Excuses are Behaviors

Well, then, as for “The National Parks” on PBS that I said was so wonderful yesterday — today I found out a part that’s not so wonderful. I don’t think you want to hear about that, but it reminded me of the very odd reality, at least in this country, that everyone including myself grows up believing that whenever they grew up was “normal.”

The truth is that we are way long past normal and are already well into the more serious consequences of overpopulation. You also didn’t want to hear about that, but the fact of global warming is difficult to refute.

So I say that we are well into it because this is my field of study and I recognize the problems that were expected to be caused by overpopulation and they are falling into place, bing, bing, bing, like the little balls in a roulette wheel. Most people don’t want to hear this and rather than immediately beginning to think up possible solutions (some of which are obvious and could be implemented tomorrow) they immediately begin to think up excuses. So we follow that trail for a while. Not to belabor all the excuses, at the end of that trail we come full circle back to my very reluctant but also very well considered, knowledgeable and honest statement that it’s “too late” to mess around tweaking social relationships and other important but lesser details of a society that is heading faster and faster down the road to its own destruction. And then there are three standard answers to this. But you probably already know those, so let’s make sure we all understand what I mean by too late.

I mean too late for humans on this earth.

There are a variety of reasons why many people are not concerned about this prospect. Some are fatalists; some see prophecy of whatever is their religion — or other spiritual reasons to not worry about it. And:

“It is probably better to leave the earth alone, without us, to flourish without human interference.”

Probably that sounds the most logical reason of all, and practical. If humans are the cause of the problem, and if we care about the ecosystem (or even if we don’t) then we would be better off without the humans. It sounds rational, logical and well considered.

The reason it is none of those things is because we can not control the fact of death, but we can control unnecessary suffering. Death is a normal and important component of life on this earth, God-given if God created life, and it can not be avoided. Unnecessary suffering, however, is unnecessary. Therefore, we are responsible for our behaviors that relate to suffering, and the longer we play out this overpopulation game the more horrible will be the suffering of those who, for whatever reason most often outside of their own control, fail to catch the brass ring of prosperity.

So I wonder. I wonder about people who believe we should not make the effort to reduce the birth rate — I wonder even more about people who devote enormous amounts of energy and money pursuing untested and un-researched popular theoretical solutions while ignoring the possible and obvious. Do they understand the suffering we are causing to others of our kind, unnecessarily. I think they do understand. I think the hype, hip and hop sells books, makes famous authors, creates smiles on Oprah, makes us feel important, makes us believe that our opinion is more important than any facts because all the people believe in us. And I want to remind these people that exactly the same thing happened during the Green Revolution, and the suffering increased exponentially as a result.

And then I want to remind them, that whatever they believe is not as important as what IS — and it is one thing for us to be absent from this earth after a life well used, but it is quite another thing for us to use the suffering of other people to make our own lives more rewarding. No matter the rationale.