The Rambling Continues from The Non-Knower of Things

Posted: May 24, 2012 in philosophy, thought, writing
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Whenever I bring up (in conversation) population size/growth I always get the “Lindsay’s at it again, that girl is crazy!” side glances.

Am I the only one who thinks that over population of our planet is one of our biggest worries?

In the short 24 years I’ve been on this planet we have put over a billion people on it! Is this not completely absurd? I can only imagine how many people we will create in the next 24, 50, 100 years.

I have given up on the thought of having my own children simply because of these figures. I cannot knowingly put more beings on this planet, while there are millions of children, teens and adults alike starving for a better life (I hope to adopt one day). This does not mean that I am in any way against people having children of their own. My sister gave birth to twins a little under a month ago and I have begun to worry about their future. Will they have enough food to eat, water to drink, air to breathe when they are my age or older? Will their children or their children’s, children be starved of these necessities? What kind of life will they live on this depleting planet?

I thought the reason for procreation was about the survival of the species? To create a new generation of species hopefully stronger and more resilient than the last. Now reproduction seems more of a recreation, than a survival mechanism. We are taught (at least in western society) that the measure of a good life is getting and education, entering a career, finding a mate and having children. This is a good life…or is it? We seem to be breeding at excessively high rates and the offspring, I find aren’t stronger or more adaptable than the last. In fact, they are in many ways weaker(this generation is expected to be the first generation that will not outlive their parents). I agree that every generation opens their mind a bit more which is promising but the fact that we are still teaching our children to rely so heavily on non-renewable resources and technology, frightens me. These things will too run out, these things will too come to an end and then what?

I was born in the late eighties, both my grandparents and parents grew up without television, without running water, my dad(along with his brothers) even hunted pheasants and rabbits to put food on the table. I grew up hearing “When I was a kid we didn’t have blah, blah, blah.” I was always highly aware that the conveniences of today were just that, conveniences. I worry that the kids born in the new millennia will never care to learn about how life was before the industrialized revolution. When I was young the past was still very close, only 40-50 years earlier were things much different. However, today it is closer to a century, we are living in the science fiction novels of the late 1800 and early 1900’s. It is hard even for me sometimes to see how far we have come in such a short period of time, hard mainly because it is worrisome. We move so fast in todays society, barely able to wait for the next big thing, already working on the next big thing before the last big thing even came out. Only the big thing is not saving us, it’s killing us.

Here is a few concepts for thought. We spend all this time and money on finding a cure for cancer, surgeries for obesity, pills for mental illness, but we spend little to no time on figuring out why these have become so common in our society. I think it is something like 1-4 people will have some type of cancer in their life, 42% of Americans are over-weight and it seems that almost everyone knows someone who has or had some form of metal illness (I myself have family members currently fighting with all three of these diseases). Why can we not put some effort into figuring out what is causing this cancer, this obesity, this mental illness?(these are only a few of the problems we face daily).

I for one believe much of it is coming from the food we put into our bodies that is laced with chemicals and jam packed with ridiculous amounts of salt and sugar. The air we breathe everyday, all day is becoming more and more contaminated. We are demolishing the very things this planet needs to support our livelihood. We are not even close to as active as we were just 50 years ago, we also live in a high stress, face paced global society, which leaves us with little to no time for meditation and reflection. People rarely take the time to be grateful for what they have because they always think they need more, that they have the right for more.

I am not suggesting I have the answers to these problems. I am not a scholar, but I am a human, a human that is hoping for a better future for all life on this planet. I still have hope for mankind (even with all it’s issues) I feel we can make a change if we start talking about the things that we are ignoring everyday, and start putting action to our words.

This seems to be another one of those blogs where I start somewhere and end up somewhere completely different. I don’t want to these words to be preachy. I am not the knower of all things, I only write what I feel, and today and many days this is how I feel. Why I worry about these things, I do not know, all I know is I do, I worry for you and me, for the trees and the bees! (always good to end a serious blog with a rhyme!)

Peace and Love

Lindsay, The Non-Knower of things 🙂

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Comments
  1. I get the same looks from people,so you are not alone. Richard Dawkins wrote about the threat of overpopulation back in the 1970’s. I had an ethics professor a few years back who claimed that the world was not overpopulated, and there was nothing to worry about. What a bunch of hyperbole! There is plenty to be concerned about. Very nice post!

  2. Nature, my dear, will keep the balance you are suggesting, humanity may think it knows how to handle all things, but we a self deluded.
    You shouldn’t worry about such things, when the time comes the tide of population will ebb. I get the feeling that what you are pleading for is the avoidance of a difficult time, and a large uncontrolled population reduction … It’s like asking for an end to war …
    It’s a fine post, and a noble ideal, I’m just pointing out that nature will have the last word …

  3. travisthetraveler says:

    I really love all of your posts. Your beautiful character shows in your words and your strength in your honesty. North America was once extremely populated with natives, and it was said that you could smell the camp fires hundreds of miles off the east coast. This was before the Europeans came of course. It is also said that they were undefeatable even by the great vikings who learned the hard way. We are taught that our mighty guns finally over powered them but that is not fully true. Most of them were wiped out by plague that was brought by travelers. Because their numbers were down, America was able to be taken. Anyways, the point is that they were highly civilized and knew the importance of leaving a minimal carbon footprint. They were strong and healthy and even viewed the Europeans as smelly and ignorant. The way they lived could sustain the environment even with great numbers. We believe that to be moving backwards though.

    • So very true Travis, and thank you so much for your compliments. I am so humbled by your words, truly appreciated (beautiful character, strength in honesty, I’m glad both shine through my writing, even if I sometimes worry they don’t)

  4. Yvette says:

    Hi Lindsay, you made me smile, as I was born in the 60’s and yes I also heard and still hear from my parents, it wasn’t like that when I was growing up..blah,blah,blah, …I had to milk six cows before going to school….well, times have changed and so often I hear that as this grey hair generation grow older they somehow need and want to revert back to living the ‘good old days’…it’s harder for our generation and you’re right it’s scarier…the humble family unit, no longer exists…nor the 2 parent family, these days it’s a 4 adult..stepsister..stepbrother..stepgrandparent…family unit. It’s hard as a teacher these day to fully understand a small childs life..when some of these kids are growing up faster than I ever did….a great post. Thanks for viewing Twistedvines.

  5. Satis says:

    Taking a large perspective on such matters is terribly important. The world population is increasing, and dramatically. It is increasingly exponentially faster in developing countries than it is in first-world countries, however. In fact, some countries such as those in Scandinavia actually have a shrinking population.

    The technological development of the past thirty years has been unparalleled in human history, but it isn’t too dissimilar to the advent of electricity around a hundred years ago. Our children will grow up in a significantly more privileged society than we did. What I hope will happen, however, is this: our parents worked extremely hard to give us a life they felt they were denied. In our complacency, we will be denying precisely that to our own children, who will (for the most part) work hard to regain the life we didn’t give them. The cycle will continue.

    By far the most certain reason for the increase in cancer, diabetes and mental illness is age. There were fewer deaths from cancer a hundred years ago because fewer people outlived more immediate illnesses such as smallpox. Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzhiemer’s and Parkinson’s were virtually unheard of a century ago (and, as it happens, unheard of in third-world countries where the greater concerns are pneumonia, malaria and HIV).

    With regard to our planetary resources, we will almost certainly use them up. I can’t see how this could be avoided. If the over-reliance on fossil fuels is already destructive in industrialized societies, just wait until China and India level their countries’ wide-spread technology with ours. What on earth is it going to look like when two billion people own 2.4 cars and a dog?

    I am aligned with the things you are worried about; I very much used to worry about these sorts of things as well. There is a huge amount of scientific data that suggests things are not as dire as they seem (and I would recommend not looking to news articles for this information!). At the moment, it’s estimated that the world population may well level at something like 20-30 billion people. A massive number compared to today’s 8 billion, but – still tenable by our resources on the planet. If we consume every last fossil fuel the planet has to offer, there’s an exceptionally good chance that the corporations who have built their billions off of these resources will find a way to keep themselves in business; sadly, money is a very good motivator. Watch as the price of gasoline increases: when it reaches the point where it becomes more cost-effective to use an electric car than a gas car, I’d be surprised if Exxon and BP don’t start selling electricity instead of petrol.

    Anyway, what’s all of this about? Children, in the main. Don’t forego having children for the sake of the planet. Procreation is not recreation (that’s the bit before the procreation, in case you were wondering). Your children will have a fine life. So will theirs. The graphic changes you – and all of us – are worried about do not happen in a decade or even in fifty years. They will happen, and like a frog in a pot, we may not recognize them until it is too late. But the human race is nothing if not adaptable, and the first step to that adaptation is the survival of the fittest – in this case those who are mentally aware enough to understand the fate we are bringing upon ourselves. In that regard, you are probably better placed than most to sire your own offspring!

  6. AgentD32 says:

    The precarious situations we people find ourselves in is always a constant state of worry. Once again you speak of it externally, which is a delight to me. I see that our planet and all those that inhabit it could be gone tomorrow, our gravity depends on the moon and as such if it was to move (abnormally), most of the oceans would swallow us whole, if the universe so decided to end our rock, we could do little or nothing to stop it. This being said your concerns and worry are validated. I myself do not use a vehicle, I recycle most everything and only have one child, I am learning how to press my own teas and am going to be taking a class on homesteading. The more of us (you and I, and people who read your blog) that are, will begin to make a difference, if we have not already. I have faith in our generation, as eco villages are spreading across the western world quickly. Places that produce their own supplies while reducing their ecological foot print upon the planet. Have hope young stone wisdom. Wisdom you do have and you know plenty, please never succumb to the fears but face them and break them in half with education and charisma as you appear to be doing. Continue on 🙂

  7. Jonas Alpha says:

    These are poignant remarks. Neil deGrasse Tyson said: “Science literacy is a vaccine against the charlatans of the world that would exploit your ignorance.” You are certainly doing your part in spreading the metaphorical vaccine. In fact, it’s reassuring to know that there is someone else who cares as well about the outrageous population growth we’re putting this planet and this species through.

  8. This is a very well-written post and you bring up concerns that are very valid in their seriousness. As “grandfathersky” commented, nature will take its course; at least it’s supposed to. Nature has always taken its course, but we as humans have gained knowledge to the extent that nature cannot keep up. All of the new diseases we see are merely nature running its course, except we are too smart for that now. Death is one of the sad truths in life and it is extremely hard to lose someone you love, yet it is what keeps the earth in balance. As terrible as it sounds, in order to ensure survival for future generations, we either have to:

    A. Find different resources or ways to limit the use of the resources we are currently using such as alternative energy, engineered food, or finding a new planet to live on. Or,

    B. Since the resources we do have are really only able to support a population of around 1 billion, about 6 billion people need to go. I’m not advocating the death of 6 billion people, just that we have about 6 billion too many.

    I too have wondered if I should bring a child into this world. Would they even make it to adulthood? Would I be dooming my children to a horrible life? Our main issue, and one that has been pointed out by many nations, is that government doesn’t take this situation seriously enough. We even have people who claim we shouldn’t even bother with global warming because Jesus is returning soon. The mindset of many in charge is the complete opposite of what we need, but since many of the people who know how to solve this problem or would like to see it solved don’t have billions of dollars to throw at the government, it will never be fixed. Or, for all we know, global warming is a hype. Whoever has the most money to throw around decides what the public gets to perceive as true.

  9. Good piece,your assertion seem to be built on Malthusian theory of population. Our major concern should be the over depletion of natural resources which are finite to cater for the billions if not trillions of populations yet to come. High death rates would balance over population but fact is it will do this at the wrong places!

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