- In 1970, I participated in the First Earth Day on the
Michigan State University campus. I felt that all of humanity would see
how poorly we treated the planet and that we would all come together to
change course and move toward a sustainable future.
- In that 41 years since the first Earth Day, we added
112 million more Americans to this already overloaded country, and the
citizens of the planet added another 5.0 billion human beings. You have
to wonder how inept, how stupid, how dull, how trivial our species in our
quest to dominate, destroy and crush the environmental systems that make
this planet sustainable for all living things.
- Right now, we cause the "6th Extinction Session"
whereby we kill off about 80 to 100 species per day because of our human
onslaught of their habitat. We create horrific carbon footprint that acidifies
the oceans and wreaks havoc with our biosphere. We dump 80,000 chemicals
into the land, air and water daily 24/7. We expand beyond carrying capacity
on every continent except Antarctica.
- What went wrong? Why did we grow worse than better?
What fate do face?
- Eric Rimmer, www.populationmatters.org in the
United Kingdom brings it home:
- "Since the first Earth Day was held in 1970 to focus
attention on "the crisis of the environment", the world population
has almost doubled and will reach 7 billion in the next twelve months,"
reported Population Matters. "Not surprisingly, humanity's impact
on the environment has increased, too. It is estimated by the International
Union for Conservation of Nature that the current rate of species extinction
is between 1,000 and 10,000 above natural levels.
- "The causes are human: converting natural areas
to farming and urban development, introducing invasive alien species, polluting
or over-exploiting resources including water and soils and harvesting wild
plants and animals at unsustainable levels.
- "At the same time, manmade climate change is increasingly
posing a threat to the wellbeing of all life, human and animal alike. Moreover,
those seeking to satisfy humanity's ever-growing needs are often proposing
even greater exploitation of our environment: more intensive farming and
exploitation of the resources of ever less accessible regions.
- "That's inevitable in a world where competition
can be unrestrained and many are on the borderline of survival. However,
the only answer in the long term is to limit our demand to renewable resources,
not to squeeze ever more from a finite planet. Such limiting of demand
means more sustainable lifestyles and adopting green technologies, but
it should include addressing our numbers, too.
- "The ways to lower our birth rate are well-known,
and successful where adopted. They include alleviating poverty, encouraging
women's rights and reducing infant and maternal mortality. Above all, they
include universal access to affordable family planning and the adoption
of reliable modern methods of contraception to reduce the number of unintended
pregnancies. Recent years have seen gross underinvestment in this area:
in part, because funds have been diverted to the treatment of AIDS. That's
understandable, but AIDS and family planning shouldn't compete for funds.
Effective family planning, leading to lower birth rates and ultimately
smaller populations, is fundamental to a sustainable future in a healthy
- Forty-one years later, we're so far behind the eight
ball that we may not be able to save our species from mass starvation and
utter destruction of our biosphere-but we must try.
- FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
- See www.populationmatters.org
- 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