Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Hungry for the Future

Considering the intertwined fates of starvation (resources) and population (mouths to feed) causes my heart to break.  I am not a vegetarian, though I should be.  I am not a groovy hippie living off the grid, although I would save lives I suppose, I am luddite, without life skills, who does all he is able by writing.  I don't have gadgets outside of my computer and my crappy cell phone.  But I am fully aware without the advancements of modernity I'd have died four or five times prior, due to various abilities to fight cancer and other achievements.  I'd never have met the people that allowed me to write and thereby become published.  I'd have been an overnight security guy reading comics til he was 35 years old, obese, and seriously unhappy with his existence. 

I am not crapping upon modernity.  Modernity has created a better world in ways, expanded life expectancies, better lives with many diseases crushed, and fresh water and technical advancements in countries that had never seen such things.  The struggle for resources had been hard, and now had become slightly better. But life became better, and with that, more people had babies, and the demand upon the resources became even greater than before. Without the developments of the Green revolution the world uptick in population would have been a very hungry one.  Instead, enormous strides were taken.   And with those strides, population once again grew.  Like dog chasing tail, the cycle rose endlessly, but there is, of course, a finite end waiting, when the dog bites down successfully. 

Borrowed from Wikipedia's entry on Overpopulation

"Human overpopulation occurs if the number of people in a group exceeds the carrying capacity of a region occupied by that group. Overpopulation can further be viewed, in a long term perspective, as existing when a population can't be maintained without the rapid depletion of non-renewable resources or without the degradation of the capacity of the environment to give support to the population. "

Borrowed from Wikipedia's entry on Famine

"A famine is a widespread scarcity of food, caused by several factors including crop failure, population unbalance, or government policies. This phenomenon is usually accompanied or followed by regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality. Nearly every continent in the world has experienced a period of famine throughout history. Some countries, particularly in sub-Sahara Africa, continue to have extreme cases of famine."

When we consider the world before us, it is natural to think of how we add to it by populating it.  Our children will inherit the world, so we must think we are contributing something good? Yes?  Or are we having children because we think the world will solve its own problems, and that we had kids like someone else might have a cold.  Accidents happen, right?  But however we view children, our viewpoint does have an effect upon our future.  How we leave our footprint behind us, is important. It matters in terms of consumption of resources, adding to the mouths to feed, solving problems, creating answers, all matter in terms of how we contribute to the future.

There are modern ways to look at the world.  There are socialistic models, capitalist models, communist, liberation theological models, and others, all showing very nice charts and quotes, like the quotes I'll share soon.  But I am not teaching a class, who gives a shit about who said what about the damn thing, what we need to know is, what causes famines, and why are we worried it could get worse?  What does overpopulation have to do with this?  Right?

Thomas Malthus wrote:  "The power of population is so superior to the power of the earth to produce subsistence for man, that premature death must in some shape or other visit the human race. The vices of mankind are active and able ministers of depopulation. They are the precursors in the great army of destruction, and often finish the dreadful work themselves. But should they fail in this war of extermination, sickly seasons, epidemics, pestilence, and plague advance in terrific array, and sweep off their thousands and tens of thousands. Should success be still incomplete, gigantic inevitable famine stalks in the rear, and with one mighty blow levels the population with the food of the world."

Malthus is said to not have believed that humans would reach the epic apocalyptic end of complete disaster.   That humans we understand their issues and would halt unchecked growth by whatever means necessary.  I am uncertain if humans could stop it, so I am somewhat skeptical if what Malthus is said to have believed is true.

Aldous Huxley wrote:  “The Humanity of men and women is inversely proportional to their Numbers. A Crowd is no more human than an Avalanche or a Whirlwind. A rabble of men and women stands lower in the scale of moral and intellectual being than a herd of Swine or of Jackals.”

The above quote isn't immediately about overpopulation, in that, it speaks of the will and rabble of the crowds being more or less the capricious whims of those at the front of the pack.  But, in many ways that is exactly what overpopulation is about.  Unless someone with power is persuasive and means to change how people behave, in private, with their sexual partners, the earth population might reach a peak where the only end point is a crash of resources and an enormous and equal crash of dead from starvation.

Throughout  history it has been proven that food has been used as a weapon.  In the 20th Century even, within the last 50 years even, food has been used to crush the soul of rebellion, and to destroy families, and to maintain power by governments.  I am not writing this as a Leftist, or Rightist.  I believe that famine and food politics is an issue that goes far beyond petty dominions of power.  This is about humanity survival, and the future.



 Politically induced Famine in UKRAINE


I don't mean to say children, and people are bad.  Because I don't think that.  But I do think that when humans reproduce without an idea how to provide for their children, that poses a problem, and the assumption that society will care for their child or children is not an answer, or, won't be for long.   I suggest we listen to all forms of information and use all voices to inform our choices.  Killing our self isn't the answer, but what happens when there is one meal, and 20 hungry guests?

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