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1 - Carrying Capacity and Limiting Factors in Natural Systems

September 2, 2014

Population and carrying capacity are not solely matters of food or water or similar 'running-out-of' suppositions, but also reflect limits to the degrees of damage, wastes, and/or levels of  eradication that can be inflicted upon any complex functioning system and expect it to continue to function as it always done in the past.  Examples of real-world population-environment calamities and climb-and-collapse outcomes when populations transgress unmarked thresholds and limits.

2 Ecological Services and Biospheric Machinery

September 1, 2014

Core understandings of the planetary life-support machinery that (for example) produces each day the molecular O2 that we breathe every few seconds.  Hint: How much eradication and damage can be inflicted on any complex system and still expect it to function as it has always done in the past?

3 - Thin Surface Films (Earth's atmosphere and seas)

September 2, 2014

Earth's atmosphere and seas appear immense to tiny beings like humans, but on a planetary scale, they are razor-thin and precarious surface films.  (How thin?  Wipe a wet paper towel across the surface of a basketball or an office globe and the thin layer of water left on its surface will proportionally be 'too-deep' to correctly-represent the average depth of Earth's oceans and seas.)  And in these precarious films resides the life-support machinery that allows life as we know it to exist.

4 - World Population and Demographics

September 2, 2014

It took all of human history until 1930 for world population to reach two billion.  By 2011 we reached seven billion and are now headed toward 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, or 15.8 billion by 2100.  Five added billions in a single human lifetime?  An additional billion every 12 years?  Exactly HOW LARGE is each such billion?  (Hint:  The answer is 38,461 years.) (And can do a lot of damage.)

5 - Real-world population calamities in 'vast-open-space' conditions?

September 2, 2014

The simple presence of 'vast amounts of open-space' does not mean that a rapidly-growing population must therefore somehow be magically 'safe.'  This PowerPoint outlines three classical examples of real-world 99%-plus population die-offs (and/or even worse mass-mortalites) each which either began (or was already well-underway) when the combined bodies (or cells) of the populations involved physically-occupied roughly 2/1000ths of 1% of their surrounding environments.  (Information that we should be familiar with, perhaps?

6 - Exponential and Non-linear Progressions in Population Systems

September 2, 2014

Physicist Albert Bartlett once called the mathematics of the exponential function "The World's Most Important Arithmetic" - and this PowerPoint helps show us the reasons why.  Not only are exponential progressions exceedingly powerful (think J-curves and explosions), but their behaviors are also profoundly misleading and dangerously counterintuitive.

This open-courseware PowerPoint introduces the behavior of such "non-linear" growth in population systems - with particular emphasis on its implications, dangers, and counterintuitive behaviors.

This is "PowerPoint 6" in our "Biospherics Literacy 101" collection and is made available courtesy of The Wecskaop Project (What Every Citizen Should Know About Our Planet).

 

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Open-courseware PowerPoints

Biospheric Literacy and Sustainability 101 -
Six PowerPoints / Six Days

Below -

Six Open-courseware PowerPoints

The Wecskaop Project
(What Every Citizen Should Know About Our Planet)