Green Horizon: The Most Daunting and Crucial Statistic
by John Rensenbrink
The human population of the planet is now at 6.8 billion people. Awesome!
I remember a speech about our human and planetary predicament I made in Boulder, Colorado in 1992 in which part of it dealt with the population explosion. I remember saying—having just researched the matter—that the planet was gaining a net increase of 92 million people per year.
Since that time we have had indications that maybe the number of births over deaths could be leveling off a bit. And maybe we have gotten the impression that we are on top of the population problem – or at least getting there.
This is an illusion.
Our species is still adding enormous numbers to the total. An article in the current Earth Island Magazine points out that the net increase in the earth’s human population is now 81 million per year. That’s only 11 million less per year than 15 years ago.
As a human species we now so dominate the eco-systems of the planet that other species of plant and animal life (including fish, of course) are getting crowded out. That means the terrifying prospect of a world with simply not a sufficiency of resources for us humans, to say nothing of the awful spiritual destitution that this loss of animals and plants (and degraded eco-systems) means for us.
So I say the statistic I started this blog with is the most daunting and crucial statistic you or I now encounter.
It should motivate us to think harder and harder and to focus more and more on the fundamentals of how and why we have contrived to get ourselves into this mess – and how to live through it and come out in a better place.
One thought I have, among others, is this: community-life is what can enable our species to survive and thrive. In community we can find the natural balance that can teach us and help us to husband our resources and to balance our population in relation to available and potential resources.
Did you know that there is a political party (the only political party) that is dedicated to the restoration and revival and resurgence of community-life throughout the world? Did you know that there is a political party (the only political party) in each of 80 countries in the world that consciously resists the destruction of our communities and our eco-systems by the huge bureaucratic, militaristic, and centralized corporations and governments of the earth? It is these huge bureaucratic entities that contribute most to the terrible mess we are in and that continue to distort the conditions of our lives, including the destruction of community-life.
These distortions are a huge part of the reason why populations continue to grow to a point where we are outrunning our resources and destroying our spiritual relationship to nature. It is a relationship without which we will perish – both from external causes and from internal evisceration of our spirit.
Can you guess which party it is?