Re: "Population bomb still a fizzer 40 years on" by Oliver Mark Hartman and Jessica Brown, 11/8/10: The Australian
Over the past 40 years, "innumerates", those that prove themselves mathematically illiterate, a term coined by the University of Colorado's Dr. Albert Bartlett, www.albartlett.org, ----chastise Dr. Paul Ehrlich for his 'erroneous' prognostications about human starvation deaths and ecological disaster in his epic book: The Population Bomb.
Once again, Oliver Mark Hartman and Jessica Brown stepped into the breach by saying that Ehrlich's predications, "...but most of the book's gloomy predictions have not come true."
Hartman and Brown continued that he's pedaling his screed 'Downunder' in Australia where the debate rages on overpopulation driven by immigration. I find it interesting because I am one of the few individuals to cycle 17,000 kms around the perimeter of Australia. I discovered something that writers like Hartman and Brown fail and fail miserably to understand: 'carrying capacity'! Australia features 96 percent desert and sand. It can't grow anything and it can't water anything—other than a few frilled lizards and kangaroos.
Hartman and Brown also mistakenly rail for population growth in Asia. They fail to understand that the reason third world people in such places as India—already suffer "Overshoot" (Dr. William Catton). That's why they stampede into First World countries because they cannot feed or water themselves in their own countries. Fact: 1,000 children under 12 die 24/7 of diarrhea, dysentery and other water borne diseases. (Source: www.populationmedia.org) Well over 10 million Indians do not utilize a toilet, but instead, leave their human waste everywhere on the land and in the lakes, streams and rivers. Those that use toilets in cities flush it into rivers! Thus, the Ganges, which I have sailed in a junket, features an open sewer pipe that creates a 10,000 square mile dead zone at its mouth.
All the while, India grows, net gain, 12 million more people annually as it overtakes China to hit 1.6 billion in 40 years. Meanwhile, China adds 8.0 million annually on its way to 1.5 billion. I would count it as the greatest human debacle developing in the 21st century that humanity will ever witness—when it cascades into mass starvation, disease, environmental trauma and internal chaos from lack of water, food and resources. A breath of fresh air will prove impossible!
While Hartman and Brown chastise the West, they failed to do the math! As a math/science teacher, I extend this dictum: numbers never lie. Every year, globally, according to (www.WorldHealthOrganization.org), 18 million people starve to death or die of starvation related diseases. That number has held steady for 20 years. Ehrlich's book hit 42 years of age this year. If I recall Ehrlich's book, he predicted 180 million starvation deaths. If you take just 20 years X's 18 million annual starvation deaths, well, you do the math! Not pretty!
According to Roy Beck, (www.NumbersUSA.org), "Immigration, poverty, Gum Balls!", if you look across the world stage, an astounding 3.1 billion people live on less than $2.00 per day. Another 2.0 billion do not live much better. (Source: World Bank) Exactly what kind of a life does Ortega pronounce as a wonderful experience?
Why wouldn't we take a U-turn Mr. Hartman and Ms. Brown as to Mother Nature? Because of human encroachment of habitat, we now lose 80 to 100 living creatures to extinction 24/7. (Norman Meyers, Oxford University, UK) Humans created the "Sixth Extinction Session" that will kill off more than 20 percent of this planet's other creatures by mid century. God only knows how many by the end of the century!
Humans created 80,000 chemicals now raising chaos in the natural world with 10,000 to 27,000 square mile dead zones at the mouths of our major rivers around the planet. Nothing can live in that chemical soup. When you look at the poisons injected into this finite biosphere, you cannot blink as to the damage to the water, air and land! Cancer, autism, MS, CP, MD, birth defects anyone?
A mind-numbing 1.0 billion humans cannot secure a clean glass of drinking water every day!
Don't get me started on Climate Change or what can be called "Climate Destabilization" and what it will offer us in the 21st century when it REALLY starts manifesting on this planet!
Finally, when Peak Oil, hits in earnest, how do Hartman and Brown expect to feed 6.8 billion humans when those tractors cannot fill-up on oil? Fancy that! Alternative energy? Give me a break! Throw in Peak Water, Peak Acidified Oceans, Peak Collapsing Fisheries, Peak Polluted Soils, Peak Resources—and wham bam, thank you ma'am, let's watch that party develop!
Unfortunately, Paul Ehrlich hit the mark dead on! His timing? History will prove him correct on every chapter he wrote in his epic book: The Population Bomb! It's coming as surely as the dawn.
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
Re: "Population bomb still a fizzer 40 years on" by Oliver Mark Hartman and Jessica Brown, 11/7/10, The Australian:
MORE than 40 years ago, American biologist Paul Ehrlich sketched a doomsday scenario for planet Earth in his book The Population Bomb.
Adding more people to the planet would inevitably lead to mass starvation and ecological disaster.
Since the publication of the book, the global population has nearly doubled but most of its gloomy predictions have not come true. However, this has not stopped its author from campaigning against further population growth, this time in Australia.
As he prepared for a series of lectures to the Environment Institute at the University of Adelaide, Ehrlich warned that Australia was full.
As always in Ehrlich's predictions, a bigger population equals disaster. No doubt, he is striking a chord with many Australians who believe that there are enough of them. At least this is what an Australian National University poll suggests.
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In the ANU survey, half the respondents said that families should consider having three or fewer children, in order to save the planet. A majority of 52 per cent claimed that Australia had enough people, and further population growth would harm the environment and place pressure on water resources.
It is remarkable that people now regularly put "nature" and "the environment" ahead of all other concerns. Historically, this is an oddity because not long ago taming nature and overcoming a hostile environment were humankind's priorities. In this sense, the ANU survey does not reveal an Australian eccentricity but it is very much a sign of our times. The new misanthropists are everywhere.
Across the globe, environmentalists are preaching that nature is always good and humanity always a problem. People are seen as some kind of pollution; a book that imagines "the world without us" has become an international bestseller.
This is a remarkable change in human attitudes towards nature. Life in the bad old days was nasty, brutish and short, to quote Thomas Hobbes. Nature was something to be dealt with, controlled or used. "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it," the Bible taught.
The only positive thing about this long-gone age is that at least people would not have been bored to death. They simply didn't have time to worry about their carbon footprint or overpopulation.
Our perception of nature has taken a U-turn since then. No longer do we aim to subdue the earth, but we happily surrender to the goddess of nature. The wealthier parts of the world are so well protected against the dangers of nature that we have almost forgotten that nature is more than cute polar bears, cuddly koalas, and clumsy penguins.
We can trace the origins of this thought to the Gaia theory of British scientist James Lovelock. He claims that the planet is just like one big organism. "Gaia", as he called it, fights back against humanity because she has simply had enough of us. From such a perspective, epidemics, starvation, and natural disasters may well be the planet's response to the human disease.
It looks like Lovelock's followers are no longer satisfied leaving it to the planet to seek revenge on humanity. Rather, they would take matters in their own hands. Having identified humanity as the cancer on the face of the earth, they are advocating more hands-on approaches to reduce humankind's footprint on the planet. Or maybe even reduce the world's population. This is what the ANU survey confirms.
Let's not be fooled by these new disciples of Gaia, though. What is disguised by nice, touchy-feely slogans about sustainability, nature and the environment is often just misanthropy by another name. It has no respect for people in developed countries and is completely oblivious to the needs of people in poorer places.
Just consider the case of urban density. In order to save land from development, city dwellers are advised to live at much higher densities.
Gone are nice front patios and green backyards, leafy suburbs and playing fields. For the planet's sake, let's live on top of one another in tiny boxes, ideally next to busy train and tram lines, they preach. It's a victory of nature over the quality of life in our cities.
Things get even more cynical when our subservience to the planet dictates what we allow poorer peoples to do. The thought that millions of Indians would want to drive their own little cars drives Western environmentalists crazy. They would never admit it, but deep down they wish these poor Indians would just remain poor; all for the sake of the planet, of course.
Worshipping their new goddess nature, the environmentalists have forgotten something. We human beings may not all be cute and cuddly, but we deserve at least as much love and attention as our distant relatives in the animal kingdom.