Sunday, July 6, 2008

The King Has No Clothing

Last year, Al Gore's movie, "An Inconvenient Truth," was shown at our community hall and was followed by a spirited discussion moderated by an intelligent environmental lawyer who is gaining a national reputation. The audience appeared deeply moved by the film and enthusiastically offered a variety of actions we could take as individuals and on a community basis to avoid the disaster that global warming threatens.

At one point, a 12-year-old boy stood up and said that human population seemed to be part of the problem and shouldn't we be doing something about that. The moderator quickly dismissed the boy, stating that new technologies and conservation were the solution, and moved on to another speaker.

The young boy was the only one in the audience to recognize that human population is the real problem behind global warming. But no one listened. I despair.

1 comment: said...

Perhaps this is one of the rare places on planet Earth where real issues can be openly discussed. In many too many others places people are either tip-toeing around the ominously looming global challenges already visible on the far horizon or else ignoring them entirely.

From a historical perspective, it appears that humankind is the only organism on Earth that produces food, amasses more food than is needed for survival and made food into a commodity. Farmers have not been primarily motivate by an altruistic desire to grow food because they have wanted to feed a growing population, nor have they been selling food to increase human population numbers. The more food farmers grew, the more wealth they accumulated. Our (agri-)culture has evidently devised a spectacularly successful economic system that continuously expands the food supply for human human beings worldwide. What I am trying to suggest is simply this: An economic system that requires ever increasing food production, supposedly to feed a rapidly growing human population, appears to be inadvertently and unexpectedly enlarging the size of the human population on Earth.

That is to say, the predominant culture and its global economy appears to produce many wonders as well as potentially deleterious impacts. Would you agree that if our culture chooses to keep growing the global economy as we are doing now, then we will likely keep getting what we are getting now... for better and worse?

For a long time, the leaders of the predominant culture have chosen to continuously expand production capabilities, ones that give rise to the rampant economic globalization we see today. Unfortunately, an ever expanding, leviathan-like global economy appears to give rise to something recognizably unsatisfactory because it could become unsustainable.

If you will, please consider how the relentless hoarding of wealth and the conspicuous over-consumption of resources by millions of people leave billions of people in the family of humanity hungry.

For fortunate millions of people with riches to recklessly consume limited resources, while billions of less forunate people go without adequate food to eat, seems somehow not quite right.

Inequity is sad enough; grotesque inequity will one day be considered intolerable, I suppose.

If leaders of our predominant culture choose to modify the way the unbridled global economy continuously grows and the way it inequitably distributes resources, then perhaps they and we will find more reasonable, sensible, fair and, equally important, sustainable ways of performing these practices better.

Perhaps it is a mistake for me to do so; but, nevertheless, I am assuming most members of us can agree that the unbridled expansion of the global economy, given its huge scale and rapid growth, will result in this manmade economic colossus eventually reaching a point in human history when it becomes patently unsustainable in a finite world with make-up and size of Earth.

Steven Earl Salmony
AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population, established 2001