Most people lack the basic education in arithmetic, geography and logistics to judge whether they are overpopulated, to compare population densities between regions, to factor in import and export, and, most importantly, to understand how waste-disposal requires natural 'services' or to understand that they are themselves, microbiologically, a part of nature, but that each one of us now is extended into a kind of per capita earth moving and processing factory for creating dead stuff. This article evolved from a response to a quora question and appears in its original form here: [https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-cause-of-illiteracy-on-overpopulation/answer/Astrid-Nova]
This is a call to arms. The science and other evidence is now without doubt - we are in the final days of our civilisation, whatever it might be called by history; it is hardly Western Civilisation anymore, since the destruction of nature (and I would argue human values, and quite possibly humans) has extended now across the globe.
We have environmentalists who, mostly in small groups, have been fighting the enslaught against nature since industrialism began. They have had their successes, but the rate of destruction is too fast and vicious, and their efforts are overwhelmed.
There is one example that has recently prompted me to post this call. At Stanley one company (with more soon to join) are buying farmland and mining the water i.e extracting the water which is supposed to be for farming and selling it as though it is their own private property. This is not like mining gold, extracting water in this way extracts it from all the neighbours as well. And now more companies/selfish individuals look likely to join the extraction, adding to the problem.
There is an urgent need to translate our environment back into its true value. In a decade the price tag given today will look like a joke and we will ask, ”How could we have relinquished that land, (that river, those wetlands) for such a small sum?”
Over the last 40 years our environment has been increasingly spoken of in the public domain in terms of its monetary value. This was reinforced to me at a recent meeting where the speaker made it clear that tree and general nature conservation arguments must be expressed to the powers that be and associated bean counters in these terms. The attribution of a dollar value to something so complex and so vital to us as our natural environment is absurdly inadequate yet it has blinded and desensitised the minds of many to actual values. A translation back from the dollar is needed.
Once upon a time there was barter: transfer of goods between place of origin and place needed in exchange for what was considered of equal value. Then there was “currency” which acted as an intermediary for this exchange.
Currency was and still is used for its convenience, as it allows for a time lag in reciprocation and the ability to store credit. It serves a purpose.
Abstract (Part of the original paper; useful, so I'll leave it here.)
This paper attempts to map out a definitive route to human “happiness” based on the notion of a human reconnection with nature through an appropriate heart-brain balance. The consequences of this for human society, especially agriculture, are explored. The content focuses specifically on Japan, but is thought to be adaptable to any society in the world.
Fully referenced PDF file of this article (Depending on your computer, you may also be able to see the Japanese 'kanji' used in the section on Shinto.)
Illustration by High Moon, adapted from his original which had another purpose.
On March 11, 2011, the Great East Japan Earthquake hit, causing devastation to the Tohoku District, and compounded by the massive tsunami and subsequent earthquakes. The death toll exceeded 15,000 and nearly 10,000 people are still missing. From April 29 through to May 10, I stayed in the city of Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, one of the worst affected areas, to help out at a local office of JEN, an international nongovernmental organization (NGO) engaged in disaster relief (originally established as "Japan Emergency NGOs").
In the TV debate of April 12, 2011, the leaders of Canada's four parties with parliamentary seats demonstrated that beneath the phony left-right dichotomies, parliament is ideologically monolithic in the most important sense. All of them believe in the necessity, desirability and possibility of continuing economic growth, and that immigration-driven population growth is its necessary concomitant and driver. But how could it be otherwise? Politicians do not effect change, they respond to it. And the environmental movement---and its political arm in the NDP and the Green Party, has done nothing to create a constituency of awareness that population growth in Canada is unsustainable, an awareness that if widely shared, would compel political parties and their leaders to address it. Most culpable is David Suzuki, who could move mountains if he would publicly say what he has said of Australia: that in relation to our resources, we are in serious population overshoot.
Upon waking this morning, the first of January, I expect the media to lead off with what has become a tiresome ritual. Declaring the "winner" of the First-Baby-Of-The-Year Derby. Or should it be called "The Race To Extinction Derby"? Is there anything more symbolic of our collective stupidity and denial as celebrating the addition of the earliest born human being to a species that has rocketed to nearly 7 billion? I think it is timely then to reprise something I wrote a year and a half ago. I have not flinched in my fealty to these sentiments. It is something, which, if it appeared in the local community magazine, would ensure my lynching. That it would inspire such a reaction is proof, I think, of its veracity.
The deadly nightshade flower - an old symbol for falsehood.
Religion is unethical. It doesn't teach life's grey uncertainties between right and wrong. It preaches a belief system to perpetuate influence of that belief system made of invented rules and myths, and of course prejudice, politics, cronyism and control.
History riddled with it.
Scripture is brainwashing. How are Ron Hubbard's scientological teachings any less dogmatic than the anglican King James Bible or the Uniting Church's Good News for Modern Man Bible?
What is the purpose of projecting a guiding deity? It is to focus the faith of a religious order on a omnipresent mythical guardian so as to charm, enamour, ensnare, spellbind insecure and vulnerable people? Does it just prey on hope of the vulnerable seeking hope?...to thereafter insist on an absolute pledge of life-long loyalty?
Church is a form of cult, with milder varying degrees of orthodoxy, reliant upon the premise of truisms and a methodology of entrapment. So what has 'church' now meant to mean? Medieval christianity pervades our modern society unquestioningly more than we realise. But it has become increasingly irrelevant to the humanistic needs of modern society, evidenced by the demise of patronage and absence of youth attendance.