The Third Rail . . .

our untouchable population problem

by R T Douse

Some time this year our planet Earth will become home to seven billion human souls.  Realization of that
fact has set this former real estate appraiser to remembering such basics as “total digestible units” and
“carrying capacity of the land.”

These two concepts need to be recognized by everyone because, when you really stop to think about it,
we are not too unlike cows on the range!  By that I mean our most basic needs are met by having
sufficient available fresh water and a plentiful food supply.  Unfortunately fresh water is already
in short supply in many parts of our planet, and adequate food has already become a luxury for
almost one billion of us.

Occasionally we will hear concerns expressed about “peak oil,” that seemingly far away time when
oil and gas will become precious to us and we will be forced (horrors!) to conserve the stuff.  Actually,
the time for conservation is already well past.  Did anyone pay attention when it flashed by?  Not really.

Ever hear of “peak water?”  I’ll bet you haven’t.  But the fact is, good old fresh water is disappearing
even faster than our remaining fossil fuel supplies.  With fresh water’s demise; so goes our food. 
This might not be perceived as much of a problem by the richest 1%, but the rest of us will be in real trouble. 
Before long, even the rich among us will begin to suffer.  Money loses its value when there’s no
bread and milk to buy, and there’s not that many digestible units in even a large stack of hundred dollar bills. 
To paraphrase a famous patriot, “We shall all starve together, or we shall certainly all starve separately.” 
Okay, the word was “hang,” but it doesn’t matter.  The result would be the same.

Since it is well known that all major aquifers are being depleted at alarming rates and there is now ample
evidence the glaciers many countries depend on for their water are in retreat, one would think people and
their elected representatives would be take notice.  This is a problem occurring right now with consequences
for us all.  And, it is a problem even the most skillful climate change deniers among us would find it
difficult to deny.  It’s not so much about climate change; it’s about human mismanagement of our planet.

It is not only fresh water we are losing.  Our oceans are losing the proper pH necessary for corals and
plankton to exist.  With oceans on track to become too acidic to support life at the most basic level
of the oceanic food chain, all fisheries will suffer.  All this is slowly but surely happening this very minute. 
If the human species are to continue, we must recognize what is happening and why, and try to take
what remedial action we can in whatever time we have left.

The root cause of this pending catastrophe is over population of the human genome.  There are simply
too many of us for the available real estate to handle right now, and we continue to increase our world
population at the present rate of about 220,000 each and every day.  Sure, we can try to make more fresh
water for people by building desalinization plants.  We can try growing more food with petrochemical
fertilizer but, at best, this simply pushes the solution down the road.  And, it actually makes matters worse
by making more room for more of us on planet Earth.  

This is a huge problem that confronts our civilization.  It is occurring now.  I certainly don't have the
answer to it, but the problem must be addressed.  My recent novel offers one suggestion, but although it
it presently scientifically doable, it's not a choice humanity would welcome.  Our population problem may
well be the “Third Rail” for any party conversation, but it’s a conversation we must have, and soon! 
We must put aside petty bickering about who’s to blame, and work together to find a rational and moral
solution.   Waffle time is up!#    

R T Douse is the author of the contemporary science fiction adventure story,
, “The Next – an omen,”
available from in either paperback or for your Kindle.

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