By G. E. Gorfu
Tigrai Online May 11, 2013
In part I of this series we saw how population increase is directly tied with the production, availability, and distribution of food. We also saw that the imminent population crash that appears to be inbuilt in the current exponential growth might not occur but that there could be many small crashed until a new vista opens up for the next cascade of population rise. We pointed at technology as one of the keys factors that would open the way to the next vista of population growth. We also suggested ways to increase food production by directly going to grass and leaves and figuring out ways to take out their toxicity and make them edible for humans.
As explained in Part I, all that was but a temporary measure until we hit the next wall and the next cascade and the next increase in population. The real question is then: ‘Is there a permanent solution than this continuous increase, hitting a wall or a precipice, and then searching for the next solution… etc.?’ And our answer is: ‘Yes! There is a permanent solution. Well, what could that be?
As we saw in Part I, all human food comes from the energy packed in the form of chlorophyll in plants, and is consumed either directly in the form of fruits and vegetables or indirectly where we eat animals that eat plants. So the restricting factors here are the plants and animals. To overcome that restriction humans have been doing everything from increasing their herd size to increasing the size of their farms, to the current genetic manipulation of both the crops and the animals. So the width of these restrictions is what currently controls population growth.
The ultimate solution, however, is to do away with these restrictions all together and go directly to the source of that energy. Where do plant chlorophylls come from? Sunlight! Here then is the solution. We do not need to take grass and leaves and feed it to factories to produce human food in the form of cereals. In the next stage of development, we need to get our food directly from the sun.
There is an equivalent evolution in technology of how we get electrical energy. In early stages we burnt coal, then gasoline, and now we have moved to electro-voltaic cells, and we produce electrical energy directly from the sun. A similar process then is needed where we can circumvent plants and animals and copy the technic of how plants produce food directly from soil, water, and sunlight.
With that breakthrough, each household may collect sunlight on its roof and harvest food every day, without the need to grow plants or rear cattle. This is a bold dream for the next five hundred years, a thousand years…? Perhaps!