On Overpopulation and Global Warming

I saw a post which blamed the world’s problems including (and especially) global warming on over-population. I won’t repeat the horribly racist comments, but given the number of people who piled on to this theory, I can see there are a host of others who ascribe to its tenets. I cannot.
However, I agree, more people means more CO2 being exhaled, more charcoal fires, more crop and trash fires, more vehicle exhaust from private cars, motorbikes and buses, and more sources of greenhouse gases at the individual level. That does not mean we can discount the emissions from factories, power plants, sewage plants, as well as all forms of transportation including cruise ships, fleets of trucks, and our insistence on driving our own car to pick up pizza.

IMHO, it makes very little difference about how this global catastrophe evolved. Finger-pointing won’t help solve the problem unless we can, as a planet, stop the sources we can abate. Virtually every social scientist, environmental scientist, meteorological scientist, and others who study the problem and its impact will agree that the root cause is the introduction of man to the planet and his desire to keep warm, transport himself and his goods, and to illuminate his personal world. But until man figured he could do more by burning fossil fuels, the population and the volume of greenhouse gasses released was limited. The industrial revolution was fueled by coal and other fossil fuels–today we’ve added renewable energy sources, and nuclear power, but fossil fuels still play a significant role in the volume of greenhouse gases. We knew this more than a hundred years ago. When I got my Master’s and took courseware in Environmental Science, the professors predicted what we’re seeing today in some detail. We as a nation did nothing, at least nothing effective, to stop it.

But everyone with a modicum of education has also agreed (albeit quietly), is that a vast amount of greenhouse gasses are now coming from melting permafrost and there is no way to stop it.
I recently saw a cartoon that showed a businessman bemoaning the dark world to come but boasting about how the period before the cataclysm would be very profitable. That’s where we are today. Those who know what’s coming and have the money are gathering what they can, buying up hilltop estates and building walls, stockpiling arms, food, and water–and recruiting armies. The deniers are buying homes on the beach and on those romantic islands and praying for deliverance.

Is it really too late to do anything that will make a difference? Some say it’s not. I simply don’t know, but I too hope that we can salvage humanity from its folly. Until we elect a government who can work with the rest of the world toward solutions, and turn a deaf ear to the corporate forces who would suck the last bit of life out of the economy to foster their own personal gain, until sanity regains control of the country, we don’t have much hope.

In the meantime, I have redirected my idle time learning how to help in natural disasters. My stockpiles of food and water are intended to last about three weeks–not a lifetime. I might suggest you do the same. The storms we’re seeing are a harbinger of what we have in store for us. More violent storms, more radical changes in temperature, more record cold-spells, more record heatwaves, higher sea levels, which will mean less food from our fields and our seas as the climate changes all the rules we have depended on for 200,000 years.


Bill

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