It's odd, the community I now live in, is very community oriented. The neighbors regularly have parties where the invite all the people living around them. This is some what new. We knew the neighbors in our old neighborhood, mostly in passing. And when I lived in California, the only time you heard from your neighbors was when they were complaining about you.
It's weird, the more tightly packed the living conditions, the less community there seems to be.
It's already well known that the world is over populated, and I can't help wonder if the limitation on our growth as a species will be actually running out of resources (which we are rapidly doing) or will we just get sick of each other. There was a study done a few decades ago, where they gradually added more and more rats to a cage. They provided plenty of food and water, and kept the cages clean, but as the population grew, even though there was no competition for resources, the rats turned on each other. As we pack people into tighter and tighter spaces, there seems to be an increase in general stress, violence, and crime.
On the other hand, when people are removed from human contact, or the contact is very limited, people become mentally unbalanced.
So, how much spaces does the average human need? If we were spaced out in an optimal level, how much of the earth would be covered? Would distributing humans and their waste lower or increase their impact on the environment?
Right now, I can't help wonder when world war three will begin. Will it because people are general sick of other people. Or will we hold out until we don't have enough food, air, or clean water, and end up at war for what few resources remain. I do know that there will be whole sale slaughter, in the name of science, to "cull the herd" to return the human population back to sustainable levels.
I don't think this fate will be avoidable. We have fundamentalists running the show who only believe in population control through blood shed. They fight birth control every step of the way.
The only hope I see is first world countries having very low birth rates and and even negative population growth in some cases. But we have an industrial complex and first world nations that rely on cheap labor of third world countries. And as long as those powers remain, these countries can not escape their third world status.
Take the World Bank for example. They regularly force nations that have borrowed money into moving from crops that sustain the people to export crops such as coffee. Coffee is very hard on the soil, creating diminishing returns, and after the World Bank takes it's cut, the country is forces to buy food to survive, often driving the country further into debt. This makes the World Bank richer, and coffee wholesalers richer, but everyone else poorer.
What needs to be done is introduction of better farming technique's, so they can improve the yield of their food crops, and then add cash crops gradually. From there, they can get the money to develop better infrastructure (roads and schools), which will then facilitate more advanced industrial growth. This, with the help of the rest of the world, would quickly bring these nations to a higher standard of living, and hopefully greatly reduce their birth rates.
But that, I fear, is just a pipe dream.
So, how long do we have until global war? 10 years? 20? 50? 100? I think when western europe or the USA finally feels the environmental crunch, it will take a couple years of civil unrest (food riots, etc). Then, in order to placate the people and get the raw resources to keep the people happy, the nation will go to war against various third world countries to gain access to their raw resources. Finally, China, parts of Asia, and parts of Europe will start following suit. Then we will go head to head over regions in high demand. Finally, total war will break out.
Sound far fetched? War in Afghanistan, that ended with starting an oil pipeline to Uzbekistan(sp?). Then war with Iraq, with the oil companies splitting up the nation. Next, Liberia. What are Liberia's natural resources? Iron ore, timber, diamonds, gold, and hydropower. That does not seem like much, but if you look at the neighboring countries, you find the follow resources:
Cote d'Ivoire: petroleum, natural gas, diamonds, manganese, iron ore, cobalt, bauxite, copper, hydropower
Guinea: bauxite, iron ore, diamonds, gold, uranium, hydropower, fish
Sierra Leone: diamonds, titanium ore, bauxite, iron ore, gold, chromite
Odds are, as the area is so small, they probably share these various deposits with their neighbors, and if nothing else, it creates an easy toe hold to expand out in to the more resource rich areas. So, are we going there out of civic duty, or is there a pay off there?
Okay... I think I've rambled on WAY too much. And this was supposed to only be one local communities, not the end of civilization. Funny how the mind wanders.