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Peter Foster’s critique of the prophets of doom who say we are living beyond the means of our planet is most welcome. (FP Comment, “Nothing to fear from a Bigfoot”, 06/10/25) However, Peter misses the most fundamental basic points that baffle the doomsayers – human intelligence and mastery of energy.
Many sustainable development proponents indicate we are up against a hard limit of bio-productivity dictated by limited energy from the sun. They forget the element of intelligence – or at least cunning – introduced by humans. As a part of the ecosystem we have already increased the planet’s bio-productivity immensely with directed use of water and the development of sophisticated agriculture. Our recently developed ability to use the stored energy from past bio-systems has been another tremendous boost to our fecundity and production. Now we know how to extract still more energy from physical materials through nuclear reactions. That energy can put the “development” into “sustainable development” for millennia to come.