Just thinking…

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IMG_0475 A horrific summer storm passed through our area last night, traveling from Leesberg Virginia in the west to Baltimore Maryland.  We only caught the edge of the storm, but it knocked out our power for a short while.  Black thoughts filled my head, including what if we had no power ever again. After the rain left the sky was a magnificent yellow then red as the sun traveled out behind the clouds in the west.  As it was lighter outside than in, I went into my garden and looked around.

I began to think…

As we talk about ridding the world of fossil fuel, it behooves us to ask,  “And replace it with what?”  Oh I know some will say … renewable energy.  But what exactly is renewable energy?

I’ve been reading about this problem for a long time and I don’t think the answer is simple.  I know we can’t simply ban fossil fuels and not expect the world economy to collapse.IMG_0474To begin with, there are far too many of us.  Overpopulation has been a problem for decades now. Overpopulation is directly tied to the status and education of women.  And with overpopulation, ignorance and want increase.

In the early nineteenth century, Charles Dickens wrote… ignorance and want… “beware oh man for on their forehead is written the word doom.”

Dickens was speaking of conditions in London before city planners began to bring vast improvements in infrastructure including the building of water treatment facilities and sewerage systems which reduced the risk of cholera in densely settled areas.  Various advances in the fields of health and medicine meant children were more likely to survive to adulthood and reproduce.  The numbers of humans alive increased exponentially.

For example, one of my four great-grandmothers was the sole survivor of a cholera epidemic in Chicago that killed her family.  She reached adulthood.  Being a devout Catholic, she had fifteen children.  My paternal grandfather was number 14. Thus, the advances of the nineteenth century led to problems in the following centuries, including overpopulation, global warming, and acidic seas.

The Pope issued an encyclical this week suggesting consumption is an issue destroying the planet and we should stop consuming so much. Which ever way certain politicians try to spin it, the answer isn’t that simple.

True, most of us have too much junk and could probably do with less stuff. “Live simply so others can simply live,” has a nice sound.  But someone makes the stuff we buy which means jobs are dependent on our buying stuff.  These days, much stuff is made in places that were and still are poor in many ways.

Although I am no longer in the shop til you drop age group, I for one don’t think buying less is the answer. I buy less because I have all I need.  I’m trying to declutter my life, so I only make purchases when I need something, say new underwear.

I’m getting rid of stuff we don’t need anymore that someone else can use. I’m not charitable, just practical.  I am discarding items left and right.  Just yesterday we gave a $600 bike to Bikes for the World.  “I might want to ride that bike again,” says 86-year old David. I’ll buy you a new one when you do I say. (Heck, he won’t even climb on the exercise bike.)

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18 thoughts on “Just thinking…

  1. Your observations & perspective are certainly pertinent given the world situation today. I am not immune to recognizing all the problems we face, but I do believe we are making headway adjusting our lives to meeting the challenges our planet’s survival demands. What sort of human race we’re going to be is much more questionable in my mind. We do what we continue to learn is necessary to preserve and recapture a healthy environment knowing we’ll not be around to know the outcome — unless — somehow our energy continues in some form — possibly in a different dimension that allows us to know the results of how we individually benefitted and also how we harmed this world, others, in our lifetime. Maybe we’ve just been moving from planet to planet as we corrupt one after another. In which case, we better keep our space program going to find where we can send a few of our species to perpetuate our existence. Either way, I won’t get to be around to see first hand in this lifetime what happens — to say, “Boy, was I wrong!” or “Hey, it all worked out!”

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  2. I hope David gets some help … Awful when your Dr is unavailable. The climate. A lot to think about. I applaud the Pope for his willingness to engage in today’s problems and I think he got a lot more people thinking about things. That can’t hurt. We’ve had so many thunder storms here this month, normal for this area in summer, but I’m not used to it!

    I admire your ability to laugh about things after all instead of getting deeply depressed!

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    • Regarding Depression…been there done that. Depression is when you don’t give a damn about almost anything. The only thing that saved me was LOVE. I knew I loved my children and it kept me going. I think most mothers feel the same way. We’ve really grown when we can love other people’s children.

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  3. Of course, you are completely right in everything you say. On some levels I feel optimistic and on others not at all.
    For instance, the city I live in (well I live in a village just outside, but you know what I mean) is promising to be running 100% on renewable energy by 2030. The population is around 135,000 so I do feel it’s a real achievement. There are lots of small things that are down on city wide level which make a huge difference to how much energy is used. For instance: all new housing has to be built to use low levels of energy, electricity and other fuels are very expensive, recycling ‘rubbish’ is free – i.e. plastics, paper, metal, material, glass etc but ‘waste’ has to be paid for, all public buildings that I know of and blocks of flats etc have lights on timers so that they are only on for a really short time and then you have to hit a switch to put it on again, electric cars are encouraged, most street lights and some traffic lights are only on part time, sustainable wood is popular, more and more bicycle roots are being put in place (although there were already a lot), solar power is common place, kids are taught about and encouraged to protect the enviroment.
    These things are all just the start but it makes me feel optimistic.

    However, the ever-steady production of ‘stuff’ really gets to me. We live in a society where ‘stuff’ feels important to have. What I feel very annoyed about is that, nowadays, ‘stuff’ isn’t built to last. We are either force-fed the idea that we need the newest electrical gadget: smart phone, tv, computer and so on or products we purchase just don’t last.
    My husband and I do not mind spending a little more on a product so that it’s well-made. I’m not a hoarder, but if I find something I like be it a table, a dress, a hoover, curtains, a candle holder – whatever, I’m happy to keep it for a very long time. I don’t change my mind from season to season and I don’t care less about fashion. If I like it, then I like it and if I pay for it then I don’t expect it to fall apart after five minutes forcing me to buy another product, thus using up even more resources.
    AND I want people to be paid properly for making whatever product I just happened to purchase.

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  4. After one thinks it through, as you have, it’s pretty obvious that major advances in human population control are needed to avert disaster. There is solid evidence that where education for women has increased, birth rates decline. Rates also decline where religious fundamentalism declines, and that is happening in many places now.

    There is some hope for the future. Unfortunately, none of us will be around to see a good outcome if there is one.

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    • Population growth has slowed. Predictions for the world population in 2050 made forty years ago have been revised downward.. Much of the decrease in the growth rate is inversely correlated with economic growth.

      We can pray it continues to decline as women become more educated. You’re correct, however, the movement is glacial and will take time, which we don’t have.

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  5. You continue to be one of the most level-headed bloggers out there. I’ve been espousing overpopulation as the root of our problems for many years. China, for all its other faults, tried the “one child” route well before any of these “causes” came to the limelight. But nobody wants to hear that they can told how many children to have, despite the fact it is the one and only sure way out of the myriad of problems such as environmental waste, depletion of natural resources, so-called man made climate change, the poor, etc. etc. People had many children in years past due to two major things. One, we were a rural society until the last 200 years and children were needed to “work the farm.” Secondly, and partially due to the first, childhood death rates were high until the advancement of medicine (about the same time) so there was a sort of safety in numbers thing going on. People will say I am a cynic and heartless soul, but if it wasn’t for all the wars and diseases that have ravaged countless millions and millions over the millenniums, we would already be at the point of near extinction. Nature has a way of “culling out the herd” as has been shown over and over through the eons. For us to think that we are or should be immune to this is arrogant and foolhardy. Sorry this turned into a mini-blog, but you hit a hot button with this one.

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    • I try to not be pessimistic, however, the rise of MRSA and other antibiotic resistant bacteria as well as nasty viruses of one kind or another can turn a sunny day cloudy. I read several books a few years ago on the coming epidemic. Demographers know it’s inevitable because we haven’t had one since the Great Influenza epidemic.

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  6. I’m trying to pass on things too, but it’s hard. A lot of the stuff like Waterford glasses are not very functional here in Hawaii. They’re just pretty, but our kids don’t seem to want them. There are other things I’d like to get rid of, but Art feels he might need them later… maybe.

    I do think we need to move to renewable energy, but we don’t have the technology yet in order to not need fossil fuels.

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    • China packed away in cupboard, not used in years. Silver may. Be in the pantry? Chrystal gone long ago.

      The East Coast is so heavily populated there is not enough renewable energy at present. Mostly our energy companies use coal. We have lots of coal, a few nuclear plants, and some energy from TVA although it tends to be for North Carolina and points south. We burn a lot of coal in Va to keep the energy flowing to New York City.

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  7. True. It worries me. No one really has an answer but we need to find answers before we become the planet that everyone flies off from in a Sci Fi movie.

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  8. I think about these things with energy and how vulnerable I feel with the loss of power we have especially in the rare wintertime outages.. I am also cleaning out.. I don’t want my daughter to have to do it … sigh… You are linked it and ready to go.. Love the photos. We too have a bad storm here….Michelle

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  9. That last sentence about the exercise bike made me chuckle.
    All I know is, I love my creature comforts — such as air conditioning in my house and my car.
    And I love to buy jewelry. That is my weakness.

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    • In our het, I’d die without AC. I gave most of my jewelry to my four great granddaaughters. Sometimes I wear pierced earrings. Mostly David uses his recliner. You reminded me today he has golf clubs in his closet. HE HASN’T PLAYED GOLF IN 40 YEARS.

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