Commentary

Steve Salmony: Confronting our dire circumstance

February 7, 2014 

No one I know is suggesting that we let some children die now so that other children do not starve later. Where does such pernicious thinking come from? There is plenty of food on Earth to feed the human population here now. The problem is not a food-production problem. It is a food-distribution problem that we must acknowledge and confront.

A more fair and equitable distribution of world food harvests is called for. We have both an overpopulation problem and a per capita overconsumption problem to address. While everyone is implicated, some are more at fault than others for the dire circumstances of the human community.

We appear to live in a time in which the collective perception of humankind has fractured schizophrenogenically and clarity of vision has been lost; when incoherent minds determine what is real; in a period of willful blindness, elective mutism, abject intellectual dishonesty and woefully inadequate moral courage. Political convenience, economic expediency, specious demographics, ideological idiocy, social status quo, religious dogma, cultural prescription and incomprehensible greed rule the world, darken the surface of Earth, and threaten future human well being and environmental health.

Something is happening regarding human population that no one is discussing. Human population dynamics is essentially similar to, not different from, the population dynamics of other species. If you can see this phenomenon, then speak out about it. How are we to do anything with regard to the colossal global predicament spawned by skyrocketing absolute global human population numbers if we cannot widely share and consensually validate an adequate understanding, based upon the best available science, of why human numbers have been growing so rapidly?

Scientists with appropriate expertise have got to speak out because silence is vanquishing science and threatening life as we know it. The science of human population dynamics/overpopulation has been a taboo topic for too long. I have come to believe that top rank scientists and other self-proclaimed experts are acting perversely as gatekeepers of current, conventional, preternatural thought and deniers of extant, uncontested scientific research regarding the coming unsustainability of the colossal current size and expected growth of the human population. That you are willing to say something about what you see regarding human population dynamics and the population explosion does require uncompromising intellectual honesty and uncommon courage of us.

No generation has had to face the challenges looming before us, I suppose. That may be so. But that does not mean the challenges other generations faced were any more or less difficult than ours. Their challenges were only different from the ones we confront. If earlier generations had not somehow “squared up” to and overcome their challenges, I dare say that we would not be here now.

We have unfulfilled responsibilities to assume and unaccepted duties to perform. The preposterous failure of our generation of leading elders to acknowledge the best available science with regard to the human population and consequently to fail to step up to the challenges we are called upon to address, could end up making us the standard bearer with an ignoble reputation as the worst generation. (This supposes that there are future generations around to judge our catastrophic failings.)

I do not believe the human species is made of such sordid stuff that any generation, even a generation dominated by foolhardy, pathologically arrogant, greed-mongering, malignant narcissists, would actually extirpate global biodiversity, irreversibly degrade Earth’s environs, recklessly dissipate its limited resources, put an end to life as we know it and thereby threaten future human well being and Earth as a fit place for habitation by children everywhere and coming generations. Speak out loudly, clearly and often, according to “the lights” and science you possess, while there still may be time to make a difference.

Steve Salmony lives in Chapel Hill.

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