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  The Ishmael Community: Questions and Answers

The Question (ID Number 571)...

    The basic idea is that when our human population grows large enough, we will run out of resources, most important of which is food. Have you considered though, that as our population grows, humans themselves will become a food source to other humans? Of course, our population may be growing too fast for our beliefs about the "sanctity of human life" to change enough to tolerate cannibalism. But what do you think about the possibility? Might we simply become a cannibalistic society and continue on our normal course?

    ...and the response:

    The film Soylent Green, loosely based on Harry Harrison's novel Make Room! Make Room!, depicts the "basic idea" you describe, but I'm afraid this basic idea is not only oversimplified but highly unlikely. If our population continues to grow, at some point the biological infrastructure supporting it will collapse, producing widespread and profound environmental changes. If this occurs, the earth will very probably cease to be a habitable place for large mammals (as it once ceased to be a habitable place for dinosaurs), and this includes us; we won't be able to "continue on our normal course" by eating each other, any more than dinosaurs were able to continue on their normal course by eating each other.


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