“Our challenge is to make the world work for 100% of humanity, in the shortest possible time, through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone.”
The goal of this paper is to look at the larger contexts that the issue of global hunger exists within and identify some of the interaffecting and driving factors that are crucial to lasting success but may be less obvious to a more narrowed-in scope of focus, so as to be informationally equipped to develop strategies that are truly adequate to the scope and complexity of the task at hand.
I’d like to start by proposing a modification to the challenge, from “how to end world hunger”, to “how to end world hunger sustainably without externalizing harm to any other system in the process”.
This is in recognition of how inextricably interconnected our major global systems and issues are…necessitating strategies that adequately account for that interconnectedness to do anything more than displace harm.
We optimize what we measure. If our metrics for success omit any part that affects the system, then our likelihood for failure in that part and resultantly, the whole, is high.
“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.”
Without enumerating a comprehensive taxonomy of all the issues that affect and are affected by global malnutrition (which needs done to succeed with this task, but is beyond the scope of this paper), let’s look at a few examples of related issues and why we need to consider them:
- 50 million land mines remain globally from wars that were never cleaned up. Many of these are on arable land making it completely inaccessible. This loss of land and resultant malnutrition is on top of the fact that one of these landmines is accidentally detonated by a civilian every 19 minutes. Mozambique has enough arable land to feed all of Africa, but there is food shortage even within the country due to the roughly 500,000 landmines embedded in that soil: remnants of 30 years of civil war. Because of accidentally encroaching to near to the minefields, the country has over 50,000 amputees.
- The populations of most species of large fish are around 10% of what they were in 1900. We live on a ¾ water planet whose biodiversity developed over billions of years, and in just over a century of mechanized fishing, we have decimated 90% of the top of the food chain populations.
- The fish that do remain are becoming continually more contaminated with mercury and other industrial toxins, making them continually more dangerous for humans to consume. The primary cause of the mercury in the oceans is the burning of fossil fuels for energy production and transportation.
- Looking to other of the ocean populations for human food options, whale and dolphin meat has been on an upsurge, threatening certain species that are critically endangered, and crossing ethical lines by slaughtering creatures with neocorticies nearly as complex as our own. (If our only goal is to end world hunger for humans, then this is of course a viable option. Thus the problem of overly narrow metrics.)
- Connecting the ailing ecology of the oceans to the land and the topic of food production, the leading cause of the growing dead zones around the world is the toxic runoff produced by the current methods of industrialized agriculture.
- The dead zones in the ocean are mirrored on land by the growing deserts that have replaced previously biodiverse ecosystems after relatively short periods of unsustainable farming methods that demineralize topsoil.
- The push to maximize extraction per time burns through ecological savings accounts while producing massive waste causing environmental harm on both sides of an unsustainable linear materials economy.
- Mass industrial agricultural is the leading cause of deforestation, loss of habitat land, fresh water depletion, species extinction and total biodiversity loss.
- The pollinators that are essential to the success of life on this planet are being profoundly threatened by the increasingly toxic kinds of pesticides being used, in quantities hard to truly comprehend. These same pesticides are showing up in human breast milk and other tissues, only to be taken off the markets after the first long term trials on the general population (without informed consent) show what was always predictable but not tested for before mass utilization.
- Factoring the methane from livestock, the energy used in the production and distribution of food, and the decreased photosynthesis from dead zones and deserts, food production is arguably the most significant contributor to climate change.
- Factoring the total carbon emissions involved and the agricultural run off, food production is likely one of the most significant causes of ocean acidification.
- Fish populations, arable land, fresh water, phosphates for fertilizers and oil for energy production…are all limited resources that we have been utilizing many times faster than they can replenish, to only provide an adequate quality of life to a portion of the world’s people. To provide adequately for all the world’s people, with a population that continues to expand, utilizing even remotely similar models to those feeding the industrialized world today, would mean utilizing finite and dwindling resources even faster, accelerating inevitable system failure.
- To address the issue of limited freshwater for irrigation we are looking to increased desalination, which creates a new kind of harm to the coastal ecosystems where most of the world’s marine life lives.
- Returning to the stakeholders at the heart of this question, even if adequate macronutrients are made available, the critical micronutrients necessary for healthy growth require minerally rich soil and adequate diversity of crop types. Even if all the nutrients are provided, malnutrition is still possible if there are absorption challenges from intestinal pathogens still rampant in the developing world, necessitating sanitation and health care as crucial elements to the hunger equation.
- Beyond landmines from old wars obscuring arable land, current wars are another piece in the hunger puzzle… displacing people in mass from basically functioning societies to unsustainable refugee camps; shutting down distribution channels so the available resources can’t be brought to the people; and even intentionally destroying food stocks and crops as a method of attack. Thus changing the political, religious, and economic motives for war is yet another integral factor to addressing the issue of hunger.
The list of interconnecting factors that have to be addressed for a lasting and viable solution goes on and on.
Technological solutions to increase efficiencies in food production, storage, and distribution are necessary but not sufficient to the task at hand. Increased agricultural output through industrial technologies over the last 200+ years did not bring about a steady-state population with a high average quality of life, but rather lead to an exponential growth in population with more people in extreme poverty today than there were total people of all economic classes before that…and has caused more ecological harm in the process than any other industry, threatening the fundamental life-support systems of the planet.
Can we provide healthy food without addressing the burning of fossil fuels that cause mercury contamination of significant food sources? Is the profound cruelty of factory farming an adequate solution to producing more pigs per acre? Is losing more of the Amazon to grazing land for cattle an acceptable solution to feeding a population that only reached its size because of industrialized agriculture and overusing finite resource savings accounts in the first place?
The issue of global hunger, like all major global issues, is a part of an interconnected set of challenges that cannot be solved in isolation. Our real task is to lessen suffering, not just move it. That requires a wider scope of metrics, deeper analysis, and more fundamental changes to how our species navigates aboard this fragile organic spaceship.
“A problem well-stated is a problem half-solved.”
World hunger, climate change, species extinction, environmental pollution, and all the other major global issues, are interconnected not only because everything within a tiny biosphere is inter-affecting, but also because they are all predictable and inexorable manifestations of the same underlying structural motivators.
Global economics has several core structural flaws (that have not been addressed in any industrialized system of economics to date) that make major environmental and social harm, including world hunger, unavoidable, irrespective of the specific people involved.
I will address some of these flaws here just deeply enough to demonstrate the level at which economics has to change, and to underscore the necessity of these changes to bring about a world of sustainable sufficiency:
The value equation:
What determines the relative economic value we place on one thing compared to another? Why is gold valued at $1,200 per ounce while air has no assessed value? Our human values both inform and are reinforced and conditioned by the value equation economically. Several of the core drivers of the valuation process create an economic incentive that is antithetical to environmental sustainability and human flourishing for all.
A living whale swimming in the ocean has no economically recognized value to anyone, but harpooned, is worth up to a million dollars as meat. A 2,000 year old redwood tree that produces oxygen, sequesters CO2, cleans toxins from the atmosphere, stabilizes topsoil, prevents flooding, and creates habitat for pollinators and other species that are crucial to the functioning of our biosphere, confers economic advantage to no one. But cut down, makes $100,000 worth of virgin lumber.
Our value equation is extractionary and commoditizing. Even the phrase “natural resource” assumes the extraction and commodification of what was once a part of a living ecosystem. This is exactly why we have decimated 90% of the large fish populations globally, 80% of the world’s old growth forests, and caused more species extinction than we have been able to account for. This is also why we enslave whole species, at forced populations many times what is natural, in conditions that future historians will catalogue along with concentration camps and slavery ships as tragic examples of human power, pre-civilization.
As long as the other species with which we inhabit this planet are worth more to us dead than alive, more enslaved and commodified than free, and only have assessed value insofar as they can be used to meet an immediate need of ours, not recognizing sovereignty or intrinsic value on the balance sheet…then we will continue rationalizing violence and extracting faster than renewability, eroding the very cliff on which we stand.
Our extrinsic only, commoditizing valuation system applies to other people just as much as it does to other species. This is why the aid of wealthy nations to poor ones is limited by the rationalizable case for ROI. The manufacturing of goods, including of foodstuff, for the industrialized world, depends on cheap labor from the developing world. This system of profit margin is not only predicated upon but also requires the continuance of massive economic disparity.
This is not just self-serving interest, but shortsighted self-serving interest. Beyond a living tree’s value to the rest of life, or to itself, it is producing the oxygen that I breathe. That does something more fundamental for me than anything I can do with the tree. But my cutting this one tree (or forest) down won’t ruin the entire atmosphere, so I breathe either way. But me cutting down this one tree does confer immediate and tangible economic advantage to me that I wouldn’t have otherwise. It is a whole population thinking this way, because the structure of incentive within the system predisposes that, that has us nearing the end of a savings account we are not equipped to replenish nor yet prepared to live without.
Currency evolved to mediate complex barter where the amount of currency in the system was proportional to the total value of goods and services in the system, with the proportionality ratio for a unit of currency determining its value. The economic concept of interest not only incentivized hoarding, but did so artificially as it made the monetary system expand irrespective of growth of goods and services. Fiat currency and fractional reserve banking took the artificial expansion of the monetary supply further, driving inflation and requiring perpetual growth to even maintain equilibrium. Perpetual economic growth was predicated upon the idea of continual material extraction from the environment, which is clearly not possible on a finite planet. Continued evolution of scientific insights and technological resource efficiencies leading to a continued increase in quality of life is possible sustainably, but requires a closed loop economic model based on an evolving homeostasis rather than continued exponential growth.
From extraction at the front of a linear materials economy, to waste at the end and pollution all along it, centralizing profits while externalizing costs is endemic to every part of this economic system. With the integrity of the commons not represented on anyone’s profit and loss statement, the more of the cost of operations can be externalized to the environment and others, the better the profit margins.
Hence, the agricultural run off, the mercury in the ocean, the deserts and landfills taking the place ecosystems once inhabited, the “waste” marine life accidentally killed in drift nets and long lines, and the general blind eye to the immense suffering induced in the pursuit of narrow success metrics.
If the cost of a landmine included the cost to remove it afterwards (let alone to try and remediate the irreparable harm to human life caused in its use), there would be no land mines. Real cost accounting would mean the military industrial complex would operate at an astronomical loss. Without the majority of the cost being unaccounted for, i.e., paid for by somebody else, war would be the least economically viable solution to address conflicts, which would motivate the development and utilization of other strategies. (As it is, the military industrial complex is the largest single sector of global economics. Without threats of war necessitating military manufacturing, global economics as we know it would collapse. What it the consequence of having a global economy that actually requires continuous war, where the fiscal interest of the most powerful organizations in the world is directly opposed to peace?)
If the cost of a hamburger included the cost to clean the water used in its production, to sustainably manage the soil used for growing feedstock, to remove the methane and CO2 produced from the atmosphere, to tend to any resultant health issues in the people consuming it as a result of the antibiotics, hormones, or steroids used, to remove the pesticides from the environment, etc. (not to mention the cost of suffering to the animals or intrinsic value of life taken, which is impossible to calculate a value for), current methods of industrialized animal agriculture would be the most expensive method for producing food ever attempted.
In order for the strategies we develop for feeding people to be sustainable, they have to inventory and internalize all the costs associated. That imperative is not incentivized or even possible (for a provider to maintain competitive status) within the current valuation system.
If we inventoried and internalized all the externalities within the value and profit equation, economics would spontaneously incentivize behaviors that supported sustainability and thriving.
As long as a thing’s scarcity adds economic value on top of its real use value (whether it was scarce or not), there will be economic incentive to artificially manufacture and maintain scarcity even where otherwise avoidable. Technology’s capacity to create more abundance through increased efficiency will not be fully realized within an economics where abundance results in lower valuation.
Where food is an economic commodity whose scarcity informs its price and thus the profitability for the most powerful stakeholders affecting the equation…and the profitability of that industry affects the homeostasis of the stock market and economics as a whole… The technologies and strategies that could produce the most sustainable abundance are directly opposed to the highest valuations for those vested in the current commodities market, i.e., sustainable global food sufficiency would be economically disadvantageous for those who have the most influence over current food production.
This is the underlying reason farmers have been paid to not grow food and why speculators drive the commodities prices high artificially, exacerbating hunger for the poor who already couldn’t afford enough.
This is why to date, air, which is seen as abundant and universally available, has no assessed value, despite its foundational role to life…while gold, which is seen as relatively scarce (factoring both total amounts and the associated extraction and refinement costs) is given a high value, independent of any real use value or lack thereof. This is why we will clear cut a forest (and damage the atmosphere in the process) to mine the gold underneath it, to put it in bars in safes serving no real value to anyone.
The value focus on scarcity is based on the underlying goal of maximizing differential advantage rather than systemic advantage. This causes unavoidable violence.
Essential to all these elements of the value equation is the concept of separate ownership. Separate ownership, at the level of an individual, family, corporation, or nation, creates a line where extraction and externalization on one side equals prosperity to the other. It is the basis of the drive for differential advantage, hoarding, and decreased sharing, resulting in decreased efficiency and thus systemic insufficiency. Separate ownership minimizes synergistic advantage and works in the opposite direction of empathy, extended responsibility, and intentional symbiosis.
Separate ownership, driving ubiquitous competition, is the cause of artificially manufactured demand and the associated exploitive marketing practices, designed in obsolescence, trend induced perceived obsolescence, and every other form of incentivized mass waste.
As long as there is separate ownership, some people will be born into greater economic advantage than others, having nothing to do with merit, leading to socioeconomic stratification and class systems. Those with more resources have more to be creative with (and visa versa) leading to a perpetual widening of the gap and ever-greater resource disparity. This disparity is a major driver of crime and war.
This system of resource allocation creates additional unnecessary scarcity through decreased circulation and sharing. In response to the resultant crime, which is an impulse towards equality and homeostasis, we invest the largest fraction of our already scarce resources into protecting the scarce resource stores, further perpetuating the underlying imbalances.
A world without war, crime, and poverty, requires a fundamentally new structure for resource access and allocation, and individual motive, not based on separate ownership.
“Ultimately these problems must be seen as just different facets of one single crisis, which is largely a crisis of perception. It derives from the fact that most of us, and especially our large social institutions, subscribe to the concepts of an outdated worldview, a perception of reality inadequate for dealing with our overpopulated, globally interconnected world.”
Underneath and driving the contributing causes of world hunger (and all the major social and environmental issues) are the core structures of economic incentive.
Underneath and driving these structures of economics are ubiquitous and misguided core values and beliefs that need updated.
The primary axiom that gave rise to all the economic structures discussed above is that of separate and competitive interest. The memetic shift from this to an awareness and sense of interconnected interest is at the heart of what’s needed for the solution to these problems and entry into a new phase of human existence.
Competition does occur within natural complex systems, but represents only a tiny fraction of the total interactions, most of which are symbiotic.
The competition of bucks to determine procreative opportunity is easier to notice (and thus create a metaphor around) than the gas exchange between plants and animals or the micro flora colonies in the soil and our gut that make both work.
There have been cultures more aware of and focused on symbiotic and interconnected interest, who lacked much of the resource disparity and ecological devastation we have become so used to we assume it as unavoidable. While the memetic structures of those cultures may have created more harmony and a higher quality of life relative to resource per capita, they didn’t motivate much focus on militaries and were thus killed and subsumed by separate interest cultures in an unconscious natural selection process determined in wars that favored domination over quality of life.
The separate and competitive interest memes and thus cultures proliferated, not because they were sustainable or good, but because they were proliferative. As it is with most species at some point in their evolution, what has made us successful as a species so far is now the primary cause of our problems and what most threatens our continued existence.
Driving pathological extraction, externalization, hoarding, and the manufacturing of scarcity (and all the problems resulting from there) is the meme of separate and competitive interest. At its core, this is about individual identities that are conditioned to feel separate from and threatened by the rest of existence, rather than a part of and supported by it.
Reconditioning this meme leads to an omniconsiderate circle of care that leaves no place to externalize harm; genuine respect and concern for all sentient things necessitating a reworking of commoditization and what we think of as resources; and an interest in systemic rather than differential advantage, robbing scarcity of its allure.
A global citizenry aware of the inextricable interconnectedness of all life on this planet would call for a fundamental restructuring of economics inclusive of all the points mentioned above and more, that would create an incentive system that would induce spontaneous behavior shifts at all levels of agency, towards comprehensive solutions that would work to eliminate suffering and support an increasing quality of life for all life, ongoingly.
The memetics and the economics mutually reinforce each other as they are (and will do so in the opposite direction as we work to evolve both) and drive the behaviors that cause the problems we are interested in solving. Within this value and incentive system, global hunger is intractable…without externalizing the harm to other parts of the system in ways that ensure the solution’s unsustainability.
In an updated system of values and incentive, this and all the other pressing issues of our time, would find spontaneous support for their transformation from all sides.
We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
Understanding clearly some of the core drivers and interaffecting factors, what can we do?
Recognizing world hunger as a symptom of deeper issues doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t treat the symptom. Of course we should. It simply means that alone won’t be sufficient.
In addition to all the critical work that is currently being done for this issue, including all the local sustainability initiatives and technological innovations for increased efficiency of production and distribution, I’ll list a few meta-initiatives we could do to ensure that we are factoring and addressing the underlying drivers and interconnected factors, measuring and optimizing the right things, and coordinating strategies effectively towards achievable goals:
1. Conduct a thorough analysis of the planet’s sustainable carrying capacity. This will not yield a single number, but a relationship between the total number of people, their material quality of life, and the technoeconomic strategies for converting resources to meet needs at higher levels of efficiency. This will require a comprehensive inventory of global resources, more comprehensive compound metrics for assessing quality of life and overall societal health, and systems for real cost analysis that factor and internalize externalities so we can identify total resource load per capita numbers factoring matriculated shared infrastructural resources and externalities. Knowing clearly how many people the world can actually support ongoingly, at what quality of life, utilizing which support technologies and systems, is fundamental to really addressing this issue, and all issues of environmental sustainability. Given that current sustainable population estimates–based on inadequate data and analysis–range from ~500 million (pre-industrial revolution levels, less than 1/10th of our current population) to ~15 billion (30 times the estimate on the other end, assuming huge increases in resource efficiencies)…and our path ahead is radically different depending on which side of that spread we are aiming at…this is critical knowledge for all global strategy efforts.
Supporting the aim of a sustainable population, we need to invest more focus in integrated strategies for controlling population growth. In addition to further implementation of the known effective strategies (addressing poverty, empowering women, electrical light, education through college, etc.), memetic strategies to increase the voluntary use of birth control (like was done with Radio Tanzania by Martha Swai and colleagues), as well as the development of better methods of birth control that are easier to adopt, are crucial. Specifically, technological options to turn off reproductivity before puberty, with full reversibility and without negative health effects (e.g. epigenetic modulations specific to reproductivity that don’t affect the endocrine system) are nearing feasibility. This has the capacity to end accidental pregnancies.
2. Develop a comprehensive critical path plan (that is elastic and upgradable with the input of new information) for achieving sustainable food security for all people. In addition to knowing the population number we are aiming for, here are some of the key components required for an adequate critical path:
a. Create a context map of all the interaffecting issues and factors that have to be addressed for complete solutions. This can be represented as a nodal network that shows the magnitude and mechanism of effect, and can model the effect of addressing specific nodes on the whole system. This can also be represented as a weighted taxonomy of what needs done.
b. Enumerate all the KPI’s relevant to food sufficiency and the entire context map so we can make sure we are tracking all the relevant metrics and reaching identified benchmarks to ensure we are on course or modify the course as needed.
c. Within the context map, identify all the economic structures that incentivize causes of hunger and develop solutions for changing economic incentive to be aligned with the needed changes in those areas.
d. Create a folksonomy of all current hunger related initiatives and overlay it on the content map taxonomy of what needs done to identify what is already being adequately tended to, which areas need more focus, and which groups could coordinate to share best practices, reduce duplication inefficiencies, and increase total efficacy.
e. Create a blueprint of a model where all people’s fundamental needs are met that is environmentally sustainable to ensure that the methods we are pursuing for meeting human needs are actually viable. This will involve questioning some of the deep axioms of how we are currently working to address hunger. Specifically the idea of meeting the needs of the developing world through the industrial and commercial model of the developed world: that roads and distribution channels are essential, as opposed to the kinds of local sustainability that met the needs of most of the world’s people before the industrial revolution, and that markets are essential for people in the developing world to be able to grow something commercially for sale to make money to buy food, as opposed to growing the food their village needs to eat. The solutions we implement need to be appropriate to the context and environmentally sustainable.
These are meta-solutions for coordinating and strategizing the many specific initiatives across the whole field of work related to addressing world hunger, to support optimized solution development.
At an even deeper level, we need to take a focused strategic approach to restructuring the underlying systems that influence human behavior globally in ways that encourage and reward life-supporting activity:
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
2. Develop a fundamentally new system of global economics. Not simply retrofitted improvements to the current system, but a ground up redesign of how we meet human needs, incentivize contribution, and allocate resources. This requires deep analysis and modeling, and development of both an adequate blueprint of an effective system and an adaptable roadmap for how to get there. Economics is a made up system. The problem is that it depends on and affects the fundamental systems of geology, biology, and ecology, without properly understanding them. If the ecology and the economy are not optimized by the same actions, than we have to change the made up system to work with the fundamental ones, or we self-destruct. The development of a new system of economics is absolutely crucial to not only world hunger, but the continued success of our species.
3. Applied science and technology aimed at accelerating global memetic evolution towards a population that can reliably self-govern on the basis of shared omniconsiderate values and an adequate knowledge base for how to act effectively towards those values, including the capacity to participate in scientifically informed rational dialectic for optimized collective decision making. Allocating the resources to deliberately purposing big data tools and scientific marketing towards this goal could produce more shift in the internal determinants of vital human behaviors (which is all of what needs changed), inducing emergent mass behavior changes, than likely is achievable any other way. Any system of law, no matter how enlightened, imposed by force on people who don’t understand it, agree with it, or want it, will always lead to dissent. Self governance has to be the basis of an effective system, which requires an educated, aware, and caring populace.
4. Develop a comprehensive critical path for humanity’s total evolution into a world system that makes possible and supports the highest quality of life for all life, ongoingly, with an optimized evolutionary rate. This is a unifying imperative, including the first three strategies mentioned and all other needed and relevant evolutionary projects. This is a distributed and crowd sourced, global peace room as sophisticated as the war room.
This requires a comprehensive inventory of all global needs: human and environmental, including all problems that need remediated, ongoing maintenance needs, and the development of new capacities to meet needs ever better. This also requires comprehensive architecting of a redesigned civilization based on the continually updated best of what is technologically doable, not assuming any part of how we have done infrastructure so far would necessarily be how we would continue to do it, but looking from scratch at all the possible strategies in each area and seeing which demonstrate themselves as the most comprehensively advantageous.
The scientific and technological capacities needed to support an effective, integrated, and continually updating critical path process for humanity’s conscious problem solving and evolution already exist and have demonstrated efficacy towards other uses, adequate to the scope of what’s needed: mathematical forecasting systems (to assess timelines for major issues, informing responses and resource allocation to address challenges within needed timelines); complexity processors (to show the web of externalized effects [positive and negative] on other systems from any initiative so as to be able to optimize not only local but systemic advantage from all projects…and to inform the basis for a system of scientifically optimizable global resource allocation); complex metric systems (for synthesizing and commensurating disparate metrics); and data systems for harvesting, mining, and procedural vetting (so governance can truly be distributed and empirically based).
Altogether, these interoperating capacities represent a new global operating system, aligned with a new global awareness of humanity as an entity, capable of and requiring conscious and considerate direction and action, in order to solve the current problems, prevent otherwise impending ones, and support the accelerated realization of our full collective potential.
“Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossible before they were done.”
~Louis D Brandeis
While it may seem like I’ve expanded an already enormous task into a nearly incomprehensible one, trying to lastingly solve a problem within a structure that inexorably generates it is not possible. Changing the structure to generate different things may be complex and difficult, but complex and difficult are still infinitely easier than impossible.
The majority of this paper was focused on underscoring the need for systemic (in addition to symptomatic) solutions, and pointing towards some of the system elements in particular that must be addressed. The kind of systemic solutions needed to solve world hunger, and more fundamentally, to incentivize and support spontaneous evolution in this and all sectors, at all levels of agency, have simply been tagged here, to hopefully inspire new types and levels of consideration.
A more detailed proposal for how to develop these solutions could be a next step if we are interested in pursuing this direction together further.
1. The perspective presented here draws upon the work of Buckminster Fuller, Jacques Fresco, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Fritjof Capra, Don Beck, Carl Sagan, and many others.
2. The specific numbers included in this paper are approximate, to give a sense of general magnitudes, not precise figures.