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Sustainability Questions
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Development and sustainability questions

Your questions and answers
  1. The earth
    1. How large is the planet?
    2. What is the surface available for human life?
    3. Is there any realistic chance for humans to find refuge on another planet?
  2. Agriculture and food
    1. Is industrial agriculture sustainable, i.e. can it be maintained over a long period of time?
    2. What happens to agricultural output when liquid fuels are becoming scarce after the onset of peak oil?
  3. Biodiversity and wildlife
    1. How many years will it take for all rainforests to be destroyed, at present cautting rates?
    2. Do we know which animal or plant is indispensible to maintain the web of life?
    3. How much of the sun's photosynthesis may humankind appropriate before rapid collapse of other life form starts? Presently we use approx. half of all biocapacity (Vitousek).
  4. Climate change
    1. Why do some people and companies still doubt that climate change is man-made?
    2. Given that the burning of fossil fuels is one main cause for climate change; it it wise to search for more and faster exploitation of reserves?
    3. Which percentage of the CO2 emissions can realistically be capped and stored?
    4. Can the effects of climate change be "mitigated"?
    5. Will the effects of climate change predominently hit the poor regions of the planet?
    6. What happens in the rich areas if torrential rainfalls hit the rich regions, where glaciers are disappearing and the permafrost melting?
  5. GMOs - Genetically Modified Organisms
    1. Are they necessary to feed the world?
    2. Will increased crop sizes per acre need increased soil fertilisation?
    3. Can we hope to continue increasing crop output by genetic engineering in line with expected population increases?
    4. Do genetically engineered food crops really produce higher harvests?
  6. Growth
    1. When have we had sufficient economic growth?
    2. Can economic growth be immaterial - growth being universally measured in monetary units of GDP increase per annum?
  7. Fossil fuels
    1. For how many years do the reserves last at present consumption?
    2. Do the discoveries of new fossil fuel reserves meet the consumption level?
    3. Can oil and natural gas be replaced by alternative fuels?
    4. How can we know who is right: the IEA or the alternative scientists?
      Total world oil "production" predicted to be available by 2030:
      - International Energy Agency: 116m b/d
      - Energy Watch Group: 39m b/d
      Does this include shale oil and tar sands sources?
  8. Pollution and Wastes
    1. Is there a limit to wastes?
    2. Must we fear total toxification by man-made chemicals
  9. Population
    1. Would it be better to stop population growth before we are at the theoretical and/or practrical limit of sustainability?
    2. What is the population size that would not overburden the planet?
  10. Sustainability
    1. Is this an acceptable definition?
      Sustainability means that resources are used no faster than their replenishment by nature.
      Non-renewable resources must be recycled.
    2. ...................
  11. Water
    1. Do seemingly abundant water flows represent a "surplus" that can be diverted to areas with scarce water supplies without disturbing natural balances?
    2. How many people depend to what extent on non-renewable groundwater streams?
    3. .............
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