Too many people on the planet requiring too many external resources, systems and services for survival, makes for a population bottleneck. The more of this worldly fact that I realize and see, the more determined I am to be prepared. Prepared for what? Prepared for the results of a population bottleneck ‘event’ (leading to either extinction or recovery).
Historically, human population bottleneck events have resulted from natural occurring disastrous events, such as an ice age. Incredibly, ‘only’ 70,000 years ago, the Toba catastrophe (SuperVolcano SuperEruption) is believed to have reduced the world’s human population to just 10,000 people, and only 1,000 breeding pairs. Think about that for a minute… we almost went extinct as a result of the subsequent 6 – 10 year volcanic winter.
Although natural disastrous events such as a SuperVolcano eruption, an ice age, major pandemic, large asteroid strike, or a solar super flare could still wipe out much of the world’s population, technological developments since the industrial revolution have enabled a massive increase in human survivability over time. Never before in history has the human species had it so easy.
During my previous career I traveled a-lot, which opened my eyes to the sheer magnitude of the systemic dependencies that a majority of the human race relies upon today. I did spend most of my time working in major population centers where these dependencies are often hiding in plain site – but these places are, after all, where most of us humans live (and curiously, most near the coast). Over the years as I would fly a-lot, I would look down and see the urban sprawl as it grew. I always found it very interesting to sit at a window seat, even though I was a seasoned traveler. It was always remarkable to me to look out at the lights below during the evening or at night, seeing the flickering ribbons of light along the systemic routes of dependency while realizing the food, distribution, transportation, utilities and energy it took to keep it all going, and us ‘living’.
We as humans take it all for granted… because it has always worked. There have been glitches, yes, but most people have not experienced anything major. And therefore do not even consider the possibility. As world population continues to grow (too easily), the demands themselves upon ‘the system’ to maintain the growth curve, increase steadily, requiring ever more efficiencies and quantities to sustain the consumption of so many living people.
If these resources, efficiencies, and quantities do not keep up, something will ‘give’, or break. A major recent problem with our current system of growth has been the financial system which has become extremely fragile, extended, leveraged, and weakened to the point of near failure. If this breaks, the other systems (gathering resources, increasing efficiencies and quantities) will also suffer and fail to a degree. This then will result in human depopulation to an extent, depending on the severity of systemic collapse.
The fact that most humans alive today have little ability to take care of themselves, leads me to believe that should our current system suffer a major collapse, that we will suffer a major human die-off. It is a frightening thought, but one that is not too far fetched in my opinion.
Realizing that we are apparently in a population bottleneck, is a major reason why I continue to do things that will help me to be better prepared. My thinking is that it WILL happen, hopefully not in my lifetime, but I’m planning as though it will.