- Little known and always avoided, the United States faces
THE single greatest issue of its existence in the 21st century. "What
is it?" you ask. Top environmental experts respond, "Overpopulation!"
We ignore, evade and suppress this issue at every level in America.
Innumerates as defined by Dr. Albert Bartlett, (www.albartlett.org) insist
we can grow forever without any consequences. Citizens pursue their daily
tasks without understanding the ramifications of this civilization adding
another 100 million people within 25 years, and doubling to 600 million
people within 60 to 70 years. (Sources: PEW Report, Fogel/Martin "US
Population Projections", U.S. Census Bureau)
- This "Human Katrina" advancing on our civilization
deserves more than a wink and a nod. It desperately needs attention by
our leaders and the media. Why do they avoid it? It could be political
correctness, or lack of education or, it's 'out there' in the future so
they don't have to address it.
- Since another 25 years will skate past in a blink, we
need to address it today in order to prevent its manifestation in two decades.
Basically, the faster our population rises, the greater the calamities
accelerate as exposed in this series.
- It all boils down to 'carrying capacity'. A glass carries
only so much water. A restaurant seats a limited amount of patrons. An
airplane can hold exactly a limited number and not one single added person
past the number of seats on the plane. Why? Because of finite space or
- The Earth remains finite. Therefore, it carries a limited
amount of space. At some point, no matter how much humans fool themselves,
they must come to terms with limited water, soil, oceans, food, energy,
air and resources.
- CARRYING CAPACITY IN THE UNITED STATES ALREADY EXCEEDED
- In 1970 or before, we began exceeding our energy carrying
capacity as our population hit 200 million. Peak Oil as defined by the
"Hubbert Curve" indicated that the USA would drop production
from nine million barrels of oil daily, to less than three million barrels.
That's exactly what happened. Today, we produce about 2.6 million barrels
of oil a day and import about 70 percent of our oil, or about 16 out of
22 million barrels daily. Clearly, we exceeded our energy carrying capacity
forty years ago. Not to mention our 'carbon footprint'. (Source: www.350.org
- That same "Hubbert Curve" created by famous
geologist M. King Hubbert, shows that the entire world oil supply today
has peaked or will peak within a few years. In other words, no matter how
many wells we drill, we cannot extract more oil. In fact, it takes more
energy units to extract oil that we utilize once the oil arrives on the
surface than the oil delivers.
- "Our ignorance is not so vast as our failure to
use what we know," said M. King Hubbert.
- We face daunting challenges being ignored as we grow
our population along with the rest of the world adding 80 million more
- "The cheap oil age created an artificial bubble
of plentitude for a period not much longer than a human lifetime....so
I hazard to assert that as oil ceases to be cheap and the world reserves
move toward depletion, we will be left with an enormous population...that
the ecology of the earth will not support. The journey back toward non-oil
population homeostasis will not be pretty. We will discover the hard way
that population hyper growth was simply a side-effect of the oil age.
It was a condition, not a problem with a solution. That is what happened
and we are stuck with it." James Howard Kunstler
- If you think 'technology' will save us; think again.
Nothing on the horizon can equal the energy density of oil. As we use
it at 82 million barrels a day, we make a Faustian Bargain with a Hobson
's choice for a final curtain call.
- In order to drive cars, boats, planes and fuel industry,
Americans use 20 million barrels of oil daily while the rest of the world
burns 62 million barrels. That equals 82 million barrels of oil every
- When you multiply 365 days by 82,000,000 barrels of oil
burned daily, it equals a whopping 29.9 billion barrels of oil annually.
- If you remember your science, it took two billion years
to produce all the oil on this planet. In other words, when oil reserves
decline, we exhaust the single major energy source that drives our civilization
and most other societies on this planet.
- To show how much energy oil provides the U.S. annually,
Michael Brownlee of www.transitionbouldercounty.org provided an astounding
graph of one cubic mile of oil. That's how much oil humans burn around
the planet each year! That equals to the same amount of energy provided
by 52 nuclear power plants built every year for 50 years or 104 operating
coal-fired electrical plants built every year for 50 years or 32,000 wind
turbines built every year for 50 years-and in continuous operation-or
91,250,000 solar panels built every year for 50 years.
- "As we go from this happy hydrocarbon bubble we
have reached now to a renewable energy resource economy, which we do this
century, will the "civil" part of civilization survive? As we
both know there is no way that alternative energy sources can supply the
amount of per capita energy we enjoy now, much less for the 9 billion expected
by 2050. And energy is what keeps this game going. We are involved in a
Faustian bargain-selling our economic souls for the luxurious life of the
moment, but sooner or later the price has to be paid." --Walter
- We need not do this to ourselves. We can change course.
- Frosty Wooldridge has bicycled across six continents
- from the Arctic to the South Pole - as well as six times across the USA,
coast to coast and border to border. In 2005, he bicycled from the Arctic
Circle, Norway to Athens, Greece. He presents "The Coming Population
Crisis in America: and what you can do about it" to civic clubs, church
groups, high schools and colleges. He works to bring about sensible world
population balance at www.frostywooldridge.com He is the author of: America
on the Brink: The Next Added 100 Million Americans. Copies available: 1
888 280 7715