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Response to DemocracyMouse (Original post)

Sun Mar 17, 2019, 08:05 AM

4. The human species is on a self-destructive path that will self-limit...

but only after many millions die. Because of our relatively short life span, self-interest and short-sightedness, few people really care. Political climates around the globe are heading in the exact opposite direction of what's needed to even slow this process.

We have been warned for decades. Biologist Prof Paul Ehrlich, a wonderful scientist at Stanford, has summarized this far better than I can and I would point those interested to this frightening interview from 2018:

Paul Ehrlich: 'Collapse of civilisation is a near certainty within decades'
Damian Carrington 22 Mar 2018

Red more here: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2018/mar/22/collapse-civilisation-near-certain-decades-population-bomb-paul-ehrlich

(snips - emphases mine)
The world’s optimum population is less than two billion people – 5.6 billion fewer than on the planet today, he argues, and there is an increasing toxification of the entire planet by synthetic chemicals that may be more dangerous to people and wildlife than climate change.

Ehrlich also says an unprecedented redistribution of wealth is needed to end the over-consumption of resources, but “the rich who now run the global system – that hold the annual ‘world destroyer’ meetings in Davos – are unlikely to let it happen”.
“Population growth, along with over-consumption per capita, is driving civilisation over the edge: billions of people are now hungry or micronutrient malnourished, and climate disruption is killing people.”
“It is a near certainty in the next few decades, and the risk is increasing continually as long as perpetual growth of the human enterprise remains the goal of economic and political systems,” he says. “As I’ve said many times, ‘perpetual growth is the creed of the cancer cell’.”

It is the combination of high population and high consumption by the rich that is destroying the natural world, he says. Research published by Ehrlich and colleagues in 2017 concluded that this is driving a sixth mass extinction of biodiversity, upon which civilisation depends for clean air, water and food.

The solutions are tough, he says. “To start, make modern contraception and back-up abortion available to all and give women full equal rights, pay and opportunities with men. “I hope that would lead to a low enough total fertility rate that the needed shrinkage of population would follow. [But] it will take a very long time to humanely reduce total population to a size that is sustainable.”

He estimates an optimum global population size at roughly 1.5 to two billion, “But the longer humanity pursues business as usual, the smaller the sustainable society is likely to prove to be. We’re continuously harvesting the low-hanging fruit, for example by driving fisheries stocks to extinction.”
He treats this risk with characteristic dark humour: “The first empirical evidence we are dumbing down Homo sapiens were the Republican debates in the US 2016 presidential elections – and the resultant kakistocracy. On the other hand, toxification may solve the population problem, since sperm counts are plunging.”

Paul's original book from the 60s may have missed the mark with some of his predictions, but his overall thesis on where we're headed is spot-on. I haven't read all of his old book, but intend to investigate his more recent publications.

The stats cited in that HuffPo article should shake the world into reality today, but this will just be another Sunday as usual on earth......

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