40 Whales

January 15, 2011 By arne hendriks Off

Creating a more sustainable lifestyle is an important argument why shrinking could be a good idea. At the same time the very real possibility of widespread megalophobia as a result of smaller size may lead to unsuspected urges to compensate. People will always find ways to stay on the top of the foodchain. Possibily by alternative social patterns, or more powerful and energy consuming machines like R.J.Hansen and M.J.Miley suggested in the 1967 MIT paper, Is there a better size, on which we reported before.

If we narrow this down to the hunt and domestication of animals for food, perhaps a look at the whaling industry sheds some light on the effects of a dramatic decrease in size. Early whale hunting was a team effort, bringing entire villages together, creating specialists in different aspects of the hunt. It was a dangerous occupation. Much like with mammut hunting many thousands of years earlier, the difference in size between hunter and hunted was compensated with clever tactics and a lot of bravery.

But today hunting whales is about as dangerous as harvesting a corn field. Actually, the hunting and killing of whales will probably decrease or stop altogether if we are to shrink to 50 centimeters. The Incredible Shrinking Man only needs 2 to 3 % of what an average adult consumes nowadays.¬†Instead of the 2000 whales hunted today, people would ‘need’ 40.