Part 8: Unending growth in humans equates to obesity, diabetes, cancer, ill health; relentless growth in cities results in clogged highways, toxic air, road rage, tension and compacted living
The United States finds itself in a devil of a predicament. Yet, its citizens don’t realize it. None of its national leaders acknowledge it. The media avoids and ignores it at all costs. If you asked the average citizen on the street what they thought about adding 100 million people to this country in the next 25 years, you would receive a response like this, “Really! Not my problem.”
Dr. Albert Bartlett, professor of Physics, emeritus, University of Colorado, www.albartlett.com , wrote a most compelling article in the Daily Camera, Boulder, Colorado, February 3, 2008, “What part of arithmetic does not hold in Boulder?” that needs to be read by every governor, senator, House rep and city council member across the United States. I consider it the most important thesis of the 21st century.
EXPLODING SMALL TOWN AND BIG TOWN AMERICA BEYOND LIMITS
This same phenomenon occurs to every small, medium and large town in America as this country adds 3.1 million people, net gain per year, on our way to adding 100 million by 2035, and 138 million by 2050.
As a young math and science teacher, I moved to Boulder in 1973 with 40,000 residents. Quiet town, no traffic, clean air, houses at $35,000.00, nickel for one hour parking meters and peaceful vistas—and great sunrises on the eastern plains dotted with cows! Nearly 40 years later, over 100,000 residents, horribly costly homes, brown cloud, choked highways, .25 gets you 10 minutes on parking meter, and you cannot see bucolic sunrises because the plains suffer housing all the way to Brighton 25 miles away. Not to mention a monster of a mountain of trash from the landfill that grows higher and fatter daily!
One of the growth advocates in Boulder said, “So our choice is not whether we grow, but how we grow.”
That’s like a 5’10” 200 pound man saying, “Well, I don’t have a choice as to how fat I get, so I guess I’ll keep eating a gallon of ice cream every night before bed to find out what happens.”
Dr. Bartlett wrote the most profound response to such idiocy, “It’s time to try again to correct the educationally credentialed but innumerate experts who say that growth is inevitable. Innumeracy is the mathematical equivalent of illiteracy.
“They fail to recognize that after maturity, continued growth is either obesity or cancer. The arithmetic is clear. Steady growth produces impossibly large numbers in modest periods of time. So, growth will stop! Referring to Boulder, we have read the innumerate statement, “so our choice is not whether we grow, but how we grow.”
“The authors of this statement would like us to believe that the battle against growth is lost, so our only role is to be the best possible losers. They write that we should give up the efforts to achieve a quiet stability for our community, and in defeat, we should embrace the principles of “Smart Growth.” We can understand this. That’s the game in which they are all the big winners.”
SMART GROWTH, DUMB GROWTH, SLOW GROWTH, MANAGED GROWTH ALL MEAN AN UNSUSTAINABLE FUTURE
“We must remember that “Smart Growth” and “Dumb Growth” both destroy the environment with good taste,” said Bartlett.
To which I answered, “Growth is not the answer; it’s the problem!”
“”The central belief of the growth promotion community seems to be that there is an “absolute need to create greater population density and more efficient land use within the city” by focusing on the “infill development within existing urban boundaries,” said Bartlett. “When the promoters tried this tactic on the Washington School neighborhood, all of Boulder fought back, saying that we’re not going to become losers in the city’s effort to cram more people into Boulder. The whole city is watching to see if the City Council will continue policies that reflect innumeracy and unsustainability.
“The innumerate theme of the promoters is, “The Front Range is going to grow whether we like it or not.” If this is true, it is because so many Front Range leaders are active and successful in promoting growth. The legislature and all manner of public and private regional and local “civic groups” are promoting “economic development,” which is the politically correct name for “growth.” Predictably, this will produce more well-to-do people, more homeless, more employed people, more unemployed people, higher average salaries, more people living below the poverty line, more traffic congestion, higher parking fees, more school crowding, more crime, more unhappy neighborhoods, more expensive government, more tax revenue, higher taxes, more fiscal problems for state and local governments, more air and water pollution, higher utility costs, less reliable utility service, less democracy, more congestion pricing on busy city streets and crowded highways, more unmanageable costs of maintaining public infrastructure, higher food costs and more destruction of the environment.”
Is this happening in your town? Probably! I moved out of Boulder 20 years ago to Louisville a smaller town of 20,000 residents. Why would anyone advocate for constant growth, knowing the consequences? Again, innumerates reign supreme because they possess the money and thus the power to be stupid!
STUPIDITY, IN THE LONG TERM, WILL COST MORE THAN INTELLIGENT CHOICES
Another top thinker takes Bartlett’s theme to the whole of our civilization. Walter Youngquist said, “As we go from this happy hydrocarbon bubble we have reached now to a renewable energy resource economy, which we must do in this century, will the “civil” part of civilization survive? As we both know there is no way that alternative energy sources can supply the amount of per capita energy we enjoy now, much less for the 9 billion expected by 2050. And energy is what keeps this game going. We are involved in a Faustian bargain—selling our economic souls for the luxurious life of the moment, but sooner or later the price has to be paid.”
Next part: finishing Dr. Bartlett’s thesis as to “growth”.
If any of us, no matter what our race, creed or color might be, refuse to engage our U.S. Congress as we have not for 30 years as to the population/immigration equation—our children will find themselves living in a terribly degraded America where the American Dream will be described by the history books as a ‘fleeting fantasy’ from the era of 1950 to 2010. These are several of the top organizations where you can take collective action to change the course of American history as well as in Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. Take collective action at www.numbersusa.com ; www.fairus.org ; www.capsweb.org ; www.thesocialcontract.com ; www.populationmedia.org ; www.worldpopulationbalance.org ; www.populationconnection.org ; www.quinacrine.com ; www.familyplanning.org/ , www.skil.org ; www.growthbusters.com ; www.populationpress.org ; www.thinkpopulation.org ; www.carryingcapacity.org ; www.balance.org ; www.controlgrowth.org ; in Canada www.immigrationwatchcanada.org ; in Australia www.population.org.au and PublicPopForum@yahoogroups.com ; in Great Britain www.optimumpopulation.org ; and dozens of other sites accessed at www.frostywooldridge.com.
Must see DVD: “Blind Spot” http://www.snagfilms.com/films/title/blind_spot/ , This movie illustrates America’s future without oil, water and other resources to keep this civilization functioning. It’s a brilliant educational movie! www.blindspotdoc.com
Must see: Rapid Population Decline, seven minute video by Dr. Jack Alpert-
see and funny: www.growthbusters.org ; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FXSTrW_dARc
Dave Gardner’s Polar Bear in Bedroom: http://growthbusters.org/2010/03/save-the-polar-bear-in-your-bedroom ; Dave Gardner, President, Citizen-Powered Media ; Producing the Documentary, GROWTH BUSTERS; presents Hooked on Growth: Our Misguided Quest for Prosperity, Join the cause at www .growthbusters.org ;760 Wycliffe Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80906 USA; +1 719-576-5565
Chris Clugston: Following is a high level summary of a detailed analysis of America’s “predicament” and it’s inevitable consequences. The complete analysis and associated models, evidence, and references can be found at http://www.wakeupamerika.com/PDFs/On-American-Sustainability.pdf. On American Sustainability—Anatomy of a Societal Collapse (Summary)
Exceptional books on this subject:
Too Many People by Lindsey Grant
Peak Everything: Facing a Century of Declines by Richard Heinberg
The Long Emergency by James Howard Kunstler
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. Copies available: 1 888 280 7715