Thursday, February 3, 2011
Radio Ecoshock February 4, 2011.
Welcome to Radio Ecoshock. I'm Alex Smith.
When it comes to "the population bomb", our feature speaker today makes Paul Ehrlich sound like an optimist. Now that it's over 30 years into the tragedy of exploding humanity on a small planet.
Jack Alpert says it's time for "Rapid Population Decline or Bust." That bust may haul down civilization, taking us back thousands of years. In Roman Times, there were about 100 million humans on the planet. It turns out, with reasonable scientific investigation, that is the maximum sustainable population - 100 million - to live anything like our current lifestyle, in the developed world.
This year of 2011, somewhere on the planet, the seven billionth baby will be born, along with almost half a million more babies, that very same day.
Of course others will die. All told, the number of humans on Earth increases by about 217,000 a day, and climbing.
This crushes people, economies, governments, other species, and the whole global environment. As can see in the Middle East, the crisis has arrived.
It is time to hear from Dr. Jack Alpert, of the Stanford Integrated Research Laboratory. Long ago he invested seat belts, saving hundreds of thousands of lives, perhaps millions. He went on to research perculiarities in the human brain and personal functioning. Strange human traits that could end this civilization, to dangle on the edge of extinction.
Those are strong words - and this is a strong radio program. I don't recommend this program for the severely depressed, or impressionable young children, say aged 9 or under. Save this one for the grown-ups, and young people whose lives are threatened.
There are three reasons why Jack Alpert will never be popular, and why this radio program is difficult to make, and difficult to listen to:
1. Jack admits he is not a master communicator. He is an engineer often operating in fields before their time, before social acceptance.
2. the material is difficult to communicate. It must cross boundaries where conversation has been hidden or forbidden. At times, he is trying to express his studies into the limitations of the human mind - but those same limitations prevent people from readily understanding it.
3. the subject and options are so horrible, we don't want to hear it, much less think about it.
The food riots have already begun to bring down governments, threatening us with chaos,. With the spectacle of mass suffering and starvation all over the world, - the heart-break will enter even the most prosperous houses, like an accusing ghost over the dinner table.
We must try!
The scene of this recording was an unassuming living room, in the home of a Greenpeace founder, in the City of Vancouver, where Greenpeace was born.
Six of the brightest minds around gathered to hear Jack Alpert, and to again work through the endless question: "What Is To Be Done?".
Plus one Alex Smith, with not enough microphones. Permission granted to record what I could. My main microphone went to Jack Alpert.
Then I did three follow-up phone interviews, go get audio suitable for radio. The interviews are with:
Rex Weyler, Greenpeace Co-founder, historian for that organization, regularly published pundit on the environment and Peak Oil.
Dr. William (Bill) Rees, the co-inventor or the ecological footpring, an amazing thinker and scientist at the University of British Columbia.
Vandy Savage, a community organizer, project leader and person extraordinaire.
In a week or so, I'll get those interviews posted separately at ecoshock.org, on the "Population" page of our Audio-on-Demand menu (right on the main page). In the meantime, if any listener wants to make a transcript of these interviews, I'd love to have them, and would add them to this blog. Write me: radio //at// ecoshock.org.
READ MORE (with lots more from Jack Alpert, quotes and all)