Last night I watched Al Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth” about global warming. In it he claims global warming is caused by human created greenhouse gases. But then the movie shows him flying all over the planet looking out the window of his private jet at the problems below, such as melting glaciers, forests being harvested, deserts etc.. It never seems to cross his mind that all of his unnecessary flying about is setting a really bad example for the public. His behavior is promoting tourism which is probably the most optional of all of the major sources of pollution.
There isn’t any real complaint with his facts about global warming or the science behind his facts, but there is a very real complaint at the solutions which he proposes at the end of the movie. The movie was presented well enough with innumerable whiny complaints about the very real problems, but the solutions at the end were all lame patches couched in a truly weird crossword puzzle game. These “solutions” were stirred into the usual fast moving credits scrolls typically seen at the end of movies, but they were all but impossible to read let alone think about. Why did he choose to do the solutions in such a stupid way? Because, the solutions are stupid, and they won’t solve the problem – and he knows it. And everyone else knows it.
The real problem which I mentioned a couple of days ago is simply that there are far too many human beings on planet Earth. But, that simple truth is about as unpleasant and unpopular a statement as can be made – I agree, I agree wholeheartedly, but it is still true.
There are quite a few ways to look at humans, and their place on this earth and a variety of these are sketched out on the Probaway – Happiness chart. Number twelve of the fourteen presented is Utilitarian; which is defined as – the maximum happiness for the maximum number of people for the maximum amount of time based on utilizing all available resources to maximize humanity’s survival and population vigor. That’s a bit long but it is useful definition because you can measure each of the various factors and come up with numbers which can be compared in various ways. This numerical method must always be considered as a hypothetical guide as it is only a way of looking at problems for purposes of relative comparison.
As individuals we all want to maximize the attainment of our goals and minimize our struggles getting to these goals. But when looking at all humanity’s needs and its health we must abstract ourselves from our personal considerations and look at the problems globally. Is it better for the human species to have 6.8 billion people for one year or 6.8 million people for a thousand years or 6.8 thousand people for a million years? Most species of our approximate physical size have been closer to the six thousand population size and have existed roughly in the million year range. Natural selection seems to like a population size of about that number, because it is large enough to be stable, but small enough to adapt to its environment with adequate quickness to maintain itself for a long time. Humans of course are a special case, a very special case, but all the same, even with our species special abilities there is some sort of balance between our population numbers, and our overall sustainability. Obviously, if our numbers grow to such huge size that in a few generations we pollute our environment so badly that it cannot sustain our presence, then there will be a catastrophic event and our population will collapse. When other species have had these uncontrolled population explosions they tend to have very precipitous collapses and sometimes go all the way to zero. This is of course a condition from which they never recover, and we humans appear to be on this path to self induced oblivion. Humans are presently said to be destroying species at a rate of a thousand per year, and humans would be only one more species, so what’s the problem? It’s us – that’s the problem!
The question becomes – is there a type of human society where the population can be sustained permanently in a living condition which they could accept. Is that number six thousand wild people living a similar existence to apes, or six million people living on a high tech but sparsely populated planet or six billion living briefly until any of innumerable problems finally triggers a catastrophic collapse into oblivion.
Population is the real problem and until it is brought to a sustainable number and some method is found for maintaining that population at that much smaller but sustainable level then, because there are no natural constraints on humans, there will be population explosions and collapses. We have a choice, but the choice is to limit our population to a vastly smaller number than what the Earth is presently enduring on a temporary basis.
—- A Sonnet —-
All panting desperation man would be,
If with but modest courage he was filled;
For then into the future he would see,
With clear, unshifting eye and will.
But courage was bred out so long ago
That now we have but vestige of that trait.
The bounty of fore-sight we now forego;
And blindly stumbling forward is our fate.
Perhaps we should not look beyond our nose,
For then despair would overwhelm our soul.
For what’s to see but loss of all we know
And love. We know clear vision takes its toll.
God’s plan for man is plain enough to see.
It’s simply death for all eternity.