Sipping lattes in a bookstore, a retired friend and I talked about the exploding global population and the dwindling resources of the planet. By 2022, India’s inhabitants will exceed 1.4 billion. By 2050, our species will have grown from the current 7.3 billion to 9.7 billion. The likelihood we will have sufficient natural resources to eradicate poverty, malnutrition and inequality seems bleak. (“Health & Science,” The Week, August 21, 2015, pg. 19.)
Given the future’s potential chaos, my friend and I can hardly be blamed for considering old age a blessing. Neither of us will be around in 2050, but it doesn’t mean we’re indifferent about succeeding generations. Nonetheless, if convincing people about climate change was a hard sell, imagine the resistance and anger that will follow if governments resort to China’s example and attempt to limit the number of children born to each family. Even in Umoja, an all-women village in northern Kenya surrounded by a fence of thorns to keep men out, the community values infants. As one woman who has five off-spring by different men explained, “Without children, we are nothing.” (Click)
Nature has hard wired us to want decendants. But we can’t ignore their future as the planet grows more barren. (Click) In a way, we see some of that scarcity already. The number of Millennials forced to return home after graduation because they are saddled with tuition debt and can’t find decent paying jobs is a precursor of what will follow. That wages haven’t increased for several years has already pushed many people into subsistence living. To make ends meet, multigenerational households are becoming the norm. (“Making Money,” The Week, August 21, 2015, pg. 33.)
In the meantime, greed runs amok. CEO’s of US companies continue to receive incomes 200-300% higher than their workers . (Click) How can we hope for the future when our leaders care so little for the economic and social imbalance underway? Unwilling to share in the present, how will they lead in the future? If conscience isn’t enough to bring about change, let them consider this. Our species has prevailed since prehistoric times because we learned to cooperate. Forget that lesson and the grass will bury us. The mantra for the future must be: one for all and all for one.