[quote:left to right]Setting aside the issue of mass extinctions caused by external sources: volcanism, asteroids/comets etc., most species are kept near optimal population levels by disease and predation. When a species is dropped into a small ecological niche like the reindeer herd on St. Matthews Island, it may be temporarily freed from those natural checks and balances until it has consumed virtually all available food sources. And that's the bad side of being freed from the bonds of nature; as when the food runs out, and animals (and people in some examples) are weakened by starvation and disease epidemics, so that even after a population crash, the survivors may be too weak, and have too little genetic variety to rebuild the population....some of the idiot survivalists who fantasize about surviving the end of the world out in the woods ought to take note!
From my pov I do not believe technological progress is either unlimited or even linear. The modern global civilization we consider natural today has only been around for less than two centuries, and has already consumed more than half of the oil in the ground which took millions of years for nature to sequester in place. We are running out of many other natural resources also, but oil - specifically cheap, easy-to-extract oil has been the lifeblood of modernity, and the real source of the food supply that is straining today to try to feed 7 billion people. So, you could say that we will once again be in harmony with the natural order of things....but that's providing that we, or our children and grandchildren actually survive the process back to real sustainable living.[/quote]
Great post. I agree that human knowledge and technology reach plateaus, or dead ends. The human population is on the same general curve as other mammal stimulated population crash curves, i.e. the half bell curve. Afterward, it would softly undulate around long term sustainable, but in humans' case, another thing comes up;http://www.independent.co.uk/environmen ... 06484.html
It is not so much "may" as will if HGHGs are not cut 90% by 2020. It is unfortunate that the population crashes around or just before mid-century, country by country, region by region, with migrations, wars, diseases, and cannibalism along with killing everything in sight to eat, plant and animal. It would be bad enough if humans just caused their own extinction, but taking down most other species, too, is unforgivable. Anthropocene Epoch Thermal Maximum and Extinction Level 'Event' (on a geologic scale), are words and processes not understood by most. Can an underground fortress with the sum total of human knowledge and genomes/seeds, etc., a nuclear breeder reactor over a large aquifer, with a human population kept at a level well above genetic erosion, last 200,000 years???? Then could they still be human enough to come to the surface, this time living sustainably as they replant the world?(and fighting cockroaches and ants which have taken over).