Earth Day: Now With 95 Percent More People!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephanie-feldstein/earth-day-now-with-95-per_b_5176580.html

by Stephanie Feldstein Population and Sustainability Director, Center for Biological Diversity

 

Forty-four years ago, students, activists and political leaders looked at the impact human population was having on the world around them and decided something needed to be done. Earth Day was born, and the modern environmental movement wasn’t far behind.

Since then, there have been a lot more births. Billions more. In the 44 years since the first Earth Day, our population has increased by nearly 95 percent (and we still add 227,000 people to the planet each day).

That’s more people using more land and water, eating more meat, paving more wild places, demanding more energy and producing more climate-changing emissions. More cars and more consumerism; more trash and more pollution.

The one thing we don’t have more of: Earth

We still only have one planet. Though you wouldn’t know it by the way we live our lives, especially here in the U.S. In fact, if everyone in the world lived like Americans, it would take 4.4 Earths to sustain the planet. Unfortunately, among all those Earth Day sales for yard accessories, eco-friendly t-shirts and other mass-produced “green” products, you won’t find a single spare Earth on clearance.

There are a few things this Earth Day has less of than the first celebration 44 years ago. Most notably absent are the conversations about our runaway population growth and overconsumption, what it’s doing to wildlife and the environment, and what we need to do about it if we’re really going to save the planet… and ourselves.

It’s time to go retro on Earth Day. There were 3.7 billion people on the planet for the first Earth Day in 1970, and one of the biggest concerns then was that our growing population was destroying the planet and driving other species to extinction. Now that we have 7.2 billion people on the planet, the one thing we need more of is concern about human population and the extinction crisis.

The Center for Biological Diversity is bringing population back to Earth Day this year by giving away 44,000 Endangered Species Condoms in honor of the 44th anniversary of the celebration. More than 500 volunteers across all 50 states will be bringing the condoms to Earth Day festivals, parties and other community events to get more people talking about the issue that inspired the original Earth Day.

Doing your part is even easier than remembering to bring your reusable tote bag to the grocery store. Start by having the conversation. Share this blog post and the video below. Join us on Facebook. Sign up to be an Endangered Species Condoms volunteer. Check out our Earth Day Event Toolkit for information and downloadable fact sheets. Write a letter to the editor. Next time your friends and family are talking about organic food, climate change or their other favorite environmental issue, add population growth to mix.

We can’t create more Earth by the next Earth Day, but we can raise more awareness about population growth and commit to leaving more room for wildlife.

(Just in time for Earth Day) Distress Signals from Earth

A steady stream of reports on the deterioration of the environment is issued. There is a brief flurry of media coverage. The corporate-funded climate change deniers make counter claims. We wake briefly to the crisis then most of us lapse into a couch potato stupor. Neoliberal dogma and an almost mystical belief in capitalism makes almost certain that little will be done to avert coming calamities. Charades called climate summits offer nothing more than photo ops of smiling world leaders and vacuous press releases. We blithely turn our heads away from reality. As the ice caps melt it is not just penguins and polar bears that are in danger. The wider implications for the planet and humanity are profound. What level of catastrophe is it going to take for business as usual policies to change? Will we hear the distress signals from Earth?

Speaker(s):

Paul Ehrlich (click to view archive)

Paul Ehrlich is Bing Professor of Population Studies in the Department of Biology and president of the Center for Conservation Biology at Stanford University. He is a MacArthur Fellow, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and has received numerous honors including the Crafoord Prize of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, given in areas where the Nobel Prize is not awarded, the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, and the Blue Planet Prize.  He is active in the Millennium Alliance for Humanity and the Biosphere. He is author of over 40 books.

http://www.alternativeradio.org/collections/spk_paul-ehrlich/products/ehrp001

Program #EHRP001. Recorded in Fort Collins, CO on February 17, 2014.

Audio sample:

Please <a href=”http://enable-javascript.com/”>enable Javascript</a> to use the audio player.

 

Paul Ehrlich’s Overpopulation Message Even More Relevant Today

Stanford biologist Paul Ehrlich wrote a best-selling book in 1968 called The Population Bomb. It was so popular he appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

He told Carson, “There are 3.6 billion people in the world today, and we are adding about 70 million a year. And that’s too many. The very delicate life support systems of the planet, the things that supply us with all of our food, with ultimately with all of our oxygen, all of our waste disposal are now severely threatened.”

Overcrowded group

Despite Ehrlich’s sobering message, Carson had him on 20 times. Ehrlich started a movement called “Zero Population Growth.” He got a vasectomy to set an example. And he proposed a tax on diapers to keep population in check.

Since 1968 the human population has more than doubled, most people have not had vasectomies, and there is no tax on diapers to keep population in check…

 

Derived from: http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2013/12/31/258687278/a-bet-five-metals-and-the-future-of-the-planet

The American Dream turns into a Global Nightmare

By Paul B. Farrell, MarketWatch

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (MarketWatch) — The American Dream? Now a Global Nightmare? A ticking time bomb, a lethal virus spreading worldwide, could destroy the entire world, backfire, take down America and capitalism? Yes.

But, first, a little history: Five years ago Bill Gates and his Billionaires Club asked that question. But gave up. Here’s why.

Gates’ billionaires essentially asked: What do you think is the single, biggest ticking time bomb that will eventually take down global economies? The absolutely biggest one with a trigger mechanism that can ignite, set off a nuclear chain reaction that will throw a permanent wrench in global economic growth, ending capitalism, potentially destroying modern civilization as we know it.

Yes, that one. The one that — if not solved soon — renders all efforts to solve all other problems in the world irrelevant, futile and virtually impossible ever to solve. Yes, that one. What is the “big one?” Several alternative predictions have also been reported:

* Global wars? Pentagon warns warfare will define human life by 2020.

* Big Oil? Bill McKibben’s “End of Nature” prediction could ignite soon.

* Capitalism? Many progressives see capitalism destroying democracy.

* Inequality? Pope says inequality is the root of all social problems.

* Climate warming? 2,000 UN scientists warn humans are killing Earth.

* Technology? Robert Gordon says we can’t stop GDP falling to 1%.

Biggest risk? Guess again: Not warfare … not the inequality… not energy resource depletion … not global warming … not out-of-control capitalists … yes, all are important, all part of the domino effect, the chain reaction as the global clock winds down to zero.

Yes, five years ago the one-percenters thought they knew. Bill Gates and his Billionaires Club were certain, unanimous. Gates had brought together billionaire philanthropists in a supersecret meeting in Manhattan about the time the market last bottomed. Included: Buffett, Rockefeller, Soros, Bloomberg, Turner, Oprah and others. The London Times Online reported that during the afternoon session each spoke about their favorite charities.

Then, the big question: What was the underlying, core problem driving all their interests? The world’s biggest time-bomb?

Overpopulation said the billionaires. Too many people on Planet Earth.

True, the United Nations predicts that by 2050 global population will explode by as much as 40%, from more than 7 billion today to 10 billion. Overcrowding. Demanding. But as Scientific American repeatedly warns in special issues, population is “the most overlooked and essential strategy for achieving long-term balance with the environment.” The “third-rail” for politicians, ignored by the world’s political leaders.

Three delusions: the American Dream mutates into Global Nightmare

But there’s an even bigger problem that will peak and backfire as the American Dream goes viral. For a couple generations, spread by the economics of globalization, the American Dream has been exported, spreading the capitalism virus worldwide, accelerating global GDP growth, infecting every nation and individual with their own mind-set imbedded in the promise of the “perpetual prosperity” inherent in the American Dream.

The effect? Today capitalism, globalization, the new Global Dream, the virus is rapidly spreading, mesmerizing the brains of everyone … mass-producing new billionaires … global lists on Forbes, Bloomberg and CNBC report an explosion from 322 billionaires in 2000 to 1,847 in 2014… China now has 358 billionaires … Africa has 29, adding nine last year … today, 85 of the world’s richest billionaires make more that the 3.5 billion in the bottom half … Credit Suisse predicts 11 trillionaire families in the world by 2100.

But three self-destructive delusions dominate today’s billionaires:

1. Delusion 1: Perpetual economic growth on planet of limited resources

The Super Rich are trapped a classic delusion now ingrained in the collective unconscious of the world. They have ingested a self-destructive gene. They believe the same capitalism ideology that made them superrich will continue indefinitely, that economic growth is perpetual, even on a planet of clearly limited resources. This delusion is rampant in Exxon Mobil and the energy industries as they race ahead with an unsustainable business model that’s rapidly depleting nonreplaceable natural resources.

2. Delusion 2: New technologies will replace disappearing resources

The club of billionaires believes technology will overcome the limitations of resources and thus fuel the perpetual economic growth essential to create more and more billionaires, that some of this eternal prosperity will also trickle down to the world’s poorest 3.5 billion people. Economist Robert Gordon refutes that assumption in his rhetorical National Business Research Institute piece “Is U.S. Economic Growth Over?” Silicon Valley technology will never overcome all the headwinds reflected by today’s raging self-destructive political, economic and religious conflicts.

3. Delusion 3: Mutant Capitalists do not need to share the future

The new billionaires in America and worldwide have forgotten that the same capitalism that fueled the American Dream since 1776, that created the democracy supporting their accumulated billions, was a legacy that, in the past, also meant hope for the masses of Americans and all nations, that everyone, no matter how poor, had equal opportunities.

Unfortunately, as Jack Bogle warns, while spreading the American Dream we’re also a spreading a new Mutant Capitalism, a virus infecting superrich billionaires: Further widening the inequality gap, stifling opportunities for most Americans and people worldwide, hoarding the power, wealth and opportunities for those already in the top one percent, already listed among global billionaires.

Billions are in denial of their self-destructive delusions: “One of the disturbing facts of history is that so many civilizations collapse,” warns Jared Diamond, an evolutionary biologist, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed.” Many “civilizations share a sharp curve of decline. Indeed, a society’s demise may begin only a decade or two after it reaches its peak population, wealth and power.”

Harvard financial historian Niall Ferguson, author of “Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire,” was more dramatic, hard-hitting, immediate: The world will be caught by surprise, unprepared. The coming collapse will “accelerate suddenly, like a sports car … like a thief in the night.” Crashing. Shocking us wide awake.

Paradox of Prosperity: the Global Dream will also peak, collapse

Today we’re all being misled by these three delusions. As Diamond warns: “There are ‘optimists’ who argue that the world could support double its human population.” But he adds, they “consider only the increase in human numbers and not average increase in per-capita impact. But I have not heard anyone who seriously argues that the world could support 12 times it’s current impact.” But that’s exactly what happens with “all Third World inhabitants adopting First World standards.”

Every nation in the world has its own version of the American Dream, the new Global Dream. Everyone wants prosperity, success, opportunity. More is never enough, either individually or nationally. Not just 310 million Americans, but 7.3 billion people worldwide are demanding more, more … on a finite planet with dwindling natural resources, as economist Michael Klare warns in his book “The Race for What’s Left: The Global Scramble for World’s Last Resources.”

Bottom line: As the world population explodes 40% in the next generation, “what really counts,” says Diamond, “is not the number of people alone, but their impact on the environment, the per-capita impact.” First World citizens “consume 32 times more resources such as fossil fuels, and put out 32 times more waste, than do the inhabitants of the Third World.” \

And it’s delusional to think this trend will disappear. It will get worse because billionaires are in massive denial about their delusions … the self-destructive Global Dream will continue … until a catastrophic black swan shocks us awake.

10259757_624111207644570_6814450835475411667_n

Eight things you should know about the deadly Ebola virus

http://www.straitstimes.com/breaking-news/world/story/eight-things-you-should-know-about-the-deadly-ebola-virus-20140402

By Joyce Teo

An outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Guinea, West Africa has killed 78 people, prompting travel alerts and putting the spotlight back on one of the world’s deadliest diseases.

Cases have been confirmed in several locations in Guinea, including the capital Conakry.

This is in contrast to previous outbreaks, which were much more geographically contained. They also occurred in more remote places.

Here’s what you should know about the viral haemorrhagic fever.

1. The World Health Organisation (WHO) calls it “one of the most virulent diseases known to humankind”.

2. It can kill up to 90 per cent of the people who are infected with it.

There has been more than 1,800 Ebola cases, with nearly 1,300 deaths.

3. Outbreaks occur primarily in remote villages in Central and West Africa, near tropical rainforests.

4. The virus first appeared in 1976 in Nzara, Sudan and in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

It took its name from the Ebola River, which was near the village in Yambuku where the outbreak occurred.

4. Ebola can be caught from both humans and animals.

It is transmitted through close contact with blood, secretions or other bodily fluids. Fruit bats are considered to be the natural host of the Ebola virus.

5. It spreads quickly through human-to-human transmission, as family and friends care for infected people.

Health-care workers have frequently been infected while treating Ebola patients.

6. Symptoms can appear from two to 21 days after exposure. Early symptoms such as rashes and red eyes are common, making it hard to diagnose in the early stages.

7. The virus spreads in the blood and paralyses the immune system.

Ebola is often characterised by the sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat.

This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding such as from the nose or via a person’s urine.

8. There is no specific treatment or vaccine available for people or animals.

Sources: WHO, Médecins Sans Frontières

graph

Human “Progress”

Rosemary commented: “We are seeing a longing for so-called ‘traditional’ ways of life, a manic nostalgia for something that really never was–except it was a less crowded world.”

To which I replied: I’ve thought that same thing many times. The only reason human life ever seemed to be in any kind of harmony with the rest of nature is that there were a LOT fewer of us. Sorry, but there’s no way an ever-growing population of humans can hope to be sustainable.

Here is a simple yet accurate depiction of human evolutionary “progress.”

1527138_271312873037188_1829199472_n

NASA-backed Study Says Humanity is Pretty Much Screwed

Hope you’ve enjoyed civilized life, folks. Because a new study sponsored by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center says the world’s industrial societies are poised to collapse under the weight of their own unsustainable appetites for resources. There goes the weekend . . . and everything after it for the rest of our lives.

The research article appears in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Ecological Economics, but Dr. Nafeez Ahmed, executive director of the Institute for Policy Research & Development, has a more understandable (but no less harrowing) summary over at The Guardian. Either way, the news isn’t good—as the researchers point out, history doesn’t seem to hold out any favor for advanced societies.

The fall of the Roman Empire, and the equally (if not more) advanced Han, Mauryan, and Gupta Empires, as well as so many advanced Mesopotamian Empires, are all testimony to the fact that advanced, sophisticated, complex, and creative civilizations can be both fragile and impermanent.

Who’s to blame? You. Me. Everyone walking around outside your window. Even the technology we invented to save us from ourselves is contributing to our decline.

Technological change can raise the efficiency of resource use, but it also tends to raise both per capita resource consumption and the scale of resource extraction, so that, absent policy effects, the increases in consumption often compensate for the increased efficiency of resource use.

Is there a way out? Of course. But you’re probably not gonna like it. Dr. Ahmed sums up the researchers’ suggestions:

The two key solutions are to reduce economic inequality so as to ensure fairer distribution of resources, and to dramatically reduce resource consumption by relying on less intensive renewable resources and reducing population growth.

Which is just as difficult and improbable as it sounds.

Seriously, you should read the whole rundown of what the research says. It’s eye-opening, and a serious call to action—if the crushing bleakness of what we’ve done to ourselves hasn’t already doomed you to abandon all hope. Here, watch a funny video to make you feel better. [The Guardian]

Beasts Out of Tune

[I guess I've always know humans were bad for the planet. I wrote this back in 1979.]

We’ve broken all
of Mother Nature’s laws.
In her perfection                                                                       
we create the flaws.
We kick her, ungrateful,
like a child in the womb.

We could see the truth,
but avert our eyes.
Rule her like gods,
living shallow lives
on our self-appointed throne
we’re the beasts out of tune.

Out of tune,
nearly out of room.
Multiplying fast,
We’ll have to face Her soon.

She doesn’t complain
when we kick in the womb,
when we grow and grow
Take up so much room.
Her maternal love is our sanctuary.

But unless we love her in return
(as a spoiled child,
we must mature)
the kicks may cause her to miscarry.

Beasts out of tune,
the love must come soon.

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2014. All Rights Reserved

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2014. All Rights Reserved

Good News for the Earth: Humans Will Soon Be Extinct

http://www.eutimes.net/2010/06/human-race-will-be-extinct-within-100-years-claims-leading-scientist/

    on    Jun 21st, 2010

As the scientist who helped eradicate smallpox he certainly know a thing or two about extinction.

And now Professor Frank Fenner, emeritus professor of microbiology at the Australian National University, has predicted that the human race will be extinct within the next 100 years.

He has claimed that the human race will be unable to survive a population explosion and ‘unbridled consumption.’

Fenner told The Australian newspaper that ‘homo sapiens will become extinct, perhaps within 100 years.’

‘A lot of other animals will, too,’ he added.

‘It’s an irreversible situation. I think it’s too late. I try not to express that because people are trying to do something, but they keep putting it off.’

Since humans entered an unofficial scientific period known as the Anthropocene – the time since industrialisation – we have had an effect on the planet that rivals any ice age or comet impact, he said.

Fenner, 95, has won awards for his work in helping eradicate the variola virus that causes smallpox and has written or co-written 22 books.

He announced the eradication of the disease to the World Health Assembly in 1980 and it is still regarded as one of the World Health Organisation’s greatest achievements.

He was also heavily involved in helping to control Australia’s myxomatosis problem in rabbits.

Last year official UN figures estimated that the world’s population is currently 6.8 billion. It is predicted to exceed seven billion by the end of 2011.

Fenner blames the onset of climate change for the human race’s imminent demise.

He said: ‘We’ll undergo the same fate as the people on Easter Island.

‘Climate change is just at the very beginning. But we’re seeing remarkable changes in the weather already.’

‘The Aborigines showed that without science and the production of carbon dioxide and global warming, they could survive for 40,000 or 50,000 years.

‘But the world can’t. The human species is likely to go the same way as many of the species that we’ve seen disappear.’

A map of the world from an atlas which concentrates on population rather than land mass released last year. The Earth’s population is due to hit 7bn by next year

Retired professor Stephen Boyden, a colleague of Professor Fenner, said that while there was deep pessimism among some ecologists, others had a more optimistic view.

‘Frank may well be right, but some of us still harbour the hope that there will come about an awareness of the situation and, as a result the revolutionary changes necessary to achieve ecological sustainability.’

Simon Ross, the vice-chairman of the Optimum Population Trust, said: ‘Mankind is facing real challenges including climate change, loss of bio-diversity and unprecedented growth in population.’

Professor Fenner’s chilling prediction echoes recent comments by Prince Charles who last week warned of ‘monumental problems’ if the world’s population continues to grow at such a rapid pace.

And it comes after Professor Nicholas Boyle of Cambridge University said that a ‘Doomsday’ moment will take place in 2014 – and will determine whether the 21st century is full of violence and poverty or will be peaceful and prosperous.

in the last 500 years there has been a cataclysmic ‘Great Event’ of international significance at the start of each century, he claimed.

In 2006 another esteemed academic, Professor James Lovelock, warned that the world’s population may sink as low as 500 million over the next century due to global warming.

He claimed that any attempts to tackle climate change will not be able to solve the problem, merely buy us time.

Source