Friday, June 19, 2009

The Future***

Thinking about Chris Martenson's "Crash Course" and my niece's skepticism that there is an overpopulation problem.
She thinks that there is plenty of room for more people. I think the planet already has too many people.

One of the things is that the population has grown exponentially along with oil production and with a collapse in oil production - it seems very likely that there will be a collapse in population. While people will try to maintain the status quo with natural gas, coal (removing mountains), solar, wind, and probably nuclear- it seems unlikely that this will be enough for people to continue on the track that we are on. I would rather see people do more to limit population so that fewer die miserably later on - but that's not the way things work, I guess.

I think that it is beyond sad that people don't take conservation seriously even as we are removing mountains- such as businesses that air-condition open air areas (ie. Louisville in their 4th street "Live" area that used to be an enclosed mall). I also expect that industries, etc. are not nearly as frugal with their energy as they could be. And some people continue to build unnecessarily large homes.

I'm afraid that with the exponential effect - one of these days energy will become so rare and expensive that people won't know what hit them. A few people are prepared - the living off the grid people. But most of us are not.

I wonder - if people were to see this coming - would people channel resources into the most important projects for sustainable living? for humanities future? This is happening to some extent now - with more attention being paid to renewables. The government can offer incentives and such. But I don't see it as a serious priority - where people really want to make the most of what oil is available - like what are the really important uses instead of turning it into useless crap. But that's capitalism for you. In centuries ahead - perhaps people will go through the landfills looking for plastic to recycle into things that are actually needed.

Under Bush the rich were hoarding as much as they could of cash and treasures - an attempt was made to get control of Iraq's oil - and the same group would like to get control of Iran's.

Resources of all sorts are plummeting as the human population rises - these are the sorts of things that I keep track of on my blog. Fish, soil, water, animals of all sorts - the loss of habitats, the poisoned habitats - there may be the appearance of space some places - but space, such as in Montana, does not equal food, clean air and water. The pollutants are worldwide. Global warming, a result of all of this energy use is also resulting in a depletion of resources - through floods, droughts, and devastating storms.

People probably will turn to nuclear power more as oil, coal and gas run out. The toxic waste will become another more problematic pollutant (unless it really could be reused - which I doubt). The population will continue to grow - there will be more and more health problems for people and wildlife. People will learn to like to eat jellyfish (or at least tolerate it).

If people are smart (or have no choice) - more will made and grown locally, people will travel less, bicycle more. The cost of health care will become more out of reach for most Americans - so more will probably die at a younger age. There will be more resistant diseases, more cancers, more epidemics.

It's all about adapting and doing what can be done with what we've got. Many of us on the left see that places like Scandinavia with their more equitable society and even Cuba which has healthcare for everyone exhibit a more positive mentality than what the US does. Some of us had hope that more would change with Obama - but unfortunately he is holding to the status quo and using that as justification to keep things unequal.

A cooperative mentality is much more positive than an competitive one. I would rather see many people living adequately well with basic healthcare than a few people who expect the best (ie. the top 300,000) while the rest of us serve their needs and get crumbs for the privilege.

And where does art fit in? I can see where some people could see it as an unnecessary frivolity - but I would like for my art to serve the function of helping to process societies emotions. I read more all the time about how dreams alleviate anxiety by processing people's emotions, that people lose the ability to find calm if they are under too much stress when they are young.
REM sleep, he (Matthew Walker, director of the Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab at the University of California, Berkeley) says, "tries to ameliorate the sharp emotional chips and dents that life gives you along the way."
The ideal would probably be for everyone to make art - but since I know many people who are busy managing one thing or another (the shipping of cellphones, the effectiveness of advertising, better computer modeling for our government) and who do not have the time to absorb the beauty of the day as well as the possible challenges to our future - I consider that to be my job.

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