Africa In Peril

This is a special post by Ron Patterson. Please limit all comments to the subject matter of this post.

Era of ‘Biological Annihilation’ Is Underway, Scientists Warn

From the common barn swallow to the exotic giraffe, thousands of animal species are in precipitous decline, a sign that an irreversible era of mass extinction is underway, new research finds.

The study, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, calls the current decline in animal populations a “global epidemic” and part of the “ongoing sixth mass extinction” caused in large measure by human destruction of animal habitats. The previous five extinctions were caused by natural phenomena.

The wildlife decline in most of the world is terrible, but in Africa it is catastrophic. By 2100 there will be no megafauna whatsoever in Africa. All elephants, giraffes, rhinoceroses, lions, gorillas, chimpanzees, and even zebras and wildebeest will be totally extinct. And the culprit in this huge animal extinction is Africa’s massive overpopulation problem. It is terrible today but is about to get a whole lot worse.

The population of Africa, in 2016, was 1.22 billion. The UN estimates that in 2100 the population of Africa will be about 4.45 billion. Notice that is an increase of about 300 million from their estimate just five years ago. But their 2100 population estimate has doubled since theit 1998 estimate.

In 2100 one African country, Nigeria will have a larger population than all of Europe combined.

The reason for this Sub-Sahara African population explosion is the decline in infant mortality rates along with their very high fertility rate. With the exception of South Africa, Sub-Sahara African women have 5.5 children (average) during their life. This rate has been slowly decreasing but not enough to decrease the population growth significantly.

The top 15 fertility rates in the world are all in Africa. The Sub-Saharan population is increasing at the rate of 2.5 percent annually. This is double the rate of both Asia and Latin America.

Baboons are a prized delicacy in Africa.

And so are gorillas.

Don’t these animals look delicious? They have already been cooked and ready to eat.

They would likely be a bit cheaper if you did your own cleaning and cooking.

Monkeys and apes of all types are always a prize catch.

By 2100 there will be no megafauna whatsoever left in Africa except for humans and their domestic animals. Elephants, giraffes, rhinos, and even zebras and wildebeest will all be gone. And of course, all the big cats like lions and cheetahs will be gone as well. Even the hyenas will disappear because there will be no prey for the prey animals to feed on. However, a few wild dogs may remain as there will likely still be a few small ground animals for them to feed on.

Many will say that Europe is even more overpopulated than Africa. And this is true at this point in time. But that will definitely not be the case in the future. And remember that the wildlife in Europe is already gone except for small animals like rabbits and squirrels and a few foxes that prey on them. The wild European megafauna disappeared decades or even centuries ago. Okay, a few mountain goats, lynx other such animals still thrive high in the Alps. But wherever in Europe it is possible for humans to settle and farm, the megafauna has been driven out, usually to extinction. And that will soon be the case for Africa as well. The last habitat for megafauna, in Africa, Asia, and the Americas, is disappearing fast. It will soon be gone.

Extinction is permanent! If civilization survives another million years the elephants, giraffes, lions and all the other megafauna will still be gone. If you don’t think this earth has a very serious human overpopulation problem, then you are stone blind to the peril of our wildlife.

EDIT: Before anyone asks the question, “But Ron, what can be done about this problem?” I will give you the answer. Nothing! Not one goddamn thing can be done to change the trajectory of the direction the world is heading. My only reason for posting the above is to try to shake some people out of their damn fool notion that all is right with the world, that as long as humans can thrive then there is no population problem. Such people are wrong, dead wrong. Overpopulation is killing the world. The world’s megafauna will be just the first to go.


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148 Responses to Africa In Peril

  1. Davebee says:

    Words fail me at this destruction of nature’s innocent creatures, these animals have a RIGHT to life!
    How can this go on? Even here in South Africa residents of squatter camps KEEP ON recklessly having children…WHY, WHY, WHY? Don’t these ‘adults’ who are unemployed and unemployable see that it is insanity and basically cruel to bring OTHER human beings into the degrading squalor they themselves live in?

    • George Kaplan says:

      Provide, and enforce, free education for all females to fourteen, provide free contraception of choice to all and provide basic (minimum) social security, and birth rate will drop below replacement numbers almost immediately.

      • Fred Magyar says:

        Sure, maybe you could compose a tweet asking the Pope to write an encyclical making birth control mandatory for all Catholics, eh? Send a few to some of the Fundamentalist Christians and Muslim religious leaders around the world as well. I’m sure Mike Pence and Betsy DeVos will be happy to re-tweet it.

        Every Sperm is Sacred – Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life – YouTube

        • Nathanael says:

          You have pinpointed the problem, Fred. Right-wing misogynistic religions which spread a doctrine of pumping out babies.

      • Exactly George, why don’t you see that this gets done?

        Yes, all we have to do is change the way people behave, and the way governments behave, then all our problems would be solved.

        Damn, why didn’t I think of that?

        • George Kaplan says:

          I didn’t say it was going to happen – something to do with necessary but not sufficient, probably. But it has happened or is happening, notably in Italy and Brazil, despite the Pope, and Iran, despite the heavy religious influence there. The problem is it takes two generations after the death rate falls before the conditions (as above and others) are in place for the birth rate to fall – and those two generations are what cause the huge overshoot. I was replying to Davbee’s moaning about the “unemployed and unemployable” and seeming to think you can just tell them what to do and everything will be OK.

      • Hightrekker says:

        I would add to the list giving women equal economic and political rights.
        But that is probably only possible in a screen play.

    • Fred Magyar says:

      Don’t these ‘adults’ who are unemployed and unemployable see that it is insanity and basically cruel to bring OTHER human beings into the degrading squalor they themselves live in?

      I sincerely hope that is just a rhetorical question!

      BTW, at this point almost all of humanity is superfluous and unemployable. That includes highly trained and skilled professionals such as most medical doctors, scientists, lab technicians, engineers, etc… AI and robotics are already making their skills obsolete. So what are we going to do with billions of low skilled or unskilled humans?

      There is no answer to the question ‘Why, why why?’ The universe doesn’t give a flying fuck! It just is… It’s up to all of us both individually and collectively to deal with it if we can.

      • OFM says:

        “There is no answer to the question ‘Why, why why?’ The universe doesn’t give a flying fuck! It just is… It’s up to all of us both individually and collectively to deal with it if we can.”

        Words of wisdom indeed.

        In a forum dominated by people who are at least technically LITERATE, it’s UTTERLY depressing to see the members wondering WHY other people in tough circumstances FUCK.

        Fucking is behavior that has been programmed in since the invention of sex, that’s why, and we are animals, first, last, and foremost, and we obey our programming. Fucking makes kids.For men at least, and for women who are appreciated rather than abused, it’s generally the greatest pleasure we have, and in a refugee camp…….. it’s the one great pleasure available.

        Thinking is a late arriving behavioral trait, and evolution has sort of grafted it onto the roots of our programming.

        Can we do anything about it?

        Certainly we can, if we are willing to make a great enough effort. WHETHER we will do anything about it is rather doubtful.

        Now condemning religions is fun, but thinking of the issue in terms of politics betrays a lack of understanding of the abc’s of biology.

        Religions exist because they confer fitness on their followers, as evidenced by a bunch of Baptists murdering a bunch of Catholics, and gaining control of their worldly goods, and their younger and more attractive women, in order to MAKE MORE BAPTISTS.

        MOTHER NATURE doesn’t give a fuck about whether Baptists, or Catholics, or Muslims, or atheists, prevail, in the long term. In some species, she creates many thousands of babies so that only two on average survive until old enough to reproduce, lol. Death is the flip side of life.

        Finding FAULT with people , and their institutions, social, cultural, or economic, is an impediment to finding and implementing SOLUTIONS to problems. You might as well get mad at an automobile that won’t run as to get mad at a religion.

        Neither the automobile, nor the religion, is an entity capable of perceiving your wrath and your criticisms.

    • Survivalist says:

      I assume these are rhetorical questions, and that you’re not really interested in an intelligent discussion of possible answers. But nonetheless, it’s worth noting that humans all over the world have been having babies well outside of the conditions in which it is fit to raise them for a longtime now. Probably since day one. I’d suggest it’s part of human nature.

    • islandboy says:

      Don’t these ‘adults’ who are unemployed and unemployable see that it is insanity and basically cruel to bring OTHER human beings into the degrading squalor they themselves live in?

      It seems it is the same everywhere there are “unemployed and unemployable” people. See my comment below. As with most pursuits it would seem the quest for sexual pleasure is not driven by rational thought. It seems the last thing on peoples minds when trying to get laid is that this activity could result in a child being born or even a STI of some sort.

    • Lloyd says:

      Don’t these ‘adults’ who are unemployed and unemployable see that it is insanity and basically cruel to bring OTHER human beings into the degrading squalor they themselves live in?

      First, they’re not unemployed.
      Second, just because it’s not western doesn’t mean it’s squalor.

      I come from a family of four children (as I suspect many of the other older Western guys here do). My parents had four kids because they could afford us, and because two generations earlier, two of us would have died before adulthood….old habits die hard.

      Motivations in Africa are probably similar.

    • Caelan MacIntyre says:

      Squatter-Camp, Earth

      “Even here in South Africa residents of squatter camps KEEP ON recklessly having children…WHY, WHY, WHY? Don’t these ‘adults’ who are unemployed and unemployable…” ~ Davebee

      What would they be employed doing, Davebee? Further wrecking the planet in various ways for ‘their employers’, AKA slavemasters and/or governpimps and think they’re doing better? And why are there ‘squatter camps’ and what is one exactly? Are they because of stolen/enclosed/regulated/policed/polluted land by those very same slavemasters and/or governpimps? Colonization? Segregation? Any African animals aside from humans and their usual suspects (rats, cockroaches, etc.) in those squatter camps? Were there any before the squatter camps? Gazelles? Forests?

      Squatter-Camp, Earth

      I like it…

      Thanks for the inspiration, Davebee.
      Words might fail you, but we can employ them and make what little there are work for us…
      Flip ’em and make a killing.

    • Caelan MacIntyre says:

      Why, Why, Why

      “WHY, WHY, WHY? Don’t these ‘adults’ who are unemployed and unemployable see that it is insanity and basically cruel to bring OTHER human beings into the degrading squalor they themselves live in?” ~ Davebee

      A Century Later, the Factory That Poisoned the ‘Radium Girls’ Is Still a Superfund Site

      “In the 1920s, young women worked in an Ottawa, Illinois, factory painting radioactive glow-in-the-dark numbers onto watches. They were told to lick their brushes to a fine point. They were told that the glowing radium in the paint was safe.

      Radium is extremely dangerous. The element gets absorbed into the bones like calcium, and these women would go on to lose their teeth, jaws, and limbs to the radium poisoning. Many died…

      That seems like it should be the end of the story, but it isn’t.

      While the women were taking their case through court, the Radium Dial Company, where they worked, went out of business. Its owner opened up another radium-dial factory nearby, called Luminous Processes, which operated until 1978. The old Radium Dial Company building became a meatpacking plant and then a farmer’s co-op. It was finally demolished in 1968, when its radium-contaminated rubble was used as landfill around Ottawa. The Luminous Processes building was later used a meat locker after that company closed. These buildings were full of radium particles from the days of dial-painting.”

      “In 2008, Bloomberg claimed child labour in copper and cobalt mines

      …that supplied Chinese companies in Congo. The children are creuseurs, that is they dig the ore by hand, carry sacks of ores on their backs, and these are then purchased by these companies. Over 60 of Katanga’s 75 processing plants are owned by Chinese companies and 90 percent of the region’s minerals go to China. An African NGO report claimed 80,000 child labourers under the age of 15, or about 40% of all miners, were supplying ore to Chinese companies in this African region. Amnesty International alleged in 2016 that some cobalt sold by Congo Dongfang Mining was produced by child labour, and that it was being used in lithium-ion batteries powering electric cars and mobile devices worldwide.”

      “The labor shift from farming to mining has been linked to food shortages and insecurity. Yet the DRC has some of the richest soils and favorable climatic conditions for food production on the African continent. Before Mobutu’s reign, the DRC was one of the major exporters of food to the rest of Africa. The richly fertile soil (especially that in the eastern highlands which is volcanic in origin) could produce enough food to feed half of Africa, but the country is so poor that at present its people do not produce enough food to feed themselves” ~ Wikipedia

      Money For Nothing

  2. Fred Magyar says:

    Not news to me! I was still privileged enough to see unspoiled coral reefs and tropical rain forest ecosystems while growing up in Brazil. I also witnessed their decline. Currently the Brazilian government is proposing reducing the area of protected rain forest habitat.


    Brazil’s federal government is currently considering bill which would reduce its protected rainforest area by 65 percent. The conservation areas in question include four protected forests and the extinction of a fifth area. Although the bill concerns essential areas of the Amazon forest, the Ministry of Environment had no involvement in its creation.

    In fact, federal congressmen representing the Amazonas state submitted the bill directly to Brazil’s Chief of Staff. The Amazonian congressman claim the protected areas have paralyzed industrial investment and agrobusiness in the region. Indeed, the protected areas form a sort of “green belt” of protection against deforestation, illegal wood-cutting, and farmer squatting.

    So it is not just Africans that are fucked! It’s all of humanity… As George Carlson said: “The planet is fine, it’s the people that are fucked! We’re going away folks, pack your stuff…”

    Biological annihilation via the ongoing sixth mass extinction signaled by vertebrate population losses and declines

    The population extinction pulse we describe here shows, from a quantitative viewpoint, that Earth’s sixth mass extinction is more severe than perceived when looking exclusively at species extinctions. Therefore, humanity needs to address anthropogenic population extirpation and decimation immediately. That conclusion is based on analyses of the numbers and degrees of range contraction (indicative of population shrinkage and/or population extinctions according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature) using a sample of 27,600 vertebrate species, and on a more detailed analysis documenting the population extinctions between 1900 and 2015 in 177 mammal species. We find that the rate of population loss in terrestrial vertebrates is extremely high—even in “species of low concern.” In our sample, comprising nearly half of known vertebrate species, 32% (8,851/27,600) are decreasing; that is, they have decreased in population size and range. In the 177 mammals for which we have detailed data, all have lost 30% or more of their geographic ranges and more than 40% of the species have experienced severe population declines (>80% range shrinkage). Our data indicate that beyond global species extinctions Earth is experiencing a huge episode of population declines and extirpations, which will have negative cascading consequences on ecosystem functioning and services vital to sustaining civilization. We describe this as a “biological annihilation” to highlight the current magnitude of Earth’s ongoing sixth major extinction event.

    But enjoy your popcorn while watching the clown show in Washington.

  3. Survivalist says:

    An article along the same line of topics as Ron’s post. Push-pull factors and all that.
    Europe’s Refugee Crisis: Mass Migration is Biosphere Collapse

    Google up ‘African bushmeat crisis’ for a lengthy list of articles on how unregulated hunting by an overshot human population is devastating the megafauna. Here’s one from FAO.

  4. VK says:

    As someone who lives in this part of the world, I wonder how the collapse in net energy will play into these figures? They are clearly unsustainable And Africa although a net creditor to the world is a big overall food importer. As the climate gets more and more disrupted and energy availability drops globally, both factors will severely hamper further population growth and these numbers might well collapse.

  5. Phil Harris says:

    I agree that anything we might think say or do is going to be marginal to Africa. But our migratory birdlife in Britain does have some critical relationships with Africa. This essay (I hope the link works) is pegged to the likely extinction of one of our iconic birds, the corncrake. The attrition rate has always been high during migration but the real damage has been done in Britain by recent farming. When we first lived here in Northern England we used to hear the corncrake – alas long gone. It hangs on in Northern and Western Isles.
    All is not well. This young woman makes a difference in a bid that is also about her own survival.

    Just a thought about extrapolations. The old LTG ‘central scenario’ projections appear roughly on track according to Ugo Bardi and others, and some future ‘doublings’ associated with industrial civilisation may never happen (I remember the ‘lily pond’ picture). It is not something to take comfort from and species extinctions could easily get there first. There is still some interest to be had though in considering the way fertility rates drastically reduced here and elsewhere during the 20th century since my grandmother and even my mother’s day. It was not all to do with contraception.

  6. Strummer says:

    While I absolutely agree with the article, I must point out that the part about the Europe wild animals is way off. Just in my region (Central Europe) there are huge populations of wild boar, all sorts of smaller and larger deer, all of those living in the forests even close to most major cities. In the mountains there are healthy populations of mouflon and chamois. We also have a pretty lively brown bear population as seen here:


    Same is true about many wetsern countries… France, Germany, Austria… and when you go further east (Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, or Romania in the south), it’s even much better.

    • Yes, where you have mountains you don’t have farms. These are pockets where some megafauna does survive. There are places where the forest survives, either mountains or national parks, or for some other reasons. Here you will find some animals like boar and bears.

      They will survive only as long as the forests survive.

      • Strummer says:

        No, not just in the mountains… the deer and boar are everywhere. Berlin, of all places, has a wild boar overpopulation problem, for example. I’d recommend you watching some documentaries on european wildlife. There has been some pretty impressive re-forestation and rewilding going on all across Europe in the last 100 years.

        • Caelan MacIntyre says:

          Depleted Whatnot

          You can even see Pripyat on Google Street View– growing out of control, and with a lovely view of the Chernobyl power-plant in the distance, and some happy-baby graffiti. No sense in worrying about depleting bushmeat there, is there!? Looks like a great place to raise a family with a little careful planning, spit, polish and elbow-grease! No need to get absolutely everything clean. Besides, how could you? That would take too much careful planning and we’d get nothing done to worry about later!

          With so many super duper Superfund places to call home, how do you choose!? ^u^

      • OFM says:

        Ron is basically dead on about the survival of the larger animal in Africa, over the next century or so.

        He is guilty however, of occasionally overstating his case, in for instance saying the European megafauna are gone, rather than saying ninety five percent gone, lol. We all tend to make this sort of mistake from time to time. We aren’t writing research papers, we’re having a CONVERSATION, lol.

        We still have a good deal of megafauna in richer western countries because we are NOT so overpopulated, and rich enough and wise enough to preserve some habitat and enforce some laws protecting wildlife.

        African countries are not rich enough, and the people there are not at all likely to actually ENFORCE any laws passed to protect wildlife, because an empty belly trumps just about any every other survival challenge, and it’s literally do ( eat wildlife) or starve, in Africa, NOW, in some cases.

        Later, this will be the RULE rather than the exception, it will be eat that monkey and live another few days, or die sooner.

    • Hickory says:

      In Europe and N.America there indeed are large pockets of reforestation that do harbor significant animal populations, such as deer in the Appalachians. These areas are recovering from near complete deforestation prior to widespread fossil fuel use.
      A few species are doing well- deer, crows, rats, squirrels, cockroach, flies, ants, and apparently boar. but these are the exceptions. vast lands have been poisened, eroded, paved, or monocropped.
      The areas that have been allowed to return to forest are almost entirely marginal farmland (not class I or II). The best farmlands are also the lands (other than wetlands) that sustain the greatest populations of animals-wild or domesticated, and only a tiny fraction are not sequestered from nature (natural production) by humanity.
      Despite these pockets of non-sequestered lands, and waters, we are indeed in the midst of a global massive extinction event (The 6th)- Courtesy of this ‘intellugent and humane’ ape.
      The point Ron makes about Africa is spot on, and applies to whole one world as well.

      • Strummer says:

        Yes, and I said I completely agree with the overall article. But I had to point out that the one sentence about European wildlife being confined to the Alps is complete nonsense.

  7. farmboy says:

    The greatest danger faceing the biosphere including the megafauna of Africa is not hunting! That titles goes to land degradation!

    The areas of Africa with the greatest numbers and diversity of megafauna are often found on the game ranches and even on some holistically managed, community livestock ranches.

    The current human population and its growth are possibly #2 and 3.

    Here from the Africans themselves

    • Farmboy, what causes your #1? What causes land degradation such as topsoil erosion? What causes desertification?
      Why it’s #2 and #3 of course.

      • farmboy says:

        Ron In my opinion you are most likely correct saying there is nothing we can do. I still like to imagine solutions.

        My understanding is that the majority of what I would call land megafauna are to be found in the worlds grasslands and Savannahs not in the forests. If the moisture is fairly consistent throughout the growing season then forests are generally the natural state, but where the rain is seasonal even though it may be as high as 30 inches/year the natural state is more generally grasslands and this is where we historically found the majority of the large herbivores and their predators.

        The site and videos I linked to all have to do with the breakthrough and work that Allan Savory a former Range Scientist from Zimbabwe is responsible for. He makes the case that with all the effort that the national parks are involved with the degradation right within those protected areas is downright devastating and often worse than the degredation on many neighboring cattle ranches and has degraded so far that it is the leading cause for loss of grasses and the animals that depend on these grasses for food and shelter as well as all the predators. Of course the majority of the land outside of the parks is also degrading even faster.

        Before humans disrupted the massive herds of herbivores and their predators the grasslands were kept regenerating by the Grazing dunging and urinating etc of these grasses and the pressure of the predators kept them more bunched up and so they move across the landscape like a massive chomper and fertilizer machine. This then gave all the grasses a full rest period which is a critical part for grass health.

        So now that the pressure of the predators is diminished the massive herds have spread out and now can hang around in one area and whenever their favorite grass sends up some shoots they come and chomp it off again and again until that grass plant finally dies then they go on to chomp on their next favorite grass plants. In the meantime most of the grass plants do not get grazed at all and so they start to die from lack of grazing, since the old stems are all erect and dead they shade out the new tillers and after a couple of years they die out as well.

        The lesson is that what works in humid enviroments namely rest does not work in seasonally dry parts of the world. Those lands require grazing and then a rest period.

        The breakthrough came about by figuring out that we can mimic this cycle of grazeing and resting of the grass plants with domestic livestock. Using this concept has now done a tremendous job of restoring the grasses on the Dimbagombe comunal lands in Zimbabwe as well as on 100s of thousands of hectares world wide. On many of these lands the wildlife including megafauna is in better shape than the neighboring national parks. For example The ranch of Gabe Brown in North Dakota is estimated to draw in the majority of the deer population from a 50 mile radius during the winter.

        Just another thought This massive extinction of megafauna happening in Africa has already happened in North America some thousands of years ago and continues unabated with just a tiny human population compared to Africa.

    • Survivalist says:

      I’m not an expert on Africa, although I did live in Zambia for a bit, so I like to think I have some insight. From what I understand bushmeat is big business. It can be bought in cities as the rural folks hunt it and sell it to merchants. I’ve even heard of African bushmeat showing up in Europe. I’ve been told by locals in Zambia there that rural construction, mining and forestry workers do a lot of hunting. If not the workers themselves then camp followers hunt and sell meat to the workers. It’s a tremendous burden on the ecosystem.

  8. islandboy says:

    I have been pondering about population issues over the past few days, not from the perspective of Africa but my own neck of the woods. Over the past couple of weeks, I have had made aquaintance with four infants, one less than a year old, one a little over a year and a half, one about two and a three year old. None of the mothers of these infants are married and at least two of them are not in any stable relationships as far as I am aware.

    The youngest of the infants returned to the US yesterday with his grandmother to be reunited with his mother after spending about a week with his great grandmother. My opinion of his mother is that she is a complete and utter airhead and this is an opinion shared by most people who know her. She’s a nice young woman but, just not very bright, certainly not bright enough to have earned a place at one of the good government funded high schools in the city when it was time for her to have attended high school. As a result, since her mom and uncle could afford it, she and her twin sister attended a very exclusive private high school. Her mom divorced her Venezuelan father when the twins were very young so her uncle played the role of father for most of their lives.

    The mother of next youngest infant is now looking for a job and somewhere to live, now that the person for whom she was house sitting and looking after their pre-teen son is returning to the island after a stint of overseas employment. Academic qualifications are spotty since she completed high school without any passes in the standard Caribbean school leaving exams but, may have picked up a couple since. Work experience is limited to waitressing types of jobs for which there is no shortage of prospective employees. Fortunately for her the infants father is a Canadian resident as are the father’s parents, who have offered to provide financial assistance while she looks for a job.

    The mother of the three year old had a brief brush with fame and fortune ten years ago or so when she had a short career as a fashion model but, claims she was not given a fair shake by the agency that “discovered” her and subsequently sidelined her, despite having her on an exclusive contract that automatically renews. The mother of the two year old is the sister of the former model and both of them are now living in their parent’s family dwelling in a small rural settlement a fifteen minutes out of the closest urban area. There is no indication that the fathers of these two kids are offering anything in the way support, financial or otherwise.

    Where am I going with this? These young women are examples of one of the sources of population growth all over the world, including Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Latin America. Young, attractive, fertile women who are not smart enough to make sure they are in stable, committed relationships BEFORE they allow themselves to become pregnant. As far as I am concerned, there are just way, way too many of them and you would think that in 2014-2015 (when all the kids were conceived) these unplanned pregnancies would not be happening especially the one involving a young lady living and working in the USA. The fact is, in Jamaica, in Africa and all over the world, human beings are just doing what humans do, getting laid. Some might say they are doing other stuff like trying to amass fortunes, to which one might reply that it is all in an effort to improve one’s chances of getting laid!

    On a more fundamental level, how many people as a portion of the global population really think deeply about the issues we often discuss here? Of the 7 plus billion, how many can hold a decent conversation about Limits to Growth, Peak Oil, Global Warming, Pollution, Deforestation, Overpopulation, Mass Extinctions etc.? I don’t know anybody who is the least bit interested in more than a couple of those on the list. There is a reasonably vibrant environmental movement on the island that concerns itself with pollution, deforestation and global warming but, I’m not sure they have connected the dots to make the links to limits to growth, peak oil and overpopulation. Many business and opinion leaders don’t want to think about peak oil or limits to growth or any of that stuff especially limiting population growth, since that would most likely entail sacrificing their sacred cow, economic growth.

    This brings me to what I consider the crux of the matter. At age 56, I have not fathered any children. Most of my college educated friends have at most three children. My older sister has two sons who are now adults. I can think of two very smart university educated women who, like me have no children as do a few of my male friends but we are vastly outnumbered by ordinary people. By that, I mean people who do not know and are not interested in knowing about anything that does not involve their own personal financial growth and well being. That’s what I consider normal people, so I consider myself an outlier as are probably many others who frequently comment here. The thing is, as outliers, can we have any influence on this slow motion train wreck that is human civilization? If we (outliers) don’t reproduce and nurture a new generation of thinking people, who will be left to pick up the pieces when (if?) our civilization trashes the planet? The offspring of the “normal” people? Will they have learned anything?

    So I return to my four newfound infant friends. What will the planet be like when they reach my age? How polluted? How hot? What will sea levels be? Will there be employment for them when they leave school? Will there be ample supplies of food? Will the four horsemen of the apocalypse be visited upon them? At times, when I looked at their young, sweet, innocent faces my heart was heavy. If their lives are unpleasant as a result of any of the stuff we tend to discus here, it will not have been any fault of their own.

    • Survivalist says:

      Having kids is overrated. You gotta have at least three for a reasonable chance at getting a good one. Too many duds in the deck.

    • Marty says:

      Here’s some food for thought on the entire overpopulation issue you bring up. There are many factors at play here indeed, and not all of them are as apparent as one might initially expect.

      How to Debunk the Myth of Overpopulation in Three Easy Steps

      • islandboy says:

        I propose that we give “Marty” a prize for posting a link to a “pro life” article from a web site called “Life News”. Here’s a randomly selected paragraph from the page:

        “Other instances of phony overpopulation occur when humans create artificially closed environments. If someone locked me in my office, most people wouldn’t blame my resulting demise on “the overpopulation of the office” but on the cruel person who locked me in. Similarly, if government policies prevent food from being transported to where it is needed, or distributed to those who are hungry, “overpopulation” is not to blame. It’s the policy, stupid.”

        Why didn’t I think of that? It’s so obvious.

        By the way I’m issuing an open invitation to “Marty” to come to Jamaica and do some social work in the ghettos of Kingston, helping all those precious lives that now need food, clothing, shelter, health care, education and probably a little salvation for good measure. You have to fund your trip yourself though, cause there’s not a lot of loose cash around these parts. You will also have to be responsible for your own safety. Just sayin’.

      • George Kaplan says:

        Alternative title: “How to excuse crap christian dogma and keep on pretending roman catholicism is somehow still relevant and has ever been a force for good despite the overwhelming weight of contrary evidence.”

      • Fred Magyar says:

        Fuck off Marty, you’re just another stupid piece of shit troll! Food for thought indeed!
        You couldn’t think your way out of a wet paper bag…

        • GoneFishing says:

          Somehow Fred, I don’t think you will be part of the rapture. 🙂

        • islandboy says:

          Geez Fred! You said what I wanted to say with just your first three words! Wish I had the guts to be as brief as you, instead of wasting so many words! 😉

    • OFM says:

      Islandboy GETS IT.

      I will add, since so many of us here are prone to criticize religions without acknowledging their advantages, that religions in many or most cases do have a good deal to do with reducing the birth rates of those women who are NOT in committed relationships whereby the fathers of their kids will contribute to their support.

      I have heard many a Baptist preacher rant about premarital sex, and by SKY Daddy, damned few of the women in their churches ( relatively speaking ) have kids outside the institution of marriage. And I have never even ONCE heard one Baptist preacher condemn or criticize the use of contraceptives from the pulpit. Generally speaking, when the subject comes up, they have wise words to say about the advantages of having small families, although they do not STRESS having small families.

      They don’t NEED TO, in my part of the world, because the birth rate has been dropping like a ROCK for the last three generations, and even in backwoods redneck families, it’s now about at or below replacement level, among ALL women except a few who lack sense enough not to get in bed with any man who happens to pass by.

      I only know ONE such woman personally these days. She has five or six kids by that many different men, and none of the men have ever contributed more than a few dollars once in a long while to the support of these kids.

      My own family has been as religious as just about any family, historically, and remains as religious as most. The birth rate has dropped form eight or or so average among great grandparents to five or six among grand parents to less than three in my generation to about two in my ( non existent ) kids’ generation to what looks as if it will be around one and a half MAX in the grandchildren generation.

      Factory hand or professor, the women in this family are basically done with having more than about one point five kids each.

      This is not to say that the priests that control some religions aren’t very seriously opposed to reducing the size of their flocks, lol. Most farmers like to have plenty of livestock, lol.

      The YOUNGEST CATHOLIC woman I know who took the pope seriously when it comes to birth control is in her her seventies now. Her own kids have no more than three kids, and her grandchildren, less than two, so far at least. One or two of them might decide to have another kid, but it seems unlikely.

      I don’t personally know more than a handful of Catholics these days, but I keep up with the news , and the ones I do know are typical in terms of how many kids they have, at least in western countries.

      Religion is part of the problem, but those who wish to solve problems will do better to work with preachers and priests than to simply condemn them as parasites and problems.

      Talk about women the way some of us talk about religious people, and you couldn’t get a date in a whorehouse with a roll of hundred dollar bills. This is simple common sense.

      Unfortunately, a lot of otherwise well educated people seem to be sorely lacking in ordinary common sense.

      • HuntingtonBeach says:

        “people seem to be sorely lacking in ordinary common sense”

        Is this the Trumpster justifying his vote for Jill Stein ?

  9. Fred Magyar says:

    Islandboy, I’m not a grandfather yet and am kinda hoping I don’t become one… but I do have a few grand nephews and grand nieces. It is very hard to look into their eyes sometimes knowing what I know. My college educated brothers and sisters don’t have a clue and continue to just live their lives as if everything in the world that is bad just happens to others and will never come home to roost and affect them. It has been a long time since I gave up any hope of having a meaningful discussion of any sort with them. I do have a cousin, a chemical engineer who does get it. He’s the only one in my rather large family that also sees the writing on the wall. C’est la vie!

    People who say there has always been change don’t grasp that the rate of change is currently off the charts, Whether it be climate change, ecological disruption, mass extinction or even technological disruption. Things are happening very fast in all those areas. So how do we even start to prepare the next generations for life on a planet that we have absolutely no idea what it will be like or even if it will still be habitable for large numbers of people. All any of us can do at this point is hang on as best we can and ride the waves.

    Oh well, time for some wine, cheese and crackers!

  10. Javier says:

    In my opinion this is the worst problem that the world and humankind face.

    The loss of a species is just the final act that captures people attention. And we have become quite good at protecting the last individuals of an iconic species, be it the panda bear, or the Iberian lynx.

    However the decline in wildlife populations goes unnoticed despite having a profound impact on the health of both species and ecosystems. As wild populations decline there is an irreplaceable genetic variability loss that increases the frailty of both species and ecosystems. If allowed to continue for long both can enter into terminal collapse. Ecosystems become very impoverished and unbalanced, and species become extinct even if some individuals are still alive.

    As an example the cheetah went through a genetic bottleneck about 12,000 years ago, and it is calculated that only 8 individuals produced the progeny that continued the species. However after 12,000 years the species hasn’t recovered.
    “Poor sperm quality, focal palatine erosion, susceptibility to the same infectious diseases, and kinked tails characteristic of the majority of the world’s cheetahs are all ramifications of the low genetic diversity within the global cheetah population.”

    Think about that. 12,000 years is an awfully long time in human terms, yet the species hasn’t recovered and is under constant risk of extinction, and could be wiped out by a disease. That is what genetic loss causes to a species.

    The problem is not extinction. Even if we prevent extinction a species might not recover in tens of thousands of years, or maybe never. Genetic loss is what we have to fight against. And it affects a high percentage of species, that are progressively losing more and more genetic variability, as their populations dwindle, and their habitats reduce and become fragmented.

    Although human population growth is the ultimate cause, the solution doesn’t require a human number reduction. Humans tolerate living at very high densities. While we wait for population to decline naturally we have to set more land apart for wildlife. Protected areas have to expand and become interconnected. Everything we do in that direction will help reduce the problem and the speed of genetic loss. Conservation does work and is the solution.

    If anyone needs an optimistic view on conservation. The real stories of conservation success that works. Here you have it:

    A beautifully illustrated book going over several selected species.
    Nearly all protected species in Europe are increasing in numbers, and many of them at amazing rates.

    We all need to be conservationists and we have to teach Africans to become conservationists too.

    • Hightrekker says:

      We lost the North American Cheetah 10,000 years ago.
      But those antelope are still fast!

      • GoneFishing says:

        So is the mountain lion, the bear, the wolf and the coyote.

        • Hightrekker says:

          It’s actually a unresolved question, and quite interesting:

          “We found that pronghorn have an extraordinary capacity to process oxygen. Each antelope consumed between six and ten liters of oxygen a minute, which is five times as much as a typical mammal of similar size would burn–a 70-pound goat, say–and more than four times as much as Carl Lewis would consume if he were shrunk to the size of a pronghorn antelope. (A pronghorn stands about three feet at the shoulder.) Compared with the goat, it has bigger lungs with which to absorb oxygen, slightly more blood hemoglobin with which to transport the oxygen from the lungs to the muscles, and slightly bigger and leaner muscles containing a higher concentration of mitochondria–the cellular organelles that burn oxygen to provide power for muscle contraction. In other words, there are no tricks to the pronghorn antelope.”

          So why are they so amazing at running?

          Outrunning Ancient Predators
          After 20-some years of wondering about pronghorn in his researches, Dr. Byers has come up with a compelling theory.

          Though there is no predator today who can catch a pronghorn at a sprint, this wasn’t always the case. Dr. Byers says the pronghorn runs this fast because it is chased by the “ghosts of predators past” — including American cheetahs. Aahhh… now we see why pronghorn can only be beaten by cheetahs in a sprint.”

          Possibly, but maybe not.

          • GoneFishing says:

            Stealth predators like the mountain lion do not need a full out run, though some can top 50 mph.
            Wolves and wild dogs can run fast but don’t need it since they target the young, feeble and use circular tactics to run the prey toward another wolf or dog.
            Going as fast as possible is a good escape tactic expect when they are outmaneuvered or they stumble.
            Bears catch fast prey by running them uphill. The bear has the power to not slow down on the steep hill.
            I have seen a bear keeping up with a deer on the flat, then the deer ran downhill and got caught. I was only about 50 feet from the kill spot so got out of there.
            Top speed of a wolf is about 40 mph, similar to a large bear. But they can wear down prey since they can keep up 25 mph for about two hours. Exhaustion sets in and the prey slows.

  11. Hightrekker says:

    What could possibly go wrong?

    Fukushima’s Nuclear Waste Will Be Dumped Into the Ocean, Japanese Plant Owner Decides

    • Fred Magyar says:

      Too bad it can’t be pumped directly into the water supply of the Plant Owner’s so they can drink it and bathe in it. How do you say ‘Motherfuckers’ in Japanese. Whatever happened to the honorable tradition of seppuku or as it is more often called, Harakiri ? They should give each plant official a Samurai sword and send them into the hot zones of the melted reactor cores with clear instructions not to come back out…

    • Adam Ash says:


  12. Hickory says:

    The migration north to Europe in the past 5 yrs is just the prelude to much bigger events in next 20-30yrs. Africans may also try to catch the currents that head to northern Brazil and up into the Caribe, by the many of millions.
    The population of Africa is now about 1.2 B, and by 2050 is projected to reach 2.4 B.
    That is more than 1 B more people than today.
    Pressure to migrate en-mass at some point will be unavoidable, perhaps due to drought or failed states.
    I hope to not be a witness to that.
    Cumulative Syrian refugees is just over 5 million, with the vast majority in neighboring countries.
    We may see African episodes well over 10 times this big.

    Another area that will join the over 2 B club is the Indian sub-continent. The medium fertility scenario out to 2050 puts the combined India, Pakistani and Bangladesh populations at 2.2 B, up from 1.66 B in 2015.

    • Hightrekker says:

      I think doing population extrapolation increases at this time of ecological collapse is like the Austrians in 1913 analyzing who their next Habsburg ruler is going to be.

    • Eulenspiegel says:

      African migration to Europe is widely supported by Europe itself – it’s asylum laws, migration fans and social welfare for everyone.

      Non government organisations are paid from several sources to pig up the “refugees” a few miles from the african shores and bring them directly to Italy. There, almost no one has to leave Europe due to several migrant friendly laws. In hard cases you just have to loose your passport to earn lifelong staying rights and social security and Visa for all your family to come to you.

      Everyone paying several 1000 dollars for people smugglers is in the press a poor refugee waiting for our full help – so I thing the european population will grow together with the african one.

    • OFM says:

      Hi Hickory,

      I’m with you, and ahead of you, and in a sense, ahead of Ron and just about anybody else here, in one respect.

      I AM the one person here who has posted comments to the effect that there is a very real possibility that desperate migrating people aka REFUGEES from famine, war, disease, etc, will be met at national borders with machine guns sited behind fences. As a matter of fact, I think this is actually a perfectly safe prediction, read literally, although mine fields and large numbers of soldiers in riot gear and armed with less lethal weapons may be a more common solution. Tear gas for instance, if liberally used, will stop even a starving man.

  13. Hickory says:

    Financial Times 4/2/15-
    “Not only do oil and gas account for more than 90 per cent of Nigeria’s export revenues, which have roughly halved in the past six to eight months, the government relies on them for 70 per cent of fiscal revenues.”

  14. Doug Leighton says:

    I know a bit about Uganda where our family supports a young girl who will soon become a medical doctor (we started financing her at boarding schools, following kindergarten). It’s a long story but she would have never received ANY education if we hadn’t discovered her by accident. From the start I tried to get her into a secular school but they don’t exist there so we found the best school possible (which is to say, lest religious/best academic standards). Six million plus pupils are currently receiving some primary education about one third of whom never complete even the equivalent of Grade 7. Actually, the situation in Uganda is relatively good, by African standards, for the moment, in that most people are relatively still well nourished. This won’t last, of course, because the population is skyrocketing. Another huge problem will arise in the near future when most kids become teenagers with no work. Many will become violent without “meaningful employment”. This has already happened in South Africa. When you travel down any significant road in Uganda there’s a school at roughly one kilometer intervals, each with upwards of 1000 kids (They all wear different coloured uniforms and fill the roads coming home for lunch.) I’ve stopped going to Africa (it was mainly my wife’s “project”) but will obviously continue to support our “adoptee” far as long as she wants to continue her education though our kids always joke: “I hope Assia doesn’t decide to go to Oxford.” IMO too many people will eventually (soon) destroy this country and society there in general. As I said above, for the moment it’s actually OK.

    • Caelan MacIntyre says:

      Kudos for your support there, Doug, and best wishes for her success.

      BTW, good to hear
      I recently chatted briefly with a young man who works nearby about Revelstoke. He lived there briefly and seemed to like it. I passed by it by car once upon a time and it looked below kind of enchanting, nestled in the snow, guarded by evergreens. I felt like getting out on a whim and transplanting myself there. I wonder how Bergen might compare…
      I enjoyed my pre-forest-fire visit in Kelowna, some years ago.

  15. The Wet One says:

    Just one thing, wild dogs will also go extinct. They are almost there now:

    That’s all.

    Cheers! Or as much as can mustered on an article like this.

  16. Stephen Hren says:

    Ron, these population growth figures are certainly not possible in a post peak oil world. If we are looking at basically zero oil production by 2100, how can you believe the idea that Nigeria will have 800 million people? Don’t these two viewpoints seem irreconcilable (peak oil and endless population growth)? Not saying things are ten thousand tons of shitty in their general outlook, but I’m guessing all these projections assume a BAU in terms of energy infrastructure, globalization, etc.


    • Hickory says:

      I agree with you Stephen. It is likely Nigeria and other nearby nations will run into a brick wall between now and 800 M. Take your pick- famine due to drought, severe prolonged depression due to energy shortage, war.
      Despite that, the implications for man, and wildlife, are pretty much the same.

      • Nathanael says:

        Not to mention the spread of plagues. AIDS has been doing serious damage to African population growth.

  17. Nathanael says:

    The solution to this was well-known 30 years ago.
    (1) Educate women.
    (2) Give women legal rights.
    (3) Give women economic rights.
    (4) Give women access to birth control.
    (5) Teach them how to use it.

    Works in every single country. Unfortunately there is a strong religious lobby which opposes implementing it.

  18. Caelan MacIntyre says:

    Monocultured Man—Specialization Leads to Fragility

    “It’s not just economics though; the Gini concept has been applied to biodiversity as well. Below a certain threshold of biodiversity, land ecosystems collapse. E.O. Wilson discusses this fragility in much of his work, explaining how the strength of our ecosystems is proportional to the strength of biodiversity. You see this in the positive ripple effects on vegetation and other animals when an endangered species is reintroduced to an area, such as when wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone. It applies to our crops as well; we’re seeing larger and larger crop failures around the world due to disease and insects. We’ve engineered an overly specialized system based largely on a single crop, optimized with chemicals, that provides the majority of calories to the world. So now our diet is monocultured as well, which is evident in the abundance of calories we get from corn. Nutritional research shows that diversity in diet reduces cancer risk, meaning, inversely, that fragility of diet, or overspecialization, contributes to cancer.

    We see the problem in the organizations we build. When companies cannibalize a market, it can leave them vulnerable. When organizations become large, specialized structures, they tend to lose their innovation. In politics, the lack of a stable middle class contributes to the fall of governments, while a strong, diverse middle class leads to stronger democracies. When our political discourse is severely polarized, there is little debate, and our government becomes unstable. Writing on future predictions in The Economist World in 2011, Nassim Taleb had this to say:

    ‘Connectivity and operational leverage are making cultural and economic events cascade faster and deeper. Anything fragile today will be broken by then.

    The great top-down nation states will only be cosmetically alive, weakened by deficits, politicians misalignment of interests and the magnification of errors by centralized systems. The pre-modernist robust model of city-states and statelings will prevail, with obsessive fiscal prudence.’

    The mathematician, Benoit Mandelbrot, most famous for his work on fractals and their relevance to many disciplines, had a term for this type of diversity—roughness. When the systems we build become specialized and ultraefficient—to continue Mandelbrot’s theme, when they become smooth—they tend to collapse. To counter this, we need to think in systems more generally and to introduce a little more roughness into them. Nature does this automatically…”

    Our ‘sociogeotechnopolitical’ specializations are bumping up against the diversity and viability of the environment/planet with increasingly-severe knock-on effects which won’t be without backlash, perhaps along the lines of ‘an equal and opposite reaction’.

    It’s all connected. Join the dots.

    See also;
    Extinction and Overspecialization: The Dark Side of Human Innovation and;
    the issue of career specialists as monocultures

    • OFM says:

      Greetings , Caelan

      For the first time in a long time, you have posted something that is entirely consistent with real honest to Jesus (( grinning, 😉 ) science. Totally relevant, dead on, in the bullseye.

  19. Chester says:

    Greetings Ron,

    As ever, whilst we (as a species) use only one metric to measure the things we do (money), we will continue to not only do the wrong things but we will be incapable of fixing the damage already done. Money today is not real, it is not connected in any way means or form to the planet we live in except thru human belief. And as all who are watching know, we humans can believe in almost anything. its like driving a car looking backwards….

    Very best,

  20. Caelan MacIntyre says:

    Hi Ron,

    It is suspected that it is as simple as a predator-prey relationship, but where the apex predator has sufficiently extended its reach beyond itself– ‘decoupled’– and beyond the usual– ‘coupled’– predator-prey dynamic, via its capacity for symbolism and (which leads to) technology so that, paradoxically, it has become, in a sense, its own prey.

    I think this issue of ‘decoupling’ is very important, because in my thoughts on other topics, it resurfaces time and time again.

    When one writes a book, they are ‘decoupling’ word-of-mouth, for example. Books are of course technology.

    “Animals don’t do what humans do via speech, namely, make a symbol stand in for the thing. As Tim Ingold puts it, ‘they do not impose a conceptual grid on the flow of experience and hence do not encode that experience in symbolic forms.’ ” ~ John Zerzan

    “Why do complex societies become vulnerable to the very kinds of stress which, at an earlier time in its history, the society in question would simply shrug off? Tainter’s answer lies with complexity, itself, and the law of diminishing returns. As a society becomes more complex, greater complexity becomes more costly. The escalation of complexity becomes increasingly difficult to maintain, until it finally becomes impossible.” ~ Jason Godesky

    “…all forms of organization, regardless of how democratic they may be at the start, will eventually and inevitably develop oligarchic tendencies, thus making true democracy practically and theoretically impossible, especially in large groups and complex organizations. The relative structural fluidity in a small-scale democracy succumbs to ‘social viscosity’ in a large-scale organization. [Accordingly] …democracy and large-scale organization are incompatible.” ~ Wikipedia, entry, Iron Law of Oligarchy

    “…The map is a simulacrum that, as a model, loses all reference to reality… reality exists only as rotting shreds that are attached to the map, and this is the state of our age according to Baudrillard; that the model, itself, has primacy for us; the real has become irrelevant…” ~ Frances Flannery-Dailey

    It is possible that technology is merely an artifact– through humans– of the inherent ‘self-similar’ function of the universe to make copies of itself.
    Humans of course make copies of themselves through biological reproduction, but technology may be another kind of copy in another dimension– like a flat family tree that sprouts a branch in the third dimension… but maybe it doesn’t grow any buds. The buds would be artificial intelligence that reproduces on its own and becomes truly separate from the parent.

    • Fred Magyar says:

      It is possible that technology is merely an artifact– through humans– of the inherent ‘self-similar’ function of the universe to make copies of itself.
      Humans of course make copies of themselves through biological reproduction, but technology may be another kind of copy in another dimension– like a flat family tree that sprouts a branch in the third dimension… but maybe it doesn’t grow any buds. The buds would be artificial intelligence that reproduces on its own and becomes truly separate from the parent.

      Not that Universe gives a rats ass but I doubt you understand much about the universe. To understand the universe you need math and physics, not meaningless word salads and gibberish.
      LHC Physicists Unveil a Charming New Particle
      The discovery could offer fresh insight into how fundamental forces bind together subatomic particles

      • GoneFishing says:

        Civilization only has to last about another decade before machines start to become self-replicating and self-repairing.

        • Caelan MacIntyre says:

          Actually, maybe replace ‘buds’ above with ‘seeds’ and that germinate and grow long enough to reproduce.

          Extinction, it has been said, is the rule rather than the exception. Lots of dead ends out there.

  21. George Hill just posted me the following:

    Time to kiss our sweet asses goodbye? The general public is very childish, conformist, hard-pressed, avoidant, propagandised, undereducated, greedy, and sociopathic. It is a terrible combination. Not at all easy to waken them in time to avoid collapse.

    I think our world leaders have a strong streak of sociopathy, and if they don’t, they are replaced with others.
    See the movie “The Corporation,” and note the sources of money for elections. “Democracy” is, overall, a sham.

    I’m an 80 year old retired MD. I worked half my career in WA state mental hospitals. I appreciate all my good luck in life. Can’t say it will hold a lot longer.

    Thank you!! for your sanity! I have appreciated all your great objective posts.

    Very best regards, George

    PS Ever want to see Nanaimo and Vancouver Island? We could provide a base for that.

    Another piercing statement here:
    Staving Off the Coming Global Collapse

    Thanks, George. I have copied and pasted the below from your link:

    Humans have a virtually unlimited capacity for self-delusion, even when self-preservation is at stake.

    The scariest example is the simplistic, growth-oriented, market-based economic thinking that is all but running the world today. Prevailing neoliberal economic models make no useful reference to the dynamics of the ecosystems or social systems with which the economy interacts in the real world.

    What truly intelligent species would attempt to fly spaceship Earth, with all its mind-boggling complexity, using the conceptual equivalent of a 1955 Volkswagen Beetle driver’s manual?

    Consider economists’ (and therefore society’s) near-universal obsession with continuous economic growth on a finite planet. A recent ringing example is Kaushik Basu’s glowing prediction that “in 50 years, the world economy is likely (though not guaranteed) to be thriving, with global GDP growing by as much as 20 per cent per year, and income and consumption doubling every four years or so.”

    Hey, people, there is a lot more to this mind blowing article. You should read it!

    • GoneFishing says:

      Hey Ron, I read the article. Thanks. You are firing on all cylinders lately. Sad and depressing as it is, large parts of the world are entering a Zombie Economy that will keep staggering around, running into walls and doing it again. The walking dead economies and cultures will shed people and social norms like a zombie shedding flesh until it just stops moving.
      I guess we just have to accept the changes needed to reduce the population and convert society to a sustainable system or just end.
      I am really only concerned about the continuing war on nature that will rise exponentially as more people come up against the walls of depletion and overconsumption.

  22. Adam Ash says:

    ‘…the dynamics of the ecosystem…’ We don’t need to over-think this! Ron’s post is a fine example of the issue, but, basically, we are just a mass of different types of yeast in a small jar with a finite food supply. What must happen will happen, and the loss of an uncountable number of lovely creatures (including humans) will be as inevitable and straightforward as any natural process, and the outcomes will be the same as usual.

    The lack of any semblance of society-wide intelligence in the human being is utterly astonishing, and endlessly sad. But, as I think Ron is intimating, we are stuck with our stupidity, and so we are stuck with our future.

    What to do in the mean time? Well, I guess, the best we can do is to try and live a life of minimum impact on what remains, while defending the borders of our miserable domains against those who are ‘less fortunate’ than ourselves, and would like to share with us.

    But I am reminded of the time when one of the ethnic groups from my own country turned up to exterminate the remaining group of those who pre-dated them in our stupid country. Those who were about to be exterminated – made extinct as a race and a people – decided that it was better that ‘…they be remembered for how they lived than for how they died’. And the next day, without raising a hand to defend themselves, die they did, with somewhat more dignity than their still surviving aggressors.

    So is that to be our best shot? To be remembered by the silent mountains and the high sky as a species who consciously and deliberately destroyed most of the ecosystems essential for sustained life on this planet as we know it? Maybe, or maybe not.

    But, in fact, each man dies alone, with what ever regrets he carries with him. The mountains will not give a damn when the last Elephant is sold for its ivory. No last post will sound when the last human slumps to the ground to lie unburied and alone beneath the sweltering, unblinking sky.

  23. Doug Leighton says:


    A 2015 study co-authored by Paul Ehrlich, professor emeritus of biology, and colleagues showed that Earth has entered an era of mass extinction unparalleled since the dinosaurs died out 66 million years ago. The specter of extinction hangs over about 41 percent of all amphibian species and 26 percent of all mammals, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which maintains a list of threatened and extinct species. This global disaster scene has the fingerprints of habitat loss, overexploitation, invasive organisms, pollution, toxification and climate change.

    • GoneFishing says:

      Only hear a few (very few) frogs in my wooded/lake area anymore. Used to have lots of moths, very few now. None at the one streetlight. In the past would watch them on my picture window, none this year. Very few butterflies, less than last year. No monarchs so far.
      Somebody actually saw a snake. Used to have a lot, now about none.
      Bird population is down and shift in type to lowland birds.
      Fishermen complaining about not many fish in the lake anymore.

      Spray for mosquitos, kill most of the smaller life in the area.

      Still have deer, a few opossums and a skunk. Bears are gone, used to be a regular sighting. Plants are doing well. Not even as many flies. Two or three bats, used to see a dozen or more at a time.

      The area appears absolutely verdant, until one looks at the details.

      • woodsy_gardener says:

        Right on! It’s not just Africa and it’s not just mega-fauna. To extend your list: firefly population has collapsed, large beetles have disappeared, the lovely Garden spider, once abundant, is gone, it’s been years since a Luna moth was in a window, I could go on. There’s no stopping this extinction; enjoy your life and don’t worry about the future.

        • GoneFishing says:

          You are right, now that I think about it there are not as many fireflies as previous.
          The crickets disappeared years ago.

          • chilyb says:

            “Where have all the insects gone?”

            Entomologists call it the windshield phenomenon. “If you talk to people, they have a gut feeling. They remember how insects used to smash on your windscreen,” says Wolfgang Wägele, director of the Leibniz Institute for Animal Biodiversity in Bonn, Germany. Today, drivers spend less time scraping and scrubbing. “I’m a very data-driven person,” says Scott Black, executive director of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation in Portland, Oregon. “But it is a visceral reaction when you realize you don’t see that mess anymore.”


      • farmboy says:

        Jonathan Lundgren an Entomologist used to work for the USDA. Now doing research including on Neonicotinoids Its not just the bees

        The loss due to stupidity is overwhelming. How much longer until folks wake up and demand change? If history is any indication it will be to late to avoid catastrophies unimaginable to most folks today.

        • Caelan MacIntyre says:

          Thanks farmboy…

          There seem to be implications to this, guys– ‘transition technology’ like electric cars and solar panels. Technology doesn’t come without costs, such as to nature, and what’s more, these technologies will probably have different costs. So the costs, including current ones, will be more across the board.

          I think we’ve backed ourselves into a very tight corner, and the only way out seems to be in a tight reintegration with nature, and fast before it’s too late. It may already be too late.

  24. Hickory says:

    Why do we live, what is our purpose? Me, you, Ron, any/all of us.

    Some say we are the special vessel for the emergence the intelligence.
    If so, we are a seriously flawed vessel, with our cruelty, shortsightedness, selfishness, and destructiveness.
    These are traits that apparently were evolutionary favored, but are now a massive shortcoming.

    Can we train or breed these behaviors away before we destroy the fabric of life?
    Can a new species emerge who are intelligent, but wise. Cautious? Easily satisfied? Vegetarian? Compassionate?….
    Perhaps they already existed, but we killed them off along time ago.

    Attempts to educate humanity and create a ‘good person’ is really just putting lipstick on a pig. [sorry for the analogy pigs].

    • George Kaplan says:

      Life just is – that’s it. You have a reproducing molecule that makes protein (DNA) you inevitably get life which is simple cells; maybe you get eukaryotes – but that looks more difficult; and maybe you get self awareness and intelligence, but that looks even less likely and/or short lived.
      Cautious? Easily satisfied? Vegetarian? Compassionate?… – hard to see how any of that is evolutionary advantageous in the long run. Things we think of as altruistic, humanitarian, loving – they just come from group selection in tribal communities, but are no less ‘good’ for that I think, maybe we should just accept things at that – it’s what we are evolved to do after all.

      • Hickory says:

        “Cautious? Easily satisfied? Vegetarian? Compassionate?… – hard to see how any of that is evolutionary advantageous in the long run”

        I mentioned those attributes as examples of the behavior set that would help 7+B Homo Sap’s co-exist on this finite planet (with nature?). This is a whole different set of attributes, and conditions, that got us here to this point.

        I don’t see us as having the ability to adapt to this new condition set on a large, rapid, or consistent scale. Our track record is horrendous.

    • Hightrekker says:

      We are just vehicles for our replicators (genes and memes).
      But obviously it is in the interest of our replicators for us to survive so they can be passed on.
      I know Dawkins and Gould had different opinions on this, but it seems Dawkins has won.

    • Ves says:

      “Why do we live, what is our purpose?’

      If you start with mind and language you will always get in cul de sac,nowhere. Language is very limited, almost like mind. For example, you use the word “purpose” and it is very narrow, shallow, ugly word. Only machine has “purpose”. Drilling rig, lawnmower have purpose. Dryer has a purpose but men can not have “purpose”.

      You have to drop the mind, the language – thinking center. You can only get some answers but not all. It is impossible. So, you must move to emotional center – heart and from there to being center.

    • GoneFishing says:

      The universe does not do purpose, at least not the human definition of it.
      First of all you look at homo sapiens as a failed and destructive species. That is a trained and learned judgment, not reality. Reality is that we are the product of a billion years of successful evolution. To try and change our basic nature is at the least unnatural and will have unknown results at best. We are just a dominate species that is coming into its peak of population.
      Population rise and fall is a natural occurrence. The methods that nature achieves it are all similar. In this case a pinnacle animal needs a bit more to take it down. But then again, it took global cataclysm to take down the dinosaurs.
      The real question should be: Why is the earth system so easily pushed out of wack and then seems to aid the push?
      The other question to ask is that if we did not raise all this carbon back into the atmosphere, would the earth just eventually wound up as a slushy snowball again? Too much ice can be more destructive than we are.
      We might get some answers to those questions.

      • George Kaplan says:

        I think the latest research is that if the continents ever reform such that there is no land at either pole we’re done, a snowball would be inevitable as the CO2 was taken out by undecayed vegetation that was sealed in growing permafrost bands, and no way back as volcanism isn’t enough to recharge the atmosphere. I guess if the sun expands enough it would eventually melt, but that might be a billion years later.

  25. OFM says:

    We would do well to remember Yogi, and that predicting is hard, especially the future, lol.

    While it IS quite obvious that we are on an unsustainable path, it’s also obvious to me that those of us who make predictions such as the one that Africa will have four and a half billion people in 2100 are guilty of using extrapolation recklessly, either because they are pushing an agenda of one sort or another, or else because they are just bureaucrats working and following the guidelines laid down for them in manuals detailing the procedures to be followed in turning out reports.

    Now if the agenda is about pointing out how bad things are likely to get, that’s admirable, but it’s also somewhat misleading, because we ( some of us at least ) know that making detailed predictions of what will happen decades down the road is a fools game. Things may turn out worse, or better, but we can sure as hell be sure they won’t turn out as predicted.

    Maybe all the larger fauna WILL be extinct, but maybe various strongmen aka kings or dictators will preserve some of it, the way European royalty preserved some of the larger species for their own pleasure.

    My own professional background,agriculture, is aptly described as APPLIED biology, which implies quite a lot of study of biology as such of course.

    I may be wrong, but as I see it, there likelihood of Africa having four billion people in 2100 is about the same as the likelihood of a snowball existing for more than a minute or so on a red hot stove, lol.

    It’s literally impossible to say how the game will play out, but accepting the premise that the climate will change for the worse is a good place to start, and accepting that one time thru depleting gifts of nature such as oil, fossil water, metal ores, etc will grow very scarce indeed must likewise be considered a given.

    The history of our kind indicates that war must be accepted as a given, and that mass migrations must be accepted as a given, ditto that migrating peoples might perish rather than survive.

    Plain old chance will play a HUGE role in the way the future unfolds. Seemingly minor events one year may determine the course of world shaking events a decade down the road.

    We can speculate endlessly about what we might or might not do, collectively, to at least reduce level of destruction associated with the ALMOST INEVITABLE CRASH LANDING that’s already baked in globally, and pretty much DEFINITIVELY baked in for Africa.

    So – Here are some insights coming from the pov of a person who has made a career of farming, hands on, and professionally trained in the field.

    First off, it’s VERY unlikely, although it is possible, that there will be a continuous growth in the population of the African continent, which will then crash more or less all at once.

    It’s a hundred times more likely that what will happen, barring possible yet to be discussed political and cultural changes, is that regional droughts, famines , and wars, helped along by contagious diseases, will kill back regional populations, so that the total African population will never approach four billion.

    Climate change, natural climate variability, the depletion of both non renewable and renewable resources, etc, virtually guarantee this outcome.

    Now when we humans get to be in REALLY desperate circumstances, we usually change our ways, or at least the ones of us who SURVIVE change our ways, at least temporarily, as the very price of survival.

    Here’s a link to a report that can be read in just a little while outlining the Iranian experience. Some of us will of course lay the entire blame for the ultimate failure of the hugely successful Iranian program to lower birth rates on the influence of the priesthood, and they are indeed apparently essentially correct in so doing.

    BUT BUT BUT BUT they either miss or deliberately ignore the equally relevant observation that this successful program was INSTITUTED in a highly religious society, and that religious people can and do sometimes change their ways rather abruptly.

    My own family and community illustrate this point. The folks who believe in Jesus and Heaven are having only one or two kids, just like their cousins the professors who believe in Darwin and evolution, lol.

    Given the extraordinarily powerful incentive of NECESSITY, it’s reasonable to assume that large numbers of Africans WILL see the light, so to speak, when it comes to birth control and small families.

    People who lived out in the country on farms used to raise large families in part to ensure having kids around to support them in their old age, and had no way of learning other life styles.

    The people who are living in cities, even the ones in shanty towns, are in FAR different circumstances, and even shanty town dwellers often have the opportunity to gather around a cheap radio or tv and to read at least the occasional book or newspaper, etc, and thus learn something about the larger world.

    And it’s INEVITABLE that other countries , in fact probably most of the more important countries of the world, are going to intervene in the African situation to a greater or lesser extent.

    It’s possible, and maybe even likely, given the TECHNOLOGICAL possibilities, that many or even most Africans will have a chance to get at least a rudimentary education within the next few decades, via cheap tv, radio, computers, and satellite communications.

    Now just to help those who haven’t given the matter much thought imagine some possibilities, consider this scenario.

    A country with the political power to do so, regardless of the desires of other countries, or even a super rich man or woman, could easily prevent the births of millions of children by spending only a few tens of thousands of dollars. HOW?

    Suppose a reasonably safe birth control drug that works on either or both sexes is discovered, one that can be mixed with easily stored long lasting staple foods such as wheat flour or rice, and that it has long lasting effects.

    Now suppose a large cargo plane flies over a territory where famine is raging, and dumps tens of thousands of one kilo bags of this rice any place it can be easily retrieved, with a notice on each bag saying that IF you eat this, you will not have any children for the next five or ten years, or even forever.

    There is zero question in my mind that it WILL be eaten.

    Women could be paid a small sum to have an iud inserted, and this could be done on an assembly line basis. Sure doing so would result in some women having a serious problem, but having a baby is a serious problem when you are malnourished already, and unable to produce a healthy infant or milk enough to feed it.

    I don’t pretend to know precisely what will happen, but I’m willing to bet my farm that the Africa will never have four billion people. That argument is damned close to pure unadulterated bullshit, and any body who understands the abc’s of biology and human nature must necessarily understand this is so.

    The ONLY way the African population can ever go so high is for the BAU ETERNAL GROWTH model so beloved of economists to hold up for most of the next hundred years.

    While this is at least theoretically possible, the odds of it happening, given CONCRETE facts such as limitations imposed by available farmland, energy supplies, depleting mineral supplies, etc, are rather close to ZERO.

    MY guess is that Africa is going to be a hell on earth for the next few decades, and maybe for the next century or two, and that nearly all but but not every last one of the larger animals will disappear.

    It’s simply impossible to really know how the people themselves will react as things get tougher, and how much help they will get from other people, and how much existing and new technology can be and will be employed to help them solve their problems, etc etc etc,

    One thing I am sure of is that people will be fleeing Africa by the millions, if they can, and that there are going to be world shaking political fights erupting in European countries as these millions try any possible way to get past the fences,and yes, the guns too, in a lot of cases.

    We have already seen the election of Trump here in the USA, and anybody who thinks the immigration issue was only a MINOR issue to the people who voted for him has his head up his ass to far to see daylight, in terms of understanding the mood,the fears, and the values of the people who voted for Trump.

    Comments that indicate disagreement are ESPECIALLY welcome.

    • TechGuy says:

      OFM Wrote:
      “I may be wrong, but as I see it, there likelihood of Africa having four billion people in 2100 is about the same as the likelihood of a snowball existing for more than a minute or so on a red hot stove, lol.”

      Yup. Future projections based upon current trends rarely continue over the long term. With any luck, The bush meat foragers will discover an new virus that culls 10% or more of the population and ends the practice of bush meat. Just as long as westerners stop trying to save Africa from itself. The West has been pouring food into Africa everytime there is a crisis. thus leading to un-intended consequences and even bigger future crisis. The more the West meddles the worse the problem will get. That said its probably too late for many African species. As long as the West subsidized Africa, its population problem will continue to worsen.

      Sadly, Africa’s problems is just the tip of the iceberg. My guess is we are still on track for WW3 in the next ten years. Worlds Cold war has resumed with a big military buildup in the USA, Europe, Russia, China, KSA, Iran, India, etc. Sooner or later there is going to be another major economic and resource crisis, that leads to major wars that merge into WW3. Unfortunately its likely tha 99.9% of all species, everywhere on Earth will go extinct when the ICBMs are launched. The world has never avoid war when the major powers suffered through an economic or resource crisis. This time will not be different.

      • OFM says:

        Hi TechGuy

        Unhappy about it but I am compelled by my informal but life long study of history and human nature to agree with you. War is baked in, there is a near zero chance of avoiding major wars over the next few decades.

        And once they are started…… There’s no real way of knowing when or how they will end. NBC , nuclear, chemical, biological, we must expect any possible combination of all three in different regions at different times.

        And while it looks as if building nuclear bombs will be impossible for anybody less capable than a nation state for a long time to come…………

        In ten or twenty years, any really rich guy who can organize the job might be able to create biological or chemical weapons that are potentially almost as dangerous as nukes………. to humans at least.

        There’s no reason to believe a single disease can’t wipe out most of humankind, other than maybe a few people here and there in really isolated spots who might with great luck avoid exposure to it and so not contract it.

        It’s not likely such a disease exists in nature, but with the art and science of genetic engineering moving so fast that not even the RESEARCHERS can keep up …………..

        The most capable guys and girls at the Ivy League universities are often unaware of breakthrough research being done in various backwoods labs nobody outside the local community has ever heard of………. until it’s published.

        For now it looks like we are at about the same point in terms of the potential of genetic engineering as the electronics industry was in exploiting the potential of the computer back in the sixties…….. just really scratching the surface.

        It’s amply demonstrated that it works, and relatively simple jobs can be attempted with reasonable hope of success, but only at great expense, for now. Sky Daddy alone knows how fast the costs will come down, even as the capabilities grow…….

        And keeping this technology secret is going to be impossible.

  26. Dr hotdog says:

    My theory…

    This will not be a problem. The 2117 version of Ron will write an article about how the reproduction rate is less than 1% and the population is declining and the megafauna are taking over.

    • Either you are joking or you or you are just naturally dumb as dirt. The problem started 200 years ago. It can no longer be considered just a problem, it is a predicament. A predicament is a situation that cannot be fixed, it can only be dealt with.

      • OFM says:

        Hi Ron,

        Ignorance is not the same thing as stupidity.

        I failed to include a link in my longer comment up thread about the history of family planning in Iran. I strongly urge anybody seriously interested in understanding the problem of overshoot to spend an hour or two studying this history, all that’s necessary is to google ” history of family planning and Iran “.

        For the moment all I wish to do is point out that WHEN one of the most successful programs in history was implemented in Iran, Iran at that time WAS ONE OF THE MOST RELIGIOUS COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD.

        The fact that the priesthood is responsible for reversing this plan is obvious, and relevant, but we shouldn’t forget that what priests undo, they can restore, and that when they are THEMSELVES threatened, they can and might restore family planning services.

        The dumb ones will resist, but the smarter ones will understand that controlling a smaller but more prosperous society is much to be preferred to controlling a larger but impoverished one in terms of their own prosperity, security, and life styles.

        Environmentalists who don’t have their heads entirely out of sight up their own asses understand that they can WORK WITH religious people, rather than simply antagonize them by making endless fun of them.

        It’s true that as the world grows more prosperous, and people are better educated, that religions tend to fade away, and maybe some day religion will be a subject of concern mostly to historians only.

        But for now, it’s HERE, and those on the environmental front and on the political front will do goddamned well to remember what the queers themselves ( no apology will be made, I am NOT PC ) themselves told the right wingers. I’m used to being called various names, including queer in this forum, in various forums, I’m used to it myself.

        ( Remember my friend HB and “special lube” ? He went even farther and implied that I am not only queer, but a child molester as well. Now that was ok with everybody here, as evidenced by the fact that nobody called him out on it, which of course proves that intolerance is fine, even WELCOME, coming from certain quarters, such as a quarter where HRC is popular. She ‘s still a PROVEN thief and scam artist, nobody even TRIED to refute this obvious fact. )


        Religious people are at least five or six times as numerous as gays, lesbians, and the various other people of less common genders. They’re numerous enough to determine the outcome of state and national elections, anytime the race is even remotely competitive.

        I didn’t look this up,it’s from memory, so it’s paraphrased, but it’s pretty close to the slogan that was actually used on posters and in advertisements, etc.

        • Hightrekker says:

          Religious societies have the lowest societal health:

          Least religious countries are most moral, peaceful

          Unfortunately, we are hard wired for ignorance.
          “The hard-wired cognitive biases that worked well for survival in the hunter-gatherer days, but are dreadful in today’s completely different complex civilizations, are too powerful to overcome, we collectively don’t have sufficient intelligence to override in the face of the evidence which strongly suggests we should. Perhaps if humans were more like Vulcans, and operated by logic and reason instead of feeling and emotion, we’d not be in this situation, but sadly this is not the case.”

          • OFM says:

            I have never argued that religion has significant or ANY survival value in a prosperous modern society, and I frequently point out that religion is fast fading away in such societies- although those who have an anti religious agenda are not generally willing to admit this obvious truth.

            MY ARGUMENT, here in this forum, in context, is that those of us who constantly make fun of religion,and conservatives, are actually making fools of themselves.

            The net effect is to drive religious and conservative people away from learning the actual science that is discussed in this forum, and to provoke them into voting for Trump type politicians.

            It’s damned near impossible to make friends with people you constantly insult, and it’s EXTREMELY difficult to get their attention long enough to get a fact or two across to them.

            These same individuals obviously LOVE to preen their feathers, displaying their in group moral purity and high group status, etc.

            I generally comment here from the pov of an alien biologist, or the visiting coach from another town, who has no stake in which of two rival local schools has won the last few games between them.

            BUT I do try to support sensible POLICY, rather than a political party, and I tell ya stuck up nose in the air holier than thou self satisfied nincompoops that you collectively are doing the Koch brothers work for them, for free, and making goddamned fools of yourselves in the process.

            I can and have drawn one firm conclusion from this experience, namely that it doesn’t make a flying fuck if people are, or are not, technically / scientifically literate. They’re still pack animals, and the pack means a hell of a lot more to them than ANYTHING ELSE.

            So- Keep it up, and the Koch brothers will be clinking their champagne glasses and smiling, when they discuss how well their propaganda machine is working, given that you idiots are unwitting, unpaid, industrious parts of it.

            • Hightrekker says:

              I’m not here to convince anyone to change.
              A reformist agenda is way to late, and the neural pathways way to programmed.
              Just pointing out reality.
              Religious memes are almost impossible to overcome,
              And religion and science are not compatible.
              One cannot have invisible psychopathic space daddy’s that you communicate through telepathy, and evolutionary biology and thermodynamics.

              • OFM says:

                “One cannot have invisible psychopathic space daddy’s that you communicate through telepathy, and evolutionary biology and thermodynamics.”

                I strongly disagree, based on the evidence of my own eyes. I see Baptists who believe in Jesus and a luxurious eternal afterlife going to the hospital for a heart transplant and programming computers and working to preserve the environment on a daily basis.

                Religions evolve just like all other cultural entities. None of the preachers in my neighborhood at least EVER have anything to say against the use of birth control, although they do NOT approve of abortion, etc. They preach the gospel of taking CARE of the earth that God ( Sky Daddy ) gave us as our ( their ) temporary home, rather than abusing it.

                Religion, bottom line, is all about fitness and reproductive advantage, and when it works, it works and when it does not, well, it loses followers.

                Virtually every last backwoods Bible thumper I have met within the last thirty or forty years WANTED or WANTS his kids to get a college education, even though he generally understands that they teach EVOLUTION in them there science classes, lol.

                A DEAF man could HEAR the pride in the voices of my older relatives dead serious fundamentalist Christian relatives who had a near zero chance at a good education themselves when they talked about their kids and grandkids who became doctors, engineers, teachers, computer programmers, officers in the armed forces, etc.

                Incidentally I was the FIRST person among my own close relatives to hang a university sheepskin on my wall, but in the latest generation, most of the kids are getting at least getting a couple of years of advanced training of some sort, and more than half are getting four year degrees.

                It may seem strange to you, but I assure you that I have a niece who graduated recently from Duke as a biology major, with honors, who attends Sunday school and believes in evolution just as firmly as she believes in the earth continuing to spin on it’s axis and the sun thus appearing in the morning sky tomorrow, lol.

                And any man that hopes to ever get to first base with her will have to be entirely of the opinion that women are the equal of men in EVERY respect.

                Now back when I was a kid, I ran into a few old folks who still believed in reading the KJB and nothing else, and that a third or fourth grade education was plenty, because that was enough to read that KJB.

        • HuntingtonBeach says:

          Listen boy, I’ll tell you a thing.
          I’ll make you a career in the business I’m in.
          I’ll make you rich, I’ll make you a toy,
          I’ll make you turn over into my little boy.
          Y’see I’m going somewhere.
          I don’t know what I’m gonna do when I get there.

          I know money’s a thing – your only inspiration
          And your only meaning.
          You must think that all I do
          Is spend my time making pretty pictures of you.
          You can fall when I will climb,
          But I’ll be falling over just by having you in mind.

          Mend that fight – oh listen to them
          Kickin’ up a ball inside a Jericho wall.
          Mend that fight – it’s all twisted through them.
          If you ain’t rich then you won’t go to the ball.

          Having mercy and licking up love,
          And moving through your ocean like I’ve never had enough.
          Y’see you ain’t all I want,
          You’re everything and more that I have ever hoped for.
          You must think that all I do
          Is spend my time making pretty pictures of you.
          You can fall when I will climb,
          But I’ll be falling over just by having you in mind.

          Mend that fight – oh listen to them
          Kickin’ up a ball inside a Jericho wall.
          Mend that fight – it’s all twisted through them.
          If you ain’t rich then you won’t go to the ball.

          You won’t go to the ball.
          You won’t go to the ball.
          You won’t go, you won’t go,
          You won’t go to the ball.
          You won’t go to the ball.
          You won’t go to the ball.
          You won’t go, you won’t go,
          You won’t go to the ball.

        • Stanley Walls says:

          If I’m not mistaken, the comment by HB that you’re referring to prompted me to post my first ever (and almost only) reply here. I thought it to be entirely too much. Not that it really matters, or that you’re not a big boy, and well able to fight your own battles. I’ve been reading this blog since it’s inception, and TOD before that, for the educational content, and appreciate the input from intelligent and educated folks.
          The anonymity of the internet allows folks to spout off shit that they don’t have the balls to do face-to-face. I don’t know why I was somewhat surprised to see that happen here, but I was.
          Anyway, just thought I’d recall that bit for you. I think I’d enjoy a long, unhurried conversation in person with you someday. If I should happen to run the Blue Ridge again, and have time to contact you beforehand, maybe that could happen. Last fall I ran it kinda on the spur of the moment, but had my other two-thirds with me, and she’s not much into listening to old farts like us ramble on. Or maybe I’m just not much into having her foul up a good intelligent bullshit session!
          ‘Nuff for now,

        • Caelan MacIntyre says:


          We’re here, we’re queer, drink beer, no fear.

  27. HuntingtonBeach says:

    Trophy Hunter Kills Cecil The Lion’s Son Outside National Park

    Two years after an American trophy hunter infamously killed Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe, another huntsman shot one of Cecil’s sons dead.

    Xanda, a 6-year-old lion, was fatally shot by a big game hunter outside Hwange National Park, The Telegraph reports. Oxford University researchers who monitor the lion population in the park identified Xanda due to a tracking collar that they had fitted him with.

    A spokeswoman from big cat conservation group Panthera confirmed to HuffPost that reports of Xanda’s death appeared to be accurate.

    Officials at the park also confirmed the death to The Washington Post.

    The hunter was acting legally when he killed Xanda, Oxford zoologist Andrew Loveridge told the Telegraph. Richard Cooke, the Zimbabwean professional hunter who accompanied the man who shot Xanda, returned the collar to researchers, said Loveridge, who is part of the monitoring team. Cooke’s client, the shooter, has not been identified.

    Trophy hunting, which typically involves tourists paying money for permits to hunt big game like lions, is a lucrative industry in Zimbabwe. Hunting lions — with some stipulations — is legal in the country if a person has the proper paperwork. Palmer reportedly paid $54,000 for his hunting trip that led to killing Cecil.

    • GoneFishing says:

      If there are so few lions that we name them and know their lineage WTF are we shooting them for? Lamebrains on both sides of that transaction. Another case of “Resource Management”.

      • HuntingtonBeach says:

        Man made the gun a sado-sexual machine
        It’s slaughter brings you to your knees
        Man made the gun
        Who is the person that is holding on?
        What’s in his mind, where is he looking from?
        Isn’t he the one we should be gazing on, contemplating on?

        ‘Cause man made the gun
        Man shapes the son

        Man made the gun
        While there is evil in this world
        We try to save our boys and girls
        Man made the bomb
        That doesn’t mean that we should turn them on
        Or ever yearn him on

        ‘Cause man made the gun
        Man shapes the son

        Man made it, man made

      • Fred Magyar says:

        Couldn’t we build a hyper virtual reality holodeck and just kill virtual lions?
        Either that or bring back the Roman Coliseum and give the lions a fair chance…

        • Hightrekker says:

          So many Christians-
          So few Lions—-

          • Fred Magyar says:

            Maybe we could re porpoise The Miami Sea Aquarium…
            So many ‘Conservatives’-
            So few White Sharks–

      • OFM says:

        The actual reality out there ON THE GROUND, in Africa and elsewhere, is that trophy hunting is one of the last and best ways we have of actually preserving large chunks of land for wildlife, saving it from the chainsaw and the plow.

        Of course it’s a LOT more fun making fun of people you don’t like than actually thinking and doing something to HELP with preserving what’s left of nature.

        Trophy hunting isn’t really a BUSINESS where I live, but we do have a huge excess of white tails, and some of my neighbors get the few extra bucks from people who pay something to hunt deer on their property- bucks that have enabled and encouraged them to keep the old family farm together, and allow parts of it to go wild again, rather than call the real estate agents who bombard them with offers to buy their property in order to subdivide it and build even MORE houses, roads, and shopping centers.

        But don’t yall worry none atall, cause the Trumps and Koches some of them are into hunting, and they will save a few tens of thousands of acres here and there as their private preserves, and for bragging purposes, ya see, so it’s possible and maybe even likely that some of the larger species will survive as long as THEY survive as oligarchs.

        The usual story about why we have lawns is that in times gone by, having a little patch of grass that WAS NOT grazed was a status symbol. Just think how impressed yer friends are gonna be when ya own ten thousand or a hundred thousand acres, with some of the animals still living on it, animals that are to be seen nowhere else.


        • Doug Leighton says:

          “The actual reality out there ON THE GROUND, in Africa and elsewhere, is that trophy hunting is one of the last and best ways we have of actually preserving large chunks of land for wildlife, saving it from the chainsaw and the plow.”

          Really? Until this year I’ve been going to central Africa every year now for over the last fifteen years, or so, and always stay with a family who guide tourists in Big Game parks where herds of ALL Big Game species are being decimated by poachers, in many cases to near extinction. But perhaps you know more about this than Africans who’ve gone to college and now make their living based on a healthy balance of big game animals to teach tourists about African wildlife and conservation. Trophy hunting isn’t going to help this situation in any way shape or form! Jesus, don’t get me started on this.

          PS: My wife considered “trophy hunting” getting photographs of lions and was able to get some excellent shots of them hunting (from a distance that didn’t disturb the process). Now that’s REAL hunting in my book!

          • Doug Leighton says:


            GIRAFFES EDGE CLOSER TO EXTINCTION: In just 30 years, the giraffe population has fallen up to 40 percent, from between 152,000 and 163,000 animals in 1985 to just 98,000 in 2015. This dramatic decline is reflected in the latest edition of the Red List of Threatened Species—the ever-depressing inventory in which the International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies the world’s wildlife into various shades of screwed. Giraffes used to be in the safest bracket: “Least Concern.” As of this week, they’ve been shunted into “Vulnerable”—a two-step demotion, and four steps away from total extinction.

          • OFM says:

            Hi Doug,

            Indeed I have not been so lucky as to have traveled to Africa.

            Now here are a couple of points you might think about.

            Does the fact that poaching is a problem invalidate the concept of paid trophy hunting? Can you think of any reason there might be LESS poaching if there were no legal trophy hunting?

            So far as I have been able to find out, the poaching is mostly for MEAT, and conducted by local people, for local people. This does not apply to lions and other big cats, but to just about all the other animals, excepting rhinos, for their horns, etc.

            Do you think that poachers are going to EVER have any incentive to manage the wildlife resource so as to ATTRACT TOURISTS, and attract the trophy hunters who are quite willing to spend a HELL OF a lot of money in order to hunt these animals?

            Will poachers save some for next year, or shoot’em all “before they’re all gone”? That quote is lifted directly from the words of a commercial fisherman who eventually saw the light and changed his mind about quotas per boat, lol. He of course was intending to get his last few trips in,catching some more fish , before they disappeared for good.

            We have a digestive tract that WELL DESIGNED to eat meat, indicating a carnivorous or at least omnivorous ancestry, and ya know what?

            Naked apes indulge in the activities that are programmed into us by evolution. If you think you can stop kids from fucking, or men from hunting, you have another think coming. You may manage to redirect the desire to hunt into a desire to accumulate power or wealth or some other direction, but you cannot eliminate it.

            You can either work WITH REALITY, or against it. Trophy hunting is working WITH reality.

            An animal shot for meat doesn’t contribute much of anything to the economy, where as if one is shot as a legal trophy, the meat mostly still goes into local bellies, with the head and hide and horns leaving with the hunter.

            In a few more years, the poachers will no doubt clean out the rest of the trophy animals in some spots and they may get them all everywhere in Africa, eventually.

            But is that the fault of trophy hunting, which if WELL MANAGED, PRESERVES some wildlife, and some wildlife habitat, so as to ATTRACT more tourists? And MORE HUNTERS in coming years?

            What is NEEDED is GOOD COMPETENT MANAGEMENT of trophy hunting , which depends on good government.

            I will be the last person to say that government in Africa is up to the standards that prevail in western Europe, lol.

            Here’s a link that includes the typical prices paid by trophy hunters to at least one trophy hunting company.

            I most cordially invite you to scroll down thru it and see how much revenue goes to the government per legally hunted animal -WHICH COULD BE USED TO PAY PARK RANGERS AND GAME WARDENS – and actually IS so used, at least once in a while.


            A LEGALLY killed buffalo means 12,250 Yankee dollars to the South African government treasury, plus whatever the hunting party spends in country, which generally runs around a thousand bucks a day and up for a party of two.

            • Doug Leighton says:

              Well, according to a report prepared by a Melbourne Australia-based consultancy people have “grossly overstated the contribution of big game hunting to African economies and that overall tourism in Africa dwarfs trophy hunting as a source of revenue. In the eight countries studied, Botswana, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, tourism is responsible for 2.8 to 5.1 percent of GDP. Trophy hunting is responsible for less than $132 million of the $17 billion spent on tourism in those countries every year, or just 0.78 percent of total tourism spending, an estimated 0.03 percent of GDP for those eight countries.

            • Fred Magyar says:

              Hey OFM, sorry I’m not buying the advantages of Trophy Hunting adding much to any country’s bottom line.

              Furthermore I can think of absolutely no reason for some overprivileged asshat to take the life of any wildlife for the sole purpose of placing its head above their mantle!

              To be clear. I think poaching for survival, i.e. food is a completely separate issue as is culling an overpopulated herd of white tails.

              BTW, you forgot to mention trophy hunting African elephants which are highly social, self aware, sentient, empathetic creatures that research has shown, are actually known to mourn their dead.
              IMHO, I can’t think of a more despicable act than some rich fuck with a small penis killing an elephant with a high powered rifle…

              Poaching elephants for ivory is also a special case.

              • Hightrekker says:

                A wealthy person who has never had to rely on help and resources from his community is leading a privileged life that falls way outside more than a million years of human experience. Financial independence can lead to isolation, and isolation can put people at a greatly increased risk of depression and suicide. This might be a fair trade for a generally wealthy society, but a trade it is.

              • Doug Leighton says:

                IF IT MOVES — KILL IT

                “As depicted in his 1910 book, African Game Trails; An Account of the African Wanderings of an American Hunter-Naturalist, former President Teddy Roosevelt and his son Kermit traveled to eastern Africa for a hunting trip in 1909, killing 512 animals in total. Amongst the 512 killed: 17 lions, 3 leopards, 7 cheetahs, 9 hyenas, 8 hippopotami, 11 elephants, 10 buffalo, 11 black rhino, 9 white rhino, 29 zebras, 9 black and white monkeys, 29 zebras, 2 ostriches, 4 crocodiles, 4 pythons, 9 giraffe, and 43 various birds.”

                And he called himself a Naturalist!


                • GoneFishing says:

                  He helped to save far more land and animals than he could ever kill. He was also an explorer and adventurer. Great men are full of contradictions, they also learn as they go.

                  • GoneFishing says:

                    “As president, Roosevelt created five national parks (doubling the previously existing number); signed the landmark Antiquities Act and used its special provisions to unilaterally create 18 national monuments, including the Grand Canyon; set aside 51 federal bird sanctuaries, four national game refuges, and more than 100 million acres’ worth of national forests.” PBS

              • OFM says:

                Hi Fred,

                I wouldn’t ever under any circumstances hunt an elephant myself. I understand your arguments, and I don’t disagree with them, I am actually emotionally sympathetic to them.

                And I don’t want to put much emphasis on the economic aspect of trophy hunting, because it really does not amount to a great deal in terms of a national economy.

                But by Sky Daddy, I ‘m a REALIST, above all, and I come from a hunting culture, and I continue to hunt myself, and I have NEVER ever seen any argument that impresses me when it comes to banning hunting.

                YOU are one of the people who as far as I can tell knows a hell of a lot about naked apes, as they are understood by biologists, rather than left wing political advocates or mouth pieces. So you should understand our natural urges and passions.

                But emotions aside, if you want to preserve substantial portions of the environment at the LOCAL level in key spots, there are only a few WORKABLE ways of doing so.
                It works in a rich country such as the USA to set the land aside as a state or national park for instance.

                In my formerly backwoods community ( unfortunately gentrifying and houses are being built in the woods in large numbers ) a significant percentage of the land in the hands of some local farmers is maintained in such a way as to provide excellent all around wildlife habitat, because the owners, and their friends enjoy hunting, and because the owners get some financial support from hunters. This really matters when your property tax bill consumes a substantial part of your actual cash income. My dinky ( in terms of SIZE ) little farm sucks me DRY property tax wise in relation to my income, where as my grand parents paid a pittance on the same EXACT acreage.

                The fact that I can hunt on it, and that a couple of old friends from town contribute a few bucks towards having some acres managed as habitat rather than rented as crop land has helped me avoid HAVING to sell an acre here and there and ANOTHER house being built on each of those acres.

                Now you are a SMART fella, whereas I understand I am only a fart smeller, in the eyes of your political in group, but I notice this.

                You haven’t had a word to say about whether you believe, or do not, that trophy hunting helps preserve some land in at least a semi wild condition, and thus also serve as a wildlife refuge not only for the species that are hunted in this land, but also for the countless other species that are NOT hunted, ranging from insects right on up to buzzards. 😉

                I support sensible and workable policies, and I have yet to see any evidence at all that trophy hunting is even remotely as great a threat, at the local or regional level, to the overall environment and wildlife as runaway development and hunting legally or poaching for food.

                Trophy hunting puts the hunter on the side of the REALIST conservationist, because the trophy hunter doesn’t really want the LAST elephant or buffalo. He wants to come back again, next year, and ten years from now, and he wants his boy and his grand son to hunt too.

                Your mileage may vary, but I remain convinced, so far, that the so called “preponderance of the evidence” is on my side.

                Prove me wrong, if you can.


  28. OFM says:

    There’s PLENTY of excellent articles about Africa and the possible future of Africa at this site.

    Just type Africa into the site search box.

    The potential for cheap and easily accessed communication has the potential to really and truly shake up the African status quo. Add to that the other things discussed at this site, such as micro financing, etc, and anybody interested in truly knowing something about the possibility that things might go a LOT better than most environmentalists expect will be well rewarded for the time needed to read the many articles on Africa.

    I’ve read quite a few of them myself already, and intend to read them all.

    • Fred Magyar says:

      The potential for cheap and easily accessed communication has the potential to really and truly shake up the African status quo. Add to that the other things discussed at this site, such as micro financing, etc,

      Yep! That and cheap alternatives to fossil fuels will go a long way.

      • GoneFishing says:

        I always found coasting downhill to be far easier and more refreshing than pedaling up the hill. Problem is that one must do both to get from here to there and back again. 🙂
        Which of course explains the tortuous route of main line trains. They try to avoid both, which usually turns out to be impossible (except in Florida).

        Our civilization has been pedaling uphill for a while now, when do we get to coast downhill?

  29. GoneFishing says:

    So what do Africans think about their population problem? Maybe they think that Americans, Europeans, Chinese and Indians are the problem.

    Here is another perspective that casts the concept of overpopulation as a fraud and a convenient ideology because it voluntary ignores the impact per capita (per one person) and focuses on simple numerical analysis.

    The problem with the world population is not that we are too ‘heavy’ for the Earth to carry, the problem with the world population is the impact of human consumption and activity on the environment and resources.

    The USA consumes 25% of world resources while its population is under 5%. And the West as a bloc represents less than 15% of the overall world population while consuming over half of world resources and being responsible for 80% of the world climate change factors.

    When it comes to carbon dioxide emission (‘carbon footprint’) per person on the global scale, one person in the US emits about 20 tons every year, one person in the European Union emits 11 tons, one person in China emit three tons, and one person in the sub-Saharan Africa emits a maximum of 300 kilograms. Which means the African carbon impact is 66 times less than American, and 36 times less than European.

    Put simply, the impact of a single American on the environment and his role in furthering the global warming effect is equivalent to that of almost 7,000 Africans. A single European threatens the environment with the ‘force’ of 4,000 Africans.

    The same goes for the consumption of vital resources like water, meat, etc. For example, the US, with a population around 300 million people, consume as much water per person as China or India which each have above one billion inhabitants. EU countries follow similar patterns.

    The whole African continent’s population is less than China’s alone, and a totalGDP the size of a small country like France (France’s 2013 GDP was 2.806 trillion USD vs Africa’s 2.6 trillion in 2013) which is five times smaller than Congo.

    Looking from that perspective, you can now see why it is convenient for some people to throw dubious numbers out there: attacking poor Africans is such a harmless exercise.

    The debate about the world overpopulation should not be about headcount, but about a single individual’s impact on the environment, and it is necessary to recalculate the ‘overpopulation factor’ based on those parameters.

    • OFM says:

      It’s perfectly true that most Africans at this time are not burning much in the way of fossil fuels, and thus not adding much CO2 to the atmosphere.

      But if the population of Africa keeps on growing the way it has over the last few decades, they are either going to industrialize, or starve.

      It’s easy to come up with nice arguments when you ignore half the relevant facts.

      I’m not going to win any popularity contests for pointing it out, but we Yankees would BE THERE, in terms of birth rates and population growth, if it weren’t for the fact that we take in a lot of new people.

      Environmentalists are quite fond of referring to Spaceship Earth as a LIFEBOAT, which is an excellent way of getting the point across that it’s our sole home and that we won’t be moving to a better neighborhood if we mess it up.

      But they somehow totally manage to forget that the people of individual countries should just maybe perhaps possibly be giving SOME thought to the possibility that IF environmental alarmists are RIGHT, then it’s WISE to think of one’s own country as the PARTICULAR life boat one will be in or on, when the shit hits the fan.

      Personally I think the shit IS going to hit the fan, and hard, in many many parts of the world within this century, and within the next few years in numerous places. It’s already raining shit hurricane fashion in some places.

      Pessimists such as Ron Patterson may be right, we may have already passed tipping points that mean the entire planet is up shit creek without a paddle, so far as mankind is concerned.

      I absolutely will NOT argue that he is wrong, because there is an OVERWHELMING amount of solid evidence he may be right.

      But given the awesomely fast progress being made in the renewable energy industries, and the remarkably fast decline in birth rates in prosperous countries, I am no longer CONVINCED that life as we know it will soon be a historical curiosity.

      I think there is a fair to good chance that quite a lot of industrial civilization will survive, along with quite a lot of the biosphere that supports industrial civilization, at least in countries that are still rich in natural resources, and not yet desperately overpopulated.

      The USA and Canada, in particular, are two such countries. Good sense indicates that we shouldn’t let our political prejudices, right or left, stop us from seriously thinking and talking about our population growth.

      Some immigration is ok, and even good for us, depending on the skills the immigrants bring with them, and we have in my opinion a moral responsibility to take in a substantial number of REAL refugees.

      But when the number of people coming in is enough to keep the population growing……… maybe we need to tighten up the standards a little.

      I’m one hundred percent for a single payer health care system, and the rich as well as the poor getting all the free birth control meds and devices, plus physicals, etc, they can use simply for the asking. Then it would be more appropriate to allow in higher numbers of immigrants.

      This one strategy , all by itself, might be enough to lower the birth rate to the point our population peaks a lot sooner and likewise starts declining sooner.

      • Caelan MacIntyre says:

        “Some immigration is ok, and even good for us, depending on the skills the immigrants bring with them, and we have in my opinion a moral responsibility to take in a substantial number of REAL refugees.” ~ OFM/Glen McMillian

        That sounds a little like a taped recording. ^
        People should be able to go wherever they bloody well please, maybe especially to where those who bombed some of them out of their original places live.

        • HuntingtonBeach says:

          “should just maybe perhaps possibly be giving SOME thought to the possibility that IF”

          What “REAL” scientific study did that phrase come from Trumpster ? Could you supply the link ? Or, did you get it from were I suspect ?

          • OFM says:

            Hi HB,
            I’m glad to see I can still provoke you into responding to my comments, although you have often denied reading them, lol.

            Now as far as this particular line is concerned, so far as I can remember, it’s original. But my memory ain’t what it used to be, and sometimes I repeat things thinking they are common place trueisms or cliches, and get called on it.

            I DID do a couple of years of extra courses in English, when I was in college, although I never intended to major in English. When I signed up for a certain number of credits, beyond a cutoff, I didn’t have to pay tuition for any additional class. So I took these extra English classes because I enjoyed them.

            Now if only you would do your part helping post stuff about Trump, I could have more time to post about energy, the environment, etc……..

        • OFM says:

          Spoken like the true idiot you are, or else maybe the elitist snob who has a ton of money and lives in a community he believes will ALWAYS BE SAFE from people who might do him a lot of intentional harm, lol.

          Now I have often remarked that CONTEXT and NUANCE are everything, in respect to truly understanding any real problem or issue, and this is ESPECIALLY true in relation to the immigration issue.

          In the theoretical or moral context, it’s possible to argue that anybody ought to be able to go anyplace he pleases.

          In the real world, this means that some kid who believes he ought to be able to force your little girl into marriage and have some hack priest cut off her little man in the boat with a dirty knife, because HIS parents believed in this sort of thing, should be able to go to school with your little girl, ya see.

          Now as a PRACTICAL matter, teachers have enough on their platter as it is, and we have already found it necessary to have a cop on hand just about all the time at just about every public school.

          And as a PRACTICAL matter, one man who gets into this country, and murders a few people, or a few dozen, has the effect of helping elect REPUBLICAN politicians, who in turn put RIGHT WING judges on federal benches, and pass various laws that we most surely would be better off without. These REPUBLICAN politicians also repeal laws and regulations that we would be FAR better off with, LEFT IN EFFECT.

          If you are smart enough to understand WHAT I am trying to get across, you will recognize it as very close to the basic argument YOU always throw at me concerning supporting HRC, in terms not of supporting Clinton, but of OPPOSING Trump.

          Maybe thinking liberals need to think about whether our national lifeboat already has people enough in it, and whether it would best serve the interests of the people of this country, taken all around, to restrict immigration to people who really are refugees, or who really do bring skills into the country that we really need.

          I am not even arguing that this is NECESSARILY true , or that it can be proven. I ‘m just doing what I can to stimulate a REAL conversation, one not censored as the result of party allegiances.

          I support sensible policies, rather than parties.

          My argument is very simple in this respect. IF allowing in too many immigrants results in the election of MORE REPUBLICANS, and I believe this is the case, then it MIGHT be in the interests of the country to restrict immigration to some extent.

          This in turn might mean we have better environmental laws, better health care laws, fewer people sleeping outdoors with empty bellies, fewer people in jail due to ridiculous drug laws mostly supported by Republicans, etc, etc etc.

          Of course I understand that I am considered by a lot of members to be the forum’s dunce in the corner, just fell off the turnip wagon hick from the sticks right wing gadfly. This is perfectly ok by me.

          I’m here to provoke as many comments as I can which reveal flaws in my arguments, as well as to learn as much as I can about topics I have never formally studied.This is a great place to learn about energy and the environment.

          If Ron or Dennis were to ban me, I would still lurk for the learning experience, and just establish a new identity using a new email, IP address, etc, in order to post comments anyway, if I wanted to.

          Most likely within the next year or so I will be dropping out almost all together anyway in order to focus on a couple of big projects of my own.

      • Hickory says:

        Many people mention a ‘single payer’ health care system as if it is some sort of benevolent revolution.
        That is an assumption that I see as overly simplistic.
        It really depends on two major factors-
        1) who is making the decisions on rationing of care- are they (the single payer decision makers) wise, fact based, and do they have the ‘common good’ as their mandate? By that I mean do they have an effective decision making process that channels resources towards where you get the best public health bang for your buck, rather than being influenced by industry lobbying and political manipulation.
        2) is the system adequately funded, and does it pay for services (nurses, techs, docs, hospitals) at appropriate levels?

        If the ‘single payer system’ is underfunded, if it underpays for service, or if it makes decisions on rationing that are poor, then it has the potential to be a massive failure.
        I do not trust the government to be the single payer and get these things right.

        Rather than single payer I believe that a hybrid system would be better- universal basic health care ( level of ‘basic’ care to be determined by the budget supplied by the congress) , coupled with an additional layer of private insurance for those who wish to work for the additional coverage for their family.

        • OFM says:

          Hi Hickory,

          EXCELLENT point !

          I’m not opposed to having a national single payer heath care system with a second fee based system remaining for those who can afford luxury level and experimental care, and care that has dubious benefits, such as replacing knees in people so old or sick they aren’t going to be walking more than a few more days or months anyway, due to other health issues, etc.

          This sort of double system seems to be working out reasonably well in the UK, according to what I read.

          Any links dedicated to discussing this option will be greatly appreciated, I am saving this sort of thing as research for my book.

          It is absolutely for damned sure that health care IS and will CONTINUE to be rationed on the basis of costs, because there is no limit to how much can be spent on it.

          Consider for instance that IF sufficient money were available, we could send a personal trainer to every person’s home, every day, and force each and every person to exercise, or at least pay a big fine, ACA style, for refusing to exercise, lol.

    • OFM says:

      Hi GF,

      If I were to be thinking that Africans as a whole intend to remain poor, and continue to live on almost nothing in terms of their own PERSONAL environmental impact, I wouldn’t really be giving them much more than a passing thought, lol. I have plenty of other things to think about, more than I will ever have time to think thru.

      But it seems pretty obvious they intend to get as rich as they can and as fast as they can, and I am the last person who will ever fault them for doing so, or at least trying to.

      As a practical matter, I believe that any thing we can do to convince Africans to lower their birth rate is VERY MUCH in their own interests, and in everybody else’s interest as well, because the environment is a GLOBALLY connected web.

      What happens in Africa could in turn result in a deadly pandemic disease wiping out MY neighborhood, or yours, sometime down the road.

      Or if Africa loses a few species of migratory birds, and these birds are critical to the environmental balance in Europe, or even in the Americas, due to that ENVIRONMENTAL WEB, we could have MAJOR problems producing staple foods in Europe, or even in North America, etc.

      African wars, especially ones that involve great powers, MIGHT spill out all over the world, and result in hot conventional or even NBC warfare in your country or mine.

      Note that I consistently support doing anything and everything that is physically, economically, and politically feasible to reduce the environmental impact of our industrial civilization, although I still use quite a bit of oil, etc, both personally and on my farm, even though I am pretty much retired.

      • GoneFishing says:

        Do Americans and Europeans have any concept of their own megalithic hypocrisy?

  30. Caelan MacIntyre says:

    Elements of societies that slave and otherwise abuse people– their own kind– through slave and wage-slave labor, coercive taxation, war, land-grabbing and enclosure, neo-feudalism and sharecropping, etc., will only regard the rest of nature similarly, if not worse. Why should we expect it to be any different?

    Leveraged large-scale energies, like hydro, nuclear and fossil fuel, at these kinds of elements of societies’ disposal will only help them abuse larger chunks of their own kind and the rest of nature.

    “Any economic or social system that does not benefit the natural communities on which it is based is unsustainable, immoral, and stupid. Sustainability, morality, and intelligence (as well as justice) requires the dismantling of any such economic or social system, or at the very least disallowing it from damaging your landbase.” ~ Derrick Jensen

    “I think as the years roll on, more and more people will understand that we actually need to change the DNA of this country to have any chance. I think that as the ball starts rolling faster, more and more people will clearly see how the structure of law operates and the necessity of changing it.” ~ Thomas Linzey, Esq.

    “Capitalism is a form of class society which has come to dominate the entire world in one global system, where the whole of social production is done for the benefit of only a few… What makes capitalism different from previous forms is the way that wealth is accumulated, which is through the exploitation of labor and the process of the production of commodities: Workers are not payed the full value of their labour; they produce more value than they receive as wages, and that extra labour power, which is stolen by the capitalist and is called ‘surplus value’, is embodied in the commodities, and realized as profit when those are sold and reinvested as new capital…

    The… first part of capitalism is called primary [or primitive] accumulation, and that’s basically going out somewhere and stealing… resources and enslaving people… So basically, it begins as conquering and then once it’s ‘owned’, they claim to have a right to it.” ~ Stephanie McMillan

    Sweet Lullaby

    • Fred Magyar says:

      Caelan you’re really stuck in the distant past, bro!

      You don’t seem to grasp that Capitalism and the flip side of that coin, Communism are both anachronisms! They are both 19th century versions of Neo-feudalistic thinking. Yeah, there are a lot of vested interetsts trying to keep those systems afloat, they aren’t likely to succeed for a number of reasons. most importantly because they are both based on concepts of infinite growth in a finite resource constrained environment.

      As Douglas Rushkoff says: “We are running a 21st-century digital economy on a 13th Century printing-press era operating system.”

      That doesn’t bode well for a Capitalistic system that depends on cheap labor or Comumism that purports to defend the workers against the owners of capital when 80% of all global laborers suddenly become obsolete…

      You don’t seem to grok messengers like Tony Seba, Yuval Noah Harrari or Douglas Rushkoff!

      You confuse them with supporters of the Status Quo when in actuality they are just modern day Cassandras, relating possible future scenarios based on technological economic and political disruption. All of which are very real and happening right now!

      You still think that technological innovation is an evil byproduct of what you call the ‘Crony Capitalist Plutarchy’. You seem to think that going back to a tribal hunter gatherer society on a planet with soon to be 9 billion plus humans is even remotely plausible.

      Interview with Paul Mason, Author of PostCapitalism, A Guide to Our Future

      In his talk Paul explained how neoliberalism is broken, and what might come after. His argument is that the speed of technological innovation is becoming so accelerated, it is challenging classical economics. Information technology in itself, is a revolution that, even though is driven by capitalism, it has the tendency to drive the value of much of what we make towards zero, as various other writers (Jeremy Rifkin and others) have already described. That tendency has the potential to destroy an economy based on markets, wages and private ownership.

      Let’s see you start by practicing what you preach and build your own hardware with off the shelf components then installing an open source free OS like Linux and running software such as FreeCad to do your little projects.

      Otherwise you are just another holier than thou BS-ing hypocrite!

      • Caelan MacIntyre says:

        Bee In Bonnet
        a tune, by Caelan MacIntyre
        (featuring Fred Magyar looped samples)

        “….you’re really stuck…

        You don’t seem to grasp…

        You don’t seem to grok…

        You confuse them…

        You still think that…

        You seem to think…

        Let’s see you start by…

        you are just another…” ~ Fred Magyar


        • Fred Magyar says:

          Here’s some light listening for you, courtesy of the technological civilization you seem to dislike so much…

          In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Geoffrey West about how biological and social systems scale, the significance of fractals, the prospects of radically extending human life, the concept of “emergence” in complex systems, the importance of cities, the necessity for continuous innovation, and other topics.

          Geoffrey West is a theoretical physicist whose primary interests have been in fundamental questions in physics and biology. He is a Senior Fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory and a distinguished professor at the Sante Fe Institute, where he served as the president from 2005-2009. In 2006 he was named to Time’s list of “The 100 Most Influential People in the World.” He is the author of Scale: The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainability, and the Pace of Life in Organisms, Cities, Economies, and Companies.

          • Caelan MacIntyre says:

            Fragility and Counterproductivity

            It is one thing to post quotes and links and make loose, implied, misleading or false associations to them, but yet another to actually synthesize them and make them your own…

            See also here and then here.

            “I’m also quite capable of holding multiple contradictory views simultaneously and make no apologies for doing so.” ~ Fred Magyar

            That sounds like a slippery-slope toward religiosity or whatever rationalization one might decide to make.
            In any case, there’s something to be said about checking as many internal contradictions as possible at the door before entering. It would seem less counterproductive– both to you and the people in the room.

            “Let’s see you start by practicing what you preach and build your own hardware with off the shelf components then installing an open source free OS like Linux and running software such as FreeCad… to do your little projects.” ~ Fred Magyar

            Why? And what makes you think I preach that? Building my own hardware?
            Bear in mind, too, that you are suggesting this in a thread, the topic of which is ‘Africa In Peril’.

            I seem to recall trying and/or looking into FreeCAD when it first arrived on Sourceforge, including BlenderCAD, BRLCAD, Archimedes CAD and QCAD, to name a few, all of which, at the time, left things to be desired and blew a lot of time to boot, as I imagine Taleb would understand.
            He would also likely agree that one doesn’t need CAD and its hardware to build in the same sense that, to paraphrase him, one doesn’t need a tablet computer to write longhand. (I do know how to make paper, incidentally, so can ‘build my own hardware’ pretty easily in that regard.)

            Speaking of hardware, I used to run AutoCAD on Windows in VirtualBox on Linux but had problems with some elements of the software vis-a-vis the hardware.

            That’s diminishing returns…
            From gadgets and trinkets whose systems become counterproductive (consider Ivan Illich in this regard as well) and bump up against nature, often with deleterious results.

            “Much of all of this is a religious belief in the unconditional power of organized science, one that has replaced unconditional religious belief in organized religion…

            Antifragility implies… that the old is superior to the new…

            Now, what is fragile? The large, optimized, overreliant on technology, overreliant on the so-called scientific method instead of age-tested heuristics…” ~ Nassim Nicholas Taleb

            • Fred Magyar says:

              That sounds like a slippery-slope toward religiosity or whatever rationalization one might decide to make.
              In any case, there’s something to be said about checking as many internal contradictions as possible at the door before entering.

              Non, non, au contraire mon ami!

              The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.
              F. Scott Fitzgerald

              Furthermore, holding multiple contradictory views simultaneously is not an automatic endorsement of said views, it is merely a tactic for a deeper examination of those ideas.

              Anyone who confounds religiosity with scientific thinking or suggests that science is a form of faith, doesn’t have the slightest clue what they are talking about!


              I find the discussion by Geoffrey West about: The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainability, and the Pace of Life in Organisms, Cities, Economies, and Companies to be multiple orders of magnitude more scientifically relevant to ‘Africa in Peril’ than a tired one dimensional screed about the evils of Capitalism.

              BTW, Capitalism is just one minor and probably very temporary emergent phenomenon of those ‘Universal Laws’. I find the underlying physics and biology infinitely more more interesting as a topic for understanding why Africa or the rest of the biosphere as we know it, might be in peril. And as a contradictory viewpoint, keeping in mind that while we can and should be concerned with our planetary life support systems, the Universe doesn’t care one way or another about life on planet earth, and cares even less about capitalism!

              • GoneFishing says:

                My God, are we discussing contradictory and dissonant views. I thought we got over those, it’s called growing up. They are a fact of life. There is no way to live without contradiction. In fact life as we know it cannot exist without contradiction.
                Only a fully self-centered person would not see the contradictions. We call those sociopaths.

                • Fred Magyar says:

                  Some people just can’t deal with contradictory realities like photons having properties of both a wave and a particle.

                  Maybe they need to be beaten with sticks and burned at the stake…

                  “Anyone who denies the law of non-contradiction should be beaten and burned until he admits that to be beaten is not the same as not to be beaten, and to be burned is not the same as not to be burned.”
                  (Avicenna, Medieval Philosopher)

                  BTW, it seems sociopaths are always complaining about being the objects of witch hunts… They must be afraid of not being burned at the stake, go figure! 😉

              • GoneFishing says:

                As far as the energy use of civilization, far more energy falls on Africa than the whole human world needs to function. In fact just a small percentage of it would do.
                The result of using renewable energy such as PV or thermal solar is to reduce the amount of reflected light slightly and change it to long wave infrared radiation. The percentage energy shift would be very small so should have a small effect across the planet.
                When using wind power we slow the air slightly overall, which could change some weather on a very small scale but compared to the overall energy of system it is negligibly small.
                We have already changed the albedo of the earth through our development and farming practices. That change is larger energetically than what we need to run civilization. So no matter what we do, changes have already been made.
                The use of fossil fuels is unique in that the energy released is very small compared to the energy input to the planet, however the changing of the chemistry of the atmosphere and ocean has caused a significant change in the energy pattern of the system. Therein lies the rub.

                • Fred Magyar says:

                  The use of fossil fuels is unique in that the energy released is very small compared to the energy input to the planet, however the changing of the chemistry of the atmosphere and ocean has caused a significant change in the energy pattern of the system. Therein lies the rub.


                  But not to worry, it’s only a seasonal disorder 🙂

              • Caelan MacIntyre says:

                That was my point, mon amour; checking your contradictions at the door meant not waiting for others to waste too much time chronically spoonfeeding them to you, such as if you’re less inclined or able to conduct, as you wrote, ‘a deeper examination of those ideas’ before the fact/act.

                Incidentally, and as a bit of an embellishment/elaboration and bounce off of one of GoneFishing’s recent comments; practically anyone can be ‘full of contradictions’ and ‘learn as they go’, but one issue of concern is what they are leaving behind in their wake in the process, both for themselves and their world in general. The world is big, but the impacts from our collective contradictions are too. We have a whole lot more ‘safari Roosevelts’, and national parks don’t seem to be cutting it.

                Think before you act (or open your trap) would also be apt.

                In the spirit of my point here, I’ll skip over the rest of your comment and let you ruminate. Hopefully, you will avail yourself of the opportunity.

                • Fred Magyar says:

                  Rumination is the focused attention on the symptoms of one’s distress, and on its possible causes and consequences, as opposed to its solutions.[1] Both rumination and worry are associated with anxiety and other negative emotional states
                  Source Wikipedia

                  LOL! What a gas! You want me to ruminate about your mental problems? No thanks, I think I’ll pass, pun intended!

  31. Tony says:

    I just read an article that was talking about Trump defunding (or potentially doing so) some Planned Parenthood type activity in Africa. It made the statement that only 30% of the women in Africa use birth control and that a large number of them don’t realize that birth control exists. If there is some truth to that then I wouldn’t say that nothing can be done.

    • Tony, yes if everyone just changed their behavior, and if governments would all promote birth control, then that would slow down the destruction of Africa.
      If everyone were honest then we would not need the police force. If governments would just not wage war then we would not need an Army or a Navy.
      You are not going to change human nature, Tony. And there is not one goddamn thing we can do to prevent the further destruction of Africa.

      • Tony says:

        Encouraging and expecting everyone to use birth control is not the equivalent to expecting everyone to be honest. Human nature and birth control has lowered birth rates in other parts of the world so why would human nature prevent birth control usage in Africa?

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