No Ordinary Time For Humans

By Donald A. Collins | 19 June 2020
Church and State

Women dressed as handmaids protest against US vice-president Mike Pence. (Photo: Matt Rourke / AP)

Never on this planet has electronic information access been so readily available to so many people, but especially to the world leaders who are in positions to make meaningful decisions for constructive changes based on available data!

In fact our rapidly and overpoweringly proliferating electronic mass media now puts up data on virtually everything that can be measured. We have hardly any excuse to not see trends and problems faster and more clearly than ever before in our history.

Take for example the ironic example about those daily instant facts about the Coronavirus outbreak which Martin Smith so perfectly told us the history about on Frontline. Unfortunately, as we learn daily that information was not effectively used to save human lives and the prospect for viral resurgence is reported daily in multiple places both here and abroad.

As my readers know, my recent op ed pieces have emphasized the dangers of the size of human numbers in the world. That number which in my lifetime (born 1931) has exploded from 2 billion to almost 8 billion with experts projecting that there will be 10 billion of us by the 2050’s.

In short to borrow Doris Kearns Godwin’s 1994 book title No Ordinary Time, that we urgently need to recognize that for all of us humans now is no ordinary time.

It took a meteor hit in the Yucatán some 60 million years ago to end the age of the dinosaurs. As the result of marvelous scientific sleuthing we have tracked Earth’s origins from its start 4.5 billion years ago to now. From the then fiery hurtling massive rocks to the cooling surfaces without oxygen to our presently habitable Earth the evolution was amazing just as our ability to deduce that prior history from examinations of the physical evidence in rocks and fossils. Those collections of dinosaur bones was just a first step in the progress we have made in analyzing our planetary history.

Now however staring us in the face is the concept of limits! No one knows what those ultimate limits for human numbers might be, but we can surmise that the present human conflicts around our world, environmental destruction and general poverty and human despair argue that if we value and see democracy and human freedom as exemplary goals for humans, such conditions will likely not survive as human numbers continue to expand at 76 million or so annually.

So as we watch the current US presidential campaign rattle on sadly with neither party at all engaged in pondering this most critical question about the future wellbeing of humans, we are unlikely to hear either candidate or for that matter any other powerful world leader taking up the cudgel for the only benign solution to this pending human disaster.

That solution has been posed by experts for decades, but blocked in its path by powerful traditional enemies of equity and freedom.

As David Attenborough states so clearly women must be given full access to reproductive freedom and equal political rights which have long been widely denied to women worldwide. As Attenborough notes if women had these freedoms, it has been widely demonstrated already that women will have fewer children if so empowered.

That’s the benign solution. The other avenues to no solution are vicious, undemocratic and dangerous. Also well proven daily now by stories in the mass media.

Biden’s choice for a woman Vice Presidential running mate is good, just as Obama’s selection and service as a two term President was widely viewed by a substantial majority of American voters as a vitally progressive occurrence.

But the time is very late and the urgency of activating broad effective actions for women’s freedom is certainly not felt by enough world leaders.

Both secular and religious enemies for change have inhibited the necessary power shift to women’s rights although US women have increasingly gained some of those rights in this century.

It is indeed no ordinary time and the meteor of destruction that killed the dinosaurs will not likely strike our planet now with the numerous alert systems now in place to guard against such a possibility.

Yes, Coronavirus is a major factor now unsolved, as is our frightening ignorance about racism which is a worldwide condition. But the pressures of human numbers will prove to be the dominant force in creating conditions which will make our lives increasingly unstable and unsustainable!

The true irony is that this really major threat to human life was best stated by that famous cartoon character Pogo Possum, a daily comic strip that was created by cartoonist Walt Kelly and was syndicated to American newspapers from 1948 until 1975. It has since been revived.

Wikipedia describes Pogo as “An amiable, humble, philosophical, personable, everyman opossum. Kelly described Pogo as ‘the reasonable, patient, softhearted, naive, friendly person we all think we are’ in a 1969 TV Guide interview. The wisest (and probably sanest) resident of the swamp, he is one of the few major characters with sense enough to avoid trouble. Though he prefers to spend his time fishing or picnicking, his kind nature often gets him reluctantly entangled in his neighbors’ escapades. He is often the unwitting target of matchmaking by Miz Beaver (to the coquettish Ma’m’selle Hepzibah), and has repeatedly been forced by the swamp’s residents to run for president, always against his will. He wears a simple red and black striped shirt and (sometimes) a crushed yellow fishing hat. His kitchen is well known around the swamp for being fully stocked, and many characters impose upon him for meals, taking advantage of his generous nature. His full name is Ponce de Leon Montgomery County Alabama Georgia Beauregard Possum—a parody of the blueblood aristocracy of the Old South!”

As you recall, Pogo’s most famous pronouncement was “We have met the enemy and he is us!”

There’s a lot of wisdom in Kelly’s strip!

Former US Navy officer, banker and venture capitalist, Donald A. Collins, a free lance writer living in Washington, DC., has spent over 40 years working for women’s reproductive health as a board member and/or officer of numerous family planning organizations including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Guttmacher Institute, Family Health International and Ipas. Yale under graduate, NYU MBA. He is the author of From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013.

From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013

By Donald A. Collins
Publisher: Church and State Press (July 30, 2014)
ASIN: B00MA40TVE
Kindle Store

David Attenborough | “The source of all our problems = POPULATION GROWTH”

Reproductive Rights & the Women Who Sparked a Movement | Retro Report

Jane Goodall – Overpopulation in the Developing World

The Origin of “Limits to Growth” – Interview with Dennis Meadows

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