I used to find dead turtles on the road that I took to University each day. Springtime was the worst. For some reason, the Blandings Turtle must like to move from areas of more water to areas of less water when the seasons change. The urge to mate and continue their species pushes them to risk death at the hands of humans and their car wheels in the process. I first noticed this many years ago, but over time there have been less and less of this threatened species dying in this way. I still drive down that road slowly each spring to see how my fertile friends are faring and the news is very very bad. I used to think that people driving that road were getting nicer, or seeing the turtles more, swerving to avoid them. The sad fact is that humans are probably just presented with fewer chances to hit one. As the turtle population diminishes, less are crushed because they no longer cross that road.
World population, for humans at least, has been on an unprecedented upward trajectory for the better part of a century. As we have increased our numbers, many experts have posited a variety of reasons for the increases. Most “scientific” explanations however, had more bias and conjecture behind them than actual fact. Two of the saddest reasons that I have seen operate first hand are a result of the most dastardly institution on the planet, namely, religious doctrine. The first, based on a fictitious attribution, claims that we were told by our God that it is our job to… go forth and multiply. I suppose, when our numbers were minuscule compared to today, or when amassing armies to try to defeat rival religious sects, fodder for the killing fields was necessary, but we must keep things in perspective. If it comes down to another all-out Holy War, we are tragically outnumbered and as the Native Americans found over a century ago, the Gods cannot protect one from lances, bullets, or in our day and age, radiation. The second real and powerful reason for an upward, exponential spiral in our number has been the “obedience clause” that so deeply inhabits world religions. Bear in mind, the harsh conditions which most of the world population lives under. Not only can women in some regions expect over half of their live births to end in tragedy, but the very real expectation of having children support you in old age still exists. When times get tough, the first people who get “thrown away” by society are the young men who supposedly can care for themselves. Roving bands of boys, or young men are not known for making good choices and when you add guns to the mix, the possibility of the worst happening are quite high.
Whatever our reasons for increasing our number, Calvinists still cling to the theory that all of the world’s impoverished have made poor moral choices and therefore deserve their plight anyway and unlike Karma, which might get you in either this moment or future lifetimes, Calvinists believe that god will punish you for your evil ways immediately and forever. They actually believe that the poor, abused, disenfranchised and ignorant are bearing the burden of their own immorality. Sick.
There are those who still claim that we are under a different set of rules than the rest of nature. I cannot abide by this theory. From what I have seen, we are really not much different than the animals. The only traits that I have witnessed in humans that are not mirrored in nature are malice and deceit, certainly not traits that we would purposely foist upon our progeny. In fact, the few indications that we humans are the most likely species to be spawned by aliens are meaningless in the face of the fact that we are now earthbound just like the rest of the planet’s creatures. Understanding the population pressures on resources and their ultimate results, should end the flapping of “scientific” jaws and rather than rationalizing who is “right” or “wrong”, accept the very real state that we find ourselves in and begin to change our habits, slowing the rampant growth of our kind and begin to understand the changes we have made on the planet, so they can be adjusted to.
My favorite explanation for runaway population statistics is not an explanation at all, it is more a noticeable change that occurs under certain circumstances. Who would care whether it is a cause or an effect? Educated women bear fewer children in their lifetimes than uneducated women. Aside from the obvious risk inherent in this process, (Watch the movie Idiocracy for clarification) namely the dumbing down of entire populations, this more than anything else, begs our response as compassionate humans, to educate our young women. Our future existence may depend on immediately learning to help women worldwide use their intellect to better and enrich both the lives of the fewer children that they bear as well as the planet which supports us all. Men certainly have failed to heed the need for well-considered action.
Men, of course not all of them, but a goodly number, have proven that their involvement in child-rearing need only be momentary. Frequently their approach to “development” has resembled rape rather than loving co-existence. Considering that doing a good job at parenting requires the majority of an adults time for up to twenty years, saddling a woman with ten children almost assures that she will be fitting two lifetimes of work into half her lifespan. Add to this the culture of male dominance that has spread across our planet like a cancer and you have a second complicating factor in the development of reasonable limits to world population. If the privileged sex is allowed to procreate at will, their reasons will frequently wax pathological. Sexual abuse, child sexual abuse and sex trades all revolve around a single issue with two sides, male dominance and it’s result, the oppression of women.
We have entered the downside of Peak Oil in 2009 and 2010 the costs of oil exploration, finding new deposits, developing wells, transportation of the crude and refining continued to spiral upward and oil production stayed steady. This has never occurred in the history of oil. Production costs always went down, over time, in the face of greater production. That is why oil has been the most profitable activity that humans have ever engaged in, bar none. We continue to hurtle to a crash but myopic individuals refuse to step back and gain a bit of perspective. In my experience, that’s when you are most likely to hit the wall.
Nature shows us that ignoring population pressure leads to inevitable crashes. We can either change our ways voluntarily, of things will be taken care of for us by Mother Nature. We can rest assured that her way will be brutal and undeniably effective. Sitting on our hands has not worked. “Trusting the Lord” has not worked, trying to export liberal values into foreign cultures has not worked, perhaps the only way to get things under control is to wait and see what we will have to face next. As odd as it may sound, perhaps nuclear accidents are a reasonable way to pare down human population. Thirty five million souls were vanquished according to the Russian leaders after Chernobyl. Japan is far more heavily populated and as long as their nuclear reactors are left exposed to the environment, radiation will continue to escape. Plutonium, which is escaping as I write this, has a half-life of 24,000 years. That’s longer than seven generations by a factor of 171.42 times! I can’t tell you what will happen in that time frame, but by then we will be halfway out of the woods, if we stop the insanity now!
Come walk along the shore of Lake Michigan to lend your voice to the chorus calling for a nuclear free future. Saturday, April 23rd, 2011 we will be gathering just North of the Kewaunee Nuclear Facility at Noon. We will walk from there, past another nuclear facility, Point Beach Power Station, which has two more reactors. From there, we will continue on to a pot-luck picnic on the beach at the North End of Point Beach State Forest. please bring as many folks as possible. Share your day with us as we pledge to do what is right for future generations. We would be glad to see you and you will be proud that you did spend the day with folks who will not stand idly by while our great grandchildren have their birthright taken from them by the few greedy individuals reaping the benefits of massive government subsidies for this short-sighted and ignorant method of electric power generation.