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Mitigative Action versus Corrective Action – Postponement Is Always Easier Than Prevention

It is always cheaper, easier, and involves far less change of long-established habits, practices, and preferences to mitigate conditions that, if left unchanged, will inevitably lead to disaster, than it is to take corrective action and prevent that disaster altogether.

We just had this year’s World Water Day, and meanwhile, in Cape Town, South Africa, Zero Water Day has been pushed back to 2019.

City of Cape Town | Day Zero | Pushed Out to 2019

Why is that?

It’s postponement. The city’s water authorities don’t want to face heightened crime rates and civil unrest over water scarcity and rationing, complete with military supervision, any sooner than they absolutely have to. They have upped the output of dams and levies, and thus postponed all that.

I’m talking about human overpopulation and the conditions that go with it: overcrowding, depletion of species, extinction of species, pollution, resource scarcity, resource wars, police surveillance states, parochialism and isolationism (defense mechanisms against the privations caused by human overpopulation), mass migrations, and so on.

We humans are literally drowning in our own excrement in many locations. One of them is Dhaka, Bangladesh.

The dysfunctional megacity: why Dhaka is bursting at the sewers

That’s not just some attention-grabbing, sensationalist statement. It’s true: Dhaka is prone to flooding several times a month, it is overpopulated by Bengali people fleeing rising sea levels who have lost their rural homes to permanent flooding, and as a result, the city’s sanitation systems, which are nowhere near as advanced as they need to be to cope with the demands on them, are brimming with sewage. This must be manually removed by human beings using bamboo sticks, ladders, and hand scoops – that’s human hands used as scooping tools. The people who do this work are from the Hindu dalit caste, also known as untouchables. That’s how they get that label: by doing work that no one else – no one with access to enough resources to be able to choose any other work – will consent to do. They are not thanked for their efforts. They are shunned. Not only that, but recently, three of them drowned in an effort to clear a blocked hole, and a fourth died at the hospital.

Meanwhile, in France, the bird population is starving to death thanks to relentless use of insecticides. Its ecosystems are dying off. Of all places to have that happen, the land of the most exquisite cuisine, which is made possible by those ecosystems, it is not immune to the disaster of collapse.

‘Catastrophe’ as France’s bird population collapses due to pesticides

Even though the law there puts the burden of proof on insecticide manufacturers to show that their product does not destroy the ecosystem before it can be used, it is still doing tremendous damage.

When I see such things continuing to happen, I am both glad that I made the effort to fight it by writing The Bear Guarding the Beehive, and frustrated by a fear that it will not convince enough people – or the ones positioned to stop this disaster.

We have a problem now in the Untied States of America (yes, Untied, NOT United): we are stuck, at least for the time being, in a kakistocracy.

A kakistocracy (/ˌkækɪsˈtɒkrəsi, –ˈstɒk-/) is a system of government which is run by the worst, least qualified, or most unscrupulous citizens.[1][2] The word was coined as early as the 17th century.[3] It was also used by English author Thomas Love Peacock in 1829, but gained significant usage in the 21st century.
Etymology
The word comes from the Greek words kakistos (κάκιστος; worst) and kratos (κράτος; rule), with a literal meaning of government by the worst people.[4] Linguistic equivalents of the English word kakistocracy are as follows: Its Greek equivalent is kakistokratia (κακιστοκρατία), Spanish kakistocracia, French kakistocratie, German Kakistokratie, and Russian kakistokratiya (какистократия).[5][6][7][8]

At least Robert Mueller is getting closer to amassing the evidence needed to fix this.

Evidence of cyber crimes and treason is mounting faster and faster. No wonder Trump keeps tweeting angrier and more defense nonsense every day.

I hope that it catches up with Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah Mercer, who financed Cambridge Analytica, and Steve Bannon, who named it, and soon…and I have plenty of company.

Hedge fund billionaire and Cambridge Analytica financiers Robert Mercer and his daughter, Rebekah Mercer. She runs Renaissance Technologies, the hedge fund that he owns.

How Trump Consultants Exploited the Facebook Data of Millions

There has been some other good news recently, on the gerrymandering front. In Pennsylvania, a new voting district map, created on the instructions of that state’s Democratic governor by “Nathaniel Persily, a Stanford law professor and an expert in legislative districting”. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito rejected pleas from Pennsylvania Republicans to hear any appeal of the case, and the other justices refused to comment. As a matter of law, that’s it. The U.S. Supreme Court won’t intervene in state law once that state’s top court has ruled on a matter of state law.

Supreme Court Won’t Block New Pennsylvania Voting Maps

Isolating ourselves won’t fix this. Not using social media to interact online is no solution. What we have to do is to be careful how we use the Internet instead of enjoying every quiz and questionnaire that pops into view, and to not accept any story without checking its source first, perhaps on a debunking site such as www.Snopes.com.

Don’t quit Facebook, but don’t trust it, either

There’s no need to say this my way when the authors of the article did so already – but I do want to point it out:

“Facebook has the technical know-how to give users more control over their private data, but has chosen not to – and that’s not surprising. No laws or other institutional rules require it, or provide necessary oversight to ensure that it does. Until a major social media platform like Facebook is required to reliably and transparently demonstrate that it is protecting the interests of its users – as distinct from its advertising customers – the calls to break the company up and start afresh are only going to grow.”

Experts like Paul R. Ehrlich and Thomas Robert Malthus, to name just a couple, have been repeatedly mocked and castigated for offering up dire predictions about human overpopulation.

The criticism that is often leveled at them is that their dire predictions did not come to pass when they said that they would, or that they were averted.

That’s not what actually happened, though.

Look at it more objectively.

Those weren’t predictions, which are the work of psychics.

They were warnings.

These warnings were based on careful research and logical reasoning.

So what happened?

The warnings were heeded just enough to postpone disaster, but not enough to avert it.

Therefore, Professor Ehrlich continues to speak about the real and present danger posed by human overpopulation.

Paul Ehrlich: ‘Collapse of civilisation is a near certainty within decades’

Disaster is not averted. It still looms ahead, and we cannot put it off indefinitely and continue to reproduce as much as we wish to.

We are in environmental overshoot, using up the entirety of the resources that our planet can offer our species within a year by early August. Soon that point will be in July instead.

We are using more than 3 planet Earths’ worth of resources each year, but we only have one Earth.

We are crashing its ecosystems and using up all that our planet has to offer.

We can’t just move to Mars, a planet that is dangerous to get to, one that is about a quarter the size of ours with 38 percent of the gravity that Earth has.

We don’t have the technology to move to another solar system and settle on a planet there that is comparable to Earth, and even if we did, we would likely find that it is already occupied by a species a lot like ours that won’t want to share…and that may not have enough to share due to the same profligate consumption of resources that we have been and continue committing.

Professor Ehrlich and I both continue to speak and write about human overpopulation, however unpopular a thing that is to do.

We will do it even when called monsters and worse, because making no effort to reduce human numbers is suicide.

I am the author of a 3-novel series on human overpopulation: Nae-Née. It is named for a birth control nanite, the name of which means “Not-Born”.

The books are available on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble, and are available as both e-books (Kindle and Nook) and in print via IngramSpark.

Each book has a detailed bibliography at the end, listing my research, but the books themselves are dystopian fiction, because it is far more fun to learn something from a story than via dull, dry, academic research.

I have donated copies of this series (along with other books that I have authored) to libraries near my home in Connecticut.

At one such library, I sat down and showed each of these books, plus others, to the head librarian, who was eager to acquire my bee book, and who said that each one would be read by the librarians before being added to their collection, as per library policy. (She did seem pleased to get the series. However, I wondered whether or not such a topic as my favorite one would be accepted. When I mentioned this to my father, he said not to worry, that they were just screening for “smut” because some angry parents had caught their teenagers with some trashy novels the year before.)

As I got up and walked away from the desk, I looked back and saw that another librarian was sitting on the other side. She was in the final trimester of a pregnancy, and looked hostile. Obviously, she had heard what Nae-Née was about. I was not sorry about my books, however. I had discussed them calmly and politely, with no exhortations for government to order anyone to abort late-term pregnancies.

What I want is a population policy, even though it won’t be popular. I don’t care much for popularity. It would be nice, but it’s not high on my list. Being read and taken seriously is.

I know that I am raising an issue that is unpleasant, one that, if dealt with before our species suffers famine, drought, and the terror of eating itself, will lead to anger and disappointment for those who wish to reproduce and have the fun of seeing their own phenotypes replicated on other human beings.

That’s a big reason why so many kids need to be adopted but are not.

We need a policy that has an enforcement mechanism like the one in my books.

We need to do what our species does not want to do.

The problem won’t just solve itself, however many Millennials decide that reproducing is unaffordable, and that the Earth cannot, due to climate change and species depletions, offer another generation a comfortable, happy life. They are doing the right thing, saddled as they are by student loan debt and housing costs that are pricing them out of the markets, and considering the plastic pollution that is choking the oceans. But it won’t be enough by a long shot.

No Children Because of Climate Change? Some People Are Considering It

Great Pacific Garbage Patch Is Now Twice the Size of Texas and It’s Rapidly Getting WorseMark Twain said “It is better to be popular than right.”

Greenpeace together with the #breakfreefromplastic coalition conduct a beach cleanup activity and brand audit on Freedom Island, Parañaque City, Metro Manila, Philippines. The activity aims to name the brands most responsible for the plastic pollution happening in our oceans. A banner reads “Polluted by Single-use Plastic”. Freedom island is an ecotourism area which contains a mangrove forest and swamps providing a habitat for many migratory bird species from different countries such as China, Japan and Siberia. Credit: Daniel Müller/Greenpeace

 

“The people behind #BluePlanet2 say there was rarely a time during filming that they didn’t come across plastic in the sea. https://t.co/S2tPlrUPBJ”

I have quoted him before, but it is worth doing it again, because what he meant was not that we shouldn’t say what is so and what is correct, but that life is easier when one is popular.

It would probably make my life easier if I spent my career writing cute little novellas with idyllic scenes, murder mysteries with gourmet recipes scattered into the chapters, or other such things.

But I prefer to write about social issues.

Mark Twain wrote about social issues: anti-slavery, voting rights for women and all races of humans, and more.

I used to do tours at his Hartford, Connecticut home, where he spent his happiest years, so I had time to learn about him. That place is worth visiting.

But back to human overpopulation.

Paul Ehrlich bought the first of my books on human overpopulation (when it was my only one on that topic). He sent me a gift, too: an autographed copy of one of his own, entitled The Dominant Animal: Human Evolution and the Environment, with a personal note encouraging me to “fight on”.

I will.

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