Longterm Trends – Future
By Mark Ciotola
First published on May 17, 2019. Last updated on February 16, 2020.
Humanity has experience several long-term trends that have transcended multi-century dynastic structures. Will such be able to continue?
- Population growth
- Environmental change
- Climate change
- Species changes (extinction, domestication, monoculture)
- Destruction of forests
- Salinization of soil in irrigated lands
- Total land area used by humans
- Technology advancement
Humanity may be approaching limits to human population on Earth using only Earth resources, although serious technologies are expanding that limit. (See Club of Rome, Limits to Growth). Space resources might allow this limit to be increases, as well as to provide for additional people to live in space. Conversely, humanity is using up nonrenewable resources. If replacements are not found, the human population could decrease.
- Hillary Mayell, Human “Footprint” Seen on 83 Percent of Earth’s Land, National Geographic News, October 25, 2002.
- Meadows et al., Limits to Growth, 1972. involve attempts to better understand these limiting factors.