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Winter Park / Maitland Observer Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2011 7 years ago

Perspectives

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I have a book that will give you hope that humans are more than "nasty little monkeys."
by: Chris Jepson Staff Writer

I understand that Earth’s population, in all probability, will reach 9 billion (from our current 7 billion) inhabitants by the year 2050. Forty years in the future. By 2050 most of the world’s Christians will be living in sub-Saharan Africa. The center of Islam will have shifted there, too. More Muslims will be living in sub-Saharan Africa than in Asia, and far more than live in the Middle East. Sub-Saharan Africa’s population will grow from 800 million to 1.7 billion.

During this period, America’s population will grow nearly 50 percent to 440 million people. These sorts of projections for America, for the planet, give me the willies. I feel sorrowful, particularly for the environment, for the inevitable loss of species diversity and for humanity. I do not see the overall quality of life for/of humanity measurably improving. How can it when so many more of us will be saddling up to the bar wanting exactly what we have. I do not intellectually understand (at any level of comprehension) those who oppose birth control as population control.

NPR recently offered an interesting, fascinating figure. If the Earth’s population were concentrated at density levels comparable to New York City’s, the entire population of the planet would fit in Texas. Imagine that. Maybe one future scenario has the powers that be doing just that. Move the masses and the rest of planet becomes a vast garden enclave (playground) for the elite. Why not? Arguably it would be “healthier” for the planet.

I fluctuate between despair for our species (and the planet) and unbridled hope (optimism). Regardless if we were able to intelligently change course today, so much of the diversity that makes Mother Earth so bountiful and beautiful will inevitably die because of mankind. Probably all the coral in the world’s oceans will die, maybe during my lifetime. The Amazon forests will be lumbered (and the life contained therein lost). We are the first generation of human beings to so clearly and unequivocally understand how lethal we are to the health of our planet.

That is one side of the coin. Regardless of our ability to alter the human ecological footprint on Mother Earth, going forward (for the foreseeable future), our planet is going to be a less beautiful, less hospitable environment for humanity. The other side of the coin is that we will survive as a species, and I believe we will someday be living on other planets, perhaps, crossing over, even, to other dimensions. Star Trek is in our cards.

The human mind, our creativity is the only way out of our problems. Science, rational thinking, problem solving will get us there, given enough time.

I have a wonderful book to recommend that will absolutely buoy your spirits. It will give you hope that humans are more than, to use my sister’s analogy, “nasty little monkeys.”

The title is “The Beginning of Infinity” by David Deutsch, professor of physics at Oxford University. He explains, among other things, why flowers and faces are beautiful. He persuasively makes the case that we (as a species) are just getting started. Our problems are the catalysts for change. And that if we have no idea today what the solutions will be, well, that is to be expected. But, let’s git ’er done! Done? It’s never done. Never. No! Let’s keep on, keepin’ on!

This book is “Thanksgiving” enough. Enjoy your meal, too!

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