Tag Archives: overcrowding

Is Busyness the Beginning of the End of the World?

end of the world, fall of civilization, overpopulation, crowding, society, industrialization

Creative Commons: by Chris Devers, Flickr

These days everyone is busy busy busy. In fact we become so busy that we don’t have time to socialize. Let’s think back six hundred years to those good old feudal times. If you weren’t some rich noble gathering the tithes then you were either a farmer or a merchant. In either case you worked from sun-up probably near to sundown. Winters meant doing more work inside, mending and preparing for the planting season. Everyone, whether bakers or dyers or smiths, worked long hours. But they stopped in time for dinner and spending time with their families in the evening.

With the advent of industrialized society some aspects eased for a person’s life. We no longer had to tend animals, weave our own cloth, sew our own clothes, cook and prepare all of our dinners. Mass production made this easier while at the same time people began to worry about having no way to make a living as machines took over. We became a leisure society. Or did we?

We’re two to three hundred years into industrialization and we’re probably dealing with as much spare time as medieval Europe had. I’m like many people. I work a day job but I also freelance, to make ends meet, to have extra money. Our society has become so burdened by all those industrialized items that the cost of living has not equaled the everyday person’s wage. Houses (here in Vancouver at least) are astronomical in cost and two people have to work, plus have a rental suite just to afford to own one. Hockey tickets are out of the range of the average working family who might want to take the kids to see a game.

All great societies eventually fall, even Rome. In the past they often fell to invaders, but we are looking at a worldwide crisis with economy and culture. Riots happen, and many clashes still of ideologies and beliefs, overcrowding, lack of good water or food… we might be in our fall right now. So what comes next?

Unfortunately, building on a crumbling foundation will create more instability or lead us to the same problems time and again. Having a society based on always selling more, not just selling the same, means that it’s unsustainable. Soon we will not have enough space, time, money, land, food, water or merchandise. If we do continue with expanding populations, which give us more money, etc. then we risk and are already at risk of having no resources to support our planet. We will have more disease and more poverty, more pollution and more strife. You can see it happening already. Canada’s population is dropping somewhat. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. If everyone person only produced one child (so a couple could have two) then they would make a stable population that stayed the same.

In the middle ages the bubonic plaque wiped out a third of the known world’s population. It’s one way Mother Nature controls overpopulation. We’ve had H1N1, TB, E. Coli, etc. By the fact that there are more people, it will mean that more will die. As China and India,with over a third of the world’s population, industrialize and crave on the cars and machines that the world already has, we will see the consuming poison many places.  I’m not sure what we can do about this but we have to change our culture and economy so that it is not built on constant growth. We cannot wait for someone else to do it but each of us must start from the ground up. Maybe’s it’s impossible and we’re doomed to implode, and start over in a smaller and simpler world devoid of much. And maybe it will change no matter what. We know for a fact that there have been civilizations (as in towns and cities) for at least 10,000 years, which is not long is the lifespan of the world or even humans for that matter (2.5 million years). But if we’re not careful we could be a small blip in breath of the planet.

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Being a Major Minority

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Time and again I hear our provincial and federal governments, and the politicians on their campaign tirades, talk about more money for this and that, giving support to various groups. The most common is “We’re going to support and get more money for children and families.” It’s always families, as if you get a big reward for having children. Don’t get me wrong; I love children and they are born with potential that is only marred by life’s circumstances like location, status, family relations and everything else that molds us. Children should be very much cared for and loved and given every opportunity to become productive, worthwhile and happy adults.

But in a world burgeoning on overpopulation in many countries, with resources being stressed so far that I’m not sure I want to be a child a hundred years from now, I have to wonder about this constant campaigning to support families. “You’ve had one, two, five children; you obviously need support,” say the politicians. But really “you” chose to have those children. You should probably have figured out your budget first. Admittedly procreation is an overwhelming urge in all animals, one way that a species perpetuates and survives, and imperative even in humans. But studies of different animals have shown over time that an overcrowded population tends to bring in controls, not consciously but by nature. Some of these effects of overcrowding tend to be increased violence and disease. One study in rats (that a rat researcher told me of years ago) indicated that overpopulation increased the percentage of homosexuality. This study may or may not have been repeated but it would make a certain sense in population control.

So, in this world there are those who are parents, and those who are not; those single people or couples who, for one reason or another, do not have children are the other. When the government talks about giving support to those burdened families there is never talk about giving it to single people unless they’re young (teens/children) or very old. Being one of those childless and single people, I get a bit miffed. If one person in a couple loses their job, they still have the other person to help with everything from mortgage to food. If you’re a single person, you have nothing but the bridge to live under. Yes, sometimes families need help but controlling that procreation urge (and I speak of those having four, five, ten children) would keep lifestyles saner.

It’s like we’re the black sheep and the lepers combined. I guess someone out there thinks we live high on the hog, doing the singles nightlife constantly, buying the expensive drinks and cars and other toys. Sad to say, many of us struggle with paying unmanageable rents/mortgages while covering all those other costs of living, such as food and clothing and utilities. Families do far more activities than I do. When I hear that families get a break but I don’t because I’m invisible I wonder what sort of stigma the single person and the childless person has. We’re not contributing to overcrowding; we are contributing to society as much as anyone else so why are we not worthy? If things go very bad for me I’ll end up under a bridge, with no support and the government won’t help. I’ve been there in the past, and prostitution looked like it would have to be an option. Luckily I didn’t have to go that route. It makes me really wonder if I should just start popping out kids and be a welfare mom and get government support for families, since “family” is the magical word here.

Above picture courtesy of Uppity Woman blog.

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