On October 31, 2011, demographic scientists expect the 7th billion human to land on planet Earth. Humanity adds another one billion of its species every 12 years on its way to reaching a projected high of 10.2 billion in this century.
What does that mean for the United States of America? How can we mitigate our carbon footprint that destabilizes our environment? How can we halt our ecological footprint that causes mass species extinctions and ocean footprint that causes destructive extremes to our biosphere? How can we sustain ourselves while America adds another 138 million people by 2050? What consequences will our children inherit?
The biggest question: as we face water shortages, Peak Oil energy exhaustion, resource depletion, accelerating air pollution and quality of life decaying in our cities—why aren’t Americans concerned and why aren’t American leaders taking any steps toward a stable and sustainable future for all citizens and fellow creatures? Why do we think we enjoy immunity from the problems out there in Haiti, Egypt, India, Mexico and Bangladesh?
Today, the United States imports 7 out of 10 barrels of oil. In other words, we exceed our carrying capacity for energy. It’s not sustainable. Every added American equates to 25.4 acres of wilderness being destroyed to support that person known as “ecological footprint.” Take 100 million X’s 25.4 acres, which means 2.54 billion acres of land must be destroyed to support that massive addition of humans to America.
As we move into Peak Oil, it will become more costly to drill for it and even more expensive at the pump. Thus, $20 per gallon will be our reality within two decades according to researcher Chris Steiner in his book $20 Per Gallon. How will that affect our 312 million Americans as we head toward 400 million?
How will another 100 million people added to America affect our cities? As Dr. Albert Bartlett said, "Unlimited population growth cannot be sustained; you cannot sustain growth in the rates of consumption of resources. No species can overrun the carrying capacity of a finite land mass. This Law cannot be repealed and is not negotiable.”
In the past month, Americans sent $100 million in food aid to Somalia. Yet, all of Africa expects to grow from its current 1.1 billion to 3.1 billion before the end of the century. One UN expert said that environmental and food refugees will exceed 50 million within several decades. Any food aid guarantees enormously unsustainable populations that will collapse in more horrific numbers down the road.
Having seen what’s coming in my worldwide bicycle travels, I am baffled that all Americans collectively aren’t screaming at the top of their lungs about stabilizing human population across our entire civilization.
We know what causes our runaway population growth and the line grows by 80 million desperate people cascading annually into western countries around the world. “Most Western elites continue urging the wealthy West not to stem the migrant tide, but to absorb our global brothers and sisters until their horrid ordeal has been endured and shared by all—ten billion humans packed onto an ecologically devastated planet.” Dr. Otis Graham, Unguarded Gates
As our oceans degrade, oil depletes, soils decline and our quality of life degrades, isn’t it time for discussion, debate and action?
Lester Brown, author of Plan B 4.0 Saving Civilization said, “Humans have set in motion environmental trends that are threatening civilization itself. We are crossing environmental thresholds and violating deadlines set by nature.”
I urge everyone reading this commentary, from the smartest Ph.D.s to mothers, fathers and students—engage National Public Radio, all TV Channels as well as your newspapers and radio stations to address our predicament. We cannot avoid, evade or suppress this conversation any longer. If we fail, we fail our children, and as they will find out, Mother Nature always bats last.
Frosty Wooldridge is a retired math/science teacher and an active environmentalist, lecturer and cyclist who trekked across six continents. His broad perspectives and passion for the natural world led him to develop a lecture series on the harmful impacts of unchecked population growth, "The Coming Population Crisis in America: and what you can do about it" He is the author of: America on the Brink: The Next Added 100 Million Americans. His website is www.frostywoolridge.com
Plan B Saving Civilization by Lester Brown
www.albartlett.org by Dr. Albert Bartlett “Energy, resource and population”
Peak Everything by Richard Heinberg
Pew Report on population www.PEW.org
“U.S. Population Projections” by Fogel/Martin, March 2006)
“UN population projections” by UN May 2011
Ecological footprint at 25.4 acres per person for America by www.allspecies.org