Technology allowed humans numbers to grow and to draw unprecedented resources from the earth… in so doing creating equally unprecedented waste and environmental degradation. Our instinct for continual growth and excessive consumption is the central problem facing humanity.
Rapid expansion of food production, due to new technologies, created an illusion that technology has limitless power. Increased production allowed populations to expand six fold but at a high price in terms of land, sea, the air we breathe – on all necessary for survival.
Rather than putting blind faith in technology to support ever more people, mankind should aim to provide an adequate standard of living for present populations. There are now more poor people than ever before. When in 1968 Paul Ehrlich wrote “The Population Bomb”, there were one billion people living comfortably, 2.5 billion in poverty. There are now 1.8 billion people with a decent standard of living and over 5 billion poor. Also, the percentage of those living in absolute poverty is rising faster than other segments of the humanity. Technology might help the human growth curve to increase faster, it might propel it to higher peaks but, come the inevitable plateau in a world of finite space and resources, the illusion cannot continue forever.