Gaia Vince asks whether there is a limit to how many people can be sustained on a finite planet
This, to my mind, is the basic cause of our planet's problems.The sheer number of people has profoundly changed the global landscape, as we convert vast tracts of wild vegetation to agricultural or grazing areas, for example. Fishing on an industrial scale to provide for billions has dramatically altered marine diversity. Individual farmers breeding livestock or keeping chickens, when multiplied by millions, have caused biodiversity changes in which more than 90% of the weight of all terrestrial vertebrates is now made up of humans and the animals we've domesticated. The quest for resources to supply us all with materials and the trappings of life has depleted the forests, polluted rivers and soils and even carved the tops of mountains. And the fuels used by each of us for energy have produced combined emissions that are already altering the planet's climate.