- Before Legislation Comes Education
We need a crash course in Education - for Sustainability,
for Survival, for Transition to Sustainability, and for exploring
afresh the meaning of Life and Humankind on Earth, so that
we can all help in the Great Transition in as civilized a
way as possible.
is a word many people don't like to hear.
But the longer we delay taking population control
on board, to rebuild sustainability, the more our children
will suffer as "overshoot" of population
causes dramatic environmental degradation, where the
environment can no longer support the population which
then dies off through wars, disease, and starvation.
This has happened many times before in human history,
but only to limited areas - our ability to wreak damage
is now a lot bigger.
We need to go through a huge paradigm shift
- and nobody wants to do that until they are really
desperate. But this is War Effort time now.
Science can provide temporary help
- regarding population, the help can never be anything
but temporary. It is still up to us all to envision,
agree, and legislate sensible behaviour conducive to
sustainability. And if we do not face the full facts,
Science will be less than helpful. The Green Revolution
of the seventies allowed the population to grow far
larger than seemed possible earlier - but this has NOT
taken away the fact of overpopulation, it has only postponed
the day of reckoning and ultimately made the reckoning
even harder. Nothing like the Green Revolution has emerged
since then or is likely to emerge. We have got to grasp
the issue ourselves.
For many women, childbearing feels like their only
fulfilling purpose in life, and for many, children
seem so sacred, and sex so private, that people dare
not consider legislating limits. However, the
world's population now seriously exceeds its current
carrying capacity. We have been celebrating a party,
having a binge, suffering an addiction, and this is
seriously robbing vital resources from future
generations, our children's children. Overpopulation
happens through many things in addition to expanding
population size: cutting down or burning more trees
than are planted, overfishing, denaturing the soil,
exhausting non-renewable resources like oil, and putting
greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
It is urgent beyond
all belief that we work now to lessen the level
of catastrophe in a few years' time. Why do people not
want to face the real truth? Why do they go into denial
and make the problem so much worse thereby for their
own children? Why do they think "it doesn't matter
- I can't make a real difference - it's just me"?
Some of my family and my best friends have big families.
We could afford it, they say. Yes, but only on the back
of cheap oil, and at the terrible price of leaving little
for their children, and doing little to actually rebuild
We have to crack the big challenge - how to
work globally. We've got to crack it. If we
don't, it's goodbye humankind. We are already wasting
unspeakable resources in warfare that could be used
to feed, clothe, house and educate the world population,
stabilize population, and rebuild the soil, the ecosphere,
the seas, that are all being ruined so fast and so extensively.
First comes education. This needs
to be education for sustainability.
Before that comes education for survival
and for transition to true sustainability.
The situation is degrading rapidly. And before education
for survival comes education for empowerment,
to encourage people to rethink all the basics of life,
meaning and purpose, to think for themselves,
to gather evidence for themselves, to distance themselves
from the current paradigms which are stuck in selfish
materialism which can only lead to destruction for everyone.
People need to become aware of the lies and distractions
that get propagated by big business, that have taken
over most of the media (not all), that have lulled most
(not all) people into a false security or into thinking
there is nothing that lone individuals can do. Before
people can build confidence to think for themselves,
they need to rediscover the feel and nature of truth.
Nature can teach us and so can our con-science,
our in-tuition. Before finding help comes the
harsh awakening. We need to see that we have become
like the alcoholic in the gutter, the Prodigal
Son. Like these, we need to ask for a higher
Power to help us find the strength again to stand upright,
be upright, become more fully human, and help
from Zero Population Growth May Occur
By 2020 Or Sooner
by Mark Elsis http://www.overpopulation.net
The human population
of Earth reached 1 billion in 1804, 2 billion in 1927,
3 billion in 1959, 4 billion in 1974 and 5 billion in
late 1986. In 1999 we reached 6 billion. The population
doubled from 3 billion in 1959 to 6 billion in 1999.
This doubling of population in 40 years will never happen
The exponential rate of population growth peaked
in 1987. That year 87 million more people were
added to the Earth. But since then, the rate of growth
has slowed down by an average of 2.1 million each year.
In 2000 the population increased by 60 million people.
But this rate of population growth has lessened further
in recent years. In 1994 we added 78.5 million more
people, 2000 added 60 million. This is 3 million less
people added each year. If we maintain this 6 year average,
we will peak in population reaching zero population
growth in 2020 with 6.64 billion people. If the rate
of increase drops even more quickly, we will reach zero
growth even sooner.
When demographers from the United Nation's did their
biennial update of world population numbers in October
of 1998 they reduced their projected average population
for 2050 from 9.4 billion to 8.9 billion. They also
reduced their low number, saying we will reach zero
population growth in 2038 @ 7.47 billion. Yet no one
seems to be looking at the way the rate of increase
has been consistently falling: we have passed
our sustainable limits for both of our major food energy
sources, grains and fish, and we are very quickly reaching
our fresh water limits. But this awareness
is not what the economic growth powers want to know.
So we have yet to recognize the probability that we
have passed the sustainable food limits that Earth can
produce relative to population. Already 4 billion people
are barely getting enough to eat with more than 1 billion
of them in total abject poverty.
Sustainability Of Soil Energy:
The rise in grain yield per hectare is slowing in all
major grain-producing regions. Since 1984, grain output
per person has fallen on average by .6 percent per year.
In 1998, the per capita grain output further declined
to 695 pounds, this is an 8 percent decline from the
peak in 1984 when the per capita grain output was 755
pounds. The slower growth in world grain harvest is
due to the lack of new land and slower growth in irrigation
and fertilizer use. Irrigated area per person, after
expanding by 30 percent from 1950 until 1978, has declined
by 4 percent. Since then the growth in the irrigated
area has fallen behind that of population. With biotechnology
neither providing nor promising any dramatic breakthrough
in raising yields, there is little hope for restoring
growth in food output.
Of Fisheries Energy:
The worldwide Fish Catch peaked in 1989 at 100 million
metric tons. Since 1989, the seafood catch per person
has fallen by 2 percent per year. Marine biologists
at the Food and Agriculture Organization report that
all 17 of the major oceanic fisheries are being fished
at or beyond capacity. Nine are in a state of collapse.
Fresh Water Limits:
Since the amount of fresh water available for human
consumption is constant, as population grows, the supply
of fresh water per person declines. As a result, the
amount of water available per person is expected to
decline by 74 percent between 1950 and 2050. Nearly
half a billion people around the world face water shortages
today. By 2025, the number is expected to grow to 2.8
billion people. Of these, at least 1 billion people
will be living in countries facing absolute water scarcity.
Most overpopulated, fast-urbanizing countries of Asia,
Latin America and Africa have to survive on largely
polluted rivers and wells. Water is a major carrier
of disease bearing germs. As many as 2.3 billion people
in the world today suffer from diseases linked to water,
such as dysentery, cholera and typhoid. Less than 1
percent of the Earth's water is fit and available for
Family Planning For Women / Literacy Rates:
Successful family planning programs have led to many
positive developments. Women's literacy rates have gone
up and they are now given a much greater role in the
society of many countries. This has increased their
knowledge of their reproduction cycles and bodies. As
a result, 75 countries from all regions of the world
now have achieved replacement level fertility rates
of 2.1 children per woman or less.
HIV Infection Rates:
All industrial countries have held HIV infection rates
of their adult populations under 1 percent but in some
countries of sub-Saharan Africa, they have climbed above
20 percent. Aside from raising mortality, the virus
also reduces fertility. Many young women will die before
they complete their childbearing years. In addition,
as the infection progresses toward full-blown AIDS,
ovulation often ceases. In 1981, there were 200,000
new infections; in 1998, there were 5.8 million new
from The Population Explosion
by Paul and Anne Ehrlich http://dieoff.org/page27.htm
When people think of crowded countries, they usually
contemplate places like the Netherlands (1,031 per square
mile), Taiwan (1,604), or Hong Kong (14,218). Yet the
Dutch seem to be thriving, and doesn't Hong Kong have
a booming economy and fancy hotels? The key to understanding
overpopulation is not population density but the area's
carrying capacity. When is an area overpopulated? When
its population can't be maintained without rapidly depleting
nonrenewable resources and without degrading the capacity
of the environment to support the population.
By this standard, the entire planet and virtually every
nation is already vastly overpopulated. Africa is overpopulated
now because, among other indications, its soils and
forests are rapidly being depleted—and that implies
that its carrying capacity for human beings will be
lower in the future than it is now. The United States
is overpopulated because it is depleting its soil and
water resources and contributing mightily to the destruction
of global environmental systems. Europe, Japan, the
Soviet Union, and other rich nations are overpopulated
because of their massive contributions to the carbon
dioxide buildup in the atmosphere, among many other
Almost all the rich nations are overpopulated
because they are rapidly drawing down stocks of resources
around the world. They don't live solely on the land
in their own nations. Like the profligate son, they
are spending their capital with no thought for the future.
It is especially ironic
that many consider the Netherlands not to be overpopulated.
This has been called the "Netherlands Fallacy."
The Netherlands can support 1,031 people per square
mile only because the rest of the world does not. In
1984-86, the Netherlands imported almost 4 million tons
of cereals, 130,000 tons of oils, and 480,000 tons of
pulses (peas, beans, lentils). It took some of these
relatively inexpensive imports and used them to boost
their production of expensive exports—330,000
tons of milk and 1.2 million tons of meat. The-Netherlands
also extracted about a half-million tons of fishes from
the sea during this period, and imported more in the
form of fish meal.
The Netherlands is also a major importer of minerals,
bringing in virtually all the iron, antimony, bauxite,
copper, tin, etc., that it requires. Most of its fresh
water is "imported" from upstream nations
via the Rhine River. The Dutch built their wealth using
imported energy. Then, in the 1970s, the discovery of
a large gas field in the northern part of the nation
allowed the Netherlands temporarily to export as gas
roughly the equivalent in energy of the petroleum it
continued to import. But when the gas fields are exhausted,
Holland will once again depend heavily on the rest of
the world for fossil fuels or uranium.
The Netherlands didn't build their prosperity on the
bounty of the Netherlands, and are not living on it
now. Before World War II, they drew raw materials from
their colonies; today they still depend on the resources
of much of the world. Saying that the Netherlands is
thriving with a density of 1,031 people per square mile
simply ignores that those 1,031 Dutch people far exceed
the carrying capacity of that square mile.