16 September 2011

Part 10: overpopulation in 21st century America—too many people

Part 10: too many people, too little water, too little energy, too little resources


In a brilliantly written book, Too Many People by Lindsey Grant, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Environment and Population Affairs, he brought a lifetime of global experience into his profoundly direct book.


No matter how much the mainstream media, which includes all major television networks, radio and print—do, to avoid, ignore and evade the population issue—it rears its ugly head in every newscast—daily across the United States and around the world.

Notice how National Public Radio, Public Broadcasting Service and local TV stations do not mention or engage any connection of any problem of “too many people.” For example: if you wander through the streets of India, their ‘sacred cow’ is actually a cow. And, those cows by the hundreds of thousands wonder all over the streets in India, creating horrid cow waste, urine waste and generally mess up everything, but since Indians consider them ‘sacred’, no one will do anything about them.
While ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and FOX report on terrible problems with collapsing fisheries, extinction rates, air pollution, acidified oceans and climate destabilization—they won’t touch the ‘sacred cow’ of human overpopulation. They cannot avoid its brutal reality much longer.
“In this essay, I will survey the current evidence and make the case that we can turn the present deteriorating system around only by ending infatuation with growth and embracing the idea of a return to a smaller population,” said Grant. “Our future depends on learning to come into better balance with the rest of nature and to find a sustainable relationship we have yet to achieve.”


“Human systems have grown to the point at which the damage we do has become intolerable, not only to other species,[Human encroachment causes the extinction of 80 to 100 species daily around the globe. The die-off is so great that it is called the ‘sixth extinction’ session.], and thus, dangerous to our own future,” said Grant. “As our problems have been caused or compounded by the growth of populations and economic activity, their solutions requires that we turn growth around.”
Consequently, we stand at a critical juncture as indicated by Dr. Jack Alpert, www.skil.org, where he calls for a ‘rapid population decline’ of one child per woman worldwide if we are to survive the 21st century. He makes the cogent case, that if we desire to live at the present wealth and resource use level as the United States, we must drop to 100 million humans worldwide. If we fail to make the drop gracefully by birth control and family planning, Mother Nature will do it for us, rather brutally. See Alpert’s video: Rapid Population Decline, seven minute video by Dr. Jack Alpert- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTWduFB_RX0
Grant states the ugly obvious, “All these issues have a self-evident connection to population growth. I find it astonishing that the technically literate seldom touch upon that connection and never—almost literally never—mention population policy as part of the solution.”
Energy expert Richard Heinberg said the same thing after last year’s Global Climate Conference in Denmark:
“…the discussions in Denmark took place in a conceptual fantasy world in which climate change is the only global crisis that matters much; in which rapid economic growth is still an option; in which fossil fuels are practically limitless; in which a western middle class staring at the prospect of penury can be persuaded voluntarily to transfer a significant portion of its rapidly evaporating wealth to other nations; in which subsistence farmers in poor nations should all aspire to become middle-class urbanites; and in which the subject of human overpopulation can barely be mentioned.
… It’s no wonder more wasn’t achieved in Copenhagen.” http://us1.campaign-archive.com/?u=311db31977054c5ef58219392&id=1853646c28&e=411677039a
In Grant’s second chapter, he hits on the simple reality of our predicament, “The United States’ population was 75 million in 1900. It is now about 275 million. It may well grow to 404 million by 2050. Migration pressure is a product of overcrowding on the land, of unemployment and wage differentials, all of which are driven by population growth. Those driving forces would subside if somehow the growth should stop or turn around.” [Too Many People published in 2000, and by October 2006, U.S. population reached 300 million. Current predictions say U.S. will reach 438 million by 2050, which shows how fast population has exceeded Grant’s predictions.]



In my world travels, I witnessed horrific ocean damage in dead zones at the mouths of rivers out of the U.S., China, India, Brazil and Europe. Really ugly stuff! Also, it’s beyond imagination that humans could and are, for the past 20 years, killing 100 million sharks annually. Humans ‘clear cut’ the oceans with 40 mile long drift nets that grab everything and kill it. Then, when cut away and left hanging on reefs, those plastic nets continue slaughtering millions of hapless marine creatures forever.


“The whole world is engaged in a pell-mell race to grow faster—driving toward an impossible objective. It is a daunting objective: the idea of a race to increase economic activity in a world already under stress,” said Grant.



While we enjoyed the ‘green revolution’ to produce more food back in the 1970s, it unfortunately resulted in another three billion humans added to planet in a blink of time.
To give you an idea of how crazy our human predicament: Bangladesh, with a landmass the size of Iowa, carries an astounding 144 million people. Demographers predict they will add another 100 million in 40 years with their extraordinary birthrates. Canadian environmentalist Tim Murray laments, “Humans are too dumb to survive.”
Currently, you can look this up: 18 million human beings die of starvation or starvation related diseases annually around the world. (Source: World Health Organization) That’s eight million adults and 10 million children.
Grant talks about food and we will address that in the next part of this series.
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