Population, Food, and Agriculture on Planet Earth
There is an inherent tension between human impact (the product of the size of the human population, people's level of food consumption, and the technology used to produce food) and the ability of the environment to supply food (the human carrying capacity). The “zone” is the place where human impact overlaps carrying capacity, either for a given location or for the whole planet. The way in which we understand and respond to the zone depends on basic assumptions about natural resources and human nature, and it is at the core of defining and solving the food crisis. This is illustrated using a calculation of human carrying capacity based on water needed to grow rice to provide calories for the human population.
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