Is our world, as it moves inexorably ahead, facing a doomsday?
I received another political survey question recently that listed major questions facing our nation. Matters such as debt ceiling, unemployment, fiscal cliff, poverty and more made up a considerable list.
What prompted my answers were the here and now questions. The here and now questions do need answers, but what about the ultimate questions?
Will our family members — children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren — survive if present practices continue?
I don’t have authentic prognostic qualifications, but it is obvious to me, after reading those that do, that the answer is no — unless we change our ways.
What are these practices? The two overall ones are continuing by leaps and bounds even though we are well aware it can’t be undone. They include population expansion and resource depletion. Both are increasing exponentially.
You tell me that in our country and some others, the birth rate is down. That is great, but don’t forget immigration.
Optimists will ask why the population is such a problem. The U.S. has reduced that figure in recent years which is good, but it doesn’t even flicker the candle of world population growth.
Many countries such as in Africa continue to expand dramatically. Our government is convulsing with the immigration issue. Our capitalistic search for profit has brought in millions of Latin Americans in our search for low-cost labor. Factories have been moved overseas in that search as well, but population is still growing regularly. Resource depletion is further away, but eventually will become a serious problem when present resources are further diminished.
The Environmental Defense Fund’s recent issue of “Solutions” reports such warning. Sixty-four percent of the world’s fisheries are overfished. Thirsty cities and farms leave less water for wildlife. It isn’t only the buffalo that have left the lands. The coming trips being planned to Mars may ultimately uncover vital resources, and the search for resources has been fast and furious, but the problem still exists.
Efforts to curb population expansion face many hurdles. Birth control is highly debated as is abortion even when many of the non-aborted promise to be an additional strain on depleted resources.
Another organization that concentrates on this issue is Population Connection, www.popconnmect.org. A recent paragraph in their publication, “The Reporter,” had this paragraph I believe sums up our problem:
“For the past several centuries, mankind has been polluting air and water, altering Earth’s climate, eliminating the habitat of plants and animals, and depleting the natural bank account of renewable resources. Further, we are developing systems to regenerate or maintain renewable resources and ‘ecosystem services,’ such as providing clean air, water, fertile soil, flood control and adequate climate, and the conservation of biological diversity. This is the environment in which our planetary population continues to grow.” Some facts Population cites to justify its work:
Wisconsin’s population is 5.7 million. (Same size geographically as Bangladesh where over 150 million are struggling to survive)
The world population is sevem billion now and doubled in 45 years.
The net gain of people in the births versus deaths is 9,000 per hour.
That’s over 200,000 per day as total resources decline, farms, forests, fresh water, fish stocks and othr vital resources.
Resources such as farmland, water, forest and oil dropped by half since 1960.
The population is already above sustainable levels.
We need to change our ways before it is too late. If we can’t, will some future scientists be unearthing our bones and wondering what happened to our extremely mechanized civilization?
Bernie Hughes, Ed.D, is a retired educator who resides in Superior. He can be reached at bernie3024