Today, our planet has about 3 billion more human mouths to feed than the day I was born. And there will be 3 billion more when my life expectancy is reached, whether I make it to that age or not. It seems that this world has reached a tipping point.
Fortunately, the news from Mars is good. It looks like the weather will suit a helicopter flight there in the coming days. You may not like the money spent on Martian adventures, thinking that there may be better value to be had on earth but at least we are out there, looking for Planet B.
A hundred years ago, the Maharaja of Surguja was enjoying his tiger hunts. He told National Geographic in 1924 that he had personally killed 250 or more trophies. He also like to hunt Indian cheetahs and in 1947, he personally rendered them extinct, killing the last three known to be roaming free in India.
The world was outraged when an American dentist murdered Cecil, a lion much respected in Zimbabwe. The intrepid dentist likes to kill trophies by checklist. The brave dentist only hunts with a bow and arrow. Sadly, he only wounded this trophy. Cecil had to be found and was humanely dispatched many hours later. Humanely!
Perhaps I’m not so different. I used to love seafood and fish. One day, fishing from a boat off Kinsale Head in Ireland, using only a string with twelve feathered hooks, I personally landed fifty mackerel. I was eleven years old and thought this was phenomenal. Assuming I ate a fish every week for most of my life, and that’s likely an underestimate, I must have devoured at least 3000 fish. What’s harder to assess is how many sea creatures were killed for each one that reached my plate. But on that one day, when I was eleven, I personally landed a year’s worth of fish. I believe they were all eaten because I recall that we gave the excess to neighbours and friends.
I stopped eating fish a few years after I watched TV footage in which an octopus hid from a shark. I’ve always wondered about animal self-awareness and it’s taken half a century to undo my childhood programming.
Tigers and lions and cheetahs and mackerel are no longer abundant on this planet. What was considered acceptable when the world was feeding 3 billion is not appropriate for a world needing to feed another 3 billion. And knowing that another 3 billion are coming soon, one solution might be to reduce the pressure by emigration. Maybe Planet B is the new America.
Seaspiracy changed me. I’m still angry and outraged and sad and hurt.
The World Counts is worth an occasional visit. Their front page says that ‘if Earth’s history is squeezed into one year, modern human has existed for 37 minutes and used up a third of Earth’s natural resources in the last 0.2 seconds.’
Their position could be restated: we are running out of everything except people.
I was born into this world a decade on from the last global war, a war that caused an average of about one million excess deaths per month. Military actuaries estimate that life-altering maimings among the combatants are about the same as the deaths. Statistics for the civilian or ‘collateral’ damage are distorted by propaganda and outrage. It’s probably an understatement to suggest that 100 million people were killed or maimed by the killing machines of war over the brutal five years of WW2. Twenty million were Russian and six million were Jewish. One bomb killed 100,000 but not all died quickly. Would you chose the horror of your skin melting or prefer the gradual appearance of grapefruit sized cancers?
The killing and maiming machines are us. And we are not so good at killing. Many more are mutilated. We eat some 65 billion chickens every year which makes the Age of the Chicken a bad time to be a chicken. I think we can assume there’ll be a need to kill 100 billion of them in 2050. And the pigs and the cattle and the other meats we devour. And the bycatch or whatever the word is for the animals we don’t eat but condemn to miserable lives and terrorised deaths, the ones that don’t get plated on our tables.
Except that we may need to eat more of them to offset the lack of seafood and fish. At current rates of depletion, there will be nothing left to eat in the seas by about 2045 if not sooner.
They say you shouldn’t post when you are angry or hungry. I’ve been eating plants for two years and I’m not hungry.
Caveat emptor: my daily musings may not be complete let alone correct.