When it comes to proactive
action as to feeding, watering and housing America’s burgeoning population,
most of America’s leaders fell asleep at the wheel and continue their
slumber into 2012. Not one single, solitary senator, House member
or the United States of America’s president will connect carbon footprint,
overpopulation or our enormous burning of 22 million barrels of oil
daily—with global climate destabilization. Globally, humans burn
84 million barrels of oil and billions of tons of coal daily.
Our carbon footprint grows beyond comprehension. It heats up the
atmosphere. It acidifies our oceans. It creates an imbalance for all
living creatures on Earth.
No matter how much drought, heat waves and tornadoes scorch and destroy
areas around the United States; everyone stands like deer in the headlights
in denial of the oncoming train. It’s fascinating to watch mass
denial, collective myopic behavior and vacant leadership.
The United States is horrifically overpopulated and unsustainable
Publisher Marilyn Hempel of the Population Press, www.populationpress.org ,
encourages top leaders to educate Americans to what we all face in the
future if we continue down our endless growth path.
In this piece, imminent environmental leader and author of Plan B, 4.0,
Saving Civilization, Lester Brown speaks about our rising temperatures.
“Over the last two months, the price of corn has been climbing,” said
Brown. “On July 19th, it exceeded $8 per bushel for the first time,
taking the world into a new food price terrain. With heat and drought
still smothering the Corn Belt, we may well see more all-time highs
in coming weeks as the extent of crop damage becomes clearer. This is
not the way it was supposed to be. This spring farmers planted a record
96 million acres of corn. An early spring got the crop off to a great
start, leading the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to project
the largest corn harvest in history.
“On June 12th, the USDA projected the U.S. harvest would hit a record
376 million tons. But the drought conditions that had initially been
confined to the country’s southwest began to spread and intensify. In
its next monthly report on July 11th, the USDA reduced its projection
to 329 million tons of corn, down by 12 percent or 47 million tons.
This was a huge drop in only one month. Yet in the end the actual decline
may be closer to 30 percent, or roughly 100 million tons—double the
USDA estimated drop.”
Why is this happening? Answer: the crops are being cooked in the
soil via heat and no rain. Has that prompted humans to lower their
fossil fuel burning? On the contrary, humans burn more and more
each day as they add a 250,000 more members to the human heard and 80
million net gain annually.
“There are several reasons for the large reduction in the harvest estimate.
One is record high temperatures,” said Brown. “Nationwide, the first
half of this year was the hottest on record. Thousands of record daily
temperature highs were set locally. In St. Louis, Missouri, which is
in the southern part of the U.S. Corn Belt, in late June and early July
there were 10 consecutive days with temperatures of 100108 degrees.
“Intense heat also disrupts pollination. Corn is particularly vulnerable
because of its complex pollination system. The tassel at the top of
a corn plant releases pollen, which must fall on each strand of silk
coming out of the ear of corn and travel to the kernel site, where fertilization
occurs. If it is too hot, the silk will turn brown and dry out, leaving
the pollen with no chance of reaching its destination.”
Brown continued, “What happens to the U.S. corn crop, which accounts
for nearly 40 percent of the global harvest, concerns the entire world.
Of the big three grains—corn, wheat, and rice—the corn harvest is now
by far the largest, totaling near 900 million tons compared with less
than 700 million tons for wheat and 460 million tons for rice. Wheat
and rice are the world’s food staples, while corn is the feedgrain for
livestock and poultry.
“We are looking at a future of rising food prices driven by rising temperatures.
Heat waves and droughts like that of 2012 in the United States are projected
to become more frequent as the planet heats up. Atmospheric levels of
carbon dioxide (CO2), a heat-trapping gas, have increased 20 percent
since 1970 and are continuing to rise.”
Humanity faces growing food shortages as its numbers grow by 80 million
annually and 1 billion added every 12 years
“A report published by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences
concluded that if atmospheric CO2 climbs from the current level of 391
parts per million (ppm) to above 450 ppm, the world will face irreversible
rainfall reductions in several regions,” said Brown. “The study likened
the conditions that will develop to those of the U.S. Dust Bowl of the
1930s. Already the world’s drought-afflicted area has expanded from
below 20 percent of total land area a half century ago to closer to
25 percent in recent years. Future food security may depend more on
new energy and population policies than on any agricultural policy we
Brown says that we don’t know the unchartered territory that we blindly
and at our own folly continue speeding toward. The human race
expects to add three billion more people to the planet within 38 years,
but doesn’t have a clue as to how to feed that enormous human herd.
Americans need to rethink immigration, population, water, food and resources
before they find themselves in the same boat as current day India, Mexico,
China and Indochina. The United States needs to boldly, methodically
and intelligently move toward a mandated “national stabilized population
policy” in order to give future generations a chance at a reasonable
life of food, resources, water and energy.
How will the United States feed, water, warm and house its own additions
of 138 million people in the face of prolonged droughts? Answer:
we won’t. That’s why we need to change course.
Lester R. Brown is President of Earth Policy Institute and author of Full
Planet, Empty Plates: The New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity (release
date: October 1, 2012). Data and additional resources at www.earth-policy.org.
Frosty Wooldridge has bicycled across six continents - from the Arctic
to the South Pole - as well as eight times across the USA, coast to
coast and border to border. In 2005, he bicycled from the Arctic Circle,
Norway to Athens, Greece. In 2012, he bicycled coast to coast across
America. His latest book is: How to Live a Life of Adventure:
The Art of Exploring the World by Frosty Wooldridge, copies at 1 888
280 7715/ Motivational program: How to Live a Life of Adventure:
The Art of Exploring the World by Frosty Wooldridge, click: