In Brief—An examination of the impacts of our planet’s human population and of their inherent nature. You may not agree with the author’s conclusion and are invited to tell him why you disagree with him.
The Ugly Truth About Human Nature—
Cancer cells keep reproducing until they kill the host. Humans will keep reproducing until our home is destroyed. It’s human nature to have and even enjoy sexual intercourse. In case you don’t get my point, I see humans as a cancer on planet Earth, the only home we have. The time in which we live isn’t called the Anthropocene for nothing. Humans have shaped Earth and humans will destroy it and themselves along with it.
Many of you may recognize the Clinton administration’s motto, “It’s the economy, Stupid! Well, it isn’t the economy I will focus on today, but the subject that virtually all the Important People refuse to mention even though it contributes to almost all of the environmental problems we face today: EARTH’S POPULATION.
The current population of Earth is reported to be well over 7 billion humans on the way to 8 or 9 billion or more by mid-century. Our planet’s carrying capacity is estimated to range from 2 billion humans to a wildly unrealistic 40 billion. In fact, nobody really knows how many humans can live a decent life. It’s a fool’s errand to attempt to predict the future. However, given what we know, we can make a reasonable guess…and the guess not only isn’t reassuring, it’s downright depressing.
I’ve been accused of being pessimistic or a Casandra, but the facts I present paint a realistic and shocking picture. Reality trumps optimism here.
Population and Human Nature—
Damon Runyon is alleged to have said that the reason sex is so popular is that it is centrally located. Research shows that many humans produce slightly more than two children (the replacement level). Some have as many as five or more. Humanity adds about 140 new hungry mouths every minute or roughly 70 million humans per year. Some parts of the world such as Japan and Europe are relatively stable with births and deaths about equal, but about four times as many humans live in parts of the world where the growth rate is quite rapid, well above the replacement level.
Thus, the population level coupled with the power of the sexual urge indicates that Earth will have more humans in a world that is already experiencing difficulties feeding the existing population. What’s of even more concern is that these have-nots want more of the luxuries most of us enjoy.
“I Want More of What They Have”—
It’s human nature to want more than you have, particularly if you don’t have enough to assure security. Even the Judeo-Christian Ten Commandments warn against covetousness. People in China, India and throughout Africa want a car. Corporations are responding to that desire. Cars cost money, require gas and oil and create pollution. Expanding airline travel is available to more people and causes pollution. Refrigerators require energy to run. Communications and infrastructure are expensive. Think of the goods and services that are needed to fill the demands of the have-nots.
Profit-Seeking is Destroying the Planet—
I have mentioned the demand for goods and services. Where does all this come from? Some humans invest in products and services in the expectation of earning a profit. It’s normal and the world is based on this capitalistic model. Even Communism must invest in producing what its adherents demand. Put clearly, the profit motive is universal. It also drives planetary destruction. Can you think of how to avoid this destructiveness?
Is There a Solution?—
What are the possibilities for humanity to survive? The areas are subject only to the limits of imagination. You might want to pick one or more areas and examine the possibilities from several angles. Mind Mapping, a helpful tool for organizing thoughts, can assist you.
A few areas of many can provide you with a selection from which to choose. Here are some areas for exploration that I ripped off the top of my head.
Science. Technology. Cosmology (other planets). Food. Disease. War and Peace. Conservation. Education. Equality. Climate Change. Sexual Attraction. Communication. Economics. Infrastructure.
The Inescapable Conclusion—
I have given considerable thought to a number of areas and have come to the conclusion that the population and human nature lead inexorably to the end of humanity. Consider just one factor: Earth’s resources are finite, that is, they are limited. That’s an essential element for you to factor into your thinking about possible alternatives to my conclusion.
I suggest that you set aside an hour and a half to watch the documentary “Surviving Progress.” Many of the conclusions raised in this piece are discussed in this fascinating documentary, but I believe that the final minutes are unduly optimistic. Best guess is that the producers—and maybe some of the participants—don’t want us to go away feeling the situation is hopeless.
I close with my take on the biblical admonition: “Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.” Your thoughts?