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After smiley Culture died in police custody in March 2011, activist clothing label THTC produced an organic t-shirt design with legendary designer Mau Mau, which is exclusively available at THTC.CO.UK. £13 (all the profits) of the sale of this t-shirt go to the campaign ‘Campaign For Justice For Smiley Culture’.
Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it… (Genesis 1:28)
Dear patriarchal, monotheistic Deity,
thanks for the good advice. We have dutifully followed these instructions. What next?
The People of Earth
Today the human population is rapidly approaching 7 billion, growing by around 80 million a year. That’s 1.5 million every week or 10,000 every hour. The human ecological footprint (impact upon nature) is the total number of people multiplied by average per capita level of consumption. Both total population and average consumption are increasing which is why we have an environmental crisis. Humanity is consuming the living fabric of our planet faster than it can regenerate and thus extinction is increasingly likely (for us and many other species).
There is a pervasive and dangerous taboo which prevents an honest, open and pragmatic debate about reducing the total human population. There seems to be an assumption that because human life is sacred and reproduction a fundamental right, we should all just keep reproducing as if the planet was still a giant unexplored wilderness and resource constraints inconceivable. Sadly, this era is long gone. If human life is sacred, shouldn’t we work to keep it in existence for as long as possible? Over population is a short cut to extinction, as David Attenborough says “All environmental problems become harder — and ultimately impossible — to solve with ever more people.”
Limiting human fertility also offends because it may discriminately affect the underprivileged but there are multiple ways to reduce human population in a progressive way that actually helps to redistribute wealth more fairly. The greatest mistake we can make is to ignore the population time bomb, for whatever reason.
Population growth is highest in developing countries. The two proven, most effective ways of slowing this growth is (1.) to reduce infant mortality and (2.) to educate woman for longer. Both of these should be given top priority anyway, irrespective of the importance for the global ecosystem. Governments must join up their environmental and developmental strategies and, urgently, invest far more to achieve these aims.
The aspiration in many developing countries is to have lifestyles like people in the West, for example, car ownership in China has ‘exploded’. However, this is impossible. It is not just that the developing world cannot consume like us in the West. We in the West cannot continue to consume as we do, resources are running out.
Current global rates of consumption are said to be unsustainable and with population and consumption both increasing the only way we can become sustainable is by reducing consumption combined with reducing population. Developed countries must contract consumption to converge on a sustainable and fair global average.
Some Western countries with static populations like Spain and Italy have set up funds to boost fecundity. Spain now offers a 2,500 euro bonus for every baby born. Of course, from a global perspective this policy is diametrically opposed to sustainability. Countries faced with the fiscal problems associated with static growth and an ageing population can make their borders porous and accept the flow of immigrants coming from more crowded countries rather than incentivising additional populaion growth.
At a time of global ecological collapse the notion of the nation-state isn’t just anachronistic, it is dangerous and retarded. We cannot shift to sustainability and survive without taking a global, scientific view-point on resource use and climate change, so, with this planetary perspective in mind, lets respond as one species without borders.
Project Prevention is a US charity that has caused an uproar by paying (bribing) drug addicts to become sterilized so that they cannot bring a child into the world that is born to suffer. Should this concept be extended? Why not set up a global fund to pay anyone who will voluntarily take the money: a fee to be sterilized?
The reason this plan would be unpalatable is because within the unfair global economic system the poor will more likely take up this offer of cash, but is the world any fairer, or better, where half a million poor women die every year in child-birth and millions of children die from malnourishment? At least paying volunteers to be sterilized will help to redistribute wealth and alleviate suffering.
Why don’t we do this in the UK too? Currently the government pays increasing child care support with each extra baby, an ill-advised incentive to increase the population further. Why don’t we shift things around so that if you have had two children the government will pay you a one-off lump sum to get sterilized. This reduces population and increases the quality of life of those remaining.
Thousands of years ago when the Old Testament was being put together, the human population was a minute fraction of what it is today. In that era, the guidelines for human success were to procreate and claim land. Today, the game has changed. Go forth and multiply are instructions for a long gone era. It is time for new planetary guidelines for our species. Crucially, these plans, policies and ideas must reduce the total human population, reduce per capita consumption whilst creating a fairer and happier world so how about:
What better way to celebrate the royal wedding then by joining Critical Mass!? Together, hundreds of cyclists will ride on an epic tour of the capital; a mighty, people-powered salute!
5 reasons to join next week’s Critical Mass:
To read some more about Critical Mass check out: A Critical Mass of Dissent on Wheels.
The Japanese have a new word in their lexicon. Flyjins are those foreigners who have fled Japan. The people left behind are anxiously watching which way the wind is going to blow the giant nuclear plume.
For the rest of us there isn’t a lot we can do… Apart from signing this uncompromising petition demanding the worldwide exit from nuclear energy.
Best Beastie Boy Videos:
The following videos were filmed by Alina Nixdorf:
These days I cannot cycle across London without giant advertizing boards getting up in my grill, hawking Lurpak butter. The posters shamelessly try to link a mass butter product with the complex and rich well-being benefits of cooking. Be happy, buy Lurpak and cook.
The one problem with this cheery narrative is that Lurpak butter is shipped across a sea to get here releasing unnecessary and dangerous green house gasses into our unbalanced atmosphere. Why are we creating this risk when we have great local butter, produced skillfully within these lands? The only butter I will buy is local butter. So Lurpak get your big, dangerous, stupid adverts out of my face and stick to selling your Danish butter to the Danes.
Right now our thoughts and prayers are with the brave Japanese people as they struggle to deal with the terrible aftermath of the earthquake, tsunami and now the nuclear threat. This is also a time to reflect on the risks posed by nuclear power generation and to ask if we should continue with this massive investment. Might our money be better spent on renewable energy?
This letter featrured in The Guardian, Wednesday 16 March 2011:
The assessment in your editorial (15 March) that “the balance of the rational argument could conceivably be more in favour of nuclear [power] in a month’s time” is not just premature but ignores a number of important factors. Most worryingly, terrorists will have seen the devastation, disruption and fear that can be caused by an attack on a reactor’s cooling system, which presents a much easier target for them than the containment vessel surrounding the core.
Secondly, your claim that the renewable alternatives are “illusions” is at variance with the facts. Germany has installed more wind power capacity than the entire current UK nuclear capacity, and is adding to it at a rate equivalent to more than one new reactor a year. Furthermore, in 2009 alone Germany installed solar photovoltaic systems with capacity equivalent to approximately four nuclear reactors, and it looks like the 2010 figures will be much higher.
The coalition should reverse Labour’s dangerous decision to go for new nuclear build and use the money saved, firstly to strengthen our current nuclear facilities against terrorist attack, secondly to solve the long-term nuclear waste problem and thirdly to support renewables.
Emeritus Professor Keith Barnham
Anti-nuclear critics see nuclear power as a dangerous, expensive way to boil water to generate electricity. Opponents of nuclear power have raised a number of related concerns:
Around the world, ripples of defiance are resonating and turning into something bigger. People are waking up to the big scam. It isn’t people in far off lands that we should be fighting. They have the same problem; a degenerate global economy run by unscrupulous, billionaire bastards.
The people who run our economies our driven literally insane with greed. Like Gaddafi and Mubarak and Putin and Berlusconi, they are not happy with 10 million dollars it has to be 10 billion. When they collapsed the economy they didn’t bow out with dignity and let us fix it. They then enacted ‘the biggest heist in history’. The tax payer’s bailout of the banking system took billions from ordinary people and gave it back to the sinister puppet-masters who are not just accumaulating grotesque amounts of wealth; they also own the corporations that are consuming the biosphere.
It has all just kicked off in Wisconsin USA where the Republican governer has attempted to remove collective bargaining rights for public sector workers. This is the last straw and people have now been on the streets for two weeks. Below is the inspirational speech delivered at Wisconsin Capitol in Madison, March 5, 2011 by Michael Moore.
People around the world are waking up to the fact that together we have far more power then the twisted money men. Even taking into account their vast, sick arsenals. Osborne, Cameron, Clegg… brace yourselves… your time is coming and don’t be so sure the police will be as eager to use their batons when they realize you sold them down the river… just like everyone else.
Videos via Misty Oldland