Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Worker bees or locusts: The 6.8 billion people who currently live on our planet

[Photos are of members of various branches of the Stillwater family tree]

Me and my granddaughter Mena were reading "The Lorax" last night for the 20th time (yes, I have no life) and, amazingly, way back in 1971 Dr. Seuss had already begun warning us about the dangers of over-manufacturing and over-population. "I am the Lorax," he wrote. "I speak for the trees." And then one day all the trees disappeared.

The Lorax had clearly warned all of us -- way back in 1971. We have been warned.

And yet despite of this explicit warning that almost every child in America has heard at least twice since 1971, to this day America (and almost every other nation on the planet) still measures its national well-being by the standard of whether or not there's been a growth in gross national product that year -- how much each nation as produced and/or consumed.

Apparently it's still very important to prove that we human beings are all good little worker bees.

But lately it just seems that all we are proving is that human beings make excellent locusts.

Do we really NEED all this stuff that we are still madly manufacturing?

And even if we do need it, can we afford it?

The devastation that human beings have created on our planet since beginning of the Industrial Revolution makes me think of locusts, not bees -- unthinkingly swarming all over the Earth, madly gobbling up all that they see.

40 years ago, Dr. Seuss was right. And so was the Lorax.

And now, 40 years after our warning, who speaks for the trees now? And the oceans? And the land? Monsanto does. And Wall Street, the Pentagon, Wal-Mart and Fox News.

We're screwed.

PS: Here's the U.S. Census Bureau's official population clock, http://www.census.gov/population/www/popclockus.html, now telling us that at this point in time there are 6,878,795,705 locusts, er, people now living on this planet -- and all of them seem to be screaming, "More! More! More!" at the top of their lungs. But guess what, guys. There's just not going to BE any more -- once we locusts have completely stripped the place.

Just ask the Once-ler what that's gonna be like.

PPS: One of the lawyers I used to work for always told me, "Whenever you make a demand on your opposition, always include both the date by which you expect this demand to be met and the negative consequences to your opponent if your demand is not met." That sounds like good advice.

So how about this for a due-date and a consequence? "If every single one of the 6.8 billion of us humans (except for those who are currently living at absolute subsistence levels) doesn't cut down his or her consumption of goods and materials by at least half before January 1, 2015, then we will suffer the dire and severe consequences of living on a planet that is occupied by locusts instead of by bees -- and Dr. Seuss's awful prediction will come true."

"But, Jane," you might say, while possibly wringing your hands, "how could we possibly ever do that?" Sure, it won't be easy -- but here's a very excellent way to start: Just get rid of ALL television commercials that extort us to buy stuff. And let's put this advertisement ban into effect within a year from today -- or else locusts will start eating your children. And you.