2018 – 7.6 Billion People and growing 1976 – 3.6 Billion People
Human overpopulation (or population overshoot) occurs when the ecological footprint of a human population in a specific geographical location exceeds the carrying capacity of the place occupied by that group. Overpopulation can further be viewed, in a long term perspective, as existing if a population cannot be maintained given the rapid depletion of non-renewable resources or given the degradation of the capacity of the environment to give support to the population. Changes in lifestyle could reverse overpopulated status without a large population reduction.
Warning: Mother “Earth didn’t replace the dinosaurs after they died” in the last great species extinction, reports Nobel physicist Robert Laughlin. She “just moved on and became something different.” But so what, you say, that was 65 million years ago. Right?
Wrong. Today humans are the new dinosaurs, the next species slated for extinction, warn 2,000 United Nations scientists. Soon. We’re also causing the extinction, even accelerating a new timetable. Signing our own death warrant. Not millions of years in the future, but this century. Thanks to our secret love of climate change. Yes, we’re all closet science deniers.
Here’s how Laughlin put it: “Humans have already triggered the sixth great period of species extinction in Earth’s history.” Get it? We’re to blame. We are the engine driving a new species extermination. The human race is in a suicidal run to self-destruction. We can’t blame it on the great American conspiracy of climate-science deniers, Big Oil, the Koch Bros, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Congress. It’s us.
We just keep buying gas guzzlers, keep investing retirement money in Exxon Mobil, keep making more and more babies, forever in denial of the widening gap between perpetual economic growth and more babies living on a planet of rapidly diminishing resources.
Humans are the new dinosaurs … even scheduled our own extinction
Yes, humans have already triggered the sixth great species extinction. And yes, it’s already in progress for this century. Why? We’re solving the wrong problems. Even the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change with its 2,000 elite scientists. They update us with 2,000 page technical reports, every five or six years since 1988.
But they’re solving the wrong problems. As problem solvers, the U.N.’s army of 2,000 climate scientists aren’t much different than ExxonMobil’s CEO Rex Tillerson. He admits climate change is real. But he believes it’s just an “engineering problem and there will be an engineering solution.” Same at the U.N. Tillerson also doesn’t trust those “climate models to predict the magnitude of the impact.” Like the U.N. scientific models. Instead, Tillerson has faith that humans will “adapt to a sea-level rise.” After all, humans “have spent our entire existence adapting. We’ll adapt.”
So even if the U.N. has 20,000 scientists who are 100% certain that climate change will wipe human civilization off the planet like dinosaurs, never to return … still you can bet your Big Oil retirement stock that Tillerson and every other science denier will keep fighting for free-market capitalism, subsidies and deregulation, keep investing $37 billion annually in exploration. And with their war chest of $150 billion annual profits, they can still pay off all the politicians and investors they need to make sure Big Oil keeps beating all the U.N.’s climate scientists.
Earth’s real problem, too many babies … but we can’t admit the truth
What’s wrong? Everybody on Earth is in denial about our biggest problem … population growth. Too many new babies, a net of 75 million a year. And we’re all closet deniers — leaders, investors, billionaires, the 99%, everybody. Yes, even Bill McKibben’s 350.org global team. The U.N.’s 2,000 scientists know overpopulation is Earth’s only real problem.
Get it? Earth has only one real problem, there’s the one main dependent variable in the scientific equation. But we refuse to focus on it. So, yes, even scientists are science deniers too. They know population growth is the killer issue, but are avoiding it too. Thousands of scientists have brilliant technical solutions to reducing the impact of global warming. But avoid the root cause. They keep solving the dependent variables in their climate-change science equation. But population growth is the cause of the Earth’s problem, not the result.
Stop, shift, focus on the real problem. Stop focusing on the dependent variables. Your scientific method makes this clear … we are making too many babies. Population’s out of control. And that’s the world’s No. 1 problem. But we’re all in denial. So nobody’s dealing with the world’s biggest problem. Listen:
Scientific American says global population growth is “the most overlooked and essential strategy for achieving long-term balance with the environment.” By 2050 world population will explode from today’s 7 billion to 10 billion, with 1.4 billion each in India and China, and China’s economy nearly three times America’s.
In “The Last Taboo,” Mother Jones columnist Julia Whitty hit the nail on the head: “What unites the Vatican, lefties, conservatives and scientists in a conspiracy of silence? Population.” But this hot-button issue ignites powerful reactions. So politicians won’t touch it. Nor will U.N.’s world leaders. Even if it’s killing us.”
Five years ago billionaire philanthropists meet secretly in Manhattan: Gates, Buffett, Rockefeller, Soros, Bloomberg, Turner, Oprah and others. Each took 15 minutes to present their favorite cause. Asked what was the “umbrella cause?” Answer: Overpopulation, said the billionaires.
Jeremy Grantham’s investment firm GMO manages about $110 billion in assets. He also backs the Grantham Institute of Climate Change at London’s Imperial College. He says population growth is a huge “threat to the long-term viability of our species when we reach a population level of 10 billion” because it is “impossible to feed the 10 billion people.” We don’t need more Big Ag, we need fewer small mouths to feed.
But how? Bill Gates says let’s cap global population at 8.3 billion, even as his vaccine and contraceptive plans extend life expectancy. Columbia University’s Earth Institute Director Jeff Sachs says even 5 billion is unsustainable. To stop adding more is tough enough. But how do eliminate two billion from today’s seven billion total? Voluntary? Remember China’s one-child plan didn’t work.
Everybody knows, but we fear world’s biggest problem has no solution!
Worst-case scenario: There is no solution. Overpopulation is going to drive us off a cliff. Even worse, seems nobody really cares. Nobody’s working on a real solution. No one has the courage. Not U.N. leaders, scientists or billionaires. No one. It’s taboo. All part of a conspiracy of silence. But denial is killing us.
Any real solutions? Or do we all just wait for wars, pandemics, starvation to erase billions? Wait in denial? Is that the sound of the sixth great species extinction dead ahead? Will killing, disease, poverty solve Earth’s biggest problem, the problem no one talks about?
Meanwhile, Big Oil’s marketing studies keep telling CEOs like Tillerson the truth about the inconsistent behavior of irrational humans living in denial. How we just keep telling ourselves we’re recyclers, green, love hybrids, eat organic.
Why? Because we just keep buying Chevys, Jeeps and Teslas, keep buying Big Oil stocks for retirement, keep stocking up on carbon polluting products, because our subconscious secretly endorses Big Oil’s strategy. As Tillerson told Charlie Rose: “My philosophy is to make money. If I can drill and make money, then that’s what I want to do,” making “quality investments for our shareholders.”
Is it already too late? Can we stop our own extinction cycle?
“One of the disturbing facts of history is that so many civilizations collapse,” warns Jared Diamond, environmental anthropologist and author of the classic “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.”
Can it be stopped? Before it’s too late? Don’t bet on it. Watching how Washington solves real problems lately is not encouraging. Diamond detailed the scenario that keeps repeating in history: We need leaders with “the courage to practice long-term thinking, make bold, courageous, anticipatory decisions at a time when problems have become perceptible but before they reach crisis proportions.”
But unfortunately, leaders become rigid and myopic, driven more by personal interests than courage, long-term thinking and the public interest. They move from crisis to crisis, often too little, too late. And at some point they pass the point of no return, are caught off-guard, make errors of judgment and their worlds collapse, rapidly.
The dinosaurs didn’t even know what hit them in the last great species extinction. We know what’s ahead. We can make the big, tough decisions … if only we wake up in time.