Of late my mind has been occupied with pondering how both lucky and unlucky sets of incidences had brought me to, and pulled me back from, the brink of death. These experiences has jelled within me with certain finality that any belief in a “higher being”, god, whatever one wants to call it, is both extremely infantile and monumentally ludicrous. Any sense of awe and appreciation and wonder and purpose in my life I find most profoundly among the people who make it WORTH living – my wife, my children, my friends and more. And it is the ultimate finality of those important relationships that makes them so critically vital and worth embracing NOW.
I recently stumbled upon a talk by naturalist, Sir David Attenborough. He was speaking about the eminent extinction of various animal species, specifically about the number of reports and studies which have pointed to these causes; global climate change, destruction of habitat and so on. But what he found remarkable in each and every report was the one basic common contributing factor NOT mentioned:
Fifty years ago (when I was age 12) there were 3 billion people on this planet. Today there are 7 billion, more than doubled IN MY LIFETIME – world population increases by 250,000 people a day, by 10,000 an hour. Each and every one of these individuals will require space – room to live, eat, survive. But as a Naturalist, Sir David points out in stark and undeniable truth: “there cannot be more people on this earth than can be fed”. Sir David refers to the concept of “sustainable growth” as an oxymoron.
True, increases in productivity and food sciences have fed billions; and likely more advances in this area are forthcoming. Yet these advances only hasten the inevitable. Sir David quotes economist Kenneth Boulding:
“Anyone who believes indefinite growth in anything physical on a physically finite planet is either a madman or an economist.”The key ingredient driving the advances in food production is energy, specifically energy from petroleum. Petroleum provides the chemicals to enhance food production and distribution. Petroleum is a finite commodity the demand for it is increasing and the supply of it is becoming more expensive. The cost of petroleum, and therein food, is manipulated by economic interests. The demand for food will only increase and with it, the cost. Those who will, and are now bearing the full brunt of this inevitability, are the poor… a number which is also steadily increasing world wide.
I note with increasing disgust the amount of time and energy that is wasted on the banality of the political process in this country and around the world. The “N-word” painted on a rock at Rick Perry’s hunting lodge, fear that same-sex people will get married, that elected official, Mitch McConnell has stated his sole purpose in Congress is to ensure against President Obama having a second term… All this meaningless nonsense saps our energy - while these morons fiddle, Rome burns.
Between now and the 2012 presidential election, 98,500,000 (ninety-eight million, five-hundred thousand) more people will exist on this planet. Their fate will be either in the hands of an invisible omnipotent benevolent/malevolent being - or more likely, Not.
Sir David Attenborough’s full talk can be viewed here.