Saturday, January 25, 2014

Who Benefits?

Who benefits from denial of the scientific evidence of unsustainable population growth? 

I have been pondering this question for some time now. I am not sure I have an answer yet. Maybe I'm too far off to the one side, because when I think of this growth, all I can see are the problems created. So I think really really hard on this one, and try to see it from different angles, to step outside myself. I still am going to try to employ logic, sooo.... there's that. 

What benefits are there of a rising population? Let's ask Google, shall we? Because I'm stumped. Here are some of the things I found, good food for thought. Let's go over them. (Actually, thank you

Advantages of population growth are, growing population can generate economic growth as it causes more demand for products and also leads to an upsurge in human labor in a country. 

Yes, that is a popular one: economic growth. To me, this is a complete non-argument, as the demand for products is not a good thing. That is simply consuming resources for the sake of consuming resources. The only reason we would need an upsurge in human labor is because we have more humans than available work. Do we NEED 30 pairs of boots? Of course not. But there are women out there who have or want that many. Consumerism is not a logical reason for overtaxing the planet's resources. Next.

Many of the world's remarkable innovations over the past 300 years are attributable to population growth: More great minds lead to more innovations. Assembly-line manufacturing itself is an adaptation to an increasing population and the need for greater and faster output. More people around the world are living longer lives than even a century earlier thanks to modern medical achievements. And while agricultural resources are a very real concern as the world's population grows, the world's increase in population is responsible for a greater consciousness of the need for additional resources as well as the innovations to produce food at the pace of population growth.

Well that's going to take some untangling. "More great minds lead to more innovations." Um... that's... not exactly provable, is it? How can we know that? We have quantity, not quality. Who is to say we would not have had the same innovations from a smaller group? And the assembly-line argument is a circular one. We needed greater and faster output because there were more people. Chicken or the egg? Also, assembly-line manufacturing sharply decreased the number of workers needed, so more people had fewer jobs, thanks to there being more people who needed more. (You'll excuse me while I un-cramp my brain.) Yes, more people are living longer - yes that's part of the problem - but are they living quality lives for the longer time? There is still sickness, there are overflowing nursing homes, there are a lot of lonely older people out there. Again, the whole focus on there is quantity-not-quality. Again. And that last part, the one that really bakes my noodle, is that we wouldn't need to have "a greater conciousness of the need for additional resources" etc "to produce food at the pace of population growth" if the population was not GROWING as much. 

Ow. My brain. 

A growing population can generate economic growth. The birth of more people equates to a greater number of parents investing in their youth. Increased purchases in products such as food, clothing, education-related expenses, sporting goods and toys feed the economy. Parents with small children purchase larger homes with more bedrooms and bathrooms to make room for their children. The larger homes that parents with children purchase feed the construction and home improvement industries economically. Children then grow into adults who work for pay and spend it in the economy.

FALSE. I already hit this a little, but this one is really good. It's kind of so funny that I had to share. This is such a non-argument that I almost insult us all by giving it consideration. Parents with small children do NOT always buy larger homes. How many families with lots of kids live in or near poverty and have a few generations cramped in some tiny 1-bedroom apartment??? Or are homeless? My hometown has a glut of vacant large homes, because families are NOT living in them. Construction industry is not benefitting. Let's say it together: Economy is not a valid reason. Economy is a man-made construct. 

That's really all I can handle for now. This is going to have to be a few entries. I didn't even get into religion. That one could be good.  

Seems Like a Good Thing

"By switching to Natural Gas, LA's bus fleet runs 80% cleaner."

So sayeth the commercial on TV. That seems like a great thing, right?

This is one of those things to me that just puts a happy face on it and walks away. It's very nearly greenwashing. How so? How can anything about this be negative?

Let's start by thinking about our demand for natural gas. The process of fracking to get it out of the ground is anything but clean. The methane released - and methane leaks that are entirely possible - could make that 80% really pale. Relying more heavily on even more fossil fuels is not the answer.

You know what runs cleaner than a bus on natural gas? A bus that doesn't run at all. Buses are better than too many cars. Even better - lower population going fewer places. Not feasible? There are plans out there for monorails and even better things, and supertrains, but for some reason we cannot be bothered to litter our landscape with rails. Or give up our cars. Or put the money into these better technologies. 

The ad could read, "By switching to natural gas, LA's bus fleet is putting a Band-aid on the real issues by using a temporary fix," and it would be just as accurate. 

And better. 

And more honest. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Why It's Close to Hopeless

Here's why I have so little hope that we as a people can change/make it/turn it around, and why we need to just stop expanding population: Incandescent light bulbs.

Yep, these little items spell doom and downfall to me. The noise around these things is unreal. From the how-dare-the-gub'mint-tell-me-what-bulb-I-can-use (it's really not) to the myriad of excuses against CFLs or anything else. The government isn't even banning the incandescents; instead, BUSH ordered bulbs to be more efficient, so really these are just getting phased out. After all, they are 90% inefficient. I think that qualifies as something that should be phased out. Call me crazy.

But why we're surely doomed is evidenced by the amount of hoarding that is taking place. I have personally seen people buy dozens of them, so as to continue wasting electricity and changing them once a year. I do not comprehend this behavior. Are we so resistant to change? Is it the feeling of being forced to do something? Well that's just silly. Don't even try to bring up the mercury issue in CFLs. That's VERY silly. Some complain the CFLs take a minute to really get up to full light, so they don't like them. BEYOND SILLY!

It should be a natural thing - in my head anyway - to think, "Oh, hey, the bulb I am currently [no pun intended] using wastes precious energy, not just for me and my electric bill, but for the whole world. My using something so inefficient is really bad for everyone. I am happy to switch [another no-pun] to something that saves resources for EVERYONE." But people don't think that way. They resist change, they don't think beyond their own backyard, and no matter what is told to them - that the LEDs and CFLs WILL save tons of money in the long run and will last for years and years - they won't be swayed.

So, yeah, this is why I have little hope for our growing population. We can quit while we're behind. Until we can get a whole lot smarter about a whole lotta things, we really can just slow down. Quality instead of quantity for a change? Oops - don't use that word: change. It's bad. And do NOT recommend doing something for the good of all. We have come to believe that would be SOCIALISM or something, or that Ayn Rand would like it, or... I don't even know. I know Congress has tried to repeal the law, even though it was done by their own guy back in 2007.

Then again, if we lived by the rule of logic and by traveling as equals, I wouldn't be sitting here writing this.