Having been involved with doing research for health and fitness columns for twenty-five years, it’s been my experience that, maybe, one basic research program in a few thousand really addresses the actual cause of the disease or fitness injury issue.
If we use cancer as an example of a diagnosed cause of death, we find cancer was not the actual cause, because cancer does not cause cancer, something else does. The root cause, in this example, is lifestyle choices. Those lifestyle choices can be smoking, drinking, junk food, environmental pollution, or any number of things.
If the engine in our car quits and leaves us stranded, the reason for our inconvenience, our frustration and the expense, isn’t the engine quitting, because the engine quitting didn’t “cause” the engine to quit, something else did. Maybe we didn’t have the fuel filter changed or ran the engine out of oil or got bad gas, etc.
If we’re experiencing an electrical storm with lightning, thunder and heavy rain, and we have the TV on so we can watch the weather channel to get information and the TV blows up, the cause isn’t the TV that caused the TV to blow up, it wasn’t the weather channel, or maybe even the lightning. The cause may be that we didn’t have a surge protector on the cord to the TV.
I use the above examples because most of us are more familiar with those illustrations than we are where the environment, global warming and pollution are concerned. We believe we are informed, but most of us only know what we’ve learned since those become major topics in the news and our lives. Most of the “learning” has been from the types of news information and research that’s similar to the health information and research that leads us to believe that cancer is the root cause of death if cancer is involved.
If we dig deeply, we find there is usually a vested interest in that type of research, the findings and the reporting. None of us, or very few, wants to believe we are the cause of our cancer, our car quitting or our TV blowing up. It’s much easier and more satisfying to remain the victim, have it be Nature’s fault or blame it on bad gas. Or, cover the real truth because, if it were known, it would impact our economic status, comfort and convenience in the here and now. The here and now will be a reality at some point anyway, and with geometrically greater consequences, if we don’t address the root causes and just continue treating the symptoms.
Consider the following: Everyone, there are no absolutes and there may be a few that don’t fall into the “everyone” category, wants the conveniences that are available. If we have a car it’s possible to go to town, get what we need and go home without spending days doing it. So, does that mean cars are the cause of global warming?
If we have an electric appliance that dices, slices and purees, it’s faster and more convenient to fix our meals. Is that appliance or the electricity it uses, clear back to the source of generation, the cause of global warming?
Both of those examples, and many more we hear about, aren’t causes, they’re symptoms. Which now leads us to believe that wanting and having the items in those examples is the cause, but that’s not true either. The wanting is human and just another symptom of the cause.
If environmental degradation, pollution and global warming are problems that have surfaced in the last fifty or sixty years, we need to look deeper and see what else has changed in that time period.
The pollution from each individual automobile is a fraction of what it was in the 1920′ and 30’s. The amount of automobiles has increased geometrically. The pollution, per person, for electrical generation is considerably below what it was during the 50’s and 60’s. The problem isn’t that we pollute, degrade and emit gasses more per person, the reverse is actually true, the problem is there are more people polluting.
In 1750, it’s estimated the world population was 791 million people. The first billion was reached in 1804, some hundreds of thousands of years from human population zero. At the beginning of the 20th century, world population was 1.6 billion. Billion number two was in 1927, or one hundred and twenty-three years after billion number one. Thirty-three years later in 1960, the next billion mark was reached and fourteen years after, the population was four billion. Billion number five became reality in 1987 with billion number six following in 1999. Seven billion is estimated to arrive in 2013.
Since the 1960’s, each billion has been added to the world population at the twelve, thirteen or fourteen year mark. Children per family has dropped, but the overwhelming population total keeps adding 78 million to the world’s population every day.
The majority of the world’s population lives in under developed areas, not necessarily rural but under developed. The majority of the population in developed areas of the world lives in urban areas. Urban areas pollute at a higher percentage rate, per person, than rural areas.
Now that we’re drowning in figures and background information that appears to go nowhere, let’s go back and see if we can figure out what the cause really is, and what we can do about it.
The root cause is over population, which falls mostly on the rural and underdeveloped, with consumerism being a close second, which falls mostly on the urban areas. Taking the numbers for both into consideration, we find both rural/ underdeveloped and urban populations share equally in the problem(s).
We have the technology to allow everyone the necessary conveniences of life, clean water, sufficient food, shelter, etc., we just don’t have the technology and resources to provide the necessities for the population we have now, and will be less able in the future.
It appears, to anyone who has the ability to think clearly, get beyond past patterns, ingrained cultures and learned beliefs, and then be able to reach a conclusion that benefits present and future generations, that overpopulation is the root cause of environmental degradation, global warming and pollution. When our vision is clear, we see everything else is just a symptom.
So, what’s the solution? It isn’t war and blowing people up. It isn’t mass genocide, plagues, pandemics, starvation and suffering. We’ve been doing that for thousands of years and it hasn’t worked yet, and won’t in the future.
If we were to spend as much on education concerning population control as we spend on war, we’d be able to spread the word in a very short period of time. If we made those who cause big problems responsible for their actions, men who think making multiple women pregnant proves their manly, or women who think having litters as opposed to well cared for families makes them whole, over time the population would stabilize at a sustainable level. That level would also be where everyone would have the opportunity to live a peaceful, productive, healthy and long life.
The choice is ours. Do we want to treat the cause(s), or put band-aids on symptoms?