Category Archives: Overpopulation

Now Is NOT the Time

In response to the question:

What’s the most disturbing truth about raising children?

Heavens. Where to start?

I’ll limit my answer to 3 unavoidable facts:

  1. The children you have right now (2015), and any yet to be born, are going to have to deal with the collapse of the biosphere. That’s not hyperbole: that’s the consensus of roughly 14,000 climate scientists, worldwide.                 BioShock                                                                                                                   They will grow up and try to thrive in a world where the norm will be mass migrations, food and water shortages, spread of deadly disease (malaria and West Nile virus, to name but two), and endless, endless wildfires, way too many to keep under control.                                                                                                                                They will live with storms that have the power to level cities. And it will be  hotter, much hotter.

  2. They will also have to deal with a world where there will be many, many applicants for fewer and fewer jobs.                                                                                                                                                             We only need so many people to grow our food, build and repair our highways, sell us our Starbucks, even trade our stocks for us. We put 250,000 new people on the planet (over and above the death rate) Every. Single. Day.                                  BirthRate Even if only half make it to adulthood, that’s still about 46 Million people that will need jobs in about 15 years. And then 46 million newer, new people the year after that. And the year after that.
    I’ve seen lines like this for part-time work at Chipotle’s. Seriously.

  3. Unless you are a Tiger Mom (or Dad), or can afford a good private school ($11,000/yr), your children are going to grow up — no way to say this but to say it — very dumb indeed.

The US ranks 28th in the world, just above tiny Portugal, in the education of its populace (Singapore ranks #1).

Horrid for a country that still likes to think of itself as a ‘superpower.’

I had to explain to a Millennial just yesterday why Benjamin Franklin was a Big Deal.

In sum: You are raising children

  • who will live in air-conditioning maybe 8 hours a day, before the power grids have their mandatory daily brownouts;

  • who will probably work part-time at a poorly-paid franchise operation, and

  • who will be unfamiliar with basic history, geography, or mathematics.

Further, engrossing, accurate reading: 

A Special Moment in History (Bill McKibben)


The Engine’s Running and the Garage Door is Locked

Again, I think this dialogue speaks for itself, so I’ll let it do so. I’ve included screen-shots for those of you with shorter attention spans. (The Newsroom, Season 3 Episode 3, ‘Main Justice,’)

WILL McAVOY: Mr. Westbrook, you’ve spent most of your professional career as a climate scientist in the public sector.

RICHARD WESTBROOK: Yes, 10 years as a supervisory management analyst in the Office of Environmental Information. And before that, I was a program specialist in the EPA’s Resource Management Division.

McAVOY: And you have a PhD in climate science from Stanford.

WESTBROOK: Yes, and another in chemistry with a masters in biology.

McAVOY: Okay. Tell us about the findings in the report that was just released.

Newsroom-Fact1

WESTBROOK: The latest measurements taken at Mauna Loa in Hawaii indicate a CO2 level of 400 parts per million.

McAVOY: Just so we know what we’re talking about, if you were a doctor and we were the patient, what’s your prognosis? 1000 years? 2000 years?

WESTBROOK: A person has already been born who will die due to catastrophic failure of the planet.

Newsroom-Fact2

McAVOY: (Stunned pause) Okay, can you expand on that?

WESTBROOK: Sure. The last time there was this much CO2 in the air, the oceans were 80 feet higher than they are now. Two things you should know: 1) Half the world’s population lives within 120 miles of an ocean.Newsroom-Fact3

McAVOY: And the other?

WESTBROOK: 2) Humans can’t breathe under water.

McAVOY: You’re saying the situation’s dire?

WESTBROOK: Not exactly. Your house is burning to the ground, the situation’s dire. Your house has already burned to the ground, the situation’s over.

Wildfires

McAVOY: So what can we do to reverse this?

WESTBROOK: There’s a lot we could do …

McAVOY: Good.

WESTBROOK:  … if it were 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago. But now, No.

McAVOY: Can you make an analogy that might help us understand?

WESTBROOK: Sure. It’s as if you’re sitting in your car in your garage with the engine running and the door closed and you’ve slipped into unconsciousness. And that’s it.

CO2 Suicide

McAVOY: What if someone comes and opens the door?

WESTBROOK: You’re already dead.

McAVOY: What if the person got there in time?

WESTBROOK: You’d be saved.

McAVOY: Okay. So now what’s the CO2 equivalent of the getting there on time?

WESTBROOK: Shutting off the car 20 years ago.

McAVOY: You sound like you’re saying it’s hopeless.

WESTBROOK: Yeah.

McAVOY: Is that the administration’s position or yours?

WESTBROOK: There isn’t a position on this any more than there’s a position on the temperature at which water boils.

Newsroom-Fact5

McAVOY: The administration…clean coal, nuclear power, raising fuel economy standards and building a more efficient electrical grid.

WESTBROOK: Yes.

McAVOY: And?

WESTBROOK: That would have been great!

McAVOY: Let’s see if we can’t find a better spin. People are starting their weekends. The report says we can release 565 more gigatons without the effects being calamitous.

WESTBROOK: It says we can only release 565 gigatons.

McAVOY: So, what if we only release 564?

Newsroom-Fact6

WESTBROOK: Well, then we would have a reasonable shot at some form of dystopian, post-apocalyptic life. But the carbon dioxide in the oil that we’ve already leased is 2,795 gigatons. So…

McAVOY: What would all this look like?

WESTBROOK: Well, mass migrations, food and water shortages, spread of deadly disease, endless wildfires. Way too many to keep under control. Storms that have the power to level cities, blacken out the sky, and create permanent darkness.

Newsroom-Fact7

McAVOY: Are you gonna get in trouble for saying this publicly?

WESTBROOK: Who cares?

McAVOY: Mr. Westbrook, we want to inform people, but we don’t want to alarm them. Can you give us a reason to be optimistic?

WESTBROOK: Well, that’s the thing, Will. Americans are optimistic by nature. And if we face this problem head on, if we listen to our best scientists, and act decisively and passionately, I still don’t see any way we can survive.

McAVOY: (Rushing to get off the air) Okay, Richard Westbrook, Deputy Assistant Administrator of the EPA. Thank you for joining us.

WESTBROOK: Thanks for having me.

McAVOY: This is News Night. We’ll be back right after this.

We All Cook Out

I’ve lost count of how many weeks it’s been since we’ve had a normal summer day.

The talking heads doing the weather reports look especially strained — I imagine Management telling them to keep those Smiles Plastered In Place as they talk about yet another Southwestern Heatwave.

How refreshing it would be to see this, instead:

Keep those fans running, friends and neighbors.

RePet 2015

Do you remember “The 6th Day,” the clone-themed Schwarzenegger movie? There was a business called RePet which would clone the family cat or dog so your children would never have to deal with its loss:

Well, it’s 15 years later, and RePet has become a reality (minus the Syncording) — if you have $100,000:

One could argue that $100K could be much better spent on something else, and that there are hundreds of thousands of shelter dogs in need of good homes, but as Bullet-tooth Tony once observed:
 

 

 

Imagine 2040

Given that the planet’s population is now roughly 3x its carrying capacity (translation: we’ve got 5 billion too many people on earth now, all of them churning out CO2 at an unprecedented rate), I’d like you to consider this picture from Iran:

And it’s only going to get worse.

Imagine what worldwide temperatures will be in 25 years.

The stupidity of the General Population continues to infuriate me. We had the Green Revolution, and the Antibiotic Revolution, and yet nobody thought about families limiting the number of children we have.

So, on July 31, 2015, the temperature was

One-Hundred-Sixty-Four BLOODY DEGREES FAHRENHEIT in Bandar Mahshahr, Iran. And it’s only going to get worse.