Environment – Whether You Deny Climate Change or Not, You’re Probably Ignoring the Two Main Causes #atozchallenge

E: Today’s Deb-Blog Has Been Brought to You by the Letter D for Destruction of the Planet and the Letter E for Environment – Whether You Deny Climate Change or Not, You’re Probably Ignoring the Two Main Causes

A friend and I were chatting about how even making a off-hand comment about the weird weather and it’s association with man-made climate change has become a social mine field in this country. The first time I realized that I could be among seemingly intelligent people who denied that the climate has changed, that humans are causing it and it’s threatening our survival was back during the Clinton administration. I jokingly made a light remark to a coworker about enjoying the 80-degree March day in Minnesota, as the up side of global warming. He snapped, “There’s no such thing as global warming!” Stunned, I just walked away.

My friend also made an astute observation that those born after 1984 or so don’t fully understand how extremely different our weather has become. I’d never thought of that before. (Although, I harken back to my concerned post about millennials seemingly disinterested in anything that hasn’t happened in real time for them and thank goodness for video tapes to prove things to them!) I think it’s synonymous with the fact that a frog placed in a pot of water as it’s heated to boiling is unaware of its pending demise. If you only lived when temps can vary by 50 degrees from one day to the next, winters are warmer and less snowy and summers are hotter and drier, you might not fully grasp the shocking difference noticed by those over 30. I can only hope enough of us human frogs can get control over the stove’s knob before we are extinct. But having studied this in college and read much from experts since, that was why I chose not to have kids. And every year that goes by, I am more relieved I did not hand humanity’s future to my child.

Of course now we have an entire political party and a large chunk of mainstream media completely denying the fast-changing Earth atmosphere occurring before our very eyes. But we suffer an even greater problem here, in part, because of (1) our culture’s biological urge to procreate is unfettered and on steroids with a near baby fetishism, fed by materialism and pastel distractions; and (2) our gluttony for animal meat. I am referring to an excessive human population, which is the number one cause of the planet’s troubles and the continued obsession with filling our bellies with the flesh of other species, which is the second biggest contributor to our environmental crisis. Compared to these two factors, cutting down on the burning of fossil fuel is like trying to extinguish a wild fire by putting out a cigarette in your living room. If you are driving a Prius, installing solar panels on your house, planting kale and riding your bike to work, good for you. But if you or your partner gave birth or you still eat even organic, range-free animal meat, I can’t take seriously your efforts because you are only nibbling at the actions you can take to help the future of life on Earth. Now, I don’t want my friends or readers who have offspring to hate me completely. I do believe fully in personal choice. Our government is far more guilty in its complacency. We should have taken massive and sweeping actions decades ago. Unfortunately, the longer governments do little to nothing, the more these two, primary factors will have to be addressed because they will be the only ones that will ensure our survival.

If you want to complain about our mainstream media, blame them for making taboo the discussion of our global population. It’s not politically correct. How dare we talk about the fact that this planet can not sustain 7+ billion people. Your comfy, suburban life may look manageable but you are in denial about what is taking place in less developed countries or poorer countries who not only can’t feed everyone sufficiently, their islands and shorelines are flooding – for good! And while that pot of water gets warmer and warmer, we are fed celebrity gossip, technological distractions and cheap meat. That entitlement and that sense of complacency is dooming us.

I can’t really blame most people for not knowing or even not caring that more people and more people eating animals is destroying us because there is such a media blackout. But a simple Google search and intellectual curiosity will give you the facts. PopulationMatters.org does a magnificent job informing us about the urgent connection to the planet’s human population and our ecology. And MercyForAnimals.org and the FarmSanctuary.org will change your heart about eating what they and now I call “humanimals,” because we shouldn’t think just because we managed to exploit this planet and other inhabitants, doesn’t make us superior at all. And the vegan recipes are simply delicious. Plus you live longer with fewer health problems. If you followed these sites and read every post in full for one month, I think it would change your choices.

I know there are some who just want to enjoy life and if that means having kids and eating any meat you want, so be it. I won’t be able to convince you differently. Be satisfied with your choices, as I am with mine. My choice not to procreate or eat animal products is living my morality, even if it doesn’t have much planetary impact. I hope we are not heading for mass famine, water shortages and water wars, mass evacuations and die offs, but I think that we are. Since I have no children, perhaps after I am gone, someone will happen upon this post and say this person was right. Little consolation.

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Over Population Rifts, Hissy Fits and Fertile Bits

The issue of this planet’s global, human population divided my beloved progressive, morning radio show host and some of his listeners, including me about a month ago. It occurred during a discussion of mass transit, which included his remark of our need to prepare for what soon will be five million people in this metro area, from today’s three million. That prompted a caller to remark that population growth is a root problem. He seemed impatient with her at first, perhaps because she was taking him off topic, but I sensed there was more to it. And when she began her sentence, ”Let’s start with a population of three billion,” he ended her call in what seemed mid-sentence and suggested she was implying mass genocide. He continued to comment about her poorly phrased remark as extreme and her position unsound. I could hear the passion in his voice as he defended his interpretation of the caller’s words.

He began the following day’s show on the same topic. I listened very carefully. I heard his passion. Perhaps I have never heard him so passionate. He read several tweets of support of his dismissal of the caller’s impassioned words and agreement that she wanted to annihilate four billion people, calling it “scary stuff, controlling of the population, …supporting surgical radiating” and “forced abortions” and “…die offs of black death magnitude.” Gee, he seemed upset.

He asked, “Where does this global mentality come from?” adding, “The worst laws [sic] worldwide, is a one child law,” adding he didn’t want to be taxed more “because I want three kids.” (He has three kids.) He adamantly contended the planet could “easy” sustain “seven billion and more” and surmised any mitigating problems now seen as a result of global population by many experts were only because of human greed. He did not broach whether curtailing population growth was a valid point of view, but rather contended the planet will “welcome” another billion “easily.” I’ve never heard him stop his ordinarily nuanced reasoning on a major issue – major issue for many – with the notion that we just needed to remove human greed. He said he closed discussion with a tweeter who defended the caller. He didn’t block my tweets because I wasn’t confrontational. What good would that do, anyway? And I respect him and do not want to lose civility or our friendship.

Even on that second day, it seemed he had not researched the topic, or he would have seen pretty quickly that experts who contend many global problems are caused by too many people have well established “three billion” is the maximum, sustainable number to prevent the global problems. Those of us who are closely engaged with this issue understand the “three billion” number and I believe the caller meant, “Let’s start the discussion” of the population topic, not, “Let’s start by wiping out four billion people.” Had she been able to finish her premise, she might have said something about how many problems would disappear or be greatly alleviated. We will never know. And I’ve heard a lot of suggestions for how to reduce population growth from http://www.populationmatters.org/ but never proactive human extinction! Reducing birth death rates through health care and vaccinations, increasing opportunity for women to financially support themselves, sex education and reducing poverty and starvation and the wars they cause, yes, but never mass kills.

I agree with him on practically every other issue he has discussed and appreciate his well thought ideas. He believes the easy access to firearms is wrong and dangerous. Check. He opposes puppy mills and animal abuse. Check. He opposes taxes funding professional sports’ facilities. Check. He believes taxes should go to infrastructure, health and education and not foreign wars and the military. Check, check, check and check. And on these other topics, his position may include or imply greed as a root factor, but he never makes that a cornerstone of his position and always includes thoughtful discussions of policy and personal behavior as solutions, like invest in green energy, strengthen gun laws, increase penalties for animal abuse, etc. Perhaps in a moment of missed phallic irony, he did say because wealthy people make money off gun sales, we have “all our gun shootings…instead of going out and solving the problem.” If he contends the rich and powerful don’t want to help the human suffering caused by people shooting their guns, you would think he could see a parallel to seven billion people shooting baby seeds! Maybe it’s just me. I think that’s hilarious!

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The radio host didn’t say what we should do about human suffering while we work on eliminating greed, but I suspect he would suggest or has suggested taxes on fossil fuels (Ironically because the excess is damaging), incentives for clean energy, improving agriculture efficiency and building mass transit, among other things. I believe changing the hearts and minds of those driven by greed is far more challenging and daunting than we have time to correct. I also believe people are the single factor that exacerbates all other problems, including but not limited to famine, disease, deforestation, fossil fuel use, global warming, traffic jams, high unemployment, low wages, excessive manufacturing, overcrowding, infrastructure, prisons, schools, bridges, roads, urban sprawl, poverty, war and greed.

But I already knew where he stood on this topic long before that day. I didn’t know he would be quite so reactionary but I am not surprised. I have faced much more extreme remarks dozens of times throughout my life, as an outspoken, anti-genocide, zero population growth supporter. So why did I know in advance this day would come when the subject of human population would prompt the position he gave? First, I knew where he stood because of his life experience and his personal filters. We all have them. At least once a month, he will preface a statement with, “I’m Catholic but you do or don’t do what you do or don’t want to do,” honestly disclosing what some may see as his bias. He is also married and has fathered three children. His role as a father is paramount, as it should be. He shares stories of his love for his family and his role as husband and father. He’s a good guy! But his remark about being taxed “because I want three kids,” made his life filter very clear.

Like people who have babies, he is rewarded by the status quo in our tax system which encourages reproduction with tax deductions. Further, his remark that the worst law is a one child law, presumably referring to China, also revealed his position that people who reproduce should be rewarded through tax incentives. Instead of tax breaks for each baby born, China taxes per person, applying the logic that more people use more resources. They were overwhelmed with people! It was crushing them. They would not agree that they could handle unfettered human multiplying through changing the hearts and minds of the greedy wealthy.

Now, as a child-free person, I think my taxes are unfair but I accept that I pay taxes for an educated populace, even though I would prefer we prevent more births so we’d need fewer schools and could spend more per kid! But if I applied his logic to not penalizing him because he “want[s} three kids,” should I not be as upset by being taxed the same as he when I have no kids using schools, playgrounds, resources, fuel and roads to be driven places? I suspect he sees his kids a great value to society, which justifies needing and using more resources and the tax break. No offense to anyone’s kids, but I don’t. I don’t think more is the answer. More, untethered growth in nature is called cancer. No, I am not calling your kids a cancer. But I am calling our overpopulated planet a cancer to the planet.

Be fruitful and multiply is not a well-kept secret quote from the Bible. Mission accomplished.

 

 

 

I Love This Place: Why I Make My Environmental Choices

While I’ve been a striving environmentalist to the core all my life, I don’t write much about ecological issues. But my parents raised me as a steward of the Earth so I always consider the impact of my choices on the greater good, especially major choices. I do not have children primarily for this reason. Not only is our planet sufficiently populated with humans, I have seen our planet slowly dying or preparing to rid itself of us more every year and the human powers that be are ignoring it. I can’t bear what is happening and imagining my child having to endure a more toxic, more crowded and more cruel world would be unbearable and all-consuming for me if I had brought another life into this world. This Earth means that much to me. Those with children often defend themselves by suggesting their child or that generation might remedy these problems. But if you’ve been conscious of global news no more than the past decade, I believe mounting evidence to the contrary makes that opinion a huge gamble and mine an indisputable truth. Further, the Earth is beyond maxed out to house and sustain 8 billion people. It’s going to get a lot tougher very soon for all humans to maintain the quality of life any of us now alive have seen. I don’t mean to go all Debbie Downer here; I’m just being realistic.

I also am vegan because factory farms supplying animals for humans to eat is simply unsustainable. You have to suspend a lot of reality to consciously enjoy meat. I do not so I can’t eat it. Earth provides a vast richness of plants for our pallets to enjoy. It’s funny how today’s generations don’t think much about how they were manipulated by ad campaigns and political propaganda. And each generation is more played than the one before, building like sedimentary layers of mass mental manipulation. Two national efforts during and after World War II were for meat and the virtues of Capitalism. My dad often quoted one to his plant-eating daughter: “A meal without meat would be incomplete.” The other was about the wonders of Capitalism. Think Mad Men. The old films are just creepy but they crept deeply into our culture. Both became such a part of post WWII life, future generations think both are necessary and normal. Neither is true.

If I’ve riled the parents, carnivores, hunters and capitalists, I won’t apologize. But I am a liberal so I don’t want to take away your freedom to have Duggar-sized baby crops, a side of cow or a new set of antlers for your den. I don’t respect it, but it’s your freedom to choose. A day will come, though, in your child’s future when, in order to survive as a species, there will be new rules and laws. We will have no choice. If we don’t get a grip on polluting, populating and pillaging, nature will do it for us. She’s already set that inevitability in motion. We will need to partner or part ways.

My soul aches for the decimation of the planet’s life and beauty. BlogJne1IIGarbage swells in our oceans, coral reefs are dead and dying, oil has permanently mutated The Gulf of Mexico and nuclear waste has killed off much of the Pacific. (If you really feel OK with eating food from these waters, the Capitalists have snowed you well.) Rainforests are disappearing. Land and sea animals are suffering everywhere. Billions of animals are jacked with hormones and antibiotics to feed people cheap meat. Domestic critters are exterminated by the millions from unwanted over-breeding. People die en mass from starvation and pestilence here and globally. We have passed the point of no return.

Maybe I avoid the subject because of the pain is causes me and the futility I see for our survival. Maybe I just don’t want to be dismissed or ostracized as a Debbie Downer by those who wish to remain ignorant and maintain their status quo and the comfort and security they find in their lifestyle. These are only my views but, so far, I have been right. Sadly, I have underestimated how bad it would get even in my lifetime. This isn’t just our playground here to amuse our whims. We are stewards of this planet.

Sorry to bring anyone down. I really am a happy-clappy sort. I just feel so sorry for this place we call Earth and I love her so. If my writing helped sway anyone to do better by her, it’s wroth it. So for the remaining time I have to spend with my planet today, I am going to be outside, surrounding my senses with nature and thanking her. Peace.