Every day around the planet, more and more 'symptoms' of a failing bio-sphere jump out at the human race. Environmental calamities erupt on every continent. Weather forecasters report on aberrant storms that flood countries like Pakistan-killing and destroying countless humans and animals.
Environmentalist warn us about our 'carbon footprint' accelerating beyond manageable levels and its long term effects such as acidifying our oceans-will kill more plankton and disrupt "ph" levels. Biologists report on artificial hormones created by humans causing fish to feature male/female characteristics.
CBS anchor Katie Couric recently reported that, "Twenty years ago, one child in 2,000 suffered Autism; today, it's one child in 110 births." That dramatic change tells us something must be dreadfully wrong as to how we poison our civilization with pesticides, insecticides, genetically modified seeds, polluted air, chemicalized foods, unsafe water, and carbon footprint raging across our bio-sphere.
All the while, top national figures like Dr. Albert Bartlett, Dr. William Catton, Dr. Diana Hull, Kathleene Parker, Governor Richard Lamm, Dr. Jack Alpert, William Ryerson, Dr. John Tanton, Mr. Roy Beck, Dr. Joseph Tainter, Dr. Otis Graham, Mark Krikorian, Don Collins, Marilyn Hempel, Brenda Walker, MaryLou Tanton, Richard Heinberg, William Dickinson, David Paxson, Chris Clugston, Edward C. Hartman, John Rohe and a growing army of scientists raise their voices-only to be drowned out by the latest Paris Hilton arrest or 'surge' in Iraq. As Shakespeare said, we busy ourselves with "Much ado about nothing!"
But, as we and our political leaders pitter and patter, blither and blather-this planet's messages continue growing in their intensity. As we continue not paying attention to those 'lessons', you may plan on harsher lessons to come.
Let's look at a few of the top scientists and writers:
"A simple look at the upward path of global greenhouse emissions indicates we will continue to squeeze the trigger on the gun we have put to our own head." Eugene Linden, The Winds of Change: Climate, Weather and the Destruction of Civilization
"The cheap oil age created an artificial bubble of plentitude for a period not much longer than a human lifetime....so I hazard to assert that as oil ceases to be cheap and the world reserves move toward depletion, we will be left with an enormous population...that the ecology of the earth will not support. The journey back toward non-oil population homeostasis will not be pretty. We will discover the hard way that population hyper growth was simply a side-effect of the oil age. It was a condition, not a problem with a solution. That is what happened and we are stuck with it." James Howard Kunstler
"The ship is already starting to spin out of control. We may soon lose all chance of grabbing the wheel. Humanity faces a genuinely new situation. It is not an environmental crisis in the accepted sense. It is a crisis for the entire life-support system for our civilization and our species." Fred Pearce, The Last Generation: How Nature Will take Her Revenge for Climate Change
"We must alert and organize the world's people to pressure world leaders to take specific steps to solve the two root causes of our environmental crises - exploding population growth and wasteful consumption of irreplaceable resources. Over-consumption and overpopulation underlie every environmental problem we face today." Jacques-Yves Cousteau
"At this point, it's almost certainly too late to manage a transition to sustainability on a global or national scale, even if the political will to attempt it existed, which it clearly does not. Our civilization is in the early stages of the same curve of decline and fall as so many others have followed before it. What likely lies in wait for us is a long, uneven decline into a new Dark Age from which, centuries from now, the civilizations of the future will gradually emerge."
"As we go from this happy hydrocarbon bubble we have reached now to a renewable energy resource economy, which we do 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." Walter Youngquist
"Imagine we live on a planet. Not our cozy, taken for granted planet, but a planet, a real one, with melting poles and dying forests and a heaving, corrosive sea, raked by winds, strafed by storms, scorched by heat. And inhospitable place. It needs a new name, Eaarth." Bill McKibben, Eaarth: Making a life on a Tough new Planet
"The U.S. will set a record in the rate of rise-and fall of an empire. Between wide open borders and fall of the dollar and growing population against a declining resource base, the US will be defeated from within. Mobs will rule the streets in the nation that is now the third largest in the world and unable to support its population except by taking resources from other countries." Arnold Toynbee
"We are strong and adaptable animals and can certainly make a new life on the hotter Earth, but there will only be a fraction of inhabitable land left. Soon we face the appalling question of who m can we let aboard the lifeboats? And who must we reject? There will be great clamor from climate refugees seeking a safe haven in those few parts where the climate is tolerable and food available. We will need a new set of rules for limiting the population in climate oases." James Lovelock, The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A final Warning
"If present growth trends in population, industrialization, pollution, food production and resource depletion continue unchanged, the limits to growth will be reached sometime in the next 100 years." The Club of Rome 1972
"The power of population is so superior to the power of earth to produce subsistence to humanity that premature death must in some shape or other visit the human race." Thomas Malthus 1798 [For the past 40 years, people said that Malthus' theory proved incorrect with the Green Revolution. Well, that's over! Unfortunately, his theory proves correct and only his timing proved a bit off.]
Every time I write a column like this one, I present you with websites to take action. I hope you take action for your kids' sake.
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 atwww.frostywooldridge.com He is the author of: America on the Brink: The Next Added 100 Million Americans. Copies available: 1 888 280 7715