If one measures the biomass of humans and what they need to survive each day within the existing ecosystem as a subset of the total biomass of the planet in the past the Earth can support the numbers. What it can not support is how that biomass of humans chooses to live with its technologies and its consumptive practices. No species on this planet requires or uses as many resources of the Planet as does the human species per capita and no species on the planet has subjected the entire Earth to that consumption and ecosystem ruination. The presence of human consumption is felt from the deserts of Sahara to the tundra of the Far north, from the mountains in the Andes to the depths of the oceans in the Pacific.
The system called Capitalism , which is based on growth and consumption and mass production has to be ended. This GROWTH also includes human Population growth which is linked directly to our economic systems which are structured around competition for resources at the input end, and competition for markets at the output end. The larger the market on the output side , the greater the profit and the greater need for access to resources at the input side. This structural change is not limited to Capitalism but runs the entire gamut of 'isms that are structured around the growth model. The Competitive model has to go and be replaced by the sharing model. “Growing our economies” which is the goal of virtually every Government on this Earth translates to GROWING consumption of the worlds resources. It does matter if the population of a Country 5 million or 50 million, if the goal is to grow the economy under the existing model then the end result is increased consumption.
I linked to a report the other day as to how China starts to abandon the one family one child policy as they fear this erodes their COMPETITIVE advantage in the Worlds Economy. That competitive advantage is more workers for cheaper wages which results in job transfers from another country TO China in order to maximize profits. In Russia and Europe Governments are concerned about support for the elderly under existing models wherein the workforce has to continue to grow in order to support a larger number of retired citizens who can no longer participate in the Labor force. Again they address this by seeking out immigrants and “competing” for a larger workforce.
This competition for resources , be they human or natural also leads to the development of ever more destructive technologies which have a greater negative impact on the environment. The development of the tarsands in North Alberta, the Shale Gas explosion and the like are all fueled by the GROWING need for energy in a world where the more easily accessed resources already consumed.
I am not so hopeful anything can reverse this given the state of the World today. I look to China, Russia, Europe the US , India, Canada and indeed the vast majority of the Worlds Countries and see more competition and not less and more Countries harnessing themselves to the growth model. There a small number of peoples advocating for shrinking economies, but these are only voices and do not have the MONEY or the Political power of that 1 percent that drive the growth model.