While the reality of human overpopulation in America raises its ugly head daily with water shortages, gas prices, polluted air, species extinctions, gridlocked traffic, acidified oceans, poisoned rivers, degraded soils and climate destabilization-many Americans, including a few that read this website-fail to understand their dilemma.
A law exists on this planet that no species can disobey. I don't care if you are religious, non-religious, agnostic, Protestant, Catholic, Muslim, Buddhist, a saint, sinner, rich, poor or a princess.
"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 This Law cannot be repealed.
With permission, I offer you a recent letter from the eminent physics professor at the University of Colorado, Dr. Albert Bartlett,www.albartlett.org , as he wrote it last month in response to Boulder, Colorado's cutting citizen input at city councils from three minutes to two minutes while Boulder suffers 10 mile long traffic jams daily, air pollution and crowded streets.
Recent news stories have told about the Boulder City Council acting to reduce speaking times from 3 minutes to 2 minutes for citizens wishing to address the Council at public meetings. This is a symptom of a deep illness, yet the reports indicated that the Council members addressed the symptom and not the illness. The illness is overpopulation; the symptom is the large number of people seeking to speak at meetings of the Council. The Council's action is like prescribing aspirin for cancer.
In 1950 the population of Boulder was approximately 20,000 and there were 9 members of the Council. In 2011 Boulder's population is approximately 100,000 and there are still just 9 members of the Council. Today there are five times as many constituents per member of the Council as there were 60 years ago. As a consequence, we have only one fifth of the democracy that we had 60 years ago. One can guess that today there are about 5 times as many people wanting to speak to Council on any given issue as there were 60 years ago. Today's crowded Council agendas and reduced speaking time per citizen are the direct consequence of actions of past Councils promoting population growth in Boulder, yet there was no hint in the news stories that any member of the Council identified continued population growth as being the driving force behind the Council's need to reduce democracy in Boulder.
As we look around Boulder we see new constructions of homes, apartments, condos and other buildings, all approved by the Council These constructions are intended to increase Boulder's population, to move Boulder farther away from sustainability and to further reduce democracy in Boulder.
Ironically, the current Council has made sincere and earnest efforts to advance the cause of sustainability in Boulder, yet these new constructions that dilute democracy also move Boulder away from the goal of sustainability as is indicated by the First Law of Sustainability:
"You cannot sustain population growth; you cannot sustain growth in the rates of consumption of resources." This Law cannot be repealed.
Albert A. Bartlett, Boulder, Colorado www.albartlett.org
While you will hear from other writers that greedy industrialists, corporations and other bad guys cause all our worldly problems, the fact remains, the human race outstrips the ability of the planet to recover from accelerating carbon footprint, species extinction, mass human starvation around the globe, filthy and contaminated water, climate destabilization, acidified oceans, acid rain, polluted and destroyed soils, and a hundred other predicaments.
Let me remind anyone that the word "if" doesn't work either. "If" people would be more responsible and "if" those leaders would do the right thing and "if" we were more responsible, we would not have all these problems facing humanity.
But we "do" suffer accelerating problem such as mass starvation, water shortages, food shortages and more because of human population. Until we change that factor by moving the human race toward a stable population, we will not and cannot solve humanity's problems in the 21st century.
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.comHe is the author of: America on the Brink: The Next Added 100 Million Americans. Copies available: 1 888 280 7715