Part 10: Root cause of humanity’s predicament
“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, Oceanographer
Who among us saw as much of the world and our surrounding oceans as the famed Jacques-Yves Cousteau? Look at any video of our oceans both on the surface and in the depths, and you will find yourself mesmerized by Cousteau’s epic camera work. He loved the oceans. He helped invent the scuba tank that allowed humans to dive beneath the waves.
Why would he make such a profound statement as you read above if he didn’t understand our predicament as to human overpopulation? An even better question: why haven’t the leaders of the world responded? How about the religions of the world? How about ordinary citizens of the world already suffering by several billion via the onslaught of overpopulation? Answer: mass denial, illiteracy, stupidity, religious insanity and greed.
This year, in 2013, 10 million children face starvation. Another eight million adults face starvation or related problems leading to death. Total: 18 million people. That occurs every year, year after year, decade after decade. Yet, via mass denial, humans add a total over 137 million new babies to the planet every year. The first 57 million replace those humans that died and the next 80 million humans add, net gain, to the world population now at 7.1 billion.
With all the intelligence and understanding we posses, not one world leader addresses the starvation rates or the magnitude of the population explosion.
Let’s discuss water: every 21 seconds, a child dies from water related diseases. More than 3.4 million people die each year from water, sanitation, and hygiene-related causes. Nearly all deaths, 99 percent, occur in the developing world. Lack of access to clean water and sanitation kills children at a rate equivalent of a jumbo jet crashing every four hours. Of the 60 million people added to the world’s towns and cities every year, most move to informal settlements (i.e. slums) with no sanitation facilities. Over 780 million people lack access to an improved water source; approximately one in nine people.
An American taking a five-minute shower uses more water than the average person in a developing country slum uses for an entire day. Over 2.5X more people lack water than live in the United States. (Source: www.water.org)
Over 1,000 children in India die every day from diarrhea, dysentery and other water-borne disease. Yet, India adds 12 million more people to its country annually in spite of the misery, suffering, malnutrition, environmental degradation, polluted rivers and outright horrendous living conditions in that country for hundreds of millions all the way to their total of 1.2 billion—and headed for 1.6 billion within 37 years. (Source: www.populationmedia.org )
Religious insanity: let’s talk about the Catholic Church, Islam, Hindus and all the other ancient religions that fight against birth control. With all the misery exploding, the Pope refuses to step into the 21st century and advocate for birth control. His troglodyte mind cannot advance to logical and rational thinking for taking action in the 21st century. He promotes human misery on a scale not seen in all of history. He represents “religious insanity.” Same for Islam, Hindus and the rest of the myopic, illiterate religions of the world!
Illiteracy: let’s talk about what drives such fecundity rates. While they starve like flies in Africa, women average 8.2 kids during their fertile years. Muslims, Christians and other tribal people birth more kids than “Toys R Us” can produce plastic tricycles. Illiteracy begets more children and more children beget more starvation and more starvation creates an endless cycle of human misery not comprehended in the Western world; except for those pointless “Feed the Children” programs that beg for money. The more we feed their numbers, the greater their numbers. Noble, but stupid! Why? Answer: the more you feed starving people, the more they reproduce beyond their carrying capacity, which means they end up starving in greater numbers.
Greed: nothing like capitalism and other forms of endless growth systems that support endless growth on every level. Heads of corporations refuse to deal with reality, the facts or anything that denies them more production, more products, more plastic, more money and more power. Pretty sickening, actually. Mother Nature doesn’t stand a chance against such human greed. At least, not for the moment—in the end She always bats last, i.e. Katrina, Sandy, earthquakes, deserts, starvation, disease.
Cousteau nailed it, but we continue to ignore that wise man. We need to take action to change the underlying cause of most of the planet’s exploding environment, chemical, extinction and related problems.
Dr. Jack Alpert of www.skil.org said, “There are many experts in the world. Each, from his or her area of expertise (soil, water, energy, biodiversity, waste impacts, food, conflict, minerals, metals) reports degradation, exhaustion and civilization disruption. The collective human needs of 7.1 billion people are bigger than the earth’s production. Call this overshoot. Overshoot exists even if human footprint does not expand. When, for example, fossil energy diminishes overshoot increases.
“In the natural world overshoot is followed by collapse. Too many wolves for the available caribou and the wolf population dies back. We humans are little different from wolves. On the upside we have technology that might get more from less. On the downside each human is not equal in his or her consumption. The haves (a billion) consume many times the have nots (6 billion.) As the scarcity continues to increase (because soil is lost, land inundates, weather changes, energy deliveries decrease by half by 2050) the haves will consume the food that fed 6 billion have nots.
“The have nots will starve or fight to survive. The social conflict will engulf everyone by 2060. By the end of the century, after we have squandered our one time bounty of resources, less than 500 million people will be living at subsistence.
“That is not anyone’s plan. It is the result of our current course. Our solution is almost like that of the wolves. The strong survive. Or the strong quickly kill off the weak so the existing caribou can support them. Humans have an additional alternative, we can stop having babies until our population declines enough to be supported by earth.”
Frosty Wooldridge is a Population-Immigration-Environmental specialist: speaker at colleges, civic clubs, high schools and conferences. Facebook: Frosty Wooldridge. Facebook Adventure Page: How to Live a Life of Adventure: The Art of Exploring the World. www.HowToLiveALifeOfAdventure.com. www.frostywooldridge.com.