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Life Arts

Qualilty of Life: Part 22--Next Added 100 Million Americans

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Thomas Jefferson proposed that every American enjoy, "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."  Back in 1776, that meant food, shelter, a rich and rewarding family-life, spiritual awakening, employment and creative expression. 

High-speed, high-stress life— is that what YOU want?

In the 21st century, another phrase becomes more important in our high speed— high stress lives.  "Quality of life" surfaced in the American lexicon in the last twenty years.   Why?   Because we started growing too much, moved too fast and suffered accelerating consequences.

For those of you who remember the 1950s and 60s, no one ever heard about gridlock traffic, air pollution, species extinction, global warming, overpopulation, zip codes, cell phones, computers or drugs.  Most guys knew every make, model and year of our cars.  Choices included Chevy, Plymouth, Ford, Chrysler and some strange little Japanese import called a Datsun.

In 1965, Elvis Presley drove Cadillac convertibles while John Wayne assured us that the 'good guys' always wore white hats.  Jimmy Durante clowned on TV while Frank Sinatra crooned in Vegas.  Los Angeles enjoyed Sunset Strip, Route 66 and Hollywood.  California sported 16 million people. 

That was then; this is NOW

Forty years later, California sports 37.5 million high stressed, high speed, road raging, cell phone talking, grid locked traffic victims, 1.5 hour commutes, air polluted, gang infested towns and cities.  That's for starters!  California adds 40 million people by 2050.

Would anyone reading this series say that the quality of life in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Atlanta, New York City, Detroit, Miami, Houston, and our nation's capital— or any other multiple million populated city— measures up to something envisioned by our founders as reasonable and appropriate?

This year, I spent four days in Washington, DC at the www.fairus.org "Hold Their Feet to the Fire" conference, where 35 national radio hosts and hundreds of their esteemed guests (including yours truly) spoke to millions of listeners concerning the illegal alien migration invasion.  If I could get a literary handle on the East Coast, I'd say, "too many people, too many cars, too much noise, stinky, too many accidents and unbelievable grid locked traffic"— just for starters! 

In truth, DC took my breath away.

I am astounded at how people hit the expressways at 4:30 A.M., daily, to beat the rush hour.  I jumped on the Metro Subway at Shady Grove 30 miles out of Washington, DC.  By the time I reached Union Station, I felt like a sardine crammed into a tin. 

Unpleasant, unhealthy, obnoxious and insufferable!  As I stepped off the subway, little old ladies tried to run me over on their rush to the escalator.  I felt like a cork being swept away in a human ocean of people.  Every metropolitan arena features maddening crowds and endless congestion.

The traffic within and around our cities grows to crisis gridlock levels.  What's the latest plan to alleviate the beltways around our cities?  Engineers plan to build second beltways around the first beltways— some are already done!

The future will bring more overcrowding, unless—

Where does it all lead as we add 100 million more people?  What about quality of life?  What about 'peace of mind?'   First, a reminder— with thanks to Wikipedia;

Overpopulation is the condition of any organism's numbers exceeding the carrying capacity of its ecological niche. In common parlance, the term usually refers to the relationship between the human population and its environment, the Earth.

Overpopulation is not simply a function of the size or density of the population, but rather the number of individuals compared to the resources (for example, food production or water resources) and "personal space" needed for healthy survival or well-being.

Are these simple examples "good things?"

Please, stop for a moment and close your eyes as you consider our current dilemma.  Have you noticed the little advantages we lose as we overpopulate ? 

  • You must dial all 10 digits for local phone calls today because of our massive population overload in our cities— some areas have five area codes.
  • Commuters added 20 minutes to commute time in the past 15 years. They can expect to add another 20 minutes in the coming 10 years.  It's not uncommon in many states for 1.5 hour commute times.
  • In some regions you are already expected to make reservations by lottery for our national parks— within 20 years, we will all be doing that because too many people want to visit a limited space.
  • For those who want to ride a raft down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon— that lottery takes 10-12 years to gain a permit.
  • As highways overload with another 100 million people, your chances of making it to and from your destination erode dramatically— with more risk.  Currently, 44,000 people die from traffic accidents every year, and half a million are maimed to one degree or another in "accidents."  Those numbers grow exponentially as we add 100 million people.
  •  The "quality-time" that nourishes each of us diminishes; we suffer that loss.

I'm certain you can enumerate another 50 examples of the loss of quality of life from your neck of the woods.

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www.frostywooldridge.com
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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