Paul’s recent essay here at Two Old Liberals regarding our mass denial about the devastating consequences of overpopulation is excellent and very sobering indeed, but as he points out, this is a solvable problem. We can do something about this, and we must do so now.
When we add our mass denial regarding the apocalyptic consequences of unchecked Global Climate Change on top of the Population Explosion, we have a perfect storm. Population Explosion + Climate Change = The End, UNLESS we act now to curb the population and stop the extraction and burning of fossil fuels, by corporations and national governments.
Evidence is mounting fast that time is running out. On July 24, 2012, PHYS.org published a chilling report and photo (above,)provided by NASA’s Godard Space Flight Center, showing four days of unprecedented Greenland ice sheet surface melt from July 8 to 12. The July 8 photo (above left) shows 40% of the ice sheet thawing at or near the surface. By July 12, the NASA satellite photo shows that 97% of the ice sheet surface had thawed (above right.) This rapid flash thawing has alarmed scientists, who report that nothing like this has been seen since 1889. They are working to verify the causes of Greenland’s flash melt now. The leading hypothesis points directly to Global Climate Change caused by human activity, of course. Read the entire article, “Satellites see unprecedented Greenland ice sheet surface melt,” July 24, 2012 at http://phys.org/news/2012-07-satellites-unprecedented-greenland-ice-sheet.html
In addition, both polar ice caps are melting at an alarming rate. Sea levels are rising. If we have some sudden cataclysmic events, like the rapid disintegration of the Greenland ice sheet and Antarctica’s ice shelves into massive icebergs floating in the oceans, sea levels will rise very quickly, inundating low-lying areas and forcing populations to relocate. Many of the world’s largest and most densely populated cities are located on the coasts at sea level. As the population of the world continues to rise, greater numbers will be dislocated by sea levels rising. And as Paul pointed out in his Population Explosion essay, food production for the hungry masses will become more and more problematic. Already, here in the U.S. this summer the crops are dead and the corn is aborting in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee, Nebraska and other states, and food prices are expected to rise significantly and quickly.
The twin challenges of Overpopulation and Climate Change compound one another, but it can be argued that Overpopulation is the root cause of Climate Change, since it is human activity that is rapidly warming the planet. What can we do? We will have more to say about how to respond in the near future, but it is fundamentally essential to promote birth control and to bring major pressure to bear upon fossil fuel companies and national governments to shift rapidly away from extracting and burning carbon in favor of safe, clean, renewable energy.
Anyone and everyone who is concerned about saving the Earth as an environment that can support life must ask herself/himself: 1. What can I do to help? 2. What am I willing to do to help? 3. What am I qualified to do to help? I believe in miracles. If we all apply our particular talents and energies in creative ways to waking the world up and sounding the alarm and demanding a reversal of Overpopulation and Climate Change, we can save ourselves and the planet as a habitat that will support future generations. If not… The End.