The former news network CNN combines alarm and trivia. Two models with smiles the size of the screen announce Planet Earth now has 6.5 billion people. Immediately, the camera veers away to show us a captive whale blowing bubbles that look like smoke rings. These are glad tidings, an intelligent mammal in a concrete box and a planet overloaded with suffering humans. Cut to Samantha Good, with the latest exclusive update on little Jennifer, who disappeared last night from a Kentucky shopping mall…
Four days later, the whole story disappeared from video space. A Google search could not find a single TV clip on our 6.5 billionth birthday. Back to the traditional invisibility which hides the human bloom.
Paul Ehrlich, Professor of Population Studies at Stanford:
[Ehrlich clip saying no one talks about it in media…]
We don’t even have any good jokes about over population.
[computer voice: How many humans does it take to screw in a light bulb? Voice change. One, and four billion more wishing they had a lightbulb.]
If you have any good jokes, please send them to GrinningPlanet.com.
In his seminal 1968 book, “The Population Bomb,” Ehrlich predicted “mankind will breed itself into oblivion.”
Major environmental groups know that sheer volume of humans are gobbling up nature’s last reservoirs, and say little to nothing. It’s dangerous to talk about controlling the size of the herd. Who has a population control campaign? It’s left to the fringes like dieoff.org and the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement (at vhemt.org).
[Ehrlich quote, saying population is one of three major driving forces destroying the environment…]
The world population has doubled since 1960, quadrupled since 1900. A Cornell University Study, titled “Will Limits of the Earth’s Resources Control Human Numbers”, led by David Pimentel, concluded the planet can only support 2 billion humans sustainably, in a technically empowered lifestyle. Two billion – that’s the upper limit for a civilized Earth. And no, more technology cannot replace the need for functioning biological systems.
[Ehrlich quote saying we used to think tech could do it, moving everyone up to West’s standards, but in reality, we would need the resources of several planets like Earth to do it]
The World Health organization estimates 3 billion people, almost half of all humans alive now, suffer from malnutrition. They eat far less than the waste food we toss in the garbage can. Millions die from famine, and easily preventable diseases caused by malnutrition and poverty. Let’s welcome another 80 million new humans this year!
Fact: Every year India produces as many new humans as the entire population of Australia. One in five humans is East Indian. In India, 70 percent of those billion plus people are under age 36, still breeding. In the 10 seconds it took to report this fact, 18 people died, and 41 new babies were born.
Yet Paul and Ann Ehrlich have repeatedly warned us the real ecological threat doesn’t come from raw reproduction of villagers far away. Massive over-consumption by Western lifestyles makes each of us use more of nature than 25 or more simple peasants. There are too many wasteful rich people. Shopping, re-decorating, fat with new SUVs, the species Consumerensis sucks up the planet. And everyone wants to be just like us.
[clip from Bits, Les Brown, saying if everyone in China drove a car…it would take all of the world’s oil]
Let’s just look at Latin America, where a never-ending stream of young humans is cutting into the great rainforests, or miserably camped out in shanty-towns with no services, no jobs, and no hope. It’s a good place to use our wealth to help, but two idols block the door. One in the Vatican, and one in the Whitehouse, both believe fervently that family planning and contraception go against God’s laws.
[clip of “Nine reasons the Bible forbids contraception…”]
As soon as he was elected, President George the Younger cut off millions of dollars support for the United Nations population fund. Diplomats were told to boycott UN meetings where “reproductive health services” for women were discussed. Then, he re-instated Ronald Reagan’s so-called “gag rule” from the 1980’s – forbidding any American funding for a wide variety of family planning groups, including planned parenthood. Apparently, education, birth control pills and condoms are the same as abortion.
Bush supported oppressive Latin American laws with a minimum of one year in prison for women getting an abortion. Dangerous illegal abortions remain one of the leading causes of death for women in that region. They die for the Pope and the American religious right.
[clip of religious broadcaster, we’re going to heaven, you’re going to Hell]
President Kennedy, a Catholic, hoped to stem the tide of illegal immigrants by building up living standards in Latin America. The Bush administration’s budget for 2007 proposes to cut aid to the region by 28.5 percent. Money is needed for the Middle East wars.
Bush has another plan. In January, the Army Corps of Engineers awarded a 385 million dollar contract to a Halliburton Subsidiary, Kellogg Brown & Root to construct detention centers in the United States, to deal with, quote, “an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs.”
For more on that story, see the article “Bush’s Mysterious ‘New Programs'” by Nat Parry, February 23rd, 2006, posted on www.alternet.org.
Surely, millions will walk North, especially driven by ecological collapse by climate change. Each successful migrant to America works hard to become another super-consumer, another giant gorging on the burdened ecosphere.
In 1944, as the war ended, a small group of deer were released on St Matthew Island, in the Bering Sea. There were 24 females, and five males. They found abundant food, with no predators, and were rarely hunted by men. In his much criticized 1977 book, Garrett Hardin wrote: “By 1957, the population had swelled to 1,350 reindeer; in the summer of 1963 it reached its peak of over 6,000, and then ‘crashed’ during the winter when food was at its minimum. Three years later, there were only 42 animals, all adults and all but one, female. The future of the herd was in doubt.”
As they overwhelmed their island in space, they destroyed all the lichens on which reindeer depend.
We don’t know what they believed, as the stripped their resources. Their beliefs were irrelevant to biological reality.
Are we too dim-witted to save ourselves as a species? We just push it to the ecological melt-down point, a China Syndrome of climate imbalance, driven by carbonated humanity in the Big Crush.
[there is a different ending in the broadcast/podcast audio – plus a sound-track and countdown to 10 billion…sorry, you really have to listen to the original – just click on the title name, “The Big Crush” and you’ll hear the audio, approximately 12 minutes long. Some things need to SAID, and HEARD, reaching places in the heart where text can not go.]
Get the original at www.ecoshock.org