Future environmental issues | worth thinking about

Future environmental issues seem like an odd thing to talk about given the list of issues we already know about is so lengthy. Much of the Ask Alloprus site covers the current and the controversial environmental issues, exploring the needs and wants of 7 billion people and the ability of natural capital to meet the demand. 

Here we take the opportunity to peer into the future. The benefit in thinking on what might happen can bring insights on our current predicaments.

What we know | the downside

We know that...

  • World population growth has given us 7 billion human beings and that at least a billion of these people have ongoing food security, water and health issues
  • Every 24 hours we add another 200,000 people to our number
  • There will be a population transition through this millennium where population growth will slow, numbers stabilize and then decline
  • Most of the readily available land, water and nutrients that could be used for agriculture are already in use
  • A growing proportion of this agricultural land is stressed or already degraded — soil degradation is especially acute
  • We have a powerful and ubiquitous approach to providing for ourselves — capitalism is both our friend and tormentor
  • Our awareness of these issues and their consequences is still patchy

What we know | the upside

We also know...

  • Humans are smart, ingenious and tenacious problem solvers to the point where we will even create a problem to solve if there aren’t any to hand
  • Given we are smart, a benefit of having so many people is that there is plenty of human bandwidth available to generate environmental solutions 
  • Technology is already miraculous and shows no sign of slowing in its capability, capacity and spread — Moore’s Law still holds
  • Access to information and communication has revolutionized how societies operate making it possible to spread new ideas in an instant
  • Many societies have created enough wealth to employ an increasing proportion of their population in stewardship roles — not everyone works in a factory 
  • Intuitively humans default to self-preservation, a trait that does have its downside but also provides us with awareness of how important the environment is to our well-being

What are the future environmental issues?

Given that the list of environmental issues already exists and that, given enough intent, we have the ability to fix quite a few of them, it is interesting to speculate on what future issues and solutions might be.

Here are some possibilities… 

  • The cyberman option makes all our environmental issues go away. At least that is the claim of some futurists…  read more
  • Wheat is a super crop but it is also very recent in our evolutionary history. This is not just an issue for us... read more
  • Diet diversity, or more strictly the lack of it, is a big risk to global food security. It is also a global health problem... read more
  • Environmental technology sounds like the solution to environmental issues. After all technology has been our mainstay. Unfortunately not all problems can be solved technically... read more

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