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Life on the Brink – Driving animal life off planet Earth

Book review: Life on the Brink: Environmentalists Confront Overpopulation by Philip Cafaro and Eileen Crist


By Frosty Wooldridge | 8 January 2013

© Iwan Tirtha

Part 1: Driving animal life off planet Earth (Part 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)

The brilliant Harvard University biologist, Edward O. Wilson, addressed human overpopulation with this statement, “It’s not the Nature of human beings to be cattle in glorified feedlots. Every person deserves the option to travel easily in and out of the complex and primal world that gave us birth. We need freedom to roam across land owned by no one but protected by all, whose unchanging horizon is the same that bounded the world of our millennial ancestors. Only in what remains of Eden, teeming with life-forms independent of us, is it possible to experience the kind of wonder that shaped the human psyche at its birth.”

Unfortunately, as humanity piles itself up at 80 million net gain annually, 1 billion added every 12 years and on its way from 7.1 billion in 2013 to over 10.1 billion by 2050—all life on Earth faces a portentous path.

In the face of that future, Colorado State University philosophy Professor Philip Cafaro and Professor Eileen Crist of Virginia Tech, authored: Life on the Brink: Environmentalists Confront Overpopulation.

While many Americans watch the political unrest of countries in Africa such as Egypt, Syria and Libya, few connect the dots as to endless human population growth, food shortages, water depletion and energy exhaustion.

At an unsustainable 80 million today in Egypt, demographers project that country to exceed 138 million within 38 years. Their only form of birth control remains to dig yet another canal off the Nile River and fill it with mud dwellings, no sewer, little food and accelerating poverty. While Africa houses nearly 1 billion in 2013, that ancient land expects to grow to 1.8 billion by 2050 and on to 3.1 billion by the end of this century.

The question begs an answer: where will the wild things go for food, water and raising of their offspring? How will they survive the human horde scavenging the land for food? Answer: they won’t!

Today, over 2.5 to 3.0 billion people live on $2.00 per day. Over 2.5 billion lack toilets and running water. Yet, humanity plunges into accelerating fecundity with intrepid stupidity.

As of 2013, according to United Kingdom Oxford’s Norman Myers life-long studies on human encroachment on animal habitat around the world, extinction rates run from 80 to 100 creatures DAILY around the planet. Those numbers cannot help but accelerate with the added 3.1 billion added humans within 38 years.

“Upwards of two hundred species…mostly of the large, slow-breeding variety…are becoming extinct here every day because more and more of the earth’s carrying capacity is systematically being converted into human carrying capacity. These species are being burnt out, starved out, and squeezed out of existence. Thanks to technologies that most people, I’m afraid, think of as technologies of peace. I hope it will not be too long before the technologies that support our population explosion begin to be perceived as no less hazardous to the future of life on this planet than the endless production of radioactive wastes.” Daniel Quinn

In this book, Cafaro and Crist feature over a dozen of the finest environmental minds on the planet. These “Galileo’s of the 21st century” bring you the stark realities that humanity faces.

Can our species change course? It will take a “consciousness shift” through books like this one that educate Americans, Canadians, Europeans, Australians, Chinese, Indians, South Americans and Africans. Once educated, a profound “critical mass shift” must take the knowledge into action. That allows a “tipping point” where humanity stabilizes, then reduces its numbers gracefully via birth control and family planning all over the planet.

If we humans refuse to move on the knowledge within this book and many other emerging books like it, Mother Nature will bring her weight onto the environmental ball field. As we have seen with Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, she grows merciless. And, she always bats last.

This book must be read by every citizen and passed on to the leaders of all countries in order to create the new paradigm where humanity lives, works and stabilizes its numbers into a sustainable balance with all life on Earth.

“The raging monster upon the land is population growth. In its presence, sustainability is but a fragile theoretical construct. To say, as many do, that the difficulties of nations are not due to people, but to poor ideology and land-use management is sophistic.” Harvard scholar and biologist E.O. Wilson

Part 2: Does the rest of life on Earth matter? Impacts of destructive population momentum, why the silence on population? The great backtrack.


Life on the Brink: Environmentalists Confront Overpopulation
Authors: Philip Cafaro, Eileen Crist
Publisher: The University of Georgia Press, www.ugapress.org
ISBN: 978-0-8203-4385-3
Price: $24.95 www.amazon.com

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

Critical Mass – Official Trailer

Critical Mass is a feature documentary about the impact of human population growth and consumption on the planet and on our psychology. Learn more www.criticalmassfilm.com

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