Population is the elephant, gorilla and Tyrannosaurus Rex in the room along with a whole flock of Velociraptors that everyone wants to ignore.
Right wingers need constant growth to keep the capitalistic economic model functioning, while left wingers are so enchanted with pluralism, veganism and the idea that we have a planetary cornucopia that can feed the masses no matter how large their number spewing the charge of racism at anyone suggesting limiting the number of children people have.
The cold hard fact is we can only feed the seven billion people on this planet by drawing down energy that it took the planet hundreds of millions of years to create.
Without petroleum we had better look at the idea of having a billion people or less on this blue marble, about the number we had prior to the the age of petroleum.
We damned well better start practicing some major deep ecology and preserving a function environment if we want to be able to sustain that number in 2112.
No sane person would suggest killing off billions of people as a reasonable approach. Yet by not facing this problem and seriously limiting births we are making the premature deaths of billions an unavoidable certainty.
Both Malthus and Ehrlich were right in their premises even if they didn’t factor in things that would slightly shift the the day when the butcher’s bill would be payable. For example Malthus didn’t factor in the petroleum age, and Ehrlich under estimated the power of the “green revolution in agriculture”.
The problem is Al Gore’s famous Global Warming CO2 levels hockey stick graph. He shows the problem of burning petroleum and how it feeds the rise in atmospheric CO2. But we can’t really reduce that use of petroleum and maintain the population much less continue to increase the population.
It isn’t even as simple as giving up cars although cars are a major problem. Also given the choice between cars vs children many would choose the cars. But growing food locally isn’t a solution. No matter what they do certain areas of the world wouldn’t be able to grow enough food locally to sustain their populations at even a starvation level, much less the vaunted balanced diet.
Organic farming requires shit or if you will compost to provide the soil nutrients to grow crops. The green revolution is oil driven. They make fertilizer and pesticides as well as the herbicides the GMOs require from oil.
As long as the population grows the carbon foot print of humanity grows.
As long as you have an economy based on “growth” and extra consumption the carbon foot print of humanity grows.
Even with all the “Green Measures” like CF and LED light bulbs as long as the number of people grows humanity will continue to march towards the same cliff civilizations such as Mesopotamia marched over the same one, the Easter Islanders marched over.
David Brooks is a total right wing tool of the corporations and no where near as bright as he thinks. Indeed he only has his position due to rich white male affirmative action.
From The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/13/opinion/brooks-the-fertility-implosion.html
The Fertility Implosion
By DAVID BROOKS
Published: March 12, 2012
When you look at pictures from the Arab spring, you see these gigantic crowds of young men, and it confirms the impression that the Muslim Middle East has a gigantic youth bulge — hundreds of millions of young people with little to do. But that view is becoming obsolete. As Nicholas Eberstadt and Apoorva Shah of the American Enterprise Institute point out, over the past three decades, the Arab world has undergone a little noticed demographic implosion. Arab adults are having many fewer kids.
Usually, high religious observance and low income go along with high birthrates. But, according to the United States Census Bureau, Iran now has a similar birth rate to New England — which is the least fertile region in the U.S.
The speed of the change is breathtaking. A woman in Oman today has 5.6 fewer babies than a woman in Oman 30 years ago. Morocco, Syria and Saudi Arabia have seen fertility-rate declines of nearly 60 percent, and in Iran it’s more than 70 percent. These are among the fastest declines in recorded history.
The Iranian regime is aware of how the rapidly aging population and the lack of young people entering the work force could lead to long-term decline. But there’s not much they have been able to do about it. Maybe Iranians are pessimistic about the future. Maybe Iranian parents just want smaller families.
As Eberstadt is careful to note, demographics is not necessarily destiny. You can have fast economic development with low fertility or high fertility (South Korea and Taiwan did it a few decades ago). But, over the long term, it’s better to have a growing work force, not one that’s shrinking compared with the number of retirees.
Continue reading at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/13/opinion/brooks-the-fertility-implosion.html
By Amanda Marcotte
Posted Tuesday, March 13, 2012
David Brooks plays a special role in the ranks of conservative punditry. His job is to take outrageous right wing ideas, clean them up with a comb to the hair and a tie to the neck, and hope that he can hoodwink readers who mistake gentility for moderation. Now he’s seeing how far he can take this strategy by getting involved in the exploding conservative war on contraception and general women’s rights. The tactic? Concern-trolling the women of the world for abusing our reproductive rights and causing a “population implosion.” Yes, while the rest of the world is noticing that every year, the actual number of human beings on the planet gets bigger and bigger–recently surpassing 7 billion people, many times larger than it was just 100 years ago–conservatives have decided that we’re actually suffering a crisis of too few people, a concern that conveniently has implications for women’s basic reproductive rights.
Brooks manages to get through his entire hand-wringing op-ed without mentioning contraception or abortion, but he doesn’t really have to. Even though he stupidly guesses women are having fewer children for mysterious reasons, he can’t really be unaware that it’s because women don’t have to be constantly pregnant anymore. By refusing to directly address the question of force, Brooks can let the supposed problem of not-force hang in the air without getting his hands dirty.
When it comes to conservative fussing over women’s shocking unwillingness to spend years of their lives with one on ‘em and one in ‘em, the preferred rhetorical strategy is to decline acknowledging that women give birth to children, and instead portray women as specialized production mechanisms for laborer production. Brooks knows the genre well, spending most of his column worrying that we’re not going to have enough future workers to keep him well-stocked in loafers and golf clubs. With unemployment as high as it is, however, he probably should reconsider how willing the audience is to hear that we need more people flooding the employment lines and offering to work for lower and lower wages.
By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd | Sourced from AlterNet
Posted at March 19, 2012, 10:30 am
Think the war on women is a relatively new development with the rise of the radical right? Think again. A new report released by the National Women’s Law Center shows how nefarious gender discrimination has been subtly embedded into our health care costs, to the tune of over $1 billion more than what males pay. Not only that, but important care specific to women’s bodies (but clearly not specifically to women’s concerns), such as maternity coverage, is specifically left out of many health care plans. Raw Story:
Through the practice of gender rating, or charging women more for the same coverage, women are paying a $1 billion more than their male counterparts. States that haven’t banned gender rating have seen women charged more for 92 percent of best-selling health plans.
In most states, non-smoking women are commonly charged more than even smoking men. And even with maternity coverage excluded, nearly a third of plans analyzed found that 25 and 40-year-old women were charged at least 30 percent more or even higher than men for the same coverage.
Despite being aware of those practices, insurance companies have no taken steps to stop the inequality until the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2014.
From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/17/john-demjanjuk-dead-dies_n_1355316.html
BERLIN — John Demjanjuk was convicted of being a low-ranking guard at the Sobibor death camp, but his 35-year fight on three continents to clear his name – a legal battle that had not yet ended when he died Saturday at age 91 – made him one of the best-known faces of Nazi prosecutions.
The conviction of the retired Ohio autoworker in a Munich court in May on 28,060 counts of being an accessory to murder, which was still being appealed, broke new legal ground in Germany as the first time someone was convicted solely on the basis of serving as a camp guard, with no evidence of involvement in a specific killing.
It has opened the floodgates to hundreds of new investigations in Germany, though his death serves as a reminder that time is running out for prosecutors.
Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk steadfastly maintained that he had been mistaken for someone else – first wounded as a Soviet soldier fighting German forces, then captured and held as a prisoner of war under brutal conditions.
And he is probably best known as someone he was not: the notoriously brutal guard “Ivan the Terrible” at the Treblinka extermination camp. That was the first accusation against him, which led to him being extradited from the U.S. to Israel in the 1980s. He was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death – only to have the Israeli Supreme Court unanimously overturn the verdict and return him to the U.S. after it received evidence that another Ukrainian, not Demjanjuk, was that Nazi guard.
“He has become at least one of the faces” of the Holocaust, Israeli historian Yehuda Bauer said in a telephone interview from Jerusalem.
Continue reading at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/17/john-demjanjuk-dead-dies_n_1355316.html
From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/mar/18/iraq-massacre-emos-killing-gay
Hassan – it’s not his real name – had a heavy metal band with two other twentysomethings. The raucous music represented rebellion, and in Iraq there was plenty to rebel against: occupation, poverty, patriarchal families – ample impetus to anger. The band made an album, but nobody would touch it; their songs and their look, people said, were satanic. Hassan uploaded a video to YouTube, and included the band members’ names. Five days ago, the other two musicians were killed on the street. Hassan is in hiding; he’s almost too terrified to speak. “Why are they doing this to us?” he asked me. “Why?”
A new killing campaign is convulsing Iraq. The express targets are “emos”, short for “emotional”: a western-derived identity, teenagers adopting a pose of vulnerability, along with tight clothes and skewed hairdos and body piercing. Starting last year, mosques and the media both began raising the alarm about youthful immorality, calling the emos deviants and devil worshippers. In early February, somebody began killing people. The net was wide, definitions inexact. Men who seemed effeminate, girls with tattoos or peculiar jewellery, boys with long hair, could all be swept up. The killers like to smash their victims’ heads with concrete blocks.
There is no way to tell how many have died: estimates range from a few dozen to more than 100. Nor is it clear who is responsible. Many of the killings happened in east Baghdad, stronghold of Shia militias such as Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi army and Asaib Ahl al-Haq (the League of the Righteous). Neither, though, has claimed responsibility. Iraq’s brutal interior ministry issued two statements in February. The first announced official approval to “eliminate” the “satanists”. The second, on 29 February, proclaimed a “campaign” to start with a crackdown on stores selling emo fashion. The loaded language suggests, at a minimum, that the ministry incited violence. It’s highly possible that some police, in a force riddled with militia members, participated in the murders.
Continue reading at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/mar/18/iraq-massacre-emos-killing-gay
A long-term trend toward smaller houses is well underway — with huge implications for the future of our cities.
By Sara Robinson
March 16, 2012
Very Tiny Houses may be the new American homeowner porn.
I know I’m far from the only one who looks at pictures like this one and thinks wistfully about all the stuff I’d get rid of if I had such a place. I could prune my closet to nothing. Cull out the excess kitchen stuff, and winnow things down to a few pots and place settings. Consolidate all my books, movies and electronic toys onto a single iPad. And my Saturdays would be my own: I could clean the whole place in half an hour flat.
And if we did this, how simple life would be! How much more time I would have for stuff that mattered! And think of the money we could save on mortgages, taxes, utilities, and upkeep!
Of course, the vast majority of us will never actually go all the way to this extreme. (My geek husband’s bank of computers alone would overwhelm every inch of this lovely little space with a nova-like explosion of screens and wires; we’d have to sleep on the roof.) But, according to a growing mountain of data from the building and real estate industries, Americans are in fact backing away slowly from the sprawling McMansions of the 1990s, and increasingly tucking ourselves into cozier quarters.
Intriguingly: professionals in the building industry are saying that this move may be a long-term shift that’s reflecting a deep sea-change in American values and attitudes about what makes a place a home.
In a 2009 article in USA Today interior designer Christine Brun sums up the emerging ethic: “You’re almost unpatriotic to live so large.” She points out that baby boomers are downsizing their now-empty nests; and younger adults “don’t care if they live in 500 square feet. They just want cool stuff.” Add in growing awareness of our environmental footprint and a crashing economy, and you’ve got a perfect storm that’s moving Americans back toward the kind of smaller digs we lived in in the days of Ward and June Cleaver.
From The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/19/opinion/krugman-hurray-for-health-reform.html
By PAUL KRUGMAN
Published: March 18, 2012
It’s said that you can judge a man by the quality of his enemies. If the same principle applies to legislation, the Affordable Care Act — which was signed into law two years ago, but for the most part has yet to take effect — sits in a place of high honor.
Now, the act — known to its foes as Obamacare, and to the cognoscenti as ObamaRomneycare — isn’t easy to love, since it’s very much a compromise, dictated by the perceived political need to change existing coverage and challenge entrenched interests as little as possible. But the perfect is the enemy of the good; for all its imperfections, this reform would do an enormous amount of good. And one indicator of just how good it is comes from the apparent inability of its opponents to make an honest case against it.
To understand the lies, you first have to understand the truth. How would ObamaRomneycare change American health care?
For most people the answer is, not at all. In particular, those receiving good health benefits from employers would keep them. The act is aimed, instead, at Americans who fall through the cracks, either going without coverage or relying on the miserably malfunctioning individual, “non-group” insurance market.
The fact is that individual health insurance, as currently constituted, just doesn’t work. If insurers are left free to deny coverage at will — as they are in, say, California — they offer cheap policies to the young and healthy (and try to yank coverage if you get sick) but refuse to cover anyone likely to need expensive care. Yet simply requiring that insurers cover people with pre-existing conditions, as in New York, doesn’t work either: premiums are sky-high because only the sick buy insurance.
Continue reading at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/19/opinion/krugman-hurray-for-health-reform.html
By Agence France-Presse
Sunday, March 18, 2012
FUENTES DE ANDALUCIA, Spain — A unique thermosolar power station in southern Spain can shrug off cloudy days: energy stored when the sun shines lets it produce electricity even during the night.
The Gemasolar station, up and running since last May, stands out in the plains of Andalusia.
From the road between Seville and Cordoba, one can see its central tower lit up like a beacon by 2,600 solar mirrors, each 120 square metres (28,500 square feet), that surround it in an immense 195-hectare (480-acre) circle.
“It is the first station in the world that works 24 hours a day, a solar power station that works day and night!” said Santago Arias, technical director of Torresol Energy, which runs the station.
The mechanism is “very easy to explain,” he said: the panels reflect the suns rays on to the tower, transmitting energy at an intensity 1,000 times higher than that of the sun’s rays reaching the earth.
Continue reading at: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/03/18/solar-power-station-in-spain-works-at-night/
From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/18/jean-luc-melenchon-french-presidential-poll
Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the charismatic far-left firebrand whose anti-capitalist stance has seen him rise sharply in the French presidential polls, on Sunday told a vast Paris street rally that France should rise up in a “civic insurrection”.
Mélenchon’s symbolic open-air rally at the Place de la Bastille, emblem of the French revolution, attracted tens of thousands in an important show of force for France’s “Left of the Left”, buoyed by the financial crisis and disillusionment with the main political parties.
The MEP – who is famous for his scathing, banker-bashing rhetoric – is running for president representing a coalition of leftists which includes the once-powerful Communist party.
A one-time Trotskyist and former teacher, he spent 30 years in the Socialist party, where he served as a minister and senator, before leaving to form his own Front de Gauche or Leftist Front.
He recently surged above the 10% mark in the polls, a sharp rise which has eaten into the score of the Socialist frontrunner François Hollande and delighted the rightwing president Nicolas Sarkozy, who is seeking to exploit differences on the left in his difficult battle for re-election.
Sarkozy has praised Mélenchon’s charisma against what he has called the blandness of Hollande.
By Ethan A. Huff
March 18, 2012
The federal government’s illegal war on drugs is big business for lobbyists who profit on making sure you never have access to marijuana, whether for recreational or medicinal purposes. And one such lobbyist, John Lovell, reportedly raked in nearly $400,000 from the California Police Chiefs Association(CPCA) for helping to defeat California’s Proposition 19, a 2010 ballot measure that would have legalized marijuana in the Golden State and generated billions of dollars in new state tax revenues.
The Republic Report‘s Lee Fang writes that, based on a comprehensive review of the lobbying contracts anti-marijuana groups had during the Prop. 19 battle, Lovell’s name showed up as a major recipient of lobbying funds for his help in making sure the proposal never got passed. And with his services, CPCA was able to continue receiving millions of dollars in federal funding for drug war programs that are a significant source of police force revenue.
After the Obama Administration enacted its American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Lovell reportedly got busy sending notices to police agencies alerting them about “important opportunities” to generate more federal grants. These opportunities included $2.2 million in funding for implementing a “Marijuana Suppression Program,” and more than $7.5 million for a “Campaign Against Marijuana Planting” program.
However, if Prop. 19 had passed, this federal funding stream would have quickly dried up, which means police agencies across California would have had to seek out alternate sources of funding. The “Northern California Marijuana Eradication Team,” for instance, composed of police departments in Shasta, Siskiyou, and Tehama Counties, would not have received its $550,000 federal grant had Prop. 13 been passed.
So once again job security and greed have overtaken the will of the people. CPCA’s concerns about losing millions of dollars in federal funding for carrying out drug war initiatives are apparently more important than spurring the ailing California economy by legalizing a natural substance that is leaps and bounds safer than alcohol.
“[T]he passage of Prop. 19 would have given thousands of ‘hempreneurs’ behind the state’s $1.3 billion medical marijuana industry a stimulus stronger than a vaporized bowl of Hindu Kush,” writes Fang, artfully, concerning the marijuana legalization issue in California. “The likely side effects — a decline in budget-busting law-enforcement costs and millions of dollars in tax revenue for the state of California — don’t seem all that bad compared to what we got stuck with: A war on drugs that makes people like John Lovell even richer.”