Only Photosynthesizers Get a Pass

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.