Facing America’s Population Challenge – John Stuart Mill

Book Review
Facing the Population Challenge: Wisdom of the Elders
by Marilyn Hempel, Blue Planet, Redlands, CA (2015)
ISBN # 9780692212271

In 21st century America, citizens and leaders of our country rush headlong and with great alacrity toward adding 138 million more people within 32 years, 2050, and a doubling of our current 330,000,000  (million) population to reach 625,000,000 (million) before the end of the century.

The run-up to that exponential growth won’t be pretty with accelerating water shortages, energy exhaustion and resource depletion.  Our cities grow more compacted, polluted and gridlocked. Our quality of life rushes desperately off a demographic cliff.  We force an unfortunate future upon our children.  We obliterate the Natural World in our contaminated and toxic wake.  We change our biosphere into a raging, chaotic tempest with no understanding of its outcome.
While Americans and their leaders cannot “see” that far, nor do they prepare themselves in any way, their children face enormous predicaments discussed by the “Elders” of this book.  For the most part, no one in America “talks” about the population explosion as if it will vanish on its own.  Reality check: it won’t. It will grow and become unmanageable.  It already shows itself catastrophic to the Natural World.
Extremely intelligent men and women of history create a profound discussion on humanity’s fate within this book. We best listen.
John Stuart Mill in the 1800s said, “There is room in the world, no doubt, for a great increase in population, supposing the arts of life go on improving, and capital to increase.  But even if innocuous, I confess I see very little reason for desiring it.  The density of population necessary to enable mankind to obtain all advantages both of cooperation and of social intercourse has been attained.
“A population may be too crowded, though all be amply provided with food and raiment.  It is not good for man to be kept at all times in the presence of his species. A world from which solitude is extirpated is a very poor ideal.  Solitude, in the sense of being often alone, is essential to any depth of meditation or of character.  Nor is there much satisfaction in contemplating the world with nothing left to the spontaneous activity of nature; with every rood of land brought into cultivation; every flowery waste or natural pasture plowed up, all quadrupeds or birds which are not domesticated for man’s use exterminated as he rivals for food, every hedgerow and superfluous tree rooted out, and scarcely a place left where wild shrub and flower could grow without being eradicated as a weed in the name of improved agriculture.”
Mill speaks of the Natural World and our need for it.
To many Americans, the wilderness is little more than a retreat from the tensions of civilization. To others, it is a testing place—a vanishing frontier where man can rediscover basic values.  And to a few, the wilderness is nothing less than an almost holy source of self-renewal. But for every man, woman and child, the ultimate lesson that nature teaches is simply this: man’s fate is inextricably linked to that of the world at large, and to all of the other creatures that live upon it.
Mill said, “If the Earth must lose that great portion of its pleasantness for the mere purpose of enabling it to support a larger, but not a better or happier population, I sincerely hope, for the sake of posterity, that they will be content to be stationary, long before necessity compels them to it.  It is scarcely necessary to remark that a stationary condition of capital and population implies no stationary state of human improvement. There would be as much scope as ever for all kinds of mental culture, and moral and social progress; as much room for importing the “Art of Living” and much more likelihood of its being improved, when minds ceased to be engrossed by the “Art of Getting On.”
Mill spoke those words back in the 1800s.  Today, humans feature cities in excess of 36 million jammed and crammed impoverished souls.  We humans watch 18 million of their species die of starvation annually. And yet, we propagate extravagantly by adding 80 million of ourselves, net gain, annually on our way from 7.2 billion to 10.1 billion within 36 years.

None of our actions make sense today, but we must learn from our elders to make way for a viable and sustainable future—before Mother Nature takes us by the hand, rather brutally and teaches us lessons in sustainable living.


Resource Videos:

We must come to terms with birth control and stabilizing human population. This three minute video brings the terror of India’s predicament up close and personal by Paul Winn of Australia:


In a five minute astoundingly simple yet brilliant video, “Immigration, Poverty, and Gum Balls”, Roy Beck, director of www.numbersusa.ORG, graphically illustrates the impact of overpopulation.  Take five minutes to see for yourself:


Immigration by the numbers—off the chart ;by Roy Beck - this 10 minute demonstration shows Americans the results of unending mass immigration on the quality of life and sustainability for future generations:


This film will rock you: Mother: Caring for 7 Billion.

Rapid Population Decline, Dr. Jack Alpert, skil.org


How much degrowth is enough to create a sustainable civilization, Dr. Jack Alpert, skil.org

The Human Predicament and What to Do About It , Dr. Jack Alpert , skil.org

Rapid population Decline or Civilization Collapse, Dr. Jack Alpert , skil.org