Which Information Describes the Human Predicament?

Climate change gets the attention of a scientist because projections of familiar variables seem far from normal. This worry may not transfer to the average person who is challenged by data that predicts a decades-future problem. Global warming may not be the best tool to get most individual's to focus on the human predicament and consider behavior that addresses it.

There might be other manifestations of the predicament which seem eminent enough to get their attention and terrible enough to get them to consider previously thought-unnecessary behaviors (like rapid population decline.)

For example, "Joe Suburbia" is sensitive to gas prices. Foreseeing a tripling of his gas price (not be able to fill his tank at the end of the month) will get his attention but probably won't get him to choose zero or one child per family to address his problem of sinking wellbeing.

However, getting him to consider what happens on the way to nine dollars a gallon might be different. Before gas gets to nine dollars a gallon (the present London price), Joe will take the land and fertilizer that feeds the world's poor and use it to create alcohol for his car. He is already taking the poor's food to produce animal protein for his own diet.

Joe might be able to understand that the poor may not take this treatment lying down. They could intensely disrupt Joe's suburban life. Cairo is already having riots of good working people whose earnings can no longer buy their bread.

MIgration of the disenfranchised rural poor are swelling the ranks of the working urban poor. Thus, as prices rise there will be an explosion of rioters in every city.

Rioters will turn into pantry looters. Pantry owners will turn into killers. Eventually each person in each city will become either a pantry raider or a pantry protector. Cities will become uninhabitable. City folk will flood into the countryside consuming everything like locust.

If Joe can get this far in his thinking, he realizes our civilization as nonviable. CO2 driven climate change is but a small piece of not being viable. Fixing climate change leaves Joe with most of the human predicament intact and he should be considering far more powerful behavior changes than substituting compact florescents, driving higher mileage cars, and using mass transit.

Now (for those of you who are listening and concerned) how do we use "this" view of the human predicament to get people's attention and help them see low birthrate driven rapid population decline (LBD-RPD**) is probably the most important element in keeping their progeny from a tragic future.


** Low birthrate = one or none children per family


Jack Alpert (Bio)     mail to: Alpert@skil.org      (homepage) www.skil.org      position papers

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