Today is World Environment Day. The United Nations established the day and informs us it’s the most important day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment. It strikes me as odd the theme for this year’s World Environment Day is the illegal trade in wildlife. Themes like this are woefully inadequate in the face of today’s pressing crises, amounting to little more than rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Yes, our world’s biodiversity is critical, but illegal trade is a tiny fraction of even that problem. The real problem is the juggernaut of never-ending expansion in the scale of the human footprint. We are laying siege, not just to wildlife, but to the entirety of our “environment.”
Sunday is Mothers Day, but troubling economic news makes it difficult to celebrate motherhood this holiday. There are too few mothers! The most recent alarming news: Teen birth rates in the U.S. are dropping precipitously.
“Fewer Babies Having Babies” proclaimed the Newsweek headline last week. According to the Center for Disease Control, teen births declined over 40% from 2006 to 2014. Some might think this is good news. Teens, and their parents, come to mind. After all, teens are ill prepared to become parents, and unplanned pregnancies often lead to an unexpected round two of parenthood for ambushed grandparents. For teens, parenthood interferes with attending submarine races, prom night, and finishing school, not to mention Spring break in Fort Lauderdale.
By Suzanne York, www.howmany.org.
It’s shocking, but a mainstream media outlet has actually mentioned the idea of limits to growth and limits of nature. The New York Times, no less, has run a front-page story on the drought in California, invoking the concept of limits, in an article titled “California Drought Tests History of Endless Growth.”
The drought, now in its fourth year, has prompted the state government to announce measures to reduce water consumption. That in itself isn’t shocking, given the increasing severity of California’s water situation, but what is surprising is that it took this long to enact serious measures.
Guest Post by Karen I. Shragg Ed.d.
A new global analysis by University of Minnesota ecologists David Tilman and Michael Clark provides some interesting food for thought. Their study says over the next 35 years the populations of the world will try to emulate the western diet in their journey towards development. According to their analysis, this will inspire everything to go south.
The climate change effect of the spread of the typical American meat-based diet will make us collectively sicker and our environment much worse, too. Because cattle are so costly in fossil fuels, the study forecasts that the diet changes alone will make the climate that much more unstable, and they recommend people adopt a vegetarian diet OR follow the Mediterranean fish-based diet. They say that will make us healthier, too.
This Friday, the 28th of November, is Black Friday, what’s become a national holiday celebrating consumption. As much of the rest of the world strives to emulate the over-consuming ways of the U.S., the Black Friday shopping tradition is spreading around the world. Especially in the U.S., all eyes are on how much money shoppers spend on the day after Thanksgiving (and even on the eve of Thanksgiving now, as retailers try to wring every penny they can from our wallets). If we “consumers” don’t spend more this year than last, it’s considered a failure.
Last year I wrote a thorough essay about all that’s wrong with this tradition; there’s no sense repeating it. Read it for yourself. You may want to share it with your shop-a-holic friends.