"The power of population is so superior to the power of the earth to produce subsistence for man that premature death must in some shape or other visit the human race. The vices of mankind are active and able ministers of depopulation. They are the precursors in the great army of destruction, and often finish the dreadful work themselves. But should they fail in this war of extermination, sickly seasons, epidemics, pestilence, and plague advance in terrific array, and sweep off their thousands and tens of thousands. Should success be still incomplete, gigantic inevitable famine stalks in the rear and with one mighty blow levels the population with the food of the world".
Thomas Robert Malthus (1766 -- 1834) A quote from An essay on the principle of population. Chapter VII, p61
Well the Malthusian's (and their splinter groups) are at it again. In their argument for "sustainable population" we see, yet again, a variance of the principles of Western Medicine which consists solely upon treating symptoms while ignoring treatment of the cause of the disease (or worse, preventing alternative treatment) when they should be concentrating upon the root cause and treating adjuncts to that only as needed.*
that was much more PC than saying, "" principles of Western Medicine which
consists of let's poison their children at birth and medicate them more when
the symptoms of poisoning show, making it both mandatory and expensive for
which we should be blessed; "treat" but don't cure adults, remember
healthcare makes money, pray daily to Big Pharma for relief of your bills; make
their elderly die painfully, slowly (with due regard for insurance coverage),
milking it for all they can while, through all the aforementioned processes,
insuring that no one else gets a piece of the action (especially anyone with an
Sorry, I digressed.
First off we have a world population currently at 6.8 billion people. Is this a drain on the environment? Yes, yes it is, most assuredly. Do we have to kill off 9/10ths of humanity to balance things so we're "sustainable"? What do you have in mind, a lottery? Hey that would be fair! No, really! You can trust the government! They'd do that Matrix blue pill -- red pill thing: you'd go in a booth and this guy would say, "Take the Blue Pill and you'll just go to sleep knowing you've helped save the world. Or, you Dastard, you can take the Red Pill, and just walk out the back." Of course both pills would kill you but it would be voluntary. Ok, so no, no we don't, not even close. Use birth-control methods to reduce the birth rate worldwide? Sure. Make it mandatory in order to receive welfare of any kind anywhere in the world? No question. But do we do it upon the basis of "everyone else but me"? No.
Why? Because we're not lemmings last time I looked; capable of acting like lemmings, sure thing. Never underestimate the power of human stupidity. One thing our technological advancement has failed to achieve is a truly "fool proof" device, largely due to the fact that each and every year they come out with new, improved fools. We all laugh at popular cartoon productions which end with a static drawing and the title "Stupid Monkey" because we all know a "stupid monkey" or two (you know, the other guy). Doubters, at this point, can search "Darwin Awards" for relevant examples. But just because we enjoy the entertainment value of their decision making processes (ie. America's Funniest Videos, Tosh.0, YouTube or the Republican Primaries) does not mean we should have these people in charge. For instance, I'll bet in advance that some comments on this article will present statistical evidence to "prove" that the "only" solution is massive, immediate population reduction to "sustainable levels". The number usually bandied about is between 250 to 500 million people in a total, worldwide human population. So here is a statistic for you: a lot of people talk about the one percent controlling the rest. Expand that to 5% to include the "moderately rich" (people who own the resources) as opposed to the "paper rich" and the number becomes 340 million people (give or take). Now here's the kicker, where do you fall in this scale? Do you have a "Save the Rich" sticker next to your "Green" stickers on your SUV? For me that doesn't have the same emotional weight as "Save the Whales".
So, for those of us opposed to kicking off WWIII, what does that leave? Quite a bit actually. 7/10ths of the world is covered with water; we haven't even begun sustainable usage or populating the majority of the planet. A large floating city in the Pacific could maintain a sizable population by retrieving and recycling plastic [ Great Pacific Garbage Patch ] and I understand there's a similar one in the Atlantic as well. Arcologies: Instead of a city covering 150 sq mi, a hundred and fifty story building on one square mile. The rest of the solar system: we have both the tech and ability of constructing a "Space Elevator" for our access to space and a means of bringing back resources. Maybe a commercial shuttle system using smaller parasite shuttles launched at 60,000 feet from existing aircraft. On a more mundane level, in 2010 34 MILLION TONS of food was wasted in the US, 33 million after deducting recycling. Using the upper end weight of an MRE (meals ready to eat) at 1.5lbs you're looking at 45,333,333,333 (45.3 BILLION) meals. That's a lot of fed hungry children, if it wasn't going into landfills. Or at an even more basic level, 33 million tons of food waste recycled by worms into nutrient rich topsoil for organic gardening, thus avoiding, at least, tons of methane released into the atmosphere through decomposition while providing a necessary resource.
How about planned obsolescence? Planning failure of a product to ensure future sales is a resource sucking Black Hole in any economy. Do you know why they stopped making Corningware? I don't know the "official" reason why they stopped making the Blue Cornflower marked product I remember from childhood (and still own) but I suspect that, since the original CorningWare was virtually indestructible, they needed something that would break and give people a reason to buy more over time, rather than using the same pieces for fifty years. I do know that their "CorningWare Lite" is depressingly fragile in comparison. I had (stolen much later) a 1958 Craftsman Circular saw that I bought at a garage sale back in 1984. I put a new power cord on it and replaced the "brushes", then went to work with it. I assisted in the construction of 21 homes and other projects with that as my main framing tool and it never failed me. Actually, it's always nice to see someone who sneered at your "antique section of metabolic refuse"* when he sees his Brand New, Ultra-Modern, same Hp and Amps (for the aficionados) , Hi-Speed Circular Saw jam time after time in material half as thick as mine breezed through. There are lots of examples, if you can't think: Google. Unfortunately, planned obsolescence, in a non-monopoly situation, is largely our fault. I'm not saying corporations haven't done damage on their own but our own buying habits are to blame.
*Note: Please be advised that the aforementioned phrase is metaphorically correct while not a strictly exact quote.
Sorry, digressed again; is my face red or what?
You have to understand that it's our thinking processes that must change in order to support and expand our civilization. For instance, you want better products? Don't buy cheap ones. WHAT THEY CAN'T SELL THEY WON'T MARKET! If you can't stop growth completely, give it an outlet. But you have to follow new ways and means, because the old system doesn't have the answers.
Here's an expansion of my aforementioned population solutions ["Stay on target.., stay on target..,"]:
Detroit* covers 143 square miles of land; it could be replaced with a 1 square mile building 150 stories tall. This is called an Arcology. A Thorium based nuclear power plant would supply it and the surrounding Metro Detroit area with power. For that matter, the almost 4000 square mile Metro-Detroit area could be replaced by 12 buildings of 1.5 square miles by 150 floors. That's reducing 4000 square miles to just 27 square miles. Use the same people transporting systems they use at Disney World. Use high speed monorail to connect all twelve to each other, the Port, and the Airport. "We have the technology, we can build them faster, stronger".., anywhere in the world. Build in black water and gray water systems with separate treatment plants, fully recycled disposal facilities (including chemical cremation), full climate control, no cars, no roads; this is within our capabilities.
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