Rapid Population Decline

Part 2

What is the human predicament

The essays in Part 2 do not repeat the chorus sung by experts that chant,
     "humankind can not keep doing what we
          have been doing.
     Stop growing our numbers or there won't
          be room for us or any other species.
     Stop putting CO2 in the atmosphere or we
          will change our climate.
     Stop consuming fossil resources or we
          will run out."
We have all heard these chants. They don't scare us into changing our behavior enough to change existing trends. The chant's warnings don't convince us that our children and grandchildren will be injured.

If the future does injury them, the universal ignoring of this chanting indicates that there is something wrong with almost everyone's thinking.

If this cognitive limitation hides these injuries from our view, imagine the possibility that this thinking might be hiding an even bigger problem. Global civilization collapse could be right in front of us and we could not see it.

In Part 1, Building on what you have seen in the enclosed DVD, I describe how these limitations affect our view.

For example if our view was not experienced based, the forty past years would not convince us that both population and wellbeing can continuously increase. When we believe this there is no need to change beliefs or behavior, -- just hold the course -- everything will be fine.

In short articles and stories bring into sharp focus the future these limitations are hiding from us. I present the details that might motivate us to make much larger changes in our behavior than, changing to insulated windows and screwing in compact florescent bulbs. We might instead even choose the RPD behaviors that are strong enough to change our tragic course and address address the hidden problems

To get you to behave differently I have to get you to replace what you have learned from experience. I will have to get you to see clearly a view of the future that is different than the one we all commonly share.

Using text I will have to create for you a new experience. I will have to paint a believable picture that behaviors that cause rapid population decline are the minimum requirements for maintaining ever improvement of conditions.

I will have to convince you that there are things that your present thinking does not see. You may think this expanded view means widening your view beyond your village or more into the future than your retirement. While this may seem like an expanded view it is not the one on which I want you to focus.

I want you to understand that there is a class of cognitive processes you are not using to understand the future. Without these cognitive processes you do not see mechanisms that are creating previously unseen tragedies.

I want you to know it is the discovery of these hidden tragedies that will get you to consider the emotionally costly behaviors that implement RPD.

I will have to convince you that the starvation, and conflict you see on your TV are not minor irregularities within a civilization which on the whole is ever improving, but the precursors of a tragic norm.

I will have to convince you that these tragic events are not created by a few deranged power-hungry greedy deviant people. That is the tragedies can not be resolved by changing leadership or implementing new monetary regulations.

I will have to convince you these events are not caused by know immoral actions of many individuals (for example subjugation of women, slavery or, race or religious wars.) They are caused by nearly 7 billion sets of normal benign know-to-be-moral behaviors taken to provide the needs of families.

I will have to convince you that the current injured group that you see on your TV will expand rapidly and without warning to include those dear to you.

I will have to show these previously not seen or appreciated liabilities arise from "The total human footprint (the cumulative consumption of all the globe's inhabitants) crashing into the global carrying capacity (the ability of the earth to supply goods and services.)

Growth-within-constraint-problems (at the global level) are not only bigger than anything the human community has tried to survive in the past, they have dynamic characteristics not seen or previously appreciated. The human experiment is much like a car racing faster and faster down a highway; its driver looking in the rear view mirror for guidance in daylight and over driving his headlights at night.

I must show that when the human footprint more fully exceeds carrying capacity, there will be a crash of monumental proportions. When the crash becomes eminent, there will be no way to avoid it. When the crash is in process attenuating injury is akin to trying to buckle a seat belt while flying toward the dashboard. And after the crash so much will be broken there may not be enough left working to rebuild the system.

I must show that people are still behaving as if the total human footprint was a small fraction of the globe's capacity to deliver. For example, humankind is behaving as if everyone lived next to Lake Michigan and more water is available for the cost of more pumps and treatment plants.

However, at a global level, the water of Lake Michigan is not available to all. Water at most locations is more limited and has to be purchased in a market and then transported long distances. Increasing water use not only increases the water bill, it increases the cost of everything that needs water, for example lettuce.

The economic response to water scarcities is to raise the price to bring more water to market; often from a greater distance. This often attains economies of scale and temporally reduces the unit cost of the water.

But the solution does not scale indefinitely. The annual supplies of water and our fossil reservoirs are finite and most of them are in use or earmarked. A market can redistribute the water to the highest bidder, but it does not guarantee that the poorest will be serviced. Many people will lose their access to water. This means more social conflict.

This finite resource allocating process makes the human experiment like a car that is being driven faster and faster and has ever increasing chances of a monumental accident.

The essays that follow are intended to help you understand these dynamics. They will help you replace your view of the human experiment, created by 40 years of past experience, with something closer to reality.