OUR TROUBLED PLANET HOME: YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE
June 5, 2008
How’s that $4.00 a gallon gas doin’ for ya’ fellow Americans? Puttin’ a pinch on your wallet? Given ya’ heartburn? How ‘bout them food prices at the checkout counter? Maybe you’re breakin’ out in a sweat?
“Andy,” Barney said. “We better prepare for the worst so we can make it through this storm!”
“Barn,” Sheriff Taylor said. “Most folks ain’t got ‘nuff sense to prepare for anything, not even their own funeral. I reckon things ‘er gonna’ get worse for a spell before they get better.”
“Did you hear about the water shortages at Lake Lanier, Georgia?” Barney said. “They ain’t got no water for five million residents in the Atlanta area.”
“Symptoms of a bigger problem,” Sheriff said. “Gonna’ get worse than a bunch of horse flies at a pig roast.”
As my friend Bill Ryerson says “Sometimes numbers can tell a story. Here are some of the figures from the behind-the-scenes research for the latest book from Earth Policy Institute, Plan B 3.0: MOBILIZING to Save Civilization, by Lester R. Brown. Complete data sets and charts are now available on-line.
Some of the harsh realities we face:
* For seven of the last eight years, the world has consumed more grain than it produced; grain stocks are now at a historic low.
* One fifth of the U.S. grain harvest is now being turned into fuel ethanol.
* One third of reptile, amphibian, and fish species examined by the World Conservation Union are considered to be threatened with extinction.
* Grain yields increased half as fast in the 1990s as they did in the 1960s.
* Nearly half of the annual global military budget of $1.2 trillion is spent by one country -- the United States.
But not all the news is bad:
* South Korea leads the world in paper recycling, recovering an estimated 77 percent of its paper products.
* Conservation agriculture is practiced on more than 100 million hectares around the world.
* Four years after London introduced a fee on motor vehicles entering the city center, average car traffic had fallen by 36 percent while bicycle trips had increased by 49 percent.
* The world produces 110 million bicycles a year, more than twice the annual production of 49 million cars.
* Fish farming, largely of herbivorous species, is the fastest growing source of animal protein worldwide, increasing by an average of 7 percent each year since 1995.
* Solar cell production is doubling every two years, making it the world’s fastest growing energy source.
* Electricity used for lighting around the world can be cut by 65 percent through efficiency improvements like switching from incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescents.
Why bring this to your attention? A reader wrote a scolding letter telling me that we enjoy plenty of space in America for room to grow and expand. Like Sheriff Taylor said, “Most folks don’t pay attention to details.”
FALLOUT IN AMERICA
As we face our demons and our symptoms in 21st century America, it’s not about space, but ‘carrying capacity’. Why can’t Australia sustain 300 or 500 million people instead of their 20 million today? Simple! They feature 95 percent desert, which means they do not possess enough water to feed, clothe and house more than 20 million people.
As you read Lester Brown’s book, it’s not about ‘plenty of room’, it’s about ‘carrying capacity’ or the amount of water, resources and food the land can produce to feed the creatures and humans on it.
As this nation continues importing 182,000 immigrants every 30 days, month in and month out, year in and year out--from overrun countries around the world, I invite you to think about this quote in Dr. Otis Graham’s Unguarded Gates: A History of America’s Immigration Crisis, “Most Western elites continue urging the wealthy West not to stem the migrant tide, but to absorb our global brothers and sisters until their horrid ordeal has been endured and shared by all of us--ten billion humans packed onto an ecologically devastated planet.”
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I implore you raise your voice and stand up as we move into the Obama—McCain debates. You must insist on a viable, sustainable and palatable immigration policy before this country finds itself unable to navigate into the dangerous waters of the 21st century. We stand nostril-deep in trouble on many fronts!
It’s up to all of us to stand up to solve our challenges by our actions. Everything you do counts! And, everything you don’t do, counts equally.
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Listen to Frosty Wooldridge on Tuesdays and Thursdays as he interviews top national leaders on his radio show “Connecting the Dots” at republicbroadcasting.org at 6:00 PM Mountain Time. Adjust tuning in to your time zone.
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