What Squirrels Can Teach Us About Population Control

| 7/16/2014 11:18:00 AM

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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.

Preparing for Scarcity

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.

Conflict Over Resources

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.

8/1/2014 7:59:55 AM

This article by Betty is right on the money and very well written! "Finite,"...not hardly. Nothing is absolutely self sustaining. You see the issues clearly, Betty. Run for President. I'll vote for you.

7/28/2014 1:44:36 PM

There is an incorrect premise in this blog. Oil is not finite. Read Black Gold Strangle Hold. Oil is not from dead dinosaurs. It is self sustaining. The myth of limited supply has kept the price up beyond reasonable rates. This book is really a primer on oil and should be read by everyone. Enjoy!

7/20/2014 7:41:40 AM

I really do enjoy Mother Earth for its useful information, lovely photographs and dedication to its stewardship of the land. I however wish you would stick to what you do best and avoid these politically charged topics of which you base only opinion and no empirical evidence to support. The main stream media is doing enough damage by distorting truth and brain washing the public through its agenda. Keep ME free from politics and allow it to be an oasis for those of us who want to improve our stewardship of God's creation by example, without passing judgement on others.

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