The Ehrlichs, Iowa State University, Population
In 1971 while attending Iowa State University (of Science and Technology) I took a course in ecology. The textbook used was Population, Resources, and Environment by Paul and Anne Ehrlich. It's the only textbook I still have from my days at Iowa State University (of Science and Technology).
There is some irony (and good luck) involved with having that book, since I have come to believe overpopulation will be the one underlying factor that reduces human populations to extinction. Finite resources that we have gobbled up in order to increase our numbers has a downside, in that it also puts a limit on the ability of our species to continue on or even to mitigate an otherwise tenable situation. Add to this our inability to act upon the data we can get; the ability to obfuscate the results and general primate hubris adds to the mix.
How many people do you know who might believe we humans might not be around within 30 years?
The species-wide predicament comes packaged now as: resource depletion (peak oil, peak everything, etc.), climate change, overpopulation and the ensuing overconsumption, ecological disaster (from oil spills to rain forest, with 200 species added to the extinction rolls on a daily basis).
Disaster Can Come Either in Large or Small Scale
Personal disaster has come packaged with a mutated gene that results in human growth hormone softening my connective tissues. Twice I have had what is known as an aortic dissection. Twice I was very lucky to live.
Something silly, how to continue the overpopulation party. Humans should be increasing their numbers in the sky with interconnected blimps, says Robomoon: Vertical Growth. Subtitle: Can our population grow in the sky? (Note: the original link to this is now dead, and the Wayback Machine at Internet Archive has only the text, not the photographs from the page.)
Even among many humans who make fantastic claims about population growth, such as "we'll reach NINE billion and then level off." We never level off… I wonder why they always believe that the largest possible number of us equates to the best possible number of us? I guess it's partly the delusion from living and being born in an already despoiled world.
Olduvai A Go-Go
Jay Hanson, founder of the die off web site, regarding the population cliff, and how it differs from past human problems:
DENYING THE UNDENIABLE
…On the whole, however, it is only out of pride or gross ignorance, or cowardice, that we refuse to see in the present the lineaments of times to come.
—Marguerite Yourcenar, 1951
Mental blockbusters have exploded throughout the history of human inquiry. "Revolutions" they're called. But typically they only pricked human egos, and ruffled vested interests and tired-old dogmas. Thus, the past discoveries (such as the solar-centric theory) were benign because such psycho-threats could simply be flouted or ignored. But the Olduvai theory is different because, willy-nilly, it will adversely impact the lives of almost everybody.
Back in 1989 I became deeply depressed when I concluded that our greatest scientific achievements will soon be forgotten and our most cherished monuments will crumble to dust. But more so, I knew that my children would feel the pressure, and will likely suffer. That really hurt.
In time however, my perspective changed. Now I just treat the Olduvai theory like any other scientific theory. Nothing personal. Each year, I gather the data. Update Figure 2. And watch the theory unfold. Let the chips fall. What else?
Still, the impending Post-Industrial Stone Age is a tragedy because it really isn't inevitable. There's no absolute reason why we couldn't live in material sufficiency on this planet for millions of years. But prudence isn't our forte. "Even our success becomes failure." And, in a way, it's not our fault. Long ago Natural Selection dealt us a bad hand — we're sexually prolific, tribal, short-term and self-centered. And after thousands of years of trying, Culture hasn't changed that. And there is no sign that She will.
Backward to the future. Forward to the past. Almost perfect symmetry.
Music courtesy of Sumanguru Gyra Jones
A musical interlude at the Internet Archive, "This Modern World":
AorticDissection.com: Living My Life with an Aortic Dissection
Aortic dissection is the most common catastrophe of the aorta, 2-3 times more common than rupture of the abdominal aorta. When left untreated, about 33% of patients die within the first 24 hours, and 50% die within 48 hours. The 2-week mortality rate approaches 75% in patients with undiagnosed ascending aortic dissection.
Well, this never caught on, unfortunately. One of the few things online I've ever bothered signing: http://www.beyondmarriage.org/full_statement.html
July 26, 2006
We, the undersigned lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) and allied activists, scholars, educators, writers, artists, lawyers, journalists, and community organizers seek to offer friends and colleagues everywhere a new vision for securing governmental and private institutional recognition of diverse kinds of partnerships, households, kinship relationships and families. In so doing, we hope to move beyond the narrow confines of marriage politics as they exist in the United States today.
We seek access to a flexible set of economic benefits and options regardless of sexual orientation, race, gender/gender identity, class, or citizenship status.
We reflect and honor the diverse ways in which people find and practice love, form relationships, create communities and networks of caring and support, establish households, bring families into being, and build innovative structures to support and sustain community.
In offering this vision, we declare ourselves to be part of an interdependent, global community. We stand with people of every racial, gender and sexual identity, in the United States and throughout the world, who are working day-to-day—often in harsh political and economic circumstances to resist the structural violence of poverty, racism, misogyny, war, and repression, and to build an unshakeable foundation of social and economic justice for all,, from which authentic peace and recognition of global human rights can at long last emerge.
Why the LGBT Movement Needs a New Strategic Vision; Household & Family Diversity is Already the Norm […]
Female monogamy is fiction, not fact, Hrdy says, by Ken Gewertz, Gazette Staff
(Note: hardly anyone is actually monogamous)
Women are naturally monogamous. Men tend to rove.
That assumption is not only part of popular belief, it has also been enshrined by science. Darwin, writing of animal mating habits, referred to the "elusiveness of females." More recently, Donald Symons, in his influential 1979 book The Evolution of Human Sexuality, contended that it is natural for men to seek out multiple sexual partners while women are motivated to settle down with a single "good provider."
It's not true, says Sarah Hrdy.
Hrdy is Professor of Anthropology Emeritus at the University of California, Davis, and the author of Mother Nature: A History of Mothers, Infants and Natural Selection (Pantheon, 1999). On October 12 (2000), she delivered the keynote lecture at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study's first major symposium, "Gender and Inquiry."
The only reason scientists assume females are more monogamous and less sexually driven than men is that Darwin, the first and most influential writer on human evolution, unconsciously reflected the Victorian mores of his time, Hrdy said. If the theory of evolution had emerged a few hundred years earlier, when common belief assumed women to be more lustful than men, the results would have been quite different.
The assumption that females of all species tend to be less promiscuous than males simply does not fit the facts, Hrdy contended. […]
Youth, Puritanism, and Reactionary Politics—November 12, 2011
[…] The idea that children and teens were sexual beings made significant headway in the 1970s, at least among progressives, but since then there has been a tsunami-like backlash against this common-sense concept, led not only by the culture warriors of the American right and the religious fundamentalists, but by the sexual protectionism of a wide swath of feminists. As the fearless sexual journalist Judith Levine has said, The right won, but the mainstream let it.
Comprehensive sex educators had the upper hand in the 1970s, but starting in the 1980s, they allowed their enemies to seize more and more territory, until the right controlled the law, the language, and the cultural consensus. Levine knew whereof she spoke witness the violent, censorious reaction to her seminal 2002 book, Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children from Sex:
"The hysterical condemnation of this important work, although published by the eminently respectable University of Minnesota Press with an introduction by former US Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders (herself purged from government by a spineless Bill Clinton for daring to suggest masturbation as a healthy alternative to HIV-risky behaviors), Levines book was targeted by an irrational, Comstockian crusade led by the likes of Joe Scarborough and Fox News for having suggested that "Sex is not ipso facto harmful to minors" and questioning laws on statutory rape and the age of consent." […]
Too Much Magic
Too Much Magic is the insider story of how venture capitalists, media moguls and marketeers use digital "magic" to distract us, invade our privacy, corrupt democracy, distort our human values, and sell us things that we don't need.
Authored by Silicon Valley marketing-communications guru Jason Benlevi, Too Much Magic looks at all aspects of our emerging digital lifestyle, how it is changing us, and who it is that really benefits.