Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The world's biggest problem? Too many people

Think back on what you talked about with friends and family at your last gathering. The latest game of your favorite team? "American Idol"? An addictive hobby? The new movie blockbuster? In a serious moment, maybe job prospects, Afghanistan, the economic mess? We live in an information-drenched environment, one in which sports and favorite programs are just a click away. And the ease with which we can do this allows us to focus on mostly comforting subjects that divert our attention from increasingly real, long-term problems.

Notice that we didn't mention climate change above, or the exploding population/consumption levels that are triggering it — the two major factors threatening humanity's future. Sure, if you're not too far from the Western wildfires or Midwestern floodplains, the conversation might have turned to the crazy weather that is finally forcing some media to actually talk about climate change in the context of daily events.

But population? Get out. Way too inconvenient a truth. Take National Public Radio, for example. Of NPR's sparse record of population pieces, just one or two actually address unsustainable population growth. But as the political right whittles away at family planning clinics across the nation, the latest NPR series, "The Baby Project," devotes a plethora of articles to pregnancy, with the most serious subjects the problems some women have conceiving and birthing. If there is even a hint of too many babies, it is well hidden. This, even though a 2009 NPR story on U.S. pregnancies reported that half — yes, half — of all U.S. pregnancies are unintended. That's a lot of unintended consumers adding to our future climate change. (more)