Tonight I attended a lecture on world population and what we should do about our perilous condition. It was attended by twenty well meaning and thoughtful people who were perplexed about what appeared to all of them to be a crisis near an invisible tipping-point. The impending attack by Israel on Iran might be that tipping-point even if it doesn’t trigger a more widespread war, because it would severely interrupt the oil supply and that would create unknown but severe complications for everyone on Earth. The huge world population was recognized as a major contributor to the problem, but the combination of CO2 pollution and the necessity of burning ever poorer quality fuels which will further degrade the world’s limited air supply was also considered. There was an abundance of blame placed on the American government for not recognizing the pollution we are creating and leading the way to a lower level of fossil fuel consumption and a castigation of the Chinese for building more coal-burning power plants.
There was a recognition of the inexorable continuance of the problems but there were only the very feeblest of offered solutions. Mostly statements that something must be done, and that it must be a grassroots movement because the upper classes are too involved in making more money. The Occupy Movement was brought up as a great hope, but that was soon recognized as not even worthy of being called a pie in the sky idea, it was so ineffective. A brief mention of the efforts to develop alternate energies from wind and solar, but a general feeling that it would be too little and it wouldn’t replace the power and portability of oil and coal. There was an idealized love for American Indian culture and way of life and a quick acknowledgement that it that it wouldn’t sustain our huge population.
There was general agreement that we were not living as well as people of twenty years ago which I found to be absurd because I clearly remember what little we had then and didn’t think it strange. People have huge houses now, huge cars, huge quantities of stuff in their houses, but complain of not having enough money. Most of these people claimed they watched very little TV and what they did watch was educational, but that means the others over 65 years old must be watching marginally more TV to keep up the eight hour per day statistics.
There seems to be an understanding of the problems but no willingness to accept personal change of behavior until everyone else is forced to change too, including the rich people.
It’s going to be business as usual until something breaks.