Objectives for the students – develop an understanding for the relation between carrying capacity and population, - be able to discuss and reflect about alternative social structures in areas like families and upbringing, - develop knowledge about the need for genetic variation in populations.
Tutorial N.B. This is only guidance to some of the key aspects of these problems. As you work you will probably come across other aspects you’ll need to look further into. Since the Santa Maria needs to be self-sufficient during the trip so the ship has a limited carrying capacity. There for it's of great importance to control the size of the crew. The Earth has also a limited carrying capacity and how large it is depends on what life style we choose to have. If everyone on Earth would have a typical European life style the carry capacity is only 3 about billion. This number should be compared to the estimated population on Earth 2052 – at least 9 billion. Since there are more than twice as many people on Earth today it's obvious that we can't carry on like we do - the amount of fuel, water, electricity, etc. is just not enough to go around. Some people are going to be left out. Today one fifth of the people one Earth are using up the the major part of the Earth's resources. One important factor to have a sustainable future is control the world population. This question is very delicate and it holds both some dilemmas and a lot of misunderstandings. The increase of the population the coming 50 years will mostly be in Asia and Africa, but mostly because of the fact that there are comparatively fewer people at middle age and high age today and not because of that to many babies are born. To “blame the climate crises” these all of these countries are therefore wrong. Actually countries like Bangladesh, Indonesia, Egypt and Mexico are down to just above two children per family. The challenge for the future is to reduce the population growth also in the poorest of all countries so that the world population will stabilise on 9 billion. What would be the maximum population on Santa Maria during the trip? What would be the maximum population on Santa Maria during the trip?
What would the family forms be on Santa Maria?
Will the crew members be allowed to form families? o o o
Would it be “normal” families - man, woman and children? Would there be other kinds of families? Should same-sex partnerships be allowed?
Who would the children be brought up by besides school? By their parents? Common upbringing by experts on the ship?
Who will be allowed to have children? Everyone that want to? Just chosen crew members o If so, who will decide this? o What criteria would be used to choose parents? How many children would be allowed per person? Up to the individuals Depending on the population on the ship? In what way would babies be produced? Normal sexual reproduction? In test tubes to make genetic engineering easier? It's vital to always have as many crew members in “productive age”, that is not to young and not to old, as possible. What can you do about this? The Santa Maria's final goal is to settle on a new planet and start a new civilisation there. How large founder population do you think is needed to be able to do this successfully? Would there be risk of founder effects? o What could be done to prevent it?