Denver Post Your Hub May 11, 2010
“More than one scientist has remarked that the human race is embarked on a vast, unplanned experiment to see what happens when we alter our environment,” said Lindsey Grant. “A refrain keeps beating incessantly in my head: we have changed the world more in the past two generations than in all previous human history and we don’t know what we are doing.”
In his book, Too Many People, Lindsey Grant addresses such things as our destruction of earth’s operating systems and much more. You may find his book at www.sevenlockspress.com and www.amazon.com . Grant is a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Environment and Population Affairs.
Few people understand or care about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill of the last three weeks. That oil gushes out of a hole humans drilled into the sea floor at 200,000 gallons every 24 hours by some estimates. It could desecrate the entire Gulf for decades and destroy habitat and marine life beyond our wildest estimates.
Why did it happen? We prove ourselves as a reckless and ignorant species! We don’t know what we’re doing to ourselves as we drill for more and more oil as we grow our species by 77 million annually, net gain around the globe. It’s astounding that we think we can continue without consequences.
When we finally hit the limit tolerated by Mother Nature, her wrath will prove like nothing we ever imagined. Sure, today, oil drives our bloated civilizations, and runs our cities, but we face the end of oil and we face the end of ‘energy’ that allows our enormous populations. Yet, we don’t have a plan!
THE DANGER OF LINEAR PROJECTIONS
“All of us, including environmentalists, tend to predict in a straight line; twice as much of something has twice the consequences,” said Grant. “Most things don’t really move that way, because they generate synergies or feedback loops that accelerate the rate of change. There is a vast web of feedback loops, reinforcing each other to our disadvantage.”
I can’t imagine the feedback loops from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill or the acidification feedback loops from our oceans as we kill vast quantities of phyto-plankton that create the majority of oxygen on this planet. What happens when we hit the ‘kill’ tipping point of the plankton? What then?
Only a week ago, I interviewed on a Boston radio show. One young man argued with my theme by saying, “We can keep growing population because we’ll think up new technologies to increase food supplies and take water from our oceans.”
If we lived in Disneyland, we might be able to live by magic, but ‘thinking’ we will engage more technologies illustrates our gross misunderstanding of our predicament.
“We are almost certainly inducing changes at a pace faster than our linear thought processes can embrace,” said Grant. “One potential non-linearity is particularly frightening. It was described by the IPCC: climate warming may induce fundamental changes in the pattern of ocean currents. By the standards of geologic time, the Gulf Stream is new. If it were to weaken or move, northern Europe might have a climate like Labrador. The circulation pattern of the Gulf Stream is presently under intense scientific scrutiny to gain some sense of its causes and what might change it.”
THE THRESHOLDS WE FACE
As a species we proceed out of our league as we tamper with Mother Nature’s intricate mechanisms. Our arrogance defies my imagination. Every week, we read about more and more ‘symptoms’ exploding all over the planet, i.e., the Gulf of Mexico oil spill will cause endless marine deaths as to shrimp, turtles, sword fish and countless other creatures, which then will cause cascading extinction rates of other animals. A whole ecological network for tens of thousands of miles will suffer devastation. From there, look at the consequences to humans as to food, work and play.
Why did those companies that owned that drilling rig not plan for a back up? Why didn’t they secure utmost safety guidelines? They experienced other oil spills before. Why didn’t they create mitigation plans for an accident?
Look back at the Copenhagen ‘Climate Change” conference last year! They departed after haggling for a week with NOTHING solved. The human race continues spewing and exhausting millions and billions of tons of carbon into the biosphere.
“Nations and industries are almost universally placing their trust in an endless series of best outcomes in the changes they set in motion,” said Grant. “Non-linearities and thresholds underline the opposite: the danger of accelerated or abrupt environmental deterioration.”
This quote caught my attention by a Brazilian Minister for the environment: “Modern industrial society is a fanatical religion. We are demolishing, poisoning, and destroying all life-systems on the planet. We are signing IOUs our children will not be able to pay. We are acting as if we were the last generation on the planet. Without radical changes in heart, mind, vision, the Earth will end up like Venus, dead!”
Yet, the United States steams at full speed ahead to add 100 million people within 25 years. Go figure!
If any of us, no matter what our race, creed or color might be, refuse to engage our U.S. Congress as we have not for 30 years as to the population/immigration equation-our children will find themselves living in a terribly degraded America where the American Dream will be described by the history books as a ‘fleeting fantasy’ from the era of 1950 to 2010.
These are several of the top organizations where you can take collective action to change the course of American history as well as in Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. Take collective action at:
This is the best website to start: www.numbersusa.com ; watch Roy Beck’s “Immigration by the Numbers” at 14 minutes. Bi-partisan and very effective. Become a faxer of pre-written letters to your reps to make positive change.
Also: www.fairus.org ; www.capsweb.org ; www.thesocialcontract.com ; www.populationmedia.org ; www.worldpopulationbalance.org ; www.populationconnection.org ; www.quinacrine.com ;www.familyplanning.org/ , www.skil.org ; www.growthbusters.com; www.populationpress.org ; www.thinkpopulation.org ; www.controlgrowth.org ; in Canada www.immigrationwatchcanada.org ; in Australia population.org.au andPublicPopForum@yahoogroups.
Must see DVD: “Blind Spot” http://www.snagfilms.com/
Must see: Rapid Population Decline, seven minute video by Dr. Jack Alpert-
Dave Gardner’s Polar Bear in Bedroom: http://growthbusters.org/2010/
Check out this link with Wooldridge on bicycle and Lester Brown and panel discussion:
Producer: GEORGE A. COLBURNwww.tomorrowsamerica.
Link to www.tomorrowsamerica.com for more discussions on America’s predicament.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Frosty Wooldridge has bicycled across six continents – from the Arctic to the South Pole – as well as six times across the USA, coast to coast and border to border. In 2005, he bicycled from the Arctic Circle, Norway to Athens, Greece. He presents “The Coming Population Crisis in America: and what you can do about it” to civic clubs, church groups, high schools and colleges. He works to bring about sensible world population balance at www.frostywooldridge.com He is the author of: America on the Brink: The Next Added 100 Million Americans. Copies available: 1 888 280 7715