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New translation, the Magna Carta

understanding a species under stress

a briefing document

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understanding a species under stress is part of a collection of short documents concerning education to civilisation
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“Individuals, and groups of individuals labelled as species, when introduced into a new environmental niche may expand rapidly under unlimited resources in the manner of Calhoun’s rats. Only over time, will some new constraint limit that expansion. Rats, with their limited behaviour repertoire, turn in mindless confusion upon one another when the ‘space’ for their instinctive reactions becomes constrained. Humans have a new choice, adapt the environment, or their own behaviour, or some combination of these. Humans have the option not to expand and multiply. It is only when a ‘niche’ is ‘full’ that ‘competition’ is a convincing element, a rich society has less pressure to ‘conflict’.”
[Quoted from Feedback and crowding]

Until you fill ‘the’ niche, you are in a better position than once you have filled the niche.

Life drives to fill niches.

Energy, for instance, is a constraining parameter of ‘a niche’.

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Jevons’ ‘paradox’

“There is a problem of conservation, known as Jevons paradox.

“Jevons, in The Coal Question (1865), drew attention to the Watt steam engine. It was invented because the older Newcomen engine was so inefficient. But making steam power more efficient made the use of steam power spread more widely, and therefore coal consumption increased.

“Jevons’ Paradox is that conservation can encourage and increase consumption. Conservation does not necessarily, and of itself, reduce consumption.”

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Consider the rate at which birth limitation is bringing under control the expansion rate of Western populations. In among that population, there remain people with the tenancy or ability to produce above the average number of children. By normal selection, such a tendancy will rapidly spread throughout the population. In my view, over time, this will reverse the control over population size, assuming no other forces are brought to bear.

See also ‘Evolutionarily stable strategies’ (ESSs).

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