"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Monday, 11 November 2013

Please, don't take it for granted...

I have aways subscribed to the notion that we live on a vast panet, a providing planet, a beautiful planet.  One that is more than big enough to provide for all our needs.

This notion has been with me for years and years...

But, my notion has not kept pace with the current situation i.e. the growth in the human population from 2.5-odd billion in the 1950's to just over 7 billion today.

I was therefore aghast to watch this BBC documentary.  This type of programme should be purchased, urgently and willingly, by all the major TV channels, worldwide, and shown - to as large an audience as possible.

is 47 minutes, 48 seconds long and worth every minute

Image: Courtesy of BBC documentary
"How many people can ive on panet earth".
"By and large the planet has provided for the human race, so far" - a quote by Sir Richard in the documentary.  (A comment from the BBC documentary, "How many people can live on planet earth".)

In the documentary, Sir Richard Attenborough refers to a book by Thomas Melthus, an English clergyman from the 18th Century, who, at that time, made the following observation "The power of the population is definitely greater than the power in the earth to provide subsistence for man." In other words our production of food cannot increase as rapidly as humans reproduce.
"There's no more water on the planet
than when life first appeared

Image: Courtesy of BBC documentary
"How many people can ive on panet earth".
So, why don't we just carry on taking for granted the fact that we can purchase our (hopefuly locally grown, but too often imported) fresh food from a convenience store, that the water in our taps is plentiful and suitable for drinking, because we have the extremely questionable attitude that "it's our right because we're paying for it".  We may be "paying for it" - but in different ways to what we currently conceive - long term, highly detrimental ways...

Let's ignore the effect of chemicals - be they industrial, agricultural or household chemicals - and, more importantly, the effect of fracking on our underground water table - because "we're OK, Jack" and because the oil giants, who seemingly have paid off all the important governments worldwide, and who are, basically running the world, placate us in the quest for their greed by saying "they're not harming the planet."

When our fresh drinking water runs out, and when you are unable to water the crops you are growing - that the farmers are growing - it will be too late.  Far, far too late.
"At some point in the future, wars are going
to be fought over water, not oil."

This comment from a simple water
tanker driver in Mexico City!
Image: Courtesy of BBC documentary
"How many people can live on planet earth".
The privileged - the middle and upper classes - have no conception of what it is to be without a plentiful supply of potable water.  They see it as their right. Perhaps if they did, they would conserve it and, additionally, raise their (powerful) voices and start a change which will benefit mankind, and Mother Earth.

"Bear in mind, when the Titanic sank, the first class cabins went to the bottom just as fast as the steerage" (a comment from the BBC documentary, "How many people can live on planet earth").

We're not animals, we're supposedly a rational race, who have the ability to reason, and forsee preventable probems.  Let's be who we are - for the greater good of this planet and mankind.

As Sir Richard asks at the end of the documentary, "Can our intelligence save us?"

Make a start by reducing your potable water wastage, by capturing and storing as much rainwater as you can in order to grow as much of your own fresh produce as you are able, and by advocating (both in your workplace and home) and, hopefully, removing, all chemicals from your, and your family's environment. This can, and will, be the begining of a very necessary peaceful revolution...

Won't you join me?


Harry Flashman said...

Overpopulation is a big issue. In this country, when you analyze statistics on birth rates, Caucasian women have .9 children, Hispanic women have 5, and Blacks have 3. The demographics are pretty plain, overpopulation is here to stay in the USA . I put a lot of the blame for this on our welfare system, which increases the payments to mothers based on the number of children they have.

The Stay @ Home-Gardener said...

I've been watching a lot of Doctor Who lately. So this post comes across as very sci-fi. :) Population is a huge factor. The sheer size it is what allows us to have such a detrimental impact on the earth.

At one time, it was true, how can mankind affect the world. Not possible. Now with number, we can no longer put out heads in the sand. We create change.

In the US, the actual total birth rate is 1.8. In order for a society to stay constant you need 2.1. The western countries are declining whilst the developing world is increasing. However, even those countries are slowing down. I think Bangladesh which used to be on the order of 8 per, is more akin to 5 and falling.

Is it not that we are supposed to peak at 11 billion and then begin to decline due to the birthrates? However, that is a lot bigger burden. Population isn't going to shift to total decline for another 100 years or so. Meaning it is up to the individual to conserve their small pie of the resources to make it up, because no matter how hard you attempt to refuse the pie for others, they will take them regardless. Human will to live. Well, natures drive. Rightly so!

The Stay @ Home-Gardener said...

Harry, I really think you would enjoy the book, The Next Hundred Years, by George Friedman. A book about the next century. Pertaining to how it affects the United States. Who the global powers are, the problems facing the world (geo-political etc). It has an interesting little bit about how Western countries are flooded with population and workers now, however, over time, we will have to compete to bring in high skilled workers to make up for population shortfalls. (Like I said, as a total, the US birthrate is 2.1)

The Stay @ Home-Gardener said...

Sorry. I mean. 1.8. Hence decline. You need 2.1 to maintain a population level.

DFW said...

Thanks for posting this Dani. I look forward to viewing it after I finish the BBCs Tales from the Green Valley. I have 2 more episodes of that to see.

simply bev said...

Important information that everyone needs to hear. Thank you for this post!

kymber said...

Dani - there is sooo much that i want to say in response to your post...but i think that you already know most of what i would say and would agree with me. we must, MUST, take a good, long, hard look at what we have done to the environment as a species and we must understand that we need to make hard choices, all of us, in order for the species to thrive and survive in the next few centuries. people like you and your family are setting the "new" ways for us to demonstrate that we care...and people like my family are slowly trying to get there too. what a great and thoughtful post!

your friend,

1st Man said...

We do indeed now create change, no, we MUST create change and change for the good. There is so much in the world that is bad and it takes those like you and friends and family and others like us to start making those changes. You jumped in and have made amazing changes (that inspire the rest of us) and still others of us are starting with small changes.

But even a small ripple can become a giant wave as it moves ever outward.

Dani said...

Harry - Yeah, overpopulation is the subject here, but skulking in the background is the abuse of our water supplies.

Large families in Africa are seen as a symbol of "wealth" - firstly, that the "breadwinner" is abe to provide for so many mouths, and secondly, the children become an "insurance" policy for the parents in the later years when they are no longer abe to provide for themselves.

But, yeah - here too, there is a welfare system - especially for "orphan" families where the main breadwinner has died.

Dani said...

TSAHG - Can this planet afford to reach a population of 11 billion, before the population beings to decline. And will that decine not be as a direct result of the have-nots not being able to feed themselves...? Never mind the cost to the planet itself - and in ways which we are unable to forsee even at this stage...!

Dani said...

simpy bev - Thanks for visitng my humble blog and taking the time to leave a comment.

Please - help me spread the word... :)

Dani said...

kymber - LOL There is so much more I wanted to say.

Thank you for your comments / compliments - you, too, are a shining example of someone who is treading lighter on this planet, and I thank you for sharing your path with all of us.

Dani said...

1st Man - We must, indeed. Please - won't you help me spread the word?

Small changes are priceless - and a mother-of-all waves surely will be the outcome? ;)

The Stay @ Home-Gardener said...

Depends. I was watching , DiCaprio's movie , the 11th hour. It commented that the world had around a billion humans at 1800 or so, then exponentially jumped from there. All due to the usage of saved energy in the form of fossil fuels.

The premise was that with traditional life, one could only use maximum a years worth of solar energy in the form of plants etc. However, when we started using fossil fuels we had access to much more. From there we were able to feed massive amounts of people.

Removing the obvious problems of land, soil, and water, in order to keep pace with it all, we would have to find ample amounts of inexpensive energy elsewhere. Solar. Geo-thermal, wind, tidal etc.

Could we. Probably. Would we? Probably. Will we wait until it is horrible. Yes. Clearly.

Lindsey at NW Backyard Veggies said...

Thank you for a great link to a video that I wouldn't have known anything about!! Pinned and awaiting bedtime for the Tot where I can sit and truly concentrate!

BTW - awesome about that solar plant in your other post! Whoohoo indeed!

Dani said...

DFW - Sorry I didn't reply to this at the time - seem to recall it landed in the spam box...

Hope you have managed to watch it?

Dani said...

Lindsey - Glad to have been of service :) Hope you have since managed to watch it. Please, pass it on...?