Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Less of us

In the end, that is what it is going to be. We are dancing around the hard truth right now, the 600 pound gorilla that Paul Ehrlich has been pointing at for the past 40 years. Granted, the guy was premature, and he had a tendency to come off as a serious nut-job, but he is right, there are just too many fucking humans on the planet. If we are going to be happy and healthy and have good lives, the number has to go down and nature has a whole bunch of ways of doing this for us.

The real hard part to digest is that birth rates in first world economies haven't fallen fast enough to thin the herd and the third world is starting to get a life span acceptable to, lets say 1900 USA. So they need to slow down on the number of chilluns coming down the chute instead of popping them out on an assembly line basis as is being done currently. But the religieuse see this kind of talk as anathema and scream and yell like no Mānana . Speaking about the need for, ahem, family planning is a screaming crazy issue in the US

Now, I realize that many of you will be saying now "damnit, not another of these screwball Malthusians". You know, you are probably right, you might as well sign off here. Because this is one of those issues that I call a dancing faster problem. If any of you have kids, you probably have seen the game where there is a pad on the floor in front of a computer, the computer shows steps and you dance according to the pattern on the screen. As you progress, the tempo goes faster and faster until finally, even Gregory Hines would fall exhausted by the way.

The theories of Malthus and Ehrlich are just like that game. Where these doomsayers (Yes, that is what they are) made their mistake is not understanding that the human race is unique in its ability to distort entropy by the use of massive inputs of energy. By playing the "Burn energy to make up the difference" game, we have been dodging bullets for the last fifty years. But I think that now the bullets are going to start hitting home, and when famine starts, the world kind of goes nuts in a collective manner. That is where we are sitting and might very well be the next act of the play.

Hell, who knows when the down-leg will start. We might even be looking at another 50 years. Ho hum. But it is out there, and unless someone gets really damn busy and figures out how to repeal the second law of thermodynamics, it ain't going to go away either.

Having this many of us around, we are screwing shit up. We are sucking out the oil and eating all the fish. We are pissing in every available stream and overbuilding everywhere. At the end of the day it is getting awkward for us in the west to come to grips with the earth raping needed to keep up our "lifestyle", and if the rest of the world goes down the path we in the west have taken, the party will begin very shortly thank you.

1 comment:

Mayberry said...

The downhill slide has already started. Hold on to your hat.