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25 February 2015

Human Overpopulation and Climate Change, a Rant

Living in South Florida and having grown up here in the 1950s and '60s, I've seen so much of its beauty, both natural and early structures, destroyed to make way for the proverbial parking lots and concrete monstrosities. For decades, scientists have been warning about climate change. We've simply continued with the destruction of our natural resources and open spaces. At the same time, of course, we continue to destroy our environment, by displacing everything natural (forests, grasslands, rivers, wildlife), polluting it (air, lakes, oceans, rivers, etc.) and killing it (wildlife). There are forces at work that are actively trying to demonize attempts at controlling human population, which is the root cause of most of our environmental and societal ills. These forces are ideological (idiotic, actually) in nature and do not fit in with modern reality and science. After decades of being warned about the upcoming disasters caused by climate change, many of these ideological types (politicians, religious figures) still deny the human factors involved in the present cycle of global warming. Only in recent times have some of this ilk begun to address the possibility that we have placed ourselves and our entire world in danger and are attempting to stave off the long term effects. This is both a blessing and moronic. Blessing because these people have finally begun talking about the situation. Moronic because it's already too late and actions should have been taken many years ago. Mother Earth cleansed itself nicely for millennia until such time as the plague of humanity overpowered its ability to renew itself. We've destroyed vast forests which not only sheltered our wildlife, but created oxygen for our use. We've built tall concrete structures which block our sunlight. We've dammed rivers and destroyed huge swathes of ecosystems to create more and more electrical power for the growing population. We've uncaringly used our rivers and lakes and oceans as cesspits. We've dug up the metals and minerals and fuel sources our huge population requires to exist in modern times at the cost of rivers and huge areas of land laid to waste. While I am not afraid of nuclear power, per se, tons of spent fuel, radioactive for centuries to come, are being buried deep underground out of sight, but still a possible danger to all of us in the future. We have vast piles of waste deposited near every population center, masses of poisonous materials that are, again, placed out of sight. The more modern (?) of these are set up to monitor escaping gases and liquids which might poison us, but what of all those that are presently leeching these substances into our air and water tables? We burn other waste materials and add to our air pollution and cause acid rains to fall onto our forests. Back to climate change itself: I recently read an article in the Miami Herald about our local and state fearless leaders meeting to dream up solutions for sea level rise here in South Florida, one of the most vulnerable areas in the United States. They want to spend billions of dollars on seawalls and jetties and raising buildings that they do not already plan to raze. They are concerned with the salt water intrusion into our fresh water supplies, which are underground for the most part. Having seen the destruction of South Florida's natural beauty over the decades and seen what it was like even before I was born, I've often fantasized about the huge hotels, having been built right on the oceanfront, tipping over into the Atlantic Ocean due to a hurricane or the ocean eroding the underpinning of the structures. It was a satisfying image, frankly. Now that this is becoming more of a reality to these political types, they want to preserve their legacies and their riches for at least as long as they and their descendants and rich friends live down here. The truth of the matter is that the ocean's rise will not be put off by anything we can do. The only thing we'll be able to do is move away from the expanding oceans to higher ground. This will only have the unfortunate consequence of packing us into denser population centers, as well as taking over more wildlife habitat. Since more and new diseases are expected to move in with the change of climate, a denser population will, of course, place us in danger of the rampant spreading of same, i.e., epidemics. Hurricanes and other weather patterns are expected to be fiercer with climate change, which will cause much loss of life and property. Tsunamis will be much more of a threat, as well. We will lose many more animal species, as well. We humans will be packing ourselves into smaller areas in some cases and expanding our territory into new, pristine areas of the country (not that there's much left) and displacing wildlife, much of which we need to survive ourselves. {We are already killing off our bats, bees and butterflies and other beneficial creatures.} Climate change alone is already destroying wildlife habitat, although we're doing a fine job of that, ourselves, and we're contributing to the warming of the planet while we're at it. Natural changes to the climate have occurred since the Earth was formed. These changes occurred over thousands of years, allowing humans and plants and animals to adapt (evolve) to the changes. Only since we have begun the massive destruction of our resources and the huge amount of waste and pollution we generate have these changes sped up to the point where the changes are noticeable in our lifetimes. This is not going to allow for any kind of natural adaptations. Humans and wildlife, alike, will suffer greatly. Climate change is real and upon us. It cannot be stopped, but it can be reversed, over time, by reducing the major, human causes; i.e., overpopulation. Humankind is a rapidly reproducing virus that has struck the Earth and must be controlled if we expect to preserve the world somewhat as it should be and as we know it.