Category Archives: global warming

As Population Peaks There is One Certainty: Things Will Be Messy and Complicated


We humans are clearly overrunning the planet, but few understand or will face what is happening.  As population hits an all-time peak later this century, life on the planet will get much tougher and there will be no simple answers to the problems that will arise or simply increase in severity.  While it is hard to see ahead with any detail, past experience says there will never be a single crisis that challenges humanity like overpopulation does (barring an asteroid impact, a global volcanic surprise, or the sun doing something unexpected).  This is because human nature drives us to want to live better and have more children.  Can we successfully change ourselves to have less offspring and live more sustainably?  Continue reading

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The Thirst for Economic Growth is Normal, But It Increases Overpopulation Risks


People all over the world want economic growth, believing it will make them better off, and who can blame them?  But how much bigger can we grow before our global systems begin to come apart at the seams? Continue reading

Remembering the Monarch Butterfly Migration


Yesterday as I walked outside the building where I work, a single monarch butterfly was working its way up wind across the parking lot, heading South.  The day before in the afternoon a single monarch butterfly was working its way south, slowly flapping up and over my house, also headed south.  Was it always like this? ( It was not!) Continue reading

Mixed News and Misconceptions Regarding Our Future


Awareness of humanity’s biggest problems is rising.  While there appears to finally be a slow groundswell of popular understanding and alarm about what humans are doing to the planet (which is quite late but very good), there is still a lot of mishandling (and often misrepresentation) of the news. This results in persistent widespread misconceptions about our position and probable future on the planet.  So what kinds of things are we “not getting”? Continue reading

Organic Farming Will Replace Current Farming Methods as the Population Peaks


Food systems are going to be of primary importance as population peaks.  If, as the UN says, population will reach more than 9 billion in the 2040’s before beginning a steep decline, the causes of that decline are important to consider today.  A historical review of population reductions shows that neither war nor the natural disasters we’ve seen so far make a noticeable difference, but suggests that famine and possibly disease have the potential to make major reductions in the population.  Decades ago I expected that we might pollute our world so badly that average lifespans would fall, but there has been some progress on preserving the environment and it appears that energy and food shortages created by overpopulation are bigger concerns.  (Of course, the primary concern SHOULD be overpopulation itself, as these other problems are results of it.)  If organic food and farming methods are more costly than agribusiness’ methods now, why would they replace the hugely productive methods used to produce most food in the developed world today? Continue reading

Are We Lemmings?


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Are we smarter than lemmings?  It’s time for humanity to prove how smart we are.    We are faced with the biggest crisis we, and perhaps any species on the planet, has ever faced: our own overpopulation.  But are we going to continue to grow our numbers until the massive and complicated systems by which we sustain ourselves collapse, essentially “marching off a cliff” as lemmings were once said to do?  Or are we smart enough to curb our population growth and find a way to a sustainable world situation? Continue reading

The Quality of Future Life on Earth Depends on Changing the Way We Think


Are we reaching the practical limits of our intelligence as a species?  Looking around at our world it seems obvious that we are making huge problems for ourselves by growing faster and more numerous than our environment can sustain.  Politically and economically we appear to be functioning more and more in a “thrashing” mode, where our actions are not well-considered or coördinated, the outcomes fail to reflect lasting or meaningful improvements, and we fail to reduce the risks of big problems that are becoming more obvious every day.  It seems we need to become smarter about ourselves and our world, and take a more realistic view of our global problems. But what factors are preventing us from doing this, and what improved understanding must we gain to make improvements?  We can’t all be experts, but in the United States we all can vote and need to do so intelligently to ensure our leaders are capable of solving the big problems we face.  Can we learn and change our thinking and voting in time to avoid ever larger problems in the future? Continue reading