The Consequences of Population Growth
“Worldwide catastrophe and turmoil” Is predicted by Indiana University Professor J.J. Hidore . . . unless human population growth is curtailed and energy consumption reduced. Hidore, in his new book, Physical Geography: Earth Systems , says that “growth and technological development have led to the extermination of many living organisms, the concentration of wastes in amounts that the environment cannot absorb and the introduction of material – such as synthetic pesticides – that nature has no way of rendering harmless.” The IU prof points out that hints of the coming calamity are all around us . . . in the form of food shortages, an increasing lack of potable water in some areas, steadily expanding shortfalls of electricity and other developing evidence that our “unlimited growth” society is bumping up against the planet’s finite limits. The answer? Hidore is pessimistic. “Technology alone,” he says, “will not provide a solution. Frequently, technology ‘solves’ environmental problems in ways that are worse than the situations they were supposed to correct.”
The subject of George Orwell’s 1948 novel is now only ten years away. What will it really be like? According to several British authors, poets and social scientists who were asked that question: “Just like 1974, only more so. Crime will be up. So will gambling (by an increasingly bored population), riots, hijackings, army coups, traffic congestion, noise, lines of waiting people and lack of solitude. There will be more anti-social activity, environmental deterioration and loss of privacy. The last quarter of the 20th century is destined to become a mighty crush of bodies.” This projection, of course, is based on the premise that the world’s human population will continue pursuing “progress” in the form of more people and rising per-capita consumption of non-renewable resources. Wouldn’t it be nice, though, if we redefined “progress”. . . in favor of green grass, open spaces, peace and quiet?
The way we see it, real wealth – land, self-sufficient energy systems, food growing and processing skills, etc. – will become even more real in the years ahead. Take heed of the handwriting on the wall and act accordingly.