3.7 - Limits to growth
Lesson 1 - A human K?
- What determines an organism's carrying capacity?
- How do all these factors relate to humans?
- Malthus and Boserup
How would changes in the following impact human carrying capacity? Where would the reductions come from (i.e. how could we accomplish them)?
- energy use
- material use
- reuse of materials
- recycling materials
- Explain the difficulties in applying the concept of carrying capacity to local human populations.
1. We use a much wider range of resources than other species, which makes calculating carrying capacity much trickier.
2. Changing technology changes the amount and type of resources required. (How many animals can you think of that ‘need’ coltan mined in the DRC to run their mobile phones?)
3. Humans are adept at substituting one resource for another when the 1st resource becomes limited.
4. Lifestyle differences among humans mean different populations at different places and times have different needs. Think of the differences in ‘needs’ between a Maasai and a New York investment banker.
5. Humans have developed transportation networks for bringing resources in from other ecosystems, which artificially increases their local carrying capacity but does not change the global carrying capacity.