Entrenched in a Sea of Inertia

In our world of declining, non-renewable resources, Inertia seems to be a renewable and infinite resource on any number of issues. Those of us who love reading and learning often think education is the best tool for moving the needle on the inertia scale. Activists on any number of issues,however, would beg to differ. They are frequently disappointed with their results when fact -proliferation is their only tool. Change is hard and complex. Let’s apply this to the gun issue.

The year 2018 ended with a population of 329,093,106 in the US. The US population of guns was estimated to be larger; 393,347,000. The total gun deaths, not counting suicides was 39,773. That is more than how many die in accidents on US roads.

Now to give that context, if you combine the population of Japan, Sweden the UK, Israel and Australia you come up with 246,995,950 people who collectively own 8,804,00 guns. The total gun deaths in those countries combined was less than 1,000, way less it was 460 total deaths. Those facts are enough to make activists squirm and most thinking adults dismayed, but not enough to make the sea change needed.

The ingredients for a seismic shift on entrenched problems, need more than information. I propose a that the recipe for radical social change has to include at least the following: 1) evidence that is provable by many sources 2) a tragic event or incidents that attracts national ( or international) attention AND is intimately and inextricably linked to said evidence, 3) coalitions representing multiple voices from various political groups, gender and racial groups speaking up in a unified voice and messaging with demonstrations, speeches and in writing 4) opposing views are dismissed as being fundamentally unfounded and its ‘leaders’ exposed for being self serving in some way, either for money or power to the detriment of most people and/ or the environment. 5) A way out, direction offered to change behavior that is acceptable to most and doable by enough people to make enough of a difference 6) this all needs to culminate into a tipping point so that society that demands change 7) we then need leaders who know how to make the necessary legislative changes even at possible risk of losing their own political standing. In other words, change is complicated and we need to quit reciting facts as if that is going to work.

We have enough evidence to know that the US has horrific gun problem. We have already had enough tragic events to last us forever. We are starting to build the coalitions to expose how gun lobbyists influence politicians and have also worked hard to crush the world view that gun owners actually stop crime or that gun safety activists are after people’s guns particularly those used in hunting.

What we may need is a way out that offers a new less-threatening approach with the mantra that it will save lives. Do gun owners deserve more freedom than car owners? It’s true, car owners do not have their own amendment to the constitution, but they are free to buy whatever car they can afford as long as they follow the rules. We ask all drivers to pass a test and be insured. We ask that cars get inspected so that they are safer on the roads. We don’t prevent the manufacturing or ownership of cars, we make them safer with rules and regulations. We could even get more creative and use part of the insurance money to pay for the safety training and for follow up gun inspection for those who already own them. Even better let’s push the tipping point of this issue and insist that much of these newly generated insurance dollars go toward fully funding mental health medical coverage.

There are no losers in this scenario. No one has to lose their gun privileges, unless they break the rules. Just like we want drunk drivers off the roads, we want to try to more effectively limit access to weapons to those who are untrained and irresponsible.

welcoming diverse voices to an issue that effects us all

Their names are Jim and Paul, Jeff and Bill and several Daves. They are my colleagues and some my dearest friends. They are my heroes for fighting a fight few wish to discuss, let alone hear about. But for the longest time I have wondered why there were so few women’s voices in the world of educating people about dangers of overpopulation the the over-consumption of resources that follows in its wake.

Much to my delight, I recently have become aware of even more women, mostly in academia, some in media, who are quite vocal on this often-shunned topic. Their fresh voices somehow make me feel less alone. Overpopulation is a matter of understanding how the laws of carrying capacity apply to homo sapiens sapiens too. It shouldn’t matter who is in charge of working on this issue. In a perfect world, the presentation of scientific evidence should demand our attention no matter who is at the podium, yet we all know we live in a world that is divided and subdivided into groups with very unequal power.

Now women did have a chance to work on this existential threat to humanity and all life forms and they collectively blew it. In 1994, at the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, the most vocal women there hi-jacked the purpose of this important meeting. This was a gathering of leaders from around the globe that was supposed to be focused on slowing population growth through population policies. Instead feminist activists moved it downstream to be about improving the lives of individual women. Their consensus was that enhancing individual rights and health of women would eventually lower fertility and slow population growth. ( I don’t like saying population growth because the numbers already here are alarmingly unsustainable, but that was the language of the time.) The deliberate diversion from what should have been important conversations and proposals for a truly sustainable earth were lost in this earlier version of the me-too movement. So how did their narrative play out? Well women around the world continue to suffer and Egypt’s population is now over 100 million. It was just over 63 million back in 1994. A total failure by any calculation.

Having said that, I still think women who truly understand this issue need to have more leadership roles. If they were more visible, I believe they could bring deeper and different conversations to an issue that obviously needs a new approach.

I recently took a quick survey of ten + US based population NGO’s including: World Population Balance, Negative Population Growth, Californians for Population Stabilization, Population Connection, Population Media Center, Global Footprint Network, I found that 100% are led by men. Only Canada and Australia have population NGO’s led by women. Our movement as it were, has always been plagued with a lack of diversity of both gender and race. To outsiders looking in, instead of seeing people sincerely alarmed at the crisis we are in, they see another group of (white) men telling them what to do with the very personal decisions of their lives.

Perhaps over the years, instead of mostly reaching out to the public to educate them about an issue that seems so obvious to those of us in the know, we should have been reaching out to women leaders and leaders in communities of color. We should have led the conversation with the fact that those who are disenfranchised are the first to feel the adverse effects of overpopulation. They must understand that they have skin in this game.

I really do understand that to many on the outside of this issue, it just keeps looking like a white man’s narrative, and its time for that to change. I am betting that deliberately and compassionately trying to change the complexion and gender of the leaders in this field would create many more overpopulation activists who deeply understand that this is an issue that must concern us all especially those who continue to struggle in this very unequal world.

The North Shore Beckons

The North Shore Beckons by Karen I. Shragg

 

I can hear her conifers beckoning

From my perch

Behind the keys of my computer

Where I dwell surrounded by the din of a city

Who lost her soul to growth long ago

I wonder

In what mood will I find Superior

When I finally arrive at her doorstep?

I recall the wildness of her sweet shores

So iconic, dappled with mergansers, towering waterfalls

People-free horizons and sunrises that humble

But that was long before her popularity

Crippled her

The rocks that have long taken her beating

Are likely the only things which remain unchanged

Still, I will try to ignore the wider roads and billboards

The traffic and the felled trees

And enjoy her majesty once more.

 

 

 

 

Only Photosynthesizers Get a Pass

http://nuarchive.wbai.org/mp3/wbai_181120_220005etff.mp3

Here is the archived interview done by Jessica Schab that I did on November 20th 2018. I also wrote a check to the Equal Time for Freethought program on WBAI-radio 99.5 FM New York because they truly are public radio and do not get money from corporate donors. Congrats to them for being bold enough to approach and embrace the topic of overpopulation.

What I wish to blog about is the dance we must do in all of these types of interviews between pessimism and hope. If any of us were at all optimistic, we wouldn’t be working on this issue. Forgive my choice of words, but we are mostly scared shitless about the future of planet earth because of human numbers and modern day ability to use up resources to try to meet our every need and desire. So to those people who are unaware of this issue, how do we wake them up without depressing them so much that they go back under the covers of denial?? How do we tell them the unvarnished truth about being already 5.5 billion people over our carrying capacity without painting a picture so dark and impossible that it sends them to the liquor cabinet or in my case, the bakery? How to we say that on top of that we add over 81 million to the earth every year net gain without sending them over the edge?

I struggle with this every day and with every message I write about this super challenging issue. My premise for what I do and say comes from my training and experience as a naturalist. Only plants can take energy from the sun, make their own sugars and release a product that is beneficial to the world. All animals are takers, especially homo sapiens sapien and that is exacerbated in our overpopulated world. With nearly 8 billion of us on earth, even flushing a toilet with potable water is a ridiculous waste of precious resources and most of us do that if we are lucky enough to have indoor plumbing.

I am a polluter. I am an apex predator. I take from the earth and return only pollution. I make an effort to compost and recycle, but it pales in comparison from the water I consume and the plant based food I buy which comes wrapped in plastic or mesh and comes from far away places. I never want to position myself as a model of low consumption. In an overpopulated world I don’t believe that model exists. So how to we promote hope when each of us is a part of the problem?

We sell the very real notion that this IS solvable. We demand a seat at the table. We make it very clear that IF one cares about wildlife, the future of humanity, poverty, pollution and all other progressive issues, one HAS to care and work on this issue. We can and must reduce the over-demand for nonrenewable and diminishing resources. I believe hope lives in working on the right ballfield. We cannot hit one out of the park if we are in the wrong ball park. The problem is us and the solution is less of us and our demanding ways. Working on that is hopeful because it gets us somewhere. What problem can you think of that wouldn’t be improved with less humans?

Shirley Chisholm once said, “If they don’t let you have a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” I am on my way to the thrift store right now.

From Venom to Compassion

From Venom to Compassion: Telling the Positive Side of the Overpopulation Issue.

We must take the venom out of the overpopulation issue and inject it with the compassion that truly is at the heart of its story. When some people hear the word OVERPOPULATION, they cringe. The images that are conjured up in their minds are negative. They hear the word “population control” even if you don’t say it. They remember stories of draconian measures in China, when the success of their population policies are ignored.  Did trying to enforce a one child policy create some disturbing problems? Of course it did, but why do we neglect discussing the millions who were saved from the horrors of starvation? We need to tell the side of the story that is positive.  Policies that prevent misery, suffering and early death are worthy of a more positive place in our collective memory of history. They could always be implemented with more compassion and understanding. But it is up to us to understand the time bomb of exponential growth and its darkest ramifications.

The overpopulation isn’t that complicated. When humans numbers rise exponentially resources cannot keep up. In fact our limited resources decrease and result in pollution.  But few want to hear it or allow it to be a part of our public discourse. This is the real doomsday scenario, increasing demand on a limited planet with decreasing resources. Two grandparents having three children and those children having three children for three generations will result in 81 progeny. That kind of success is just not sustainable. Most species are limited by disease, lack of food and habitat.  Humans are great at eliminating those natural controls, so our numbers go out of control. That sets up for long term problems of suffering, misery and early death when we start to demand the very basic resources we need from an earth that cannot keep up.  We started on that downward slide a mere 90 years ago. In that blink of an earth eye we added an unsustainable 5.5 billion to our limited earth . That is like adding over 3 China’s in one person’s lifetime.

All of this reality is so hard for most to swallow because it means changing their story of a limitless earth where everyone has a right to reproduce especially if they are financially well situated. The activists who focus on specific issues rarely even mention overpopulation because they know the risks of associating clean water, saving tigers and whales  etc. with this quicksand-laden issue.

To recalibrate this scenario without a happy ending, we have only one humane choice. Have less children, a lot less. The results from this difficult choice are the possibilities of the continuation of our species and many others who are so innocent in their own demise. We owe our fellow citizens of this planet to tell the positive side of the overpopulation story.

Instead of focusing on the reality of what will happen if we don’t have less children, lets focus on what will happen WHEN we do. We will have more water to go around, less pollution, more minerals, more open space, less traffic, and my personal favorite, more wild spaces for wildlife. Those goals are ONLY possible if we tame and reduce our exponential success. We can reduce our consumption most successfully if we reduce the number of consumers. It is that simple and that complex. I wish celebrities would get it and demonstrate with their own actions how moral it is to stop after one child. Instead they keep having children with each new spouse, clueless as to the very unfortunate example they are setting.

It is so difficult for many to wrap their heads around the concept that less people is a recipe for success, but indeed it is. If you want a more just and peaceful world, we must improve the ratio between our numbers and our resources. Fossil fuels are just that, resources that aren’t coming back once they are gone. We can’t be continuing to contribute to setting up a world where we will be fighting over diminishing resources. Of course there are many other challenging issues but I can tie them all to this one.  Everything gets better with less of us. Everything gets worse as we grow.

Holding hands and wishing for peace is an important gesture but must be coupled with ecological reality, a reality which must include the humane goal of closing the gap between relentless growth on a limited and degraded planet.

 

The Flaw in the Statue of Liberty

The talented and hard working men who replaced our patio door had heavy Russian accents. I soon discovered that they were from the same part of Russia, Belarus actually, where my grandparents were born. One worker had been here for 13 years the other for three. My paternal grandfather got on a ship that sailed for our borders in 1922. I am a second generation American who has always appreciated the sacrifices made by those who immigrated here so that subsequent generations could have a better life in America.

I have intentionally traveled to countries populated with people with different languages because I enjoy learning and absorbing different cultures. I have devoted my professional life as a naturalist to make our nature center accessible to everyone. The doctor title before my name was earned in a degree that was steeped in social justice. I have not wavered from my steadfast belief in the justice for all concept in our constitution, but I am continually stunned by how so many of our policies completely ignore ecological reality.

It is time to have a more nuanced discussion about immigration that includes the environment. In this time, on this planet, in our country we have a reality shaped by how many people are already here. “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” Is a heartfelt sentiment put on the Statue of Liberty on its 100th anniversary. Though the statue was intended to be about liberty, the addition of the Emma Lazurus poem gave it a new twist. It started to be symbolic of our attitude toward immigrants. It was an amazing gift given by France to the United States in 1886, back when our population was just over 50 million people. By the time this poem was added to this beautiful statue our population had soared to over 240 million. Now that we are over 324 million the message and the meme of being the repository for all who need to escape their lives or join their relatives needs to be revisited. 

The flaw in the sentiment on this iconic statue that stands in the harbor of New York is that it assumes that our country will always be better off with more and more people. It assumes we will have enough resources for them. It assumes we will have enough fresh water, open space, wildlife, wild lands and everything that makes for a quality of life. It assumes we have enough now. When the hushed voice of environmental measurement is allowed a seat at the table, it speaks a shocking story. It turns out that if we are to look at immigration and the US population through the eyes of sustainability then we passed up our sustainable numbers at least 150 million people ago.150 million just might be sustainable but it depends at what level of consumption and how many resources are left at the time this goal is achieved. 

I am in my sixties now.  Our population in the US has doubled in my lifetime. Those additional 163 million consumers have transformed this country. They are responsible for our crowded cities and traffic problems, more pollution and less open land. More people make a wide variety of negative impacts on the environment and it doesn’t matter from this perspective the nationality of those additional people. We are all consumers. We can and should try to consume less but we all need water, energy, food, jobs, open land and none are in a limitless supply. The consumption in the US is so high that those who keep the statistics on this like Global Footprint Network, tell us that it would take five planets to supply the globe with enough resources if everyone were to consume like us. Adding more high level fossil fuel consumers is horrendous for our climate too. I acknowledge that this is a very difficult discussion to have. I don’t pretend to have all of the answers. But I know for sure it is a part of the equation that needs to be on the table.

Overpopulation has been ignored, dismissed and trampled upon for far too long. We absolutely cannot allow our overpopulated country to be an excuse for treating immigrants inhumanely. The atrocities happening at our border are indefensible. But it is equally hard to imagine that we can make good decisions about our country’s future regarding immigration policies while ignoring the tragic state of our country’s limited life-giving resources. Is it really fair to welcome people into a place that is already over-pumping its aquifers? We must acknowledge that we all suffer when we exceed our country’s environmentally determined limits, and we have already exceeded them. We must try our best to walk that fine line between loving our fellow human and conserving the resources that support life itself. 

How ironic that even if Emma Lazurus had been a more futuristic poet, and wanted to add the words,  “until it is no longer sustainable to do so, ” to her poem it was too late.  The US was already overpopulated by at least 90 million people in 1986 when her poem was added.

 

 

A Seat At the Table of Justice

At my latest talk on the topic of overpopulation, I said I had one mission. I wanted overpopulation to have a seat at the table. That table is one that insists on creating a more just world. Instead this troubled topic spends its time growing under the bus where it lives in the silenced aftermath of crippled misunderstanding. The most compelling reason it needs to be revisited and resurrected is that left alone it will overwhelm our resources.

Overpopulation will leave any hope of justice extinguished by the realities of ecology. Contrary to all political agendas and corporate sponsored commercials, we do live on a limited planet. Instead of being a narrative that excuses the horrors of genocide, overpopulation must be understood as a truth that when addressed, prevents misery and suffering. Left alone, with no attention paid to its ability to destroy the world as we know it, it will continue to cause misery.

Preventing the annihilation of our planet’s ability to support life is a good thing, a just act. When I say I want overpopulation to have a seat at the table, I mean that we must look at our human numbers in relation to our shrinking water tables and our wildlife populations. We must measure our diminishing mineral resources and the pollution created in their extraction and then make the best, most humane decisions to turn this mess around. This issue is solvable. T

To continue to be blind to the pressure the nearly 8 billion have on our beleaguered planet is to insure a very inhumane future which has already begun. We continue to grow between 81-87 million a year which exacerbates all of our problems. Scarcity, carbon emissions, political strife and endangered species are all a byproduct of the ravages of overpopulation. Of course our consumption is out of control in the developed world, but that issue already has a seat at the table, while the overpopulation issue is rarely mentioned. Limiting family sizes may seem extreme especially when the numbers call for one-child families to slow, stop and decrease our numbers. But we must remember no cause will survive its grip. No issue will succeed without taking a deep look at the much maligned issue of overpopulation. All it takes is an awakening inspired by the desire to really change the world for the better.

What Do You Expect in a Taker World?

In his iconic book, Ishmael, Daniel Quinn has his protagonist gorilla teach us that we made a wrong turn when we invented totalitarian agriculture. As soon as we were no longer responsible for finding our own food, back in Mesopotamia 10,000 years ago, they could lock it up and start charging people for it. That turned on a switch from which we are still suffering.

We were once connected to the land in small groups. Quinn called our hunter-gatherer ancestors ‘”leavers.” We once knew we had to leave the soil intact and give the trees room to replenish. We knew about protection, nourishment and renewal. Those values were embedded in our very lifestyles. Leave some berries for the wildlife and they will continue to plant more as they eat and plant them with their very own fertilizer. Leave some fish so that they may spawn. Continue to live well on holy mother earth and she will protect you as long as you don’t get greedy.

Leaving enough for the future is a sustainable philosophy. It is a mother culture. Mother culture nourishes. John Perkins refers to this as a dream. In his book, “The World as We Dream It,” he says that our reality is a reflection of our dream. In the Americas, the so-called New World, Leavers were able to sustain themselves for thousands of post-ice age years before Columbus unleashed the demons of a very different father-culture dream. Quinn calls those who dismantled sustainable culture, Takers.

Takers do just that, they take. They take from Mother Earth and turn it into material goods that have short life spans, which keeps encouraging more taking. Takers do not dream that this is a planet that needs time to rest in between the pillaging. They dream of golden ships and private golf courses. Their dream has no room for limits. If you think in terms of limits, they would tell you to start thinking outside the box. Technology is the god of takers. It brings them new forms of energy with which to produce more gadgets. The only things Takers leave are huge scars on Mother Earth. This dream is the foundation of what Perkins calls predatory capitalism.

The Taker god is always male. Female figurines of the goddess years teach us that females were once worshipped as the givers of life. Father gods dominate females. In the Taker creation story, Eve is created from Adam’s rib and is responsible for the downfall of man. These are the dreams of the Taker. God is male and watches over man and the earth is a temporary vessel, a place to wait until a post death world embraces the forgiven sinner. Takers only give lip service to the dream that Earth is a living breathing nourishing place that gives us air, water and soil. The Taker dream says that we are here doing god’s bidding which is to convert all natural capital into products for human consumption.
 

Leavers could have never survived were they to overpopulate their spaces. This did not fit their dream. They could only find so much food to fill the bellies of their members. Takers see overpopulation as a mandate and just refer to it as GROWTH. Growth is the twin god of the Takers. More is better and that refers to our numbers too. Takers dominate what and who they believe to be weaker than themselves. Mother is female to be dominated by the superior and in-charge male.

While this dream is in place and becoming more rancid each day, we can expect sexual predation to continue. We can expect our already overpopulated world to grow by 87 million more net gain each year. We can expect our resources to become more and more scarce fueling more conflicts. We can expect our climate to falter rendering our fields useless for growing food.

While we can and must work to call out those who carry the torch of the taker dream, we must understand and begin to dismantle the dream itself and replace it with one that honors mother earth, her other creatures and her limits. This time we can be inspired by knowing the price we are paying by living the wrong dream.

 

 

I

More Estrogen Please

Calling all caring females, we need your perspective in an issue that is too male dominated. Yes, we must add to the long list of things that about as much as Nascar driving and professional wrestling. I appreciate my male colleagues but I long for more women to join me in my passion, being an overpopulation activist.

Why is this issue male dominated? I am not sure, but I can guess that it is full of math and statistics and lacks the emotional appeal that many women are looking for in an issue.  We can broaden the reach of the message by focusing on the story of overpopulation as an opportunity to prevent suffering. Men tend to love graphs and statistics which show the loss of resources as a result of growing human numbers.  So far that approach has not caught fire. What has more of a chance to work is an emotional appeal to change our story on this planet in order to allow the survival of most species.

We don’t need more number crunching, we need a way to discuss two narratives at a time. We can love immigrants while demanding that we first consider how many people can live in a given aquifer. We need to take advantage of a multi-tasking brain which can exude love while calling for one child families. Women do this naturally and we need that kind of gift.

Overpopulation is a very compassionate issue but has rarely been portrayed that way. What could be more compassionate than to put a tourniquet on the way overpopulation makes us hemorrhage resources and create suffering with the resulting scarcities? Mother nature has a very scary story in store for those who chose to keep ignoring the physics of limits and women need to jump into the ring to help . I promise to keep the numbers simple. There are simply too many of us on this limited planet, but not enough women willing to take the lead on the most important issue of our time.

 

Upstream and Downstream More Deeply Defined

I finally understand why I did not go crazy anticipating this year’s solar eclipse. I observed that many people planned their vacations this year around this momentous event.  But I was not as inspired. It finally dawned on me that the eclipse was an upstream event.

I define “upstream” in my book, “Move Upstream, A Call to Solve Overpopulation”, as a place where problems begin.  Upstream is my metaphor for going to the real source of problems. Conversely ‘downstream’ is where we usually attempt to solve problems, when they are already so entrenched that we have few options left.  

Upstream is also where the earth lives. Our planet operates upstream in a very slow and mathematically predictable way. It obeys universal laws of math and physics and natural cycles. Fossil fuels and minerals take millions of years to form, water takes centuries to fill our aquifers and the landscape can only accommodate small amounts of waste. Wildlife takes millions of years to perfect adaptations and need adequate wild places for continued survival.  Our species operates downstream at a very rapid pace ignoring the upstream edicts of resource limits and the ability of the earth to handle its excesses.  

Our daily lives in the modern world of the 21st century are occupied with concerns over housing, jobs, school, race relations, politics, war,  health, and all things material.. Meanwhile the earth circles the sun and the sun orbits in the Milky Way and the Milky Way orbits in the universe in patterns and under rules that we continue to defy from our downstream position in the world.

If we lived with an upstream perspective, it would be no surprise that our news is now occupied with scenes of people in traffic jams trying to escape unprecedented flooding .We would understand, in the most comprehensive way,  that we are suffering the consequences of living and acting downstream far away from the operational systems of our planet. Even those who claim to be upstream activists by working exclusively on climate change are just working downstream. Climate change just one more disastrous symptom of downstream thinking. Solving it would not be the end game for we will still run out of basic resources like water as we continue to add 83 million people a year to our globe.

Scientists who measure our behavior do work upstream. The analysis from Global Footprint Network ,see www.footprintnetwork.org tells us that we surpassed the carrying capacity of our earth over 80 years and 5.5 billion people ago. This upstream perspective tells the full story of how trying to survive with that many extra passengers is like asking the earth to change its direction around the sun.  Many try to solve upstream problems in a downstream way. It never works. Plastic bags accumulate even when cloth bags are encouraged. Fossil fuels become continually scarce even though fracking is introduced.  

We make policies based on individual dreams and desires and wonder why they are increasingly out of reach. The answer is always that we should focus on the collective, accumulative effect of our individual actions. We are now bearing witness to the results of living and thinking downstream.  We have stressed the earth’s capacity and we are now headed to greater and greater disasters. As the earth continues to fail us, we scratch our heads and grab for flimsy promises that technology will be our savior.

Garbage piles up and green house gases accumulate as we grow by 240,000 new 21st century consumers each day. It’s like having 10,000 additional customers flow in the doors of a large restaurant  each and every hour demanding  to be served. “Downstreamers” will always blame the restaurant for bad service and try to grow more food. Only “Upstreamers” will say that the demand got too high.

So why did I not go crazy in anticipation of the solar eclipse? Because I live and breathe the upstream perspective as an overpopulation activist.  I took this event in stride, because I am constantly thinking about what is happening to our planet. I know that stabilizing and reducing human population in the most humane way possible is our only sane way out of this mess.

I am very happy the solar eclipse caused much of the world to momentarily stop and remember our cosmic place in the world. For a universal minute we stopped looking at our phones and realized  that we owe our lives to these celestial bodies.  It was an upstream moment in a mostly downstream world. I just wish we could have stayed upstream long enough to understand how we cannot solve our deeply entrenched problems unless we move upstream and strive to solve overpopulation.