Dealing with the burgeoning human population of the planet is vital

Donald A. Collins | 25 July 2016
Progressives for Immigration Reform

New York City by night. (Photo: Chris Chabot / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0)

Celebrating our July 4th this year by spending a quiet day at home, sans putting myself through the test of driving back from some far away alleged place to relax just in time to resume work tomorrow, I had my usual thoughts about the massive numbers of people we encounter everywhere these days – everywhere not just away.

Does it seem more crowded to you as you travel around the country? Just back from a weekend in the Big Apple, I found myself wondering how those millions in New York City manage to survive as well as they do. Of course the implosion of population into the cities of the world is already well studied.

Michael Collyer, a Reader in Geography at the UK’s University of Sussex in an November 2, 2015 article entitled “The world’s urban population is growing – so how can cities plan for migrants?” reported that “The world’s population is becoming increasingly urban. Sometime in 2007 is usually reckoned to be the turning point when city dwellers formed the majority of the global population for the first time in history. Today, the trend toward urbanization continues: as of 2014, it’s thought that 54% of the world’s population lives in cities – and it’s expected to reach 66% by 2050. Migration forms a significant, and often controversial, part of this urban population growth.”

On balance Collyer sees urban migration as a positive with cities better able to handle large numbers more efficiently at close quarters. But is there any limit to numbers? Could we better handle the rise to 12 billion on the planet by 2100 from its present level of almost 8 billion? Are humans going to be better off by being crowded more and more?

This leads me to the point of my piece, a kind of Independence Day Requiem for the loss of space and privacy and slower paced living.

To me, the unspoken or unrealized truth about America’s and the world’s immigration problem is not about racism, but about quantity as the prodigious growth of human numbers has now so affected the quality of lives. Assume water is good for you, but if you drink too much you can kill yourself. Of course lack of good water is also cited as a growing problem and the insidious effects on our health from various pollutants have so far not been clearly measured and addressed.

So if the planet adds another 3 or 4 billion people by 2100 as could happen given present growth rates predicted by many experts in the next decades, will humans be better off? I may not be here to find out, thankfully.

On Independence Day 2016 we need desperately to answer that question as our independence is definitely up for grabs. But we don’t even seem to be addressing the population question anymore.

Yes, racism and other human indignities are important and far from solved, but are the survival issues being treated—you know, water, air quality, climate change, how to deal with the growing threat of terrorism which is surely a function of the crowding and migration trends so rampant already? We are so worried about finding jobs and yet fixated on adding more people when machines are automating so many of us out of work.

Have you read the late Chalmers Johnson’s seminal book, “Nemesis: The Last Days Of The American Republic”? This distinguished scholar posited the USA is the world’s number one aggressor of the last half of the 20th Century starting with the take down of the democratically elected leader of Iran, who we replaced with the Shah.

Let’s admit that ISIS is not going away so whether we can engage all the developed nations of the world in combating what our aggressiveness really began in the last half of the 20th century is another major question.

Finally, though, let’s be wise enough to realize that the immigration crisis afflicting the world today was not primarily built on racism or the intrinsic evil natures of the few who have always found ways to attack humanity. Rather the major cause is the profusion of people, simply too many to comfortably coexist in a world whose non renewable resources are increasingly decreasing.

Unless we stop looking for the evils in others, putting blame on those who can’t help themselves and failing to recognize our own misbehaviors, we will not be able to begin the hard job of reducing quantity in the pursuit of endless dangerous growth, still the mantra of too many of us. We need to quickly come to recognize and act on that famous verity from the late cartoonist, Walt Kelly’s precious possum Pogo, who said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

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)
Kindle Store

Sir David Attenborough: an interview with the Wellcome Trust

Al Bartlett – Democracy Cannot Survive Overpopulation

Humans Need Not Apply

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  1. So then if this was not an evil plan by retrograde forces, what happened to the 70’s responsible reproduction manta and zero population growth model? The Media has now been for years promoting the ‘baby bump’ and celebrities showing their bellies has been the mainstay of popular magazines for decades now.

    The ‘demographic trap’ is well know to the Elites and how it conspires to lead people into poverty. In fact, those that can most afford them, the wealthy, are notoriously careful about the number of children that they have, while at the same time promoting large families within the Middle and Lower Classes. The larger the family, the less the wealth that there is to go around. This phenomenon was well understood by the old world aristocracy, which saw their estates dissipated amongst their numerous progeny, who then, for the most part resulted, in their heirs sinking down in the social class back to the bottom. That is why the practice of ‘primogeniture’ became popular, to keep the wealth intact and moving from one generation to the next.

    The ruling elite could have just as easily engineered the world for responsible reproductive behavior, through the Media, Education and Family Planning support and empowering women and girls. But this did not happen. Though food and medicines were readily supplied by the UN and the myriad charitable agencies, such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, birth control was never on the cards. Why? It is as if they wanted to incubate a demographic trap and just before the trap started to reduce the population through famines, wars etc. the ‘humanitarian’ agencies open up the doors to mass immigration into the West.


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