This article from Wired magazine shows the weakness of American popular culture. It is good that the authors see potential problems from the population explosion, and try to come up with a way to feed the 9 billion humans expected to live by 2050, but this is a very shallow consideration. Certainly much thought and work should be applied to this issue, but do the authors think time and the population explosion will stop there? What do they expect to do when the population – enabled to have even more children by the plentiful food supply – continues to explode and reaches 10 billion, 11 billion, and then 12 billion? Continue reading
Tag Archives: education
There sure seem to be a lot of people trying to get rich quick these days, with many of them employing methods that are unethical, immoral, or downright criminal. Injustices abound, but those that involve making and keeping people poor are everywhere, and have become so blatant that some of them have even been written into the laws. So why are so many people trying to take advantage of others, and of a legal system increasingly rigged to increase the profits of billionaires and billionaire corporations, with an expectation that they can become rich? Continue reading
“We have met the enemy and he is us.” That famous quote I first read in Walt Kelly‘s great 20th century cartoon strip Pogo has stayed with me ever since. I have come to realize that, if we are to minimize the suffering from the convergence of the population explosion and the exhaustion of fossil fuels, it will require an effort such as my parents experienced in World War II, involving government-enforced rationing, “victory gardens” for every household, people working together and living together in poorer conditions than their forebears, and businesses forgoing profit until the “war” is over. This will not be easy to achieve, however, for reasons I will discuss. Continue reading
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
Falling birthrates a problem? Someone has lost their sense of perspective. NY Times op-ed columnist David Brooks’ recent piece “The Fertility Implosion” cites falling birth rates in many countries and discusses the difficulties faced by societies in which elderly will significantly outnumber young people. Certainly there will be challenges. While in the US the Social Security program (SS) is expected to continue another 25 years, with relatively small changes needed to change that time to “indefinite”, and most developed countries have better systems for caring for the elderly than the US does, there is still much concern for how the young people are going to foot the bill for those older than them. But how does this stack up against the effects of the current population explosion itself? Continue reading
How will we live when fossil fuel reserves have almost run out? Scientists and students of human history accept that human population will continue to explode until the energy sources fueling this incredible expansion start to run out. It is clear that a collapse of civilization will occur, probably over a period of decades in the mid-to-late 21st century. The change will be too rapid to cope with effectively, especially given skyrocketing energy costs and infrastructure breakdowns. The magnitude of the disasters involved will vary depending on how soon we wise up as a species, improve our long-range planning, and get serious about mitigating the coming challenges. While substitute energy sources will be developed quickly, the sheer numbers of humans being born onto the planet, day by day, may exceed our ability to build and deploy the replacement hardware and infrastructure, and the inability of most people to afford it may be an additional problem.
In the aftermath people will live quite differently from how we live today. After a period of decline that might last several decades, or perhaps a century, what remains will stabilize and coalesce into a new human civilization with some significant differences from what we know today. For instance, energy consumption per person will need to be a tenth or less of what people currently consume in North America. Here are a few ideas that might describe how we will live then. Continue reading
Common sense may not be common, but this video seems pretty full of it. Hans Rosling at Gapminder.org gives an excellent TED talk about the progress humanity has made and where we may go in the future, illustrated by the washing machine. As professor Rosling points out, the promotion of early childhood education represented by the washing machine is a significant factor in education and, I believe, in humanity’s success.
After watching this video my only question is: can we really conserve enough energy and switch enough of our supply over to renewable sources to stave off a huge energy-based component to the population explosion problem? We in the US haven’t experienced a real war in which critical commodities were rationed and we (including businesses) all sacrificed since 1945 but it appears it is time for that again now.
As always, I welcome your comments — Tim