Anyone who has been around me for any length of time knows that I don’t like people. Not people as individuals but people as an overwhelming crowd, and quite frankly, we need some crowd control. Unfortunately, I was born in paradise. California in the 1940s had about 8 million people. The last time I was there, it had 40 million. As Gertrude Stein said when she tried to go back to Oakland after a long absence: “There’s no there there.” Or to echo Joni Mitchell they paved Paradise and put up a parking lot. That realization and a sensitivity about the environment made me look at the population of the globe.
We have just been through the Ebola scare here in the US and the outbreak continues in a few countries in Africa. It is estimated that the current outbreak in Africa until contained will hit 10,000 deaths per day. Will 10,000 deaths per day put a dent in the crowd? Not a chance. Combine it with flu pandemic, a few tornadoes, earthquakes, Monsoons, and multiple wars, will it put a dent in the crowd? Not a chance.
If not a single child were born for the next 30 years and the death rate continued on the same current level, we would only be down about 1.5 billion people. There would still be about six billion left. All of those people, the majority of which are perfectly good human beings who love their family and friends just want to go about their business of working, eating, drinking, going to the bathroom, and making love to make more babies. There really isn’t anything wrong with them except that they exist.
Because they exist, they strip forests for farmland. Because they exist, they pour the products of their civilization into the oceans. Because they exist, they are destroying the habitat of all the other species on the planet. Because they exist they want to stay warm or cool. They want to cook. They want to run their machines. They want their sewage to go elsewhere. To do all those things, they strip the land of coal and oil. They drain the aquifers that took millions of year to fill. They pour carbons into the atmosphere. They heat and acidify the oceans. Quite frankly, they are really, really dirty and due to modern technology, the majority of them are useless and replaced by the machines they created.
For several million years, the human race trundled along with less than a billion people. Then they discovered germs and viruses. Magnificent! We can cure. We can save. We can keep people alive. We can fix the broken and weak among us who used to die. We can do something that no other species that has ever existed can do. We can save ourselves. Aren’t we wonderful? OOPS! We forgot to lower the birthrate to one child per couple. The chart below shows the result of that mistake.
So here is the question. How do we save the environment? Save the human race without some sort of “Soylent Green” solution?
– Jamie is a Trail Mix contributor.