Sunday, August 17, 2008

too many

There are quite a few species in the Virginia/Maryland/District of Columbia area threatened with extinction - things like the fringed mountain snail, not seen along the New River for years.

The cause? Us. There are just too many of us.

And that's the case around the world of course. I recently read Alan Weisman's The World Without Us. It includes interesting scenarios for what would happen to New York City apartments, New England forests, Houston oil refineries, and the Kenyan plains should every human disappear tomorrow.

But it ultimately is a book about the incredible damage we as a species are doing to our environment and to the other species that live here.

Our technological advances and economic prosperity are factors, but ultimately it's simple. There are too damn many of us.

One way or another, a day will come when there will be many fewer of us. There are two ways to achieve that. One way is through what Weisman advocates - limiting every woman to one child. Of course, that would be difficult to administer, though China has done a good job of it these past 40 years or so.

The other way is through some combination of mass death and involuntarily reduced fertility.

I know what the rational choice is. I fear we will not make it.



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