Some El Sal stats to consider: 19% of the population of El Salvador has a yearly income of less than a dollar a day; 48% is under the poverty line. The cost of gas here runs around $2.40. A quart of milk is about a buck.
A friend of mine here in San Salvador yesterday was talking a lot about the inequality of income and economies in the world, as it related to immigration legislation in the states. It’s a big issue, no denying that, and personally, I feel as confused about it as can be. But as the conversation went along, I found myself more and more energized about another topic: Overpopulation.
So, I said, “let’s bump this up a few notches, to about 35 thousand feet, and look at the really big picture.” What is the world going to look like when there are 9 billion people in it? This is what it looks like when there are 6 billion–and no one I know feels like things are working very well–dwindling resources, inability to offer a quality life to the majority of earths human population. So, what is it going to look like when there are 9 billion.
His answer was totally predictable, and for a smart guy, I was sort of disappointed. He said, “it’s been proven that in industrialized nations, the birth rate drops as the families become more educated and healthy.” That’s the same Bill Gates crap I’ve heard so many times. In fact, if that were so, the US would not have surpassed 3 billion a few months ago, right? I mean, we’ve got to be among the most industrialized modern nations in the world, I’m thinking, so how come we’re still growing at a phenomenal rate?
Everyone points to Germany when they toss this industrialized nation/zero population pithy response out. Germany has zero pop growth and has for awhile now. Well, one nation out of the whole world–and a sort of unusual and smallish nation at that–is not good evidence of the whole industrialized nation theory.
The conversation with my El Salvador friend continued and I said, Look, you know what I’d like to see in the world? I’d like to see a world where we are equal to all other forms of life on the planet. Not more important, more special, more this or more that, but equal. No other organism on this planet is free to reproduce endlessly without dire consequences. Since we are, next to bacteria, the most populous species on the planet, our dire consequences will be dire for the whole dang neighborhood.
And still, all we seem able to focus on is ourselves–our poverty, our diseases, our human suffering. As if everything else were a mere backdrop to our own experience.
Finally, the crap about global warming not being caused by human activity–hello? If you really read the studies, you see that carbon pollution has been around since the middle ages…and it’s totally related to the rise of cities and city-states.
And it’s all about Coal. We should be rising up demanding the end of Coal as a fuel, period. Coal is evil. And it’s 40% of our “contribution” to climate change. AND, AND, AND!! Coal was viewed as so evil in the 13th century that King Edward banned it. A man ahead of his times.
car: approx 7 miles (taxi)
bike, bus, flexcar: 0