approximately 70 years after the fertility rate drops to 2.0 because of the “demographic momentum” effect.

The future of human population growth has been determined, and is now largely being decided, in the world’s less developed nations (LDCs).

If the only ultimate check on the growth of population is misery, then the population will grow until it is miserable enough to stop its growth.

The per capita use of  all resources and production of wastes and pollution are MUCH higher as developmental level increases. (e.g., energy, food, pollutants)

Americans constitute 5% of the world's population but consume 24% of the world's energy.

How Many People Can the Earth Support?

2 billion... Everyone at the current U.S. standard of living and with all the health, nutrition, personal dignity and freedom that most Americans currently enjoy
6 billion (the current world population)... Only people in the U.S. and Europe at current U.S., France, Great Britain, German, and Scandinavian levels of affluence. Everyone else at the current prosperity level of Mexico
20? billion ... Everyone in the world at Mexico's current prosperity level

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Quotes about elders:

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The number of persons aged 60 years or older is estimated to be nearly 600 million in 1999 and is projected to grow to almost 2 billion by 2050, at which time the population of older persons will be larger than the population of children (0-14 years) for the first time in human history.

Because of population aging, old-age dependency ratios will rise in every major world region during the next 25 years. And the world community as a whole will face an elderly support burden nearly 50 percent larger in 2025 than in 1998.

Support ratios have important implications for social security schemes, particularly traditional pay-as-you-go systems, in which current workers pay for the benefits of current retirees.

The additional health resources required to treat a growing population of elderly people could also mean that fewer resources will be available to prevent acute and chronic illness in the general population.

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For discussion

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Factors that influence population size:

   
Birth rate
    Fertility rate
    Family planning and use of contraceptives
    Reproductive years
        - influenced by diverse factors
              biological (age of menarche, age of menopause, health
              social
              economic
              religious
     Status of women
      Immigration and emigration
     Poverty rates
     Epidemic disease
     War
     “Natural” death rate
     Life expectancy

Factors influencing life expectancy:

  
     infant mortality and life expectancy
        childhood mortality and life expectancy
        young adult mortality and life expectancy
        elder mortality and life expectancy

Factors influencing food supply:
  
   amount of energy needed to produce each calorie of food energy (e.g., fossil fuels)
        amount of agricultural land
        quality of agricultural land
        efficiency of crops (e.g., genetic engineering)
        public policies
        distribution
        food choices (e.g., cultural, health status)
        vegetable/meat ratios (vegetable food is MUCH more efficient to produce that is meat)
              meat takes more energy input/calorie output
              meat -> much more waste (run-off, animal waste – manure, etc.)

Factors influencing quality of life

      If the only ultimate check on the growth of population is misery, then the population will grow until it is miserable enough to stop its growth.

      ……… any technical improvement can only relieve misery for a while, for so long as misery is the only check on population, the [ technical ] improvement will enable population to grow, and will soon enable more people to live in misery than before. The final result of [ technical ] improvements, therefore, is to increase the equilibrium population which is to increase the total sum of human misery.

      If something else, other than misery and starvation, can be found which will keep a prosperous population in check, the population does not have to grow until it is miserable and starves, and it can be stably prosperous.

Factors that limits to human carrying capacity:

       
food (amount, quality, distribution)
        water (amount, quality, distribution)
        space
        energy (amount, efficiency of production, waste production)
        natural cycles (e.g., water, oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, minerals)
        disposal of sewage waste water
        hazardous waste production (e.g., chemical, radiation)
        ecosystem limitations
        biodiversity
        climate and alterations in global climate
        enlargement of the ozone “hole”
        quality-of-environment/quality-of-life factors
        health care (availability, cost)
        population-level determinates of health (e.g., social factors, social stress, antibiotic resistance, pollution, altering land -> increased pests and spread of disease by vectors {i.e., insects, parasites}, infrastructure, policies, economics, health care systems, migrations, spread of communicable diseases, disease spread by advanced transportation
        social factors
        political factors (e.g., nationality)
        jobs and other economic factors
        dependency ratios, (e.g., retirement income, disability income, health care, social care, education, institutionalization)

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More information:

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Overpopulation -> widespread war, famine, and disease.

Underpopulation may become a problem only in those areas having a low birth rate, The problem will become an excessive dependency burden. This problem will INCREASE in ML is increased.

Fertility rate predictions assume no changes in the current predicted life expectancies. If life expectancies increase, the fertility rate needed to obtain a stable population must become lower than 2.0.

Fisheries are being over harvested and are declining (e.g., crabs and oysters in Maryland, shark)

Coral reefs provide biodiversity PLUS protect shorelines and provide nurseries for other species (e.g., food fish).

In tropical rainforests, approx. three species become extinct per hour. Though the number is less in non-tropical areas, the PERCENTAGE of species becoming extinct per unit time (e.g., per year) in these areas is still very high. EXTINCTION IS FOREVER. Humans are becoming the cause of the Earth’s sixth major extinction.

Introduction of exotic species usually causes undesirable, if not devastating, effects on the new habitat.

The per capita use of  all resources and production of wastes and pollution are MUCH higher as developmental level increases. (e.g., energy, food, pollutants)

Irrigation is temporary because of salinization and water logging of irrigated soils.

Major diseases posing epidemic consequences
              HIV/AIDS, dengue fever, Ebola virus, yellow fever, TB, malaria, Hantavirus

Problems from overgrazing, irrigation, deforestation for fuel and for croplands,

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Complete quotes plus their sources:

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When applied to material things, the term "sustainable growth" is an oxymoron.
Population growth never pays for itself
Pseudo solutions: growth management - smart growth
Pseudo solutions: creating jobs

Boulding's Three Theorems  These theorems are from the work of the eminent economist Kenneth Boulding. ( Boulding 1971)
First Theorem: "The Dismal Theorem" If the only ultimate check on the growth of population is misery, then the population will grow until it is miserable enough to stop its growth.
Second Theorem: "The Utterly Dismal Theorem" This theorem states that any technical improvement can only relieve misery for a while, for so long as misery is the only check on population, the [ technical ] improvement will enable population to grow, and will soon enable more people to live in misery than before. The final result of [ technical ] improvements, therefore, is to increase the equilibrium population which is to increase the total sum of human misery.
Third Theorem: "The moderately cheerful form of the Dismal Theorem" Fortunately, it is not too difficult to restate the Dismal Theorem in a moderately cheerful form, which states that if something else, other than misery and starvation, can be found which will keep a prosperous population in check, the population does not have to grow until it is miserable and starves, and it can be stably prosperous.

(From: http://fizziker.com/AlBartlett/population.htm  Reflections On Sustainability, Population Growth And The Environment by Albert A. Bartlett

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Myth: Rapid population growth isn't the problem it used to be--in fact, we should be more worried about the effects of a declining world population.

Myth: We shouldn't worry about population growth since human ingenuity can overcome any problems. New technologies and the free market will produce substitutes for any resources in short supply.

Myth: Rapid population growth has produced widespread hunger and famine.
       Other important factors include policies and economic factors, though population is also important.

Myth: Rapid population growth in the poorer countries condemns those countries to continued poverty.
       Other important factors include policies and culture, though population is also important.

Myth: Rapid population growth is the fundamental cause of the world's environmental problems.
       Other factors include economics, policies, and technology, though population is also important.

Myth: "Family planning" is just a euphemism for abortion services.

Myth: It would be too expensive to significantly reduce global population growth rates. Anyway, the United States already spends too much on foreign aid.

(From : http://www.ucsusa.org/ 
Union Of Concerned Scientists)
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How Many People Can the Earth Support?

Ross McCluney 8/21/99 ... Full text here.

2 billion... Everyone at the current U.S. standard of living and with all the health, nutrition, personal dignity and freedom that most Americans currently enjoy
1/2 billion ... Everyone at the same affluence level as in 1, but with few restrictions on commerce, pollution, land use, personal behavior (within current law), etc. Basically a libertarian, laissez faire economy, with few or no environmental restrictions. This points out that there is a population price to pay for the current American way of Commerce.
4 billion ... Everyone at the same affluence as indicated in 1, but with many and onerous restrictions on freedoms relative to behaviors leading to environmental degradation. Including: Massive recycling. Driving restrictions. Restrictions on the transport of food Prohibitions against cutting of trees on one's property. Limitations on the burning of fossil fuels.
6 billion ... Only people in the U.S. and Europe at current U.S., France, Great Britain, German, and Scandinavian levels of affluence. Everyone else at the current prosperity level of Mexico
20? billion ... Everyone in the world at Mexico's current prosperity level
40? billion ... Everyone in the world at the current prosperity level of Northwest Africa

...Increasing population density is inextricably linked to loss of freedom and losses of choice. In the worst of the above scenarios, we can forget the Bill of Rights.

(From: http://www.overpopulation.org/solutions.html  Sustainability, Carrying Capacity, and Overconsumption)
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In the United States, the population is projected to increase by nearly 130 million people - the equivalent of adding another four states the size of California - by the year 2050.

Americans constitute 5% of the world's population but consume 24% of the world's energy.

More than 1 in 5 people in the world do not get enough to eat.

Each year, an estimated 27,000 species of animals, plants, fungi, and microorganisms become extinct, taking their ecological services and genetic secrets with them.

It takes an average of 25 gallons of water to produce a pound of wheat in modern Western farming systems. It takes 5,214 gallons of water to produce a pound of beef.

Each person in the industrialized world uses as much commercial energy as 10 people in the developing world.

(From: http://www.pbs.org/kqed/population_bomb/danger/price.html What Price?

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The number of persons aged 60 years or older is estimated to be nearly 600 million in 1999 and is projected to grow to almost 2 billion by 2050, at which time the population of older persons will be larger than the population of children (0-14 years) for the first time in human history.

One of every 10 persons is now aged 60 years or older; by 2050, the United Nations projects that 1 person of every 5 and, by 2150, 1 of every 3 will be aged 60 years or older.

…….  the pace of ageing in developing countries is more rapid, and their transition from a young to an old age structure will be more compressed in time.

Between 1999 and 2050, the support ratio will decline by more than one half in more developed regions and by an even larger fraction in less developed regions. Support ratios have important implications for social security schemes, particularly traditional pay-as-you-go systems, in which current workers pay for the benefits of current retirees.

(From: http://www.undp.org/popin/wdtrends/a99/a99note.htm        Population Aging: 1999)

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Elderly people are heavy users of health services …. As the next century approaches, more elderly people will be dependent on fewer people of working age as the source of funding for their care and security. The additional health resources required to treat a growing population of elderly people could also mean that fewer resources will be available to prevent acute and chronic illness in the general population.

 

(From: http://www.wri.org/wri/wr-96-97/hd_txt2.html 8. Population and Human Development: Population Trends)

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Major disease spread is promoted by “environmental change and disturbances to the balance of natural habitats, human demographics and behavior, international travel and commerce, complications of modern medicine, microbial adaptation and change, and the breakdown of public health measures”

(From: http://www.wri.org/wri/wr-96-97/hd_txt5.html 8. Population And Human Development: Emerging And Reemerging Infectious Diseases)

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The world's population 'boom' is not a result of an increase in birth rates, but rather a decrease in death rates.

(From:
http://www.overpopulation.org/older.html Population Implosion, Graying of the Population, Population Reduction, and Negative Population Growth)

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Global population increase is currently equivalent to adding a new Israel, Egypt, Jordan, West Bank, and Gaza to the existing world total each year.

According to Census Bureau projections, world population will increase to a level of nearly 8 billion persons by the end of the next quarter century, and will reach 9.3 billion persons — a number more than half again as large as today’s total — by 2050.

The future of human population growth has been determined, and is now largely being decided, in the world’s less developed nations (LDCs).

…….. during the 1998-2025 period, the world’s elderly population (ages 65 and above) will more than double while the world’s youth (population under age 15) will grow by 6 percent, and the number of children under age 5 will increase by less than 5 percent. As a result, world population will become progressively older during the coming decades. Because of population aging, old age dependency ratios will rise in every major world region during the next 25 years. And the world community as a whole will face an elderly support burden nearly 50 percent larger in 2025 than in 1998.

Two demographic events have occurred in the second half of the twentieth century that have softened the surge in human numbers. The first is the progressive decline in fertility levels that has occurred, particularly in the world’s developing regions ……… The second event is the emergence of the global HIV/AIDS pandemic, which has raised mortality and slowed growth in every world region ……..

(From: World Population Profile: 1998, US Bureau of the Census, Repot/98, US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 1999.)

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URLs as bibliography:

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http://www.census.gov/ipc/www/wp98.html

World Population Profile: 1998, US Bureau of the Census, Repot/98, US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 1999.
      Population data, graphs, tables, projections, methodologies, and relevance.

http://www.census.gov/
       US Census Bureau
               Population data and relevance

http://www.undp.org/popin/wdtrends/wdtrends.htm
       World Population Trends: United Nations Population
               UN data on populations and relevance

http://www.wri.org/
       World Resources Institute
               Population data and relevance     

http://www.wri.org/wri/wr-96-97/hd_txt2.html
       8. Population and Human Development: Population Trends
               Population data and relevance

http://www.wri.org/wri/wr-96-97/hd_txt5.html
        
8. Population And Human Development: Emerging And Reemerging Infectious Diseases
               Data about potentially widespread serious diseases

http://www.prb.org/

      
Population Reference Bureau
               Source of many data on populations

http://www.prb.org/pubs/wpds2000/
      2000 World Population Data Sheet
               Links to summary data on global and regional populations including many parameters (e.g., life expectancies)

http://www.prb.org/pubs/wpds2000/wpds2000_Population2000-PopulationProjected.html
       2000 World Population Data Sheet

http://www.pbs.org/kqed/population_bomb/danger/price.html
       What Price?
               Article on consequences of high and growing human populations.

http://www.undp.org/popin/wdtrends/a99/a99note.htm
       Population Aging: 1999
               UN data on the Earth’s aging populations

http://fizziker.com/AlBartlett/population.htm
       Reflections On Sustainability, Population Growth And The Environment by Albert A. Bartlett
       An essay about the science and logic of sustainable populations, including myths, politics, and economics of such populations.

http://www.ucsusa.org/

       Union Of Concerned Scientists

http://www.overpopulation.org/
       A site about overpopulation with links to “everything” on the subject.

http://www.overpopulation.org/solutions.html
       Sustainability, Carrying Capacity, and Overconsumption
               - links to many articles about overpopulation
               
- includes synopsis of each article linked

http://www.overpopulation.org/older.html
       Population Implosion, Graying of the Population, Population Reduction, and Negative Population Growth
               Data on elderly populations

http://www.overpopulation.org/faq.html
       Factoids & Frequently Asked Questions
               Concise data on world populations

Articles as bibliography:

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_____________, “Feeding the World's Population”, (Brief Article), BioScience, May, 2000.

Bretzke, James T.,  “Legislating Life”, America, May 29, 1999.

Hollingsworth, William G., “Y6B: The Real Millennial Threat.(effects of overpopulation)”, (Brief Article), Sierra, Sept, 1999.

Hopper, W. David, “Introduction: The Future”,  Social Research, Spring, 1999.

Leonard, Mark, “A world without children.(populations are decreasing in developed countries, leading to speculation that underpopulation, rather than overpopulation, may be a concern)”,  New Statesman, Oct 11, 1999.

Mcmichael, Anthony J.,  Globalization and the sustainability of human health: an ecological perspective” BioScience,  March, 1999.

Moore, Stephen, “Body Count: Population and its enemies.(the population-control movement is gaining steam)”,  National Review, Oct 25, 1999.

Stiefel, Chana, “Population puzzle: is the world big enough? (sustaining population growth)”, Science World, April 13, 1998.

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