Monday, September 22, 2014

One Problem... Three Possible Outcomes

Crest of an Epoch

Existing Conditions

Mounting concerns continue over NATO's ongoing encirclement of Russia, a country that remains heavily armed with thermo-nuclear weapons. In other news, the media daily extols new stories of potential outbreaks of Ebola in Africa and Bubonic Plague in China. Meanwhile, headlines of the earth's population surpassing 11 billion by century's end are entertained.

Earth: The fragile planet
Earth: The fragile planet

Increasing environmental issues
Increasing environmental issues
Nevertheless, simultaneous reports of Armageddon remain consistent with those of exploding global population. These are just the front-page stories. Dig further and you will uncover ever-present famine, mounting environmental issues caused by an overuse of natural resource, climate change due to CO2 emissions, an ongoing eradication of animal and insect species, the uncontrolled spread of radioactive materials from the Fujiyama reactors and the pollution and landscape destruction caused by continued growth of the fossil fuel industry. In short, man has outstripped his ability to extend his stay on Mother Earth.

Not too surprisingly, it isn't the first time man has outrun the planet's ability to sustain him. However, modern health sciences and technology have enabled man to sidestep many of natures tools for diminishing population. Consequently, we are now approaching conditions of overwhelming circumstance.

Uncontrolled Growth

Radiometric dating of the earth calculates the planet's age at 4.54 billion years. By comparison, man has only roamed the planet for 338,000 years. Yet, out of some 8.74 million species of animal/insect species throughout land and sea, man has proven the most troublesome. No other species can remotely compare with man's damaging impact upon earth's environment.

12,000 years of growth, with sudden spike in past 100 years
12,000 years of growth, with sudden spike in past 100 years
Over man's relatively short history on this planet, we have seen numerous corrections made by both nature and man to keep population growth in balance with earth's available resources. Current population growth staggers the mind. Over the past 100 years, human population has increased by more than 400%.

Man has taken a crack at a correction with numerous wars. However, wars have only managed to keep in line with earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, famine and drought. To date, the real correction has proven to be the pandemic, especially the Black Death (Bubonic Plague) of the 7th and 14th centuries. However, with today's arsenal of nuclear weapons there are now additional correction scenarios.

Three Possible Corrections

1) Global Asphyxiation Scenario

CO2 Molecule
CO2 Molecule
In this first scenario, there are initial climate changes. Otherwise, man simply continues with his ongoing military conflicts, abuse of resources, disease vaccines and increased use of oxygen. However, this last item, oxygen, is critical.

Everyone worries over CO2 emissions and most of us are aware of its impact on the environment. However, few actually realize the unseen, long-term concerns of overused oxygen. Consequently, every new lung, car engine, airline flight, concrete pavement, boiled pot, thermostat adjustment or manufactured item forces a reduction in our atmosphere’s oxygen count.

At our current rate of oxygen consumption and deforestation, the planet will run out of oxygen sometime over the next two centuries. All life forms on land will be reduced to a point where the planet's population will be either corrected or extinguished. If corrected, life will begin to slowly reemerge but only after a substantial population reduction. However, if a failsafe point is passed, all of earth's life forms will gradually cease to exist. Earth will become Mars.

The global asphyxiation scenario is analogous to man being a type of virus. With continued exploitation of the earth's oxygen and mineral resources, this behavior identifies with that of a virus. Like a cancer, man gradually eliminates the host and thereby his own ability to survive.

2) Thermonuclear Scenario

Of all species, man retains the exclusive ability to kill indiscriminately. Not only is he capable of killing animals for sport, he also has the unique ability to commit suicide, murder and make war upon his own species.

Psychological studies have proven overpopulation and crowding to lead to depression, suicide and even murder. Consequently, it's small wonder global overpopulation would then lead to anything but war, genocide and even mass extinction. Probably the greatest single self-destruction event to date has been WWII, when an estimated 55 million humans were taken. However, with a global population of 2.4 billion in 1945, that removal of only 2% of earth's population, though seemly catastrophic, did little to correct the earth's imbalance.

Thermonuclear Blast
Thermonuclear Blast
The 20th century's development of nuclear devices as Weapons of Mass Destruction may have finally provided man with the means to effectively reduce the population to a more manageable number. The progression from the atomic bomb to the far more advanced thermo-nuclear, hydrogen bomb has seemingly outstripped man's own ability to fathom the consequences of such an exchange.

By comparison, a 50-megaton thermonuclear device makes the a-bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki almost insignificant. For example, an atomic bomb is employed only as a trigger device within a thermonuclear or hydrogen bomb, forcing a further division of hydrogen atoms. Consequently, one 50-megaton thermonuclear device would not only turn all of New York City and its surrounding suburbs into a solid sheet of black glass, it would also result in a mile-wide source of heat so great (100-150 million degrees F) it would launch a ring of fire as far as 15 miles from its epicenter. Within weeks, the resulting fire(s) would be greater in size than the entire state of New York. A mere dozen of such fires around the planet would consume the earth's oxygen within just a few months, essentially resulting in the same global asphyxiation scenario mentioned above.

However, most military and government leaders are either unaware or determined to ignore the resulting effects of these subsequent fires. Fires so great in size they could never be extinguished by manmade means. Consequently, governments like the United States, Russia and China have thousands of these devices installed within missiles mounted with multiple warheads aimed at their opponents today. No one ever said one had to be a rocket scientist to be a general or president. However, IQ testing before acquiring such a position is probably not a bad idea.

3) Pandemic Scenario

Ebola Virus
Ebola Virus
As horrible as Ebola or the Bubonic Plague may sound, either or both are a preferred method of population reduction to the above two scenarios.

After the first (recorded) plague pandemic of the 7th century, the Bubonic Plague developed for a second time, some 700 years later in China, and spread across the globe. In the later 14th century version, it was called the Black Death, because of the black sores it would form (gangrenous clusters of broken/septic capillaries). The overall population of the earth was then reduced by 20%. However, the earth's scant population at that time was a mere 450 million (6% of today's population).

Populated areas took the greatest hit. On average, 14th century Europe lost 45% of her population, which varied from as low as 20% to as high as 60% in some locations. The main thrust of the pandemic lasted approximately 8 years, with evolving strains of the virus often returning to previously stricken areas to do a second or third pass.

Ironically, the consequences to this horrible pandemic were actually quite positive. The Black Death is today considered by historians to have ended Europe's feudal system, as it forced an end to indentured servitude with fewer feudal lords and an increased demand for workers, better working conditions, improved wages and land availability. For the first time, industrious workers were able to buy land and improve their stations in life. Seeing the pox-ridden corpses of holy priests and high nobles laid out on the streets next to peasant brethren broke the stranglehold church and nobility had on the uneducated masses.

China's ongoing Black Death quarantine
China's ongoing Black Death quarantine
As human population is today calculated to exceed 11 billion by century's end, there can be no doubt an event of biblical proportions will occur long before that.

How soon the point of no return will be reached is anyone's guess. However, with random outbreaks of Ebola in Africa and elsewhere and over 30,000 Chinese residents in the city of Yumen currently quarantined with the Bubonic Plague, the opportunity is certainly ripe. Should scientists succeed in creating vaccines, one of the two earlier scenarios occurring increases in likelihood.

Immediate Future
Frankly, none of these scenarios appears optimistic. However, the real change has to come from man himself. Birth control is obviously long overdue. By comparison, a greater attempt should be to embrace population stabilization before the alternate consequence of asphyxia, war or plague. Yet, today, there remain religious movements actively discouraging any forms of birth control. History and existing circumstances cannot be questioned. Therefore, religious leaders must reconsider and measures need to be taken.

We can be certain of one thing. There will be a correction. Man may still have a choice. However, should he be unable to decide or lack the required will to succeed, circumstances will force a solution upon him.

You might also be interested in...

The Emperor's Faith 
is about religion and its fascinating effects upon the development of Western Civilization. Christianity remains the dominant religion of the West. However, as the ongoing essays unfold, it has by no means been the only religion of influence.

Visit this later update by CLICKING HERE

What would you have done? 

Would you have dropped the bomb? Harry Truman had a number of issues to deal with in Europe while trying to end the war in the Pacific. Consequently, his decision to use the bomb was complicated. 

Visit this later update by CLICKING HERE

Also of Interest... 

Nationalism: Before Europe had distinct countries with unique national identities, it was an empire. Before secular governments and diverse religious followings, there were monarchs who embraced the Catholic Church as state religion. 

Visit this later update by CLICKING HERE

 Copyright ©2013 Tom Mallon. All rights reserved.