“Another advantage we have is that this culture has clearly reached its limits of growth. From the beginning civilization has required, for reasons long since discussed, constant expansion. This is especially true of its most metastatic manifestation, modern capitalism.” Derrick Jensen~Endgame: Vol II
Delimit & Degrowth
Humankind has overshot its maximum limit of sustainable living arrangements. Like, by a whole bunch, to put it bluntly. As populations expand stress is put on the environment that allows any species to live. Simple biology. A Petri dish with a medium of agar, food, that gets a colony of bacteria will expand until the food source gets used up. Then the bacteria will die. Leaving a dish with some rotting remains. Earth is our Petri dish. We are like the bacteria and we have just about used up all of our food source. Plus as an added bonus we are poisoning Earth with loads of toxins and radiation. Then to top it off, our use of fossil fuels to power all sorts of industrial activity is heating the atmosphere, resulting in a destabilized climate readily seen if one just looks out one’s window. We as a species have engineered ourselves into a corner and technology won’t engineer our way back ‘round it.
I usually write about all sorts of ills in our world. I sometimes posit a plan of sorts just to get the youth to take charge and try to save the human species along with all the countless other great, groovy critters we all know and love. So here goes. Shrink human population for starters. It needs to be a personal choice for an individual to decide that Earth is worth living on and overpopulating it will kill us all. Because if the state, our present form of governance the world over, introduces regulations on population, people being people, will rebel and have more kids than needed. Education is key. Everywhere. The major religions have to acknowledge that a two thousand plus year old text in wrong for today’s world. Start with the church. Start when children are young and most receptive that having kids may not be in their best interest. We were taught about overpopulation when I was in junior high school. It stuck with me.
Next is the million pound gorilla in the room. The military. Something rarely, if ever, talked about is how destructive having a military is. Besides the human costs, like war, killing, and destruction of infrastructure, is the environmental costs. The US military machine is the single biggest polluter on the planet. Other nation states militaries add to the overall impact. Oil use alone for fuels, explosives, etc, is staggering. The US’s-11 carrier groups, basically floating cities of 6,000+ people, are sitting ducks for modern hyper-sonic missiles. Keep the submarines and let some of the ships sail around with sailors to teach lesser states how to reduce their populations, grow sustainable crops, and survive. Get all nations involved. The time for psychopathic wars is over if humans want to keep the planet from overheating. War may very well be our demise.
Expanding civilizations need food to live. Crop growing under capitalism has turned into a profit making frenzy. Whereas in the olden days a farmer could grow crops, sell them at market, turn a small profit, for living costs, and keep on in a sustainable fashion as long as some fields lay fallow, crops were rotated, and fertilizer from animal waste was put to good use. Then came the population explosion starting last century. There just wasn’t enough food to feed the starving people. Millions died last century from starvation alone. That’s staggering. Wars and political unrest added to the death count from starvation as food supply lines and growing crops themselves were targeted against enemies.
So the clever engineers figured out ways to make fertilizer from…oil! Voila, we can grow crops in ever greater amounts with fertilizer. Ammonium nitrate is made in astonishing amounts to use as fertilizer and explosives for mining purposes. Then the seeds were engineered(GMO’s) to grow specific crops that were more resistant to disease and pests. Then the chemists came along with an herbicide that killed every plant but the specific seeds engineered to resist the herbicide, Marketed as Roundup to consumers it’s used here to grow more crops per acre than the sustainable ways of the past. It’s use poisons the water table. Then to top it off there’s the insecticides used to control pests.
These pesticides are killing not only the pests that threaten crops but all insects. Bees are vital to all sorts of crops for pollination. The insecticides are killing the bees. No bees, no fruit or nuts.Then the runoff from the fields makes its way to rivers thus poisoning the water tables we draw water from for drinking. Crop growing, western industrial style, is poisoning us all. Factory farms may feed lots of people but are poisoning us in the long run. It’s totally unsustainable. There are just too many people to feed without killing us all. Degrowth is the only way out of this thorny pickle. That or we all starve.
I just wanted to point out today what will be needed to be shrunk to survive in the long run. I chose the military, population, and crop growing problems to name just a few. There are thousands of other considerations for humans to survive the coming days. We may not survive. But we have to try. I can’t do much but write these days. I never would have thought when I was young that I’d feel a compulsion to write. I knew I wanted to read when no longer working. But I feel this limited message is important so I’ll keep writing. Humankind is at stake. We can make a difference if we have to courage to challenge the status quo. We have to. Take care of your own affairs first though. Be kind to those you love and stay safe. Peace, the Ol’ Hippy