Dear Bob,It was nice of you to write me. Especially since you weren't asking for money. No, all you wanted was for me to sign your petitionI have sympathy for anyone going hungry, Aboriginal or not. But I wondered if maybe you were playing a little game of opportunistic politics with your claim that:To: Stephen Harper
This National Aboriginal Day, I, the undersigned, call on the Conservative government to recognize that safe, healthy and adequate food is a fundamental human right and to take immediate action to address food insecurity for Aboriginal peoples.To be fair, you'd have to admit that Mr Harper has frequently expressed his policy to create jobs and supply energy for an energy starved world. And there can be no doubt, our food supply is tightly bound to our energy supply. And how does one get food, if not by earning money doing a job? Human numbers have long exceeded those that can be sustained by hunting and gathering!... this Conservative government continues to deny that Canada has a problem - all the while ignoring the 800,000 Canadian households in crisis.
Bob, I speak as a man who understands both hard yakka and physical debility. Still, I count myself bloody lucky to still have a hard working mind. Basic human decency suggests that we should look after those who cannot look after themselves. But we need to be careful! Uncritical generosity breeds entitlement and exploitation. So Bob, we should always be critical thinkers, wouldn't you agree?
Bob, why on earth are we in a position where, as you suggest, millions of Canadians are in crisis? Even more pressing, why are billions of people on the edge of starvation? And, to be a little less anthropocentric, why have we wiped out so many of our non-humanoid planet mates?
Well, I'm arse-backwards, so let's look at those questions in reverse order.
First, why have we wiped out our non-humanoid planet mates? This one is dead easy. At first we took over all of that nice arable land so we could have farms. In that way an entire class of habitat was destroyed and many creatures with it. Just think about it Bob, Julius Ceasar wrote of mighty aurochs that once roamed Europe, now they are gone. We took their habitat and turned their descendants into mere cattle, hamburger on the hoof. Isn't it more than a little a bit funny how we bestow such virtue on farming --- when really it is just a brutal, selfish way of shoving our planet mates over the edge --- so we can grow unbounded quantities of human biomass. Our latest venture is salmon farming. Shed no tears, human biomass must grow, right? It's called "sustainable development". Never mind the quality, feel the quantity!
Second, why do billions of people suffer such privation? After all our 20'th century achievements, what went wrong? Well, the answer is well known and has always been well-known by any reasonable observer who is not unduly influenced by dogma. Max Born, one of the great physicists of the early 20th Century, said it well:Still, Max Born had limited understanding. About 1978-1981, Paul Colinvaux put the matter into a proper theoretical context, see his excellent books: "Why Big Fierce Animals are Rare" and "The Fates of nations: a biological theory for history". To properly understand the problem, one has to consider the appropriate ecological and evolutionary theory that underpins the behaviour of all species, including mere humans.Science and technology will then follow their tendency to rapid expansion in an exponential fashion, until saturation sets in. But that does not necessarily imply an increase of wealth, still less of happiness, as long as the number of people increases at the same rate, and with it their need for food and energy. At this point, the technological problems of the atom touch social problems, such as birth control and the just distribution of goods. There will be hard fighting about these problems...
We're all evolved from a long line of organisms that are damned determined to survive. When there are too many animals and not enough resources, things get nasty. Shipwrecked sailors sometimes resort to cannibalism. But cannibalism has it's bright side. Think about sex Bob. Way back in 1947 (Science, volume 105), Lemuel Cleveland observed a starving community of protoctists. Sometimes one protist would eat and digest the other. But not always. Other times the protist would suffer indigestion and the nucleus of its meal would merge with that of its own --- two sets of chomosomes! That's sex Bob!
So you see, we are creatures of inseparable conflict, competition, and cooperation. How the external parameters are set determines how we behave. When population grows, resource limitation is inevitable and so is poverty --- off course the ruling class does well enough, until the revolution.
Politician's consistently fail to recognise just how much excessive population matters --- instead, they behave like ignorant dogmatists trapped in a bog of nonsense (with one exception). It matters not whether they brand themselves "left", "right", "green" or "centre".
Third, why are millions of Canadians in crisis? Arguably, Canada isn't overpopulated, or at least not grossly so. But there is a world full of desperate souls competing for Canada's resources. And those who control the resources sell on the global market, to the highest bidder, not to some poor uncompetitive Canadian. Even if they gave it away, still growing population would ensure the outcome was a planet of uniformly poverty-stricken people. I'm not saying that globalized trade is a bad thing. Indeed, the reason we have global trade is to alleviate resource shortage on the global scale! But ultimately increasing population overwhelms all hope --- unless it is for that little piece of pie-in-the-sky.
So Bob, I will only sign your petition after the Liberal Party of Canada signs the attached statement on "Population Policy and the Environment".
I see that our Scott Brison, with the help of 23 Conservatives, has directed the finance committee to study the growing income inequity in Canada. Who knows, they might also see the obvious --- but I'm not holding my breath.
God told us to fill the earth --- well it's way past full, so God says STOP! And if you don't stop? Well, poverty is the punishment.
Associazione Radicale Rientrodolce --- Italy Populacao Sustantavel --- Brazil
BOCS Foundation --- Hungary Population Institute of Canada
Demographie Responsable --- France Population Institute --- USA
ECOPOP --- Switzerland Population Matters --- UK
Gaia Preservation Coalition --- Canada Population Matters --- Sweden
Kenya Young Greens Sustainable Population Australia
The Herbert Gruhl Society --- Germany The Ten Million Club --- Holland
One Baby - Belgium
Please contact Population Matters UK if your organisation is interested in signing up to this position statement.