Squirrels have always been plentiful here — gray squirrels, fox squirrels, and even the occasional flying squirrel. A few years ago, we had a hard freeze in late spring followed by an usual period of drought. Hickory nuts, walnuts, and acorns did not emerge to dot the trees and feed the squirrels. The squirrels died, and I did not see another one for 2 years.
So goes nature, feast and famine, flood and drought, plenty and scarcity. As industrious as the squirrels are at preparing for winter, they can’t see what’s coming in these long-term fluctuations and are pretty much at the mercy of these cycles. In good years, they will eat all the mast, grow fat, and have lots of little squirrels. In lean years, starvation will whittle their numbers down to what is sustainable.
And so it is with humans, except that we have the capacity to see the changes that are coming and to alter our behavior accordingly — if we choose. And change is coming. We have spread out over the inhabitable Earth and thrived on its bounty of natural resources. In our current age, we are squeezing/fracking out the last drops of our “mast.” Gas and oil power our civilization and have allowed our numbers to expand.
Unlike acorns and walnuts, new oil is not being formed fast enough to sustain us at our current population level, much less support future growth. If you believe God wanted us to replenish the earth, believe me we’ve done it, and our children, like the squirrel babies of a few years ago, are in for a world of hurt. The best thing we can do for ourselves and the natural world that we are a part of is to control and limit our numbers - now, willingly and of our own accord.
When resources become scarce, people fight over them. The old are sent off on figurative ice floes, the young die in real wars, and the wealthy grab what’s left and “outlaw” the poor to the far margins of life, eventually pushing them over the edge. The children of the poor will be seen as a scourge - as worse than secondhand smoke, interfering with quality of life for the elite. Human life becomes cheap.
It doesn’t have to be this way, but it’s going to take more than recycling and conservation of resources. It’s going to take decreasing our numbers through voluntary population control. We can control our numbers consciously to preserve quality of life for all or we can continue on and it will happen naturally - starvation, disease, war.
Who will survive? and will these people make the kind of neighbors we want to live among? After a long period of hardship and starvation, of watching one another die, we like the squirrels might come back to “replenish” the Earth.