In this ongoing series, Dr. Jack Alpert, www.skil.org, brings the human dilemma of ‘temporal blindness’ ever closer to the front burner of every challenge America and humanity face in the 21st century. In “Footprint vs Freedom” by Dr. Jack Alpert, you begin to understand our predicament as to overpopulation.
Dr. Alpert has posted two 25-minute videos of the "Nonlinearity of the Elephant Problem.”
“I would like to think that humankind moves toward ever increasing freedom,” Alpert said. “However, as the human footprint increases, as the collective behaviors of the world's inhabitants "increase-demands" on limited resources, the movement is toward decreasing freedom.”
Anyone that has driven a car through Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Atlanta or New York City—knows decreasing freedom in the physical realm. You can add other realms of decreasing realities such as breathing toxic air that poisons your lungs. That translates into acid rain that destroys lakes, streams, rivers and soil—thus decreasing environmental balance.
Of little note, increasing human footprint causes terrible destruction in the animal world. Each day, American drivers and machinery kill 1.0 million vertebrates, known as road kill, on highways throughout the nation. About every 10 seconds some little critter, trying to live his/her life, scurries across the road into the jaws of your tires. That’s 365 million birds, chipmunks, skunks, coyotes, deer, elk, eagles, foxes, etc., that die annually because of human activity on our nation’s highways.
“Consider a traffic intersection that gets congested and causes injuries. Society puts up a traffic signal,” said Alpert. “While the signal makes the intersection safe, each individual must give up his right to speed through at will. The safety comes at the expense of freedom.
“A little congestion, a little delay at a signal, may seem unimportant when one considers other benefits of modern life. However, the same behaviors that cause congestion also cause scarcity, conflict, and environmental destruction.
“Terrorism, the latest incantation of conflict, is significantly reducing our personal freedoms. So it is important to understand what caused the increase in congestion at the intersection? What causes congestion? What changed the small number of farmers driving their horse drawn milk wagons to the dairy to a larger number of people driving fast cars.
“This change was caused by normal, seemly benign, behaviors of having and providing for one's family. These acts, when collected across all individuals, caused the congestion, injurious conditions, the installation of the traffic signal, and the loss of freedom.”
It might be understood that every time a new individual adds himself or herself to America, an additional 12.6 acres of land must be destroyed. E-Magazine’s Jim Matavalli said that every added American uses 10 to 30 times more raw resources and adds that much more pollution. Thus, freedom declines for not only humans, but for wildlife and the environment.
As we move toward “Peak Oil”, you can see conflict mounting on a global level. Today, humanity burns 84 million barrels 24/7. James Kunstler, in his Long Emergency, said, “China expects to burn 98 million barrels of oil by 2030.” They add 27,000 new cars to their highways every seven days. As might be expected, something will have to give or break down.
“In this context existing peace accords, moral codes, acts of economic justice, and environmental laws, are like traffic signals,” said Alpert. “They cause people to relinquish freedoms. They do not stop (change) the behaviors that increase scarcity, conflict, and environmental destruction.
“Until we escape the finite aspects of this planet, total human footprint growth will continue to cause a loss of personal freedoms. We will lose more of our unfettered liberties.
“Are there family creating and supporting behaviors that increase abundance, peace and environmental quality? Yes, but they demand the sacrifice of a different personal freedom -- the freedom that permits family decisions to be chosen independent of the total human footprint and global carrying capacity.”
As you process this information, please understand we face a human dilemma on a global scale. Therefore, we must engage human solutions. As Dr. Alpert stresses, we must move toward not only human population stabilization, but we must move toward a decline of human numbers by our own hands via birth control and family planning. We’ll cover that in further interviews.
Frosty Wooldridge has bicycled across six continents – from the Arctic to the South Pole – as well as six times across the USA, coast to coast and border to border. In 2005, he bicycled from the Arctic Circle, Norway to Athens, Greece. He presents “The Coming Population Crisis in America: and what you can do about it” to civic clubs, church groups, high schools and colleges. He works to bring about sensible world population balance at www.frostywooldridge.com He is the author of: America on the Brink: The Next Added 100 Million Americans.