Monday, April 22, 2013

It's Earth Day! (Again!)

Greetings, fellow citizens of this planet, and thank you if you happen to be one of the few stumbling across this once-yearly posting of mine (which I do mainly out of narcissism and stubbornness, and not because I'm really contributing much to the conversation at this point).

Let's be honest here:  human overpopulation is not a popular topic right now.  Like most things that ride the wave of public consciousness, interest in it has ebbed and flowed over time, and we are at a point where the fashionable argument is that our numbers may soon start declining

And...I don't know?  MAYBE?!  Absolutely, it is possible.  But also absolutely, none of us alive today will be here to see if a great depopulation era comes to pass.  What we have to work with is the here and now, and the here and now makes it clear that we, as a species, are far from problem-free inhabitants of this earth.

Regardless of what may happen in the decades and centuries ahead, our numbers are currently still increasing, as are the pressures we are exerting on our environment and our limited resources.  So today, regardless of where you may stand on the issue of the future, I extend a gentle reminder to stay in the present, and do what you're able to live the best life you can.

Be kind to your home base.  It will almost undoubtedly outlast us...and if that's not enough to humble you this Earth Day, then consider that cockroaches, crocodiles, and countless other species probably will too.

Picture source.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

If the Mayans are right, this is our last Earth Day ever!

Recently, for the sake of a book I'm writing, I went through this entire blog and read it start to finish.  A couple of things struck me:

1.  There is information in the earliest posts of this blog that is funny, accessible, and, years later, remains relevant to the challenges we face as the world's population continues to explode (in the last year, we cruised past the 7 billion mark and, tragically, the result has been that people even less deserving of fame than Nick Lachey are now considered celebrities); and yet

2.  Much of that information was presented from a simplified point of view.

If we're lucky, as we age, the world ceases to look black and white.  I say "lucky" because it's the grayness that makes life interesting.  Seeing life through a lens of polar extremes leaves nothing to the imagination, and leaves no room for compromise and innovation.  And yet extremism is exactly how so much of the world is operating today.  It's all "I'm right and you're wrong" here in the year 2012, and it doesn't seem that we're accomplishing much by it.

This blog - which has been hopelessly neglected but with these yearly Earth Day posts remains, improbably, the longest-running blog in my scattered writing career - has unintentionally become a time capsule, preserving my evolution as a thinker and as a liberal.  And you know...with all that time has changed in the world (and in me) in the past six years, I have to say...

Grayness be damned; there are still too many goddamned people on this planet.

And when the outcome of that is that some kid biting another kid's finger gets half a billion views on YouTube (half a billion) I really don't understand why more people aren't concerned about this!

HUMANITY IS WEIRD.

(I apologize for being a few days late [again] this year.  I should also probably apologize for the tone of this post, but after reading back through my older stuff about ants and cubicles and the like, it didn't seem appropriate to jump straight back in with the heavy stuff.)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Eh, I'm a couple of days late...

...but I'm doubtful anyone will notice. :)

This year's Earth Day came and went somewhat quietly, slightly upstaged by sharing the date with Good Friday.  I was driving to a meeting on Friday afternoon when a DJ on the radio said she had planned to ask listeners to call in and share tips for green living, but then decided against it since she herself did absolutely nothing that was environmentally friendly.  Because that makes sense:  She doesn't do anything and therefore she shouldn't ask anyone else what they do.  Somehow she managed to twist the message of Earth Day and make it all about her.

In last year's post, I whined about an overwhelming amount of information; this year I might complain that everyone is so focused on themselves that we're all starting to lose sight of the bigger picture, yours truly included.

Even though I did not take the time I should have on Friday to stop and reflect on how insignificant I am (we all are) in terms of the size and age of the planet we live on, that is something I am striving to do more often.

But because I'm only human and like to focus on myself just as much as the next person, I'm also going to offer myself a congratulations for going three years now without having used a plastic bag at the grocery store.  Go me.

So yeah.  Suck on that DJ lady...

Picture source.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Uncharacteristically Somber Earth Day Post!

Every year around this time, the programming in America goes green for a bit and everyone remembers they're supposed to care. I'd watch the specials all year round if they were on, but it's likely good for my mental health that they're not.

I watched a "history of Earth Day" special Monday night, a NOVA on California's energy policy Tuesday, and last night (finally) saw Food, Inc. Things that I might have watched over weeks or even months at other times of the year come lined up back-to-back when Earth Day rolls around...

So how do you do everything you're supposed to be doing? How do you make good choices when the whole world seems to be working against you? I've made a conscious effort over the past year to eat better, and what I've found is that the more I educate myself, the harder it's been to find good food. And it's like that with everything from energy consumption to recycling. The more you learn, the more there is to learn. How do you keep up with it all?

For those of us who are paying attention, the information inflow in mid- to late-April can be overwhelming. I'm finding it's actually the rest of the year when real progress is made. The rest of the year, the information trickles in at a manageable rate, and you integrate it, and you make the best decisions you can with the knowledge you have, and you work all the time to educate yourself further.

And sometimes the things you learn just might surprise you. Take the guest on The Daily Show last night. Fred Pearce has written a book called The Coming Population Crash and Our Planet's Surprising Future. He thinks this overpopulation thing might just work itself out. We might level off somewhere in the 8 billion range. We might dip below our carrying capacity gracefully, and not as a result of widespread disaster.

Is he right? I don't know. But it's nice to hear an optimistic view of the future for once.

So anyway, Happy 40th Earth Day! I'm going to...I don't know...go change out some light bulbs or something...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Yearly OP Earth Day Post!

Important things this year, OP-ers!

For one, I can only post that picture of the Earth so many times. And by "so many" I mean "once," because twice in a row would look weird. So instead, this year I will post a picture that is peaceful in its composition, and green in its color. Much as we'd like the Earth to be! (Metaphorically.)


(I see Blogger is still doing that thing where it sticks your pictures at the top of your post no matter where your cursor is when you click the picture icon, and then you have go into the html view to change it. Oh, Blogger! How I miss you!)

Secondly, and much more importantly, though I was the first person, ever, in history, to talk about human overpopulation (the concept and term both of which I, personally, invented), my movement has reached such heights that now others are following my lead and writing books about such things. I am dedicating my 2009 OP Earth Day post to Pentti Linkola, who has written an honest and truly sobering assessment of our population problem. His book is Can Life Prevail?, and while it's out of print on Amazon, you can buy it here and read more here. Click away!

And lastly, I say to my fellow humans exactly what I said last year...we've only got the one. Let's not screw it up for ourselves, shall we? Happy Earth Day!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Happy Earth Day!

Even if I only post once a year, I will try to post to say just that: Happy Earth Day! Treat our planet well. It's the only one we've got. ;)

Sunday, April 29, 2007

And here's the proof.

Irrefutable. There are TOO MANY PEOPLE ON EARTH.

Consider the following:

1. Abbey Road has sold 12 million copies in the US since its release. Also having sold 12 million copies:

- The Forrest Gump Soundtrack
- Kenny Roger's Greatest Hits
- Breathless, by Kenny G

2. How about in the 11 million category, along with Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band?

- The Dirty Dancing Soundtrack
- No Strings Attached, 'N Sync
- Devil Without a Cause, Kid Rock (!!!!!)
- The Titanic Soundtrack

3. 1, The Beatles collection of number 1 hits has sold the same number of copies (10 million) as The Lion King Soundtrack, Faith by George Michael, and Let's Talk About Love by Celine Dion.

4. Britney Spears' ...Baby One More Time and The Backstreet Boys eponymous album both outsold Abbey Road by 2 million copies.

5. The Beatles top selling album in the U.S., The White Album (19 million), was outsold by Shania Twain's Come On Over and Garth Brook's Double Live.

6. The Bodyguard Soundtrack by Whitney Houson has sold (wait for it) 17 million copies. That's 6 million more than Sgt. Pepper.

Proof that there are too many music-buyers out there. And that there's no accounting for taste.

Source.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

First Democratic Candidate Debate!

I was going to write a post about how I couldn't watch because I had to watch "The Office" (because occasionally I'm terribly shallow like that) but as it turns out, it is starting right now as I'm writing this and will end...right before "The Office" starts. So...yeah. I guess I'll be responsible and keep it on. It's not that I'm not interested, it's just so damned early! I am happy to report, though, that it's being moderated by Brian Williams. Brian is the shiznit.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Let's talk about the word "believe."

It is in no way appropriate for the words "believe in" to precede the words "evolution" or "global warming." I bring up this issue a lot...to myself. I don't have that many friends with whom I have in-depth political discussions. That's probably for the best.

I was watching "Frontline" last night on PBS and getting the scoop on the failed attempts of the past three administrations to make the necessary significant changes in environmental policy we need to slow down global climate change. Obviously some administrations have been less effective than others in this arena. Ahem.

But I was struck by the frequently-shown video footage of Senator James Inhofe standing on the Senate floor and calling global warming the "greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people." While I'd seen that particular footage before, I hadn't ever been quite so disgusted by it. Not only is it a lie, but it raises the question why? Why would scientists convene to pull one over on the American people? Why would anyone do that? Why would anyone believe that?

Well, obviously, politics has a lot to do with the "why," but it also raises the same issues of "belief" that I see consistently with evolution. People claim to either "believe" or "not believe" in evolution or global warming, the same way people people "believe" or "not believe" in creationism or...whatever not believing in global warming would be.

If you look up the word "belief" on dictionary.com, you'll find it means, 1) something believed; an opinion or conviction; 2) confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof; 3) confidence; faith; trust; and 4) a religious tenet or tenets; religious creed or faith.

NONE of these definitions is applicable to science. You can "accept" or "not accept" what is regarded as fact by people who are experts in the area, but by saying you "believe," you are indicating that the issue is one that is not settled, one that requires faith of some sort, one that has no more factual significance than the opposing view. Evolution is fact. It is observable in nature and has been proven with an extensive amount of fossil and DNA analysis. So, you can say to me, "I don't accept what the scientific community overwhelmingly considers to be fact regarding the process of evolution," but don't tell me, "I don't believe in evolution," because I will be left with no choice but to kick your ass.

Likewise, Senator Inhofe can claim he doesn't believe that global warming is real, but he would be wrong. Not just in his assessment, but also his word choice, although he was quite clever when it came to what he actually said.

I don't think the Senator probably spent all that much time speaking to scientists about the facts regarding climate change or else he likely wouldn't have made such an embarrassingly inaccurate statement. But by attaching to word "hoax" to global warming, he made the issue one of "belief." You can "believe" or "not believe" a hoax and that takes away some of the pressure to "accept" or "not accept" global warming.

By the way, "accept" it.

And all that was just to say that you should be careful about what you "believe" or "not believe" coming out of a politician's mouth, especially regarding science. Unless that politician is Al Gore, because that dude's got his shit together.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Happy Earth Day!

That is all.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Chimps More Evolved Than Humans

Google that phrase, and this is what you come up with. Tons of articles that entitled "Chimps More Evolved Than Humans." It's one of those headlines designed to shock people by skewing scientific fact towards the dramatic. Technically it's true, but technically it's going to confuse a lot of people who don't take the time to read past the headline.

The evolution in question is that of the DNA of chimpanzees and humans. Since humans and chimps split from their common ancestor 6 million years ago, more genes have evolved in chimps than in humans. Thus, chimps are "more evolved" than humans from their common ancestor. Fascinating to a certain degree, but not half as fascinating as what I learned in Newsweek, which is that all of humanity stems from an estimated 4,000 individuals who migrated out of Africa 66,000 years ago. (OK, it's a really long article, but trust me; it's in there somewhere, and they figured this out using...DNA!)

But perhaps most fascinating of all is Yahoo!'s coverage of the chimp DNA finding, which includes this sentence:

"The results, detailed online this week in the Proceedings of the large brains, cognitive abilities and bi-pedalism."

What is that?! I can't even figure out what they were trying to say. The link is in the original and no, I'm not making it up that the first time I clicked on "large brains" I was taken to an error page. It's apparently been fixed. Stellar scientific reporting there, Yahoo.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Regarding abortion...

When men start having babies, then, and only then, I will concede that they have a right to play a prominent role in the abortion debate.

Until then, I'm going to be indignant about the whole issue and say that the most recent Supreme Court ruling is wrong. You heard me. Wrong. Keep in mind that the terminology used in the abortion debate is dominated by terms coined by the pro-life movement (case in point, "pro-life"... don't even get me started on "partial birth") and this argument, through propaganda, continues to gain momentum when there are much bigger issues (actual problems) that need addressing in this country. If people were half as adamant about reducing carbon emissions as they are about outlawing abortion, we might actually have a chance to maintain a livable planet long enough for the next generation to grow up in a safe environment. The abortion debate is an antiquated and primarily health-related issue that has been twisted by a right-wing agenda, and it saddens me that the pro-choice movement is now being challenged to the point of fearing the reversal of Roe v. Wade.

When is it ever a good idea to limit a woman's right to a choice of medical procedures, especially without leaving open any exceptions for serious health-related problems? It isn't. End of story. Do you really think we'd even be having this debate if men were the ones having babies? No, seriously. Think about that one.

Disclaimer: The contents of this blog are based solely on the opinions the author who is not affiliated with anyone. At all. Except herself. This blog is strictly for entertainment purposes. The author would never claim to be anything less than an open liberal, but she's not operating a news organization here. In fact, it's possible she's full of crap (possible, but not likely).

Powered by Blogger