At some point, humanity will exceed the carrying capacity of the planet. Given our current technology and access to resources, it may already have. The determination of carrying capacity in the years ahead will be further complicated by Peak Oil and energy descent.

David Price, in his 1995 “Energy and Human Evolution“, has argued convincingly that we’re heading toward population collapse. He notes, “The use of . . . energy from fossil fuels . . . has made it possible for humans to exploit a wealth of resources that accumulated before they evolved. This has resulted in [the exponential] population growth typical of introduced species . . . ” Such exponential population growth results in depletion of food resources, which triggers population collapse. “The system that sustains world population is already under stress.”

Population growth, like peak oil, has a peak of its own. Price says, “Human population has grown exponentially by exhausting limited resources, like yeast in a vat or reindeer on St. Matthew Island [both of which underwent population collapse], and is destined for a similar fate.”

This section focuses on the population problem and suggested solutions.