The challenge of population growth
I’ll admit it. I’m a romantic. I desire to see the world through optimistic lenses. My “big why”, the reason I get out of bed in the morning, is to help others “reimagine a hopefilled world”. That’s my heart. Yet too much optimism is unrealistic and leads to disappointment.
My mind on the other hand filters the world through a strainer of pessimism. The world can be very hard on romantics. But I have be honest about it. Yet, too much pessimism becomes irrational and leads to despair.
A critical part of being resilient in the world is to hold a healthy balance between unrealistic optimism and irrational pessimism; between disappointment and despair. One needs to be just foolish enough to realistically believe great things are yet to come, and just sober enough to honestly understand the challenges.
The following video speaks to a great concern my son has about the world. I do too. It’s a huge challenge and one that requires gritty resilience to handle. We have to balance optimistic reality with rational honesty. I think the video does a pretty good job with that. After watching, I would love to get your comments on how we can realistically and rationally engage this global challenge.
November 19, 2011 @ 6:32 pm
I highly recommend Daniel Quinn’s Ishmael as a source for engaging many of the different fields of knowledge (history, ecology, etc.). If you are a speaker concerned with changing things by showing people a better way, you will like it.
November 28, 2011 @ 3:19 pm
Years ago I read Ishmael as well. At the time, it made me think about our society and it was a catalyst for forming questions about our society. If I remember correctly, one of Quinn’s premises is that humans for the vast majority of our existence lived just like the other species do…taking only what we need…living in harmony if you will. But then at some point in recent history (the last 10K years or so) we changed. We began to farm the land & build up surpluses of food. The food was then traded/sold/etc. The shift away from a hunter gatherer lifestyle spurred our population expansion. A point Quinn really wants to drive home is that most of us do not regard the hunter gatherer human existence as history. Therefore, we believe things are now as they always have been. The answer to solve our “problems” is to revert back to taking only what we need. Probably for most people the idea of solving issues like population growth, food supply, water quality, the extinction of other species by going to back to a hunter gatherer society is not only something they never considered but it is not on the table.
The reality is that unless something dramatic (perhaps catastrophic) were to occur more of the world’s population will exile themselves from the tribal life. But is this a bad thing? Most of the world’s population is striving for prosperity which might just be good for society and the planet.