Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Post of Depressing Proportions

The world seems terribly depressing at the moment so I thought I would quantify that depression with several examples of the events and current state of our planet and ourselves. Before I begin I would like to note that I am an extremely optimistic person most of the time. But sometimes I cannot simply gloss over the horrible events in our world. This quote from The Sarchasm kind of sums up the reason for this post.
Everyone already knows about global warming. We already "know" about poverty in Africa as well. We already know about Darfur. We knew about Rwanda. But the one way to ensure inaction is to let an issue escape to the margins rather than keeping it in the front of our minds. The only way to ensure people don't forget is to keep talking.
You probably already guessed what prompted this post. At best estimates, the Gulf oil spill catastrophe has spewed forth seven times the amount from the infamous Exxon-Valdez spill. Using the most liberal estimates it is more than 100 times worse and getting "worser" by the day. This is completely unacceptable. My sister's post on her blog today also deals with the Gulf catastrophe.

I've embedded the real-time oil ticker along with the live video feed coming from the giant crack in the pipe. To see the live video feed just go here. Make of it what you will. It occurs to me that I've never actually watched a train wreck in slow motion. I think I'll go do that now and compare.

 Since I've already depressed you I'm just going to continue. This chart (from this website) shows the world population over time. I don't know about you but I cannot believe that that spike is sustainable for long. In my opinion nearly every major problem in the world is directly or indirectly caused by overpopulation. Now this is a problem not easily solved. China's attempt at controlling population with their one-child policy has been met with limited success and much opposition. There is no single solution to this problem, but it is one that we must face somehow.

I would get into a discussion about how I think we as a culture view death in way not beneficial to ourselves but I haven't entirely formulated my stance upon the topic.

It has been estimated that a total of approximately 106 billion people have been born since the dawn of the human race, making the population which is currently alive roughly 6% of all people who have ever lived on planet Earth. That is an extraordinarily high percentage considering the estimated age of humanity (200,000 years).

I have had this world population clock on my homepage for the past two years. It reminds me every day that humanity is on a collision course with complete and total disaster. Our population is skyrocketing while the arable land (land we can use to produce food) is diminishing rapidly.

On a side note this graphic about bottled water usage is appropriately depressing.
On another side note this is an extremely complex version of the national debt clock I have running next to the world population clock on my homepage.

Finally, watch this video by Hank Green of the Vlogbrothers (link also in the sidebar) about population and being green and understanding just what is going on in this crazy world of ours. It will hopefully bring you out of the depression I just forced upon you. I also hope it empowers you to ALWAYS think about the state of humanity and the state of our world. If you don't have time to watch the video (it's four minutes) go to the website he talks about in the video here.

There are dozens of other depressing things we are doing to the planet right now. The destruction of rainforests, the trash vortex in the Pacific which is the size of Texas, the list goes on. But I'll leave you with something inspiring.
This hangs above my bed and reminds me of what is at stake every day.