What Can Be Done Now To Save Habitable Life On Planet Earth?

By Donald A. Collins | 20 October 2021
Church and State

(Credit: Dreamstime.com)

Reading or listening to events of the day can be very depressing, particularly if you are not deeply preoccupied with daily jobs or compelling avocations.

Even at 90, as I am, asking the above profound question, as I do constantly, does keep energizing me.

My earlier Op Ed pieces on planetary ills can be revisited on this site, which is so richly endowed by its principal editors with the writings of others on topics which profoundly influence the chances for the habitability of our human species on an earth we have so fecklessly savaged.

Seeming unawareness of the urgency of these looming threats by so many Americans, makes me pessimistic about a happy ending!

The list provided by a bright and informed family member of mine and contained on two of my recent Op Eds is repeated here for third time to allow my augmenting comments below her list.

Our nation’s situation and the slow chipping away & destruction of our democracy have become so disheartening, so negative, so frightening that many former politically savvy individuals are so turned off right now, so dismayed & discouraged that choosing not to watch the news in order to maintain one’s sanity has become the day-by-day reality.

It all seems so overwhelmingly apocalyptic.

Yes, we can protest, write, support political candidates whose views reflect ours–but once elected look at what they and we face in terms of governing.

Climate Change



The Pandemic and those to come

Wildfires, Hurricanes, Floods


Inequitable distribution of wealth


480 million refugees worldwide….and on and on….

What my well informed relative well knows and could have added to her list of concerns was their universality. Think of the conditions on her list and realize they depict the worldly human failings. Including Trumpian type leaders and worse.

The absence of so many of the citizens of the world to recognize or urgently act on these onrushing calamities should be frightening but seems to most people to be just something that can be dealt with, like climate. The rest of the world needs here to as you can read here.

As for poverty, here is daunting data to read.

The world seems almost lackadaisical as we pursue our lifestyles without regard for not doing what we are being told by science and those who could act on its findings with proper funding.

If we and other capable powers don’t act, we have current leaders like Senator Manchin, who says we want to spend too much money, but don’t to the coal companies who provide the majority of fossil energy in his home state of West Virginia. The failure of Biden’s program and even getting a disastrous Trump replay in 2024 will seem in retrospect to be minor failures if attention is not paid to population limitation.

And no one is quite sure of what Arizona Senator Sinema wants except less essential funding. Will we lose Congress in the midterms? Again in retrospect in the near future, this will seem minor. As for immigration, those poverty stricken millions will keep coming to richer countries unless the world’s rich can keep those poor people in their homes with some semblance of habitability.

The current situation makes me wonder what my grandchildren and their offspring will face if, as the eminent naturalist Sir David Attenborough predicts, by 2100, that, Folks, is just in 79 years (one average human lifetime) from now, there will be 11 billion humans, instead of the nearly 8 billion here now, all competing for the less abundant resources than we have now. You can read my recent book on the population problem.

We humans as a species MAY have already passed planetary fixability and possibly survival. Are humans, largely unknowingly, plummeting into a territory of living conditions previously unknown to us? Well, as you know, the large dinosaurs who dominated the earth before the Yucatan meteor hit 70 million years ago. While a lot of lesser species survived, it only took those millions of years to get our species up and running. So why worry, right?

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, Trump Becoming Macbeth: Will our democracy survive? and We Humans Overwhelm Our Earth: 11 or 2 Billion by 2100?.

Climate change: how can poor countries grow without pollution?

Our Planet: Our Business

Sir David Attenborough on overpopulation

Overpopulation & Climate Change: A Seat at the Table

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