I adore conversations – not the mundane kind about your neighbor’s cat pooping in your yard, but the ones that make you re-think reality as you know it. I believe that conversations like that are the crux of civilized society, and lately, we’re not having much of that.
Last year, I was visiting a friend and we were walking through a park, talking about life and catching up – pretty mundane stuff. Somewhere during our conversation, I said, “so much we learn in school is such a waste – I’m still waiting to see when calculus comes to use in my daily life”. And she responded with something that changed my world, and I think, it will change yours too. She said,
School isn’t the place we go to learn things. It’s the place we go TO LEARN HOW TO UNDERSTAND THINGS.
My brain woke up at that. And I began to think, and everything suddenly made sense and didn’t make sense, all at once; contrary to popular belief, education doesn’t end at graduation. It begins there.
When you’re presented with a graduation certificate, you’re actually, implicitly, being told: “You’ve now spent 21 years learning how to look at data, and draw intelligent, logical conclusions. Congratulations! Now go forth into the real world, as an educated adult, and make your own logical conclusions based on the data you’re being given everyday, and live a productive life rooted in sanity and proper sentience, and contribute to human evolution.”
In the classroom, when your teacher follows up a statement with ‘any questions?’, she is inviting you into a conversation.
In the real world, the real school, how many times do we actually answer that call, and question things we’ve been told, either for clarification or to challenge?
For decades, scientists have been screaming about the impending climate doom. We do nothing, and some of us ridicule them saying ‘doomsday freaks’. Population charts pop up in our news feed, showing a steady, exponential rise in the number of humans, and counter-impose that with the rapid decline in other forms of living things. Crickets. We do nothing. “Oh, Claire is having a baby shower! I wonder what I should wear…Is my biological clock ticking?”. Vegans take up arms en masse against animal cruelty. We read that news article ironically while picking up dog food at the store, and plop that bag right next to the package of fresh cut Angus steak and mosey up to check-out.
I’m not being judgmental, I swear – I was one of those people until two years ago, minus the Angus beef. I loved me my Tandoori Chicken though. Still do, actually, though I don’t eat it anymore. Every time it rains, I dearly miss a cup of proper masala chai made with full fat milk, but I make do with almond milk chai instead. What I wouldn’t give for another taste of truffle + goat cheese, a decent slice of real pound cake with fresh cream and strawberries, or my mother’s insane crab curry, but I don’t partake anymore.
My priorities have changed.
Glaciers are melting, releasing frozen pockets of methane (a greenhouse gas 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide). Yellowstone volcano is showing seismic activity. There’s microplastics in the air we breathe and the water we drink.
Today, the Amazon rainforest is burning. The lungs of this world, is on fire. Are we still doing nothing?
What can we do, you ask?
Let’s start by breaking down the Amazon fire.
1. Reports (source: BBC) say that the fires were started by local farmers to clear land to raise cattle and to grow crops.
This fire was started to supply our increasing demand for animal products.
“Why is the demand increasing, I still eat the same amount of meat and dairy I always did?”
Because there’s more people in the world today than there was when you were 10 years old, munching on that grilled cheese toast while your mamma was cutting up your rib eyed steak.
“Why are there more people?”
Yes, why? That began with the World Wars I and II, decimating human populations, giving birth to a generation we fondly call, ‘the baby boomers’. It was not unusual for baby boomer families to have 10 children. Sure, most of them did not survive, either due to poor access to medical facilities or lack of scientific progress in vaccination and cures, but either ways, the ones that survived, continued the trend of baby booming. The world populations spiked, and we each now have, on average, atleast 5 grand-aunts and uncles, 16 cousins, 32 nephews and nieces.
So naturally, we jumped from a population of 1 billion 215 years ago, to 7.8 billion and rapidly counting today.
Imagine this: It took us 200,000 years to create and sustain a population of 1 billion people. Then in the blink of 215 years, we jump from 1 billion to 7.8 billion!!!
Where is the place to keep all these people? How can we feed all these new people? How to create an economy, so that all these humans have jobs and can earn their living.
The answer: Consumerism.
We urge people to buy more, so that the world can have jobs creating the multitude of products we consume daily – either for sustenance, housing or entertainment.
For those of you who have a follow-up to my statistics queued up, citing the growth rate decline, I urge you to go back to school and re-do the year you studied percentages, and apologize to your teachers and parents for not paying attention the first time.
In the United States, 1919 (100 years ago), the population growth rate was 1.27%, Today, 2019, it is 0.61%. Yes the growth rate percentage has dropped. But if you look at the numbers behind the percentages, 1.27% of 104,514,000 (population of US in 1919) is 1,327,327. 0.61% of 328,231,337 (population of US in 2019) is 2,002,211. That is not a decline!
By comparison, the population of India in 1919 was 2,507,370. Today, India’s annual growth rate is 1.8% of 1,366,417,754 (total population of India today)= 24,595,519. That’s the number of Indians being born every year. It’s also the total population of Sudan.
Sources: 1. US Census Bureau. 2. World Population by Country 3. World Population clock. 4. Statistics of India 5. Statistics Times
I chose these two countries for side-by-side comparisons, because I’ve lived in both, and know first-hand that America generates more trash than any other country in the world, and that my generation’s India is very closely trying to emulate American lifestyle (thanks to POP culture).
With these population numbers, there’s your apocalypse.
Logical answer: Hit the brakes, hard, on the baby booming. The rest will begin to fix itself. When the climate stabilizes to safe levels, we can take eggs and sperm out of cryogenic storage, if need be, and create more humans to sustain our populations (like we do with animals today) and keep monitoring it so that the problem of overpopulation doesn’t resurface.
If you are having a child because your mamma told you to, STOP. If you are having a child because ‘God will send you to hell for aborting an accidental pregnancy’, STOP. God is literally sending you empirical signs of an actual apocalypse. Take the hint and repent your sinful ways. If you are having a child because you think you can plan a baby shower that was better than Claire’s, for the love of all that is good and holy, STOP!!!!
Come back to sanity and re-think your reasons for bringing life into a world that is already suffocating from too-many-people.
The only logical reason to have a child, is if you can promise, nay, sign a written confirmation, that you will spend every second of every day raising that child into a person that will spend his/her life fighting/working towards a better life for this world’s future. If you already have a child and are thinking ‘…but I only want my child to be happy’, STOP. Go back to school, your education was I’m sad to say, incomplete. Our collective definition of happiness is all kinds of wrong.
2. Reports (source: NBC) blame the Brazillian ‘Trump-like’ President Bolsonaro.
Who elects a pro-business leader, smack down in the midst of the sixth extinction event? The masses who care more about their jobs to care about the rest of the world. Those who are more worried about the day-to-day, to properly understand that our days are rapidly running out of time.
Zoom out. Look at the bigger problem. What kind of a world are you creating, by giving the reins of government to leaders who are neither smart nor brave enough to even acknowledge that the problem exists?
To explain that better, let’s look at an imaginary scenario: You are on a ship with a monkey. You give the monkey a piece of cloth. The monkey then tosses the cloth out of the ship into the sea. Oops! Next, you give the monkey a ruby the size of your fist, thinking, ‘this ruby is more valuable than the cloth, the monkey will realize the difference in value and not throw it away, like it did with the cloth’. The monkey grabs the ruby from you, and throws it out into the sea.
Whose fault do you think it is, that the ruby is now at the bottom of the ocean? The monkey’s or yours?
The RUBY is this world. The MONKEY represents every elected leader in this world who is unfit to lead. YOU are the idiot whose world is now making its way to the bottom of the ocean.
THINK, my dear brothers and sisters. PLEASE. THINK!
And make better decisions.
- Eat more plants. If you don’t believe others, do your own research and learn why in today’s world, it’s better than eating animals.
- Buy local. Shipping may be FREE for you, but it is environmentally expensive.
- Patronize companies that are making a difference by choosing to be more environment conscious, either in packaging or their manner of sourcing raw materials.
- Pay attention to food waste. If you bought it, you are expected to eat it, or find someone who can.
- Try to cut down on vacations that requires air travel. If you’ve saved up all your life, penny by penny, to go see the pyramids, by all means, go. If you’ve already seen the pyramids, don’t go again, just for fun. It hasn’t changed much from your last visit, I assure you.
- REDUCE. Reuse. It’s too late for recycling now. “Recycling is like a Band-Aid on gangrene” – Dr. Max Liboiron
- And I cannot emphasis this enough: elect better leaders. Don’t let them toss away your ruby. We only have one.
“It is not the dedicated revolutionaries, it is not the rebels who endanger society, but rather the accepting, the unthinking, the docile, the obedient, the indifferent.” – Leon F. Litwack
Yours in sentient thought, the ‘doomsday crier’
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