America’s population predicament: galloping people growth

    By Frosty Wooldridge | 26 January 2013
    Church and State

    Grand Central Station, New York City. At over 8 million people, New York City expects to add 2 million people within the next two decades. (Photo by National Geographic)

    After years of scientific study, six continents of world travel, having lived in Antarctica while working with the world’s top scientists—it feels unsettling that countless millions of Americans, Canadians, Europeans, Australians and most of the rest of the citizens of Earth cannot grasp the overpopulation equation facing America and all of humanity. Let’s deal with America’s immediate population predicament. Americans pursue their daily tasks without understanding the ramifications of adding another 100 million people in 25 years and doubling to 625 million people within 70 to 80 years. The State of California alone expects 20 million added within 30 years.

    Ironically if not catastrophically, India adds 11 million annually with no birth control policies and China adds 8 million with one child policies via population momentum. Countries like Egypt cannot feed their people today at 82 million—yet expect to reach 150 million within 37 years—by 2050.

    Conversation of Overpopulation Implications

    The Main Stream Press, Catholic Church and top political figures avoid and suppress any conversation of overpopulation implications.

    They wallow in their mythology that Norman Borlaug, the man who created greater crop yields, disproved Thomas Malthus’ work. Note: Borlaug only delayed the inevitable mass starvation with even greater numbers of victims. Norman Borlaug, who, while accepting the Nobel peace prize in 1970, said: “The green revolution has won a temporary success in man’s war against hunger and deprivation; it has given man a breathing space. If fully implemented, the revolution can provide sufficient food for sustenance during the next three decades. But the frightening power of human reproduction must also be curbed; otherwise the success of the green revolution will be ephemeral only.”

    They also discount the eminent Paul Ehrlich, author of The Population Bomb. I met this brilliant, articulate biologist and Stanford professor. He said, “All causes are lost causes without limiting human population.” Again, while his timing proved off, his science remains impeccable. In fact, his predictions of 180 million starvation deaths since 1965 turned out to be 300 million. Each year 18 million humans die of starvation or related diseases—what do naysayers do with that math? That’s 10 million children and 8 million adults that die annually from starvation or related problems stemming from overpopulation.

    World Population Adds 10,000 Babies Per Hour

    As the world population adds 10,000 babies net gain per hour, 240,000 per day and 80 million annually, we race inextricably toward planetary disaster on multiple levels. Why? This planet cannot support nor sustain its current human numbers. Our environment breaks down all over the globe. I can name countless growing symptoms of the breakdown: species extinction of over 80-100 creatures daily (Source: Oxford University’s Norman Meyers, UK); toxic rain and rivers acidifying the oceans, 100 million sharks being killed by humans annually (Source: OnEarth Magazine, Julia Whitty), drift netting, fisheries collapsing, Great Pacific Garbage Patch, ocean dead zones, polar caps melting, ozone destruction, 80,000 human chemicals wreaking havoc with nature, top soil erosion, toxified soils, vanishing lakes, ad nausea.

    But then you hear individuals or what Colorado University’s Dr. Albert Bartlett calls ‘innumerates’, (intellectually credentialed persons that remain mathematically illiterate), tell us that the whole human race can live in the State of Texas. Bartlett’s (www.albartlett.org) worldwide reputation as one of the finest population experts provides us with unequaled understanding of our predicament with his video: “Arithmetic, Population and Energy.” Most folks fail to understand ‘exponential growth’ on a finite planet cannot continue. That fact they slither away from when confronted. The reason these innumerates exist stems from the human tendency to use ego defenses, when information unsettles them; denial, rationalization, suppression, projection, et al. A prime example: the Pope in 1600 jailed Galileo for daring to state that Earth rotated around the sun. “How absurd!” said the Pope.

    21st Century Galileo

    As 21st century Galileo’s, men like Bartlett, Ehrlich, Catton (author of Overshoot), Tainter (author of Why Complex Societies Collapse), Diamond (author of Collapse), Heinberg (author of Peak Everything; facing a century of declines), Lader (author of Breeding Ourselves to Death), and dozens of others—find themselves battling people that do not comprehend what they insist upon—just like the Pope with Galileo. It’s like trying to talk reason with bullfrogs!

    One look around you, or a week of listening to the news, illustrates our accelerating predicaments.

    “We must alert and organize the world’s people to pressure world leaders to take specific steps to solve the two root causes of our environmental crises—exploding population growth and wasteful consumption of irreplaceable resources. Over-consumption and overpopulation underlie every environmental problem we face today.” Jacques-Yves Cousteau

    It’s not only probable, but real that Cousteau knew a lot more about overpopulation. Somehow, innumerates pretend they possess a case. They prove to have no case while today the USA loses 250 creatures to extinction annually because of habitat loss. One new American causes 25.4 acres to be destroyed to support him/her: known as ‘ecological footprint’. (www.AllSpecies.org) If we add another 100 million people, that equals 25.4 billion acres of wilderness choked by concrete and asphalt. Creature extinction rates inevitably rise from that equation. Our cities suffer gridlock and toxic air beyond comprehension. Quality of life spirals into the toilet. We import 7 out of 10 barrels of oil in 2013. What happens when Peak Oil becomes serious in the coming years? Food? How do you grow it when states like California add 1,655 people daily and 400 cars 24/7? (Source: www.capsweb.org) Genetically modified food, whether animal or plant, constitutes another aspect of overpopulation, i.e., it signifies overshoot of food supplies.

    Detractors tell you that it’s all one big misunderstanding. The whole human race can live in Texas with an acre to grow gardens.

    “The ship is already starting to spin out of control. We may soon lose all chance of grabbing the wheel. Humanity faces a genuinely new situation. It is not an environmental crisis in the accepted sense. It is a crisis for the entire life-support system for our civilization and our species.” Fred Pearce, The Last Generation: How Nature Will take Her Revenge for Climate Change

    Nonetheless, ‘innumerates’ persist just as the Pope persisted with Galileo. Today the Pope remains one of the advocates for unlimited population growth. No matter how much misery it creates, he promotes it. (Source: Lawrence Harrison, Underdevelopment is a State of Mind). In every country where the Pope dominates, human misery proliferates with soaring birthrates. Haiti, Mexico, Nicaragua, San Salvador and elsewhere!

    Can ‘thinkers’ and scientists outlast the ‘innumerates’?

    Can ‘thinkers’ and scientists outlast the ‘innumerates’? Can smarter, more rational minds lead us away from population growth to a stabilized and sustainable future in the USA and around the world? I hope so! Because if not, Mother Nature’s methods of birth control and family planning exceed anything you can imagine: brutal!

    “As we go from this happy hydrocarbon bubble we have reached now to a renewable energy resource economy, which we do this century, will the “civil” part of civilization survive? As we both know there is no way that alternative energy sources can supply the amount of per capita energy we enjoy now, much less for the 9 billion expected by 2050. And energy is what keeps this game going. We are involved in a Faustian bargain—selling our economic souls for the luxurious life of the moment, but sooner or later the price has to be paid.” Walter Youngquist

    I Suggest We Take Action

    As Thomas Jefferson once said, “We have the wolf by the ears and we can neither hold him or let him go.” I suggest we take destiny into our hands by taking action in the logical direction by moving our civilization toward a stable population.

    Frosty Wooldridge has bicycled across six continents – from the Arctic to the South Pole – as well as eight times across the USA, coast to coast and border to border. In 2005, he bicycled from the Arctic Circle, Norway to Athens, Greece. In 2012, he bicycled coast to coast across America. His latest book is: How to Live a Life of Adventure: The Art of Exploring the World by Frosty Wooldridge, copies at 1 888 280 7715/ Motivational program: How to Live a Life of Adventure: The Art of Exploring the World by Frosty Wooldridge, click: www.HowToLiveALifeOfAdventure.com

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