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Our incredible predicament in America: the American Dream

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"Keeping the Dream Alive" by Jon Meacham, July 2, 2012, Restoring the American Dream, Time Magazine

When European settlers invaded North America, they enjoyed endless resources while they harnessed the industrial age that allowed the American Dream to manifest.   Journalist Meacham wrote about "restoring the American Dream" at the end of his report.   It will never happen for a growing block of tens of millions of Americans. Today, with a 315 million population, we suffer 46 million subsisting on food stamps.   Over 13 million children live below the poverty line.   Over 14 million cannot secure a job.   Big city schools suffer 50 to as high as 70 percent dropout rates which adds to intractable illiteracy akin to third world countries.      

At the same time, America, via mass immigration, races toward adding a net gain of 138 million people within 38 years. (Source: PEW Hispanic Center, "US Population Projections" Fogel/Martin, US Census Bureau)   Those growing numbers will stress water, energy, resource and environmental   "carrying capacity" beyond its limits.   Our standard of living and resource use cannot be sustained with endless population growth.   More people will mean lower wages, lower standard of living and lower quality of life--like China, India, Mexico and other overpopulated countries.  

Human overpopulation stands as the most important and ignored issue of our time.   Meacham didn't deal with it in his report. He admonished us toward economic growth, but never mentioned environmental destruction of our finite planet and resources.     While we see endless population growth consequences worldwide,   we refuse to make the connection to America as if we are immune.   We are not!   We shall see from such books as Chris Clugston's   Scarcity--a comprehensive analysis of nonrenewable natural resource scarcity and its implications and consequences for humanity.

He writes, "The prevailing perception among the American public that we are currently experiencing "temporary hard times"; but because our "leaders" are implementing the proper mix of economic and political "fixes", life will be "back to normal" soon. While this perception is understandable given our historical experience, it is also wrong. There can be no recovery this time."

Nonrenewable Natural Resources--Industrialized Humanity's Fundamental Enablers

"Humanity's industrial lifestyle paradigm--our "American way of life"--is enabled almost exclusively by enormous and ever-increasing quantities of finite and non-replenishing nonrenewable natural resources (NNRs)--fossil fuels, metals, and nonmetallic minerals," said Clugston. "NNRs serve as the raw material inputs to our industrialized economy, as the building blocks that comprise our industrialized infrastructure and support systems, and as the primary energy sources that power our industrialized society.   NNRs comprise approximately 95% of the raw material inputs to the US economy each year. In 2008, we Americans used nearly 6.5 billion tons of newly mined NNRs--an almost incomprehensible 162,000% increase since the year 1800--which equated to approximately 43,000 pounds per US citizen."

As Clugston reports, we cannot continue our civilization as these resources deplete and vanish.    He's not alone.   Dr. Albert Bartlett states the same in "Arithmetic, Population and Energy". (Source: www.albartlett.org )   Dr. William Catton said the same in his book Overshoot.   Dr. Joseph Tainter said it in Collapse of Complex Societies.   Dr. Jack Alpert proves it at www.skil.org .

Our president and Congress can't or won't see it.  Most Americans cannot see the outcome of massive population growth.  Nonetheless, this predicament races toward us at blinding and methodical speed--at our own hands.

"Unlimited population growth cannot be sustained; you cannot sustain growth in the rates of consumption of resources. No species can overrun the carrying capacity of a finite land mass. This Law cannot be repealed and is not negotiable." Dr. Albert Bartlett, www.albartlett.org , University of Colorado, USA.

How can we change the outcome?  We must change the population-immigration dynamic.  Our country as well as all countries of the world must engage population policies toward a sustainable future.  We must not only stabilize our populations via birth control, we must gracefully begin to decline them before Mother Nature does it for us--rather brutally.


Frosty Wooldridge has bicycled across six continents - from the Arctic to the South Pole - as well as six times across the USA, coast to coast and border to border. In 2005, he bicycled from the Arctic Circle, Norway to Athens, Greece. His latest book is: How to Live a Life of Adventure: The Art of Exploring the World by Frosty Wooldridge, copies at 1 888 280 7715/ Motivational program: How to Live a Life of Adventure: The Art of Exploring the World by Frosty Wooldridge, click:



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Frosty Wooldridge Bio: Frosty Wooldridge possesses a unique view of the world, cultures and families in that he has bicycled around the globe 100,000 miles, on six continents and six times across the United States in the past 30 years. His books (more...)
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