One of the Ten Things (in the menu bar above) is what I believe is the critical piece in sorting out any problem we face: “The world is limited in how many humans it can feed & support. We have too many, already.”
Family planning is no draconian thing; it gives the people who are born a chance at the earth’s resources. The math is easy: if the number of people exceeds what resources are available, people will suffer and, as the UN reports, die (some 24,000 every day of starvation – see here how many died today). If a terrorist blew up a stadium with 25,000 folks, the world would be aghast; yet nearly 11 million people will die of starvation this year, with hardly a whimper.
I would like to add the words of Dr. Martin Luther KIng, Jr. in 1966 to this:
Recently, the press has been filled with reports of sightings of flying saucers. While we need not give credence to these stories, they allow our imagination to speculate on how visitors from outer space would judge us. I am afraid they would be stupefied at our conduct.
They would observe that for death planning we spend billions to create engines and strategies for war. They would also observe that we spend millions to prevent death by disease and other causes. Finally, they would observe that we spend paltry sums for population planning, even though its spontaneous growth is an urgent threat to life on our planet.
Our visitors from outer space could be forgiven if they reported home that our planet is inhabited by a race of insane men whose future is bleak and uncertain.
There is no human circumstance more tragic than the persisting existence of a harmful condition for which a remedy is readily available. Family planning, to relate population to world resources, is possible, practical and necessary.
Unlike plagues of the dark ages or contemporary diseases we do not yet understand, the modern plague of overpopulation is soluble by means we have discovered and with resources we possess.
What is lacking is not sufficient knowledge of the solution but universal consciousness of the gravity of the problem and education of the billions who are its victims. …
While some countries have minister-level positions to deal with population issues, and some countries have negative population growth (less people at the end of the year than at the first – Spain and Portugal come to mind), it’s time to push this to the front of the the discussion, if we hope to have a chance in the decades ahead.
So, that’s why I mention & agitate for that discussion here & now…so that we’ll have a chance. For you, for me, for the kids….
In loving light –
People who manufacture weapons or invest in weapons industries are hypocrites if they call themselves Christian, Pope Francis said on Sunday.
Francis issued his toughest condemnation to date of the weapons industry at a rally of thousands of young people at the end of the first day of his trip to the Italian city of Turin.
“If you trust only men you have lost,” he told the young people in a long, rambling talk about war, trust and politics after putting aside his prepared address.
“It makes me think of … people, managers, businessmen who call themselves Christian and they manufacture weapons. That leads to a bit a distrust, doesn’t it?” he said to applause.
He also criticized those who invest in weapons industries, saying “duplicity is the currency of today … they say one thing and do another.”
Francis also built on comments he has made in the past about events during the first and second world wars.
He spoke of the “tragedy of the Shoah,” using the Hebrew term for the Holocaust.
“The great powers had the pictures of the railway lines that brought the trains to the concentration camps like Auschwitz to kill Jews, Christians, homosexuals, everybody. Why didn’t they bomb (the railway lines)?”
Discussing World War One, he spoke of “the great tragedy of Armenia” but did not use the word “genocide”.
Francis sparked a diplomatic row in April calling the massacre of up to 1.5 million Armenians 100 years ago “the first genocide of the 20th century,” prompting Turkey to recall its ambassador to the Vatican.
(Reporting By Philip Pullella; Editing by Rosalind Russell)
Thanks to our friends at Reuters for reporting this story:
In the Emperor’s New Clothes part of this blog, we offer discourses and stories about the connections that matter, but are often left out (or distorted) in the storytelling of the day. Our purpose: To get you to think, and get you to feel.
It’s hard to change your ways when a) you make a living off something and b) it’s not your kids that are getting blown up. The pope addresses this in a straightforward address…to children. Thanks to the Huffington Post for this article:
Pope Francis Explains To Children How War Profiteers Never Want Peace
The Huffington Post | By Antonia Blumberg
Pope Francis did not mince words when he told a group of children gathered at the Vatican that some people will never want peace because they profit off of war.
“Some powerful people earn their living off making weapons,” the pope said, in a translation provided by Rome Reports. “For this reason, many people do not want peace.”
He also called the weapons business an “industry of death,” according to Catholic Herald.
The pontiff spoke in front of roughly 7,000 children at the Vatican on Monday, in a visit sponsored by the Fabbrica della pace (“Peace Factory”), a non-governmental organization that operates educational programming in primary schools with the purpose of promoting cross-cultural understanding.
Pope Francis ended the session by imploring those present to make a small change in attitude or behavior, Vatican Radio reports.
“Whenever we do something together, something good, something beautiful, everyone changes,” he said. “All of us change in some way, and this does us good.”
The pope’s strong words against the weapons industry echo the pontiff’s earlier anti-war statements. On December 7, 2014 Pope Francis sent a letter to the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, stating, “Nuclear weapons are a global problem, affecting all nations, and impacting future generations and the planet that is our home.”
“Spending on nuclear weapons squanders the wealth of nations,” he continued. “To prioritize such spending is a mistake and a misallocation of resources which would be far better invested in the areas of integral human development, education, health and the fight against extreme poverty.”
TIME Magazine reports that many expect the pope to address the topic of nuclear weapons in his United Nations speech in September, as the event coincides with the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s famous U.N. speech calling for “never again war, never again war.”
In this part of the blog (the Emperor’s New Clothes), we offer a moment of telling the stories of people who resist the mainstream view of things.
This past week, the people who started and pushed the Invasion of Iraq in 2003 are universally saying….it was a mistake. Here’s the story about that, from the Canadian Press (note that this is, for some reason, not a big story in the States.)
Meanwhile, with Memorial Day this week, and everyone talking about sacrifice, remember what was gained by that sacrifice. Here’s a moment with Doonesbury, by GB Trudeau:
The conventional wisdom: The more money you have, the better your life is.
Wisdom gained by experience suggests otherwise.
In the Ten Things to Teach & Know, one of the bits is that the more you have, the poorer you are. It looks like Alex, in the story below, might agree, as he labels winning $18 million in the lottery in 2000 as not a blessing, but a curse.
Here’s the story from CBS News:
In the Emperor’s New Clothes section of this site, we take a look at things that are generally accepted as fact or conventional wisdom, that are neither (like in the story).
Randall with xkcd.com tells it:
Meanwhile, the Oatmeal (Matthew) put together the best easy-to-read treatise on Columbus, based on Howard Zinn’s work, which dispels the “facts” in favour of realizing he & his men were murderers & thieves & child-rapists.
Read here: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/columbus_day
And no, we don’t need an American holiday in honour of this guy, or a Canadian province named after him (British Columbia.)
In this section of The World According to Brother Ian, called the Emperor’s New Clothes, we take a peek at the things around the world that people don’t seem to know about, but should.
Just a few years ago on the CBC, someone was asking Gore Vidal in Montreal if he thought the divisive politics in the States would lead to a revolution. He said people have to be truly angry to have a revolution, and that he felt that Americans are, in his words, “Merely grumpy.”
I would tend to agree…and a big player in what you & I see in the chart below.
I’m pretty sure if folks knew, with certainty, what GMO food is doing to their guts, what pesticides are doing to the plants & bugs we need to have a sustainable shot at a planet that can continue to feed our kids & their kids, that we’re running out of drinkable water, that continued population growth is crowding out our chances to make enough food, that we have more than a few very-fixable problems….I’m pretty sure people would work hard to make it change, make good things happen.
You can only be grumpy if you don’t really know. Grumpy won’t get the job done. The social will, the political will, the community will to change this will come from yelling, at the top of your voice – “This IS important!” and to tune out the silliness on the right hand side of the chart.
But you can’t make it happen if you don’t know there’s a problem.
It starts here. Now.
As you know from the Ten Most Important Things (and, most reliably, your own good sense), there are too many human beings on the planet, and what we mean by this is simple: there isn’t enough cake at this party when too many folks show up.
Here’s a quick rundown of the years ahead, but my friends, we can’t wait till then to share & heal. We need to make plans now. We need to practice sharing now. We need to offer what we have & start to re-design what we call progress, now. The humans and the other creatures on Earth not having clean water to drink…not progress.
I love this idea of re-wilding.
When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent for nearly 70 years, the most remarkable “trophic cascade” occurred. What is a trophic cascade and how exactly do wolves change rivers?
Wolves were once native to the US’ Yellowstone National Park — until hunting wiped them out. But when, in 1995, the wolves began to come back (thanks to an aggressive management program), something interesting happened: the rest of the park began to find a new, more healthful balance. In a bold thought experiment, George Monbiot imagines a wilder world in which humans work to restore the complex, lost natural food chains that once surrounded us. (Here’s his TED talk; and here’s Sustainable Man’s mixdown, below.)