Friday, February 9, 2007

Global Swarming

Global Swarming?
News release Feb. 9 2007: "Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and British billionaire Richard Branson announced a $25 million prize for scientists who can devise a way to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and help combat global warming.
Branson, founder of Virgin Group Ltd., will award the Virgin Earth Challenge prize money to anyone who develops technology capable of removing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases at the rate of one billion tons a year."
So this is the plan- if we throw enough money at it, the problem will go away.
But is there really a problem? Well, yes. Is it caused by us? We can't say for sure because it has happened many times over the course of the planets 3 billion year life. Global warming has come and gone before, but there just wasn't anyone here to feel it.
There are many problems that are facing mankind these days, some of which include: air pollution, water pollution, noise pollution, deforestation, over fishing, ozone, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, overpopulation...
Wait! Did I say "overpopulation"?
Is that a problem? Some people think it might be. Many people are still having lots of kids, in fact the worlds population growth has been increasing at a logarithmic rate. From 1 AD to 1350 the worlds population doubled, from 150 to 300 million. Over the next 300 years it doubled again. From 1900 to 1950 it went from 1.6 billion to 2.4 billion, and from 1950 to 1985, a period of 35 years, population more than doubled to about 5 billion. No wonder the world appears to be shrinking. The increase from 1985 until now is about 1.6 billion in 22 years for a total of 6.6 billion and counting.
Is it any wonder we are running out of resources, and causing strain on the atmosphere.
As much as no one, apparently, wants to admit it, there really is only one problem here, and it is us. You and me, him and her, us and them. Once the problem of overpopulation is solved, the rest of the problems will solve themselves.
So, maybe Richard Branson, et al, would be better off spending their $25 million on some form of birth control or, better yet, education.
Education is really the key to a healthy, civilized world. If we could teach people to turn out the lights, use public transit, ride bicycles, use birth control, eat less, use less "labor saving devices" and so on, things would gradually turn around. The problem is that we have to start now, with this generation teaching the next generation and in 3 generations, or about 60 years maybe our problems will be over.
Of course by that time most of us really won't care because, hey, we won't even be here. And if no one else cares it doesn't really matter because nature will take care of itself in the end and mankind will get what it deserves.