IN THE ABSENCE OF CRITICS: INTROSPECTIONS ON HUMAN RIGHTS
by Kevin Mugur Galalae
THE EFFECTS OF OVERPOPULATION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
Many past civilizations grew beyond their food supply or resources and collapsed. The people of Easter Island, the Mayas and the Mycenaean civilization provide compelling examples. The modern world is also on the brink of self-destruction and this time it will be global unless we act decisively at this eleventh hour.
The approaching collapse is foretold by the depletion of natural resources and violent competition for them, environmental damage, global warming, conflict, poverty, desperation and the impotence of God and science to rescue us from ourselves; all of which impinge in one way or another on human rights and civil liberties. The ultimate cause for these dire effects or at the very least for their unprecedented gravity is our overwhelming numbers. There are simply too many of us, we are multiplying too fast and place too great a burden on the planet.
Overpopulation is exacerbating the scarcity of natural resources, placing impossible demands on science and technology, causing environmental damage beyond the planet’s ability to regenerate, making life hectic and stressful and overregulated, and igniting ethnic and cultural conflicts the world over.
The prices of staple foods and basic commodities have nearly tripled in the last decade and are increasingly out of reach for the three billion who earn less than $2 a day. That is how economic rights have been washed away en masse by increasing poverty. The votes of citizens are losing their value because the big decisions are not made in the national assemblies but in the boardrooms of transnational corporations and international organizations where the people have no representation and no say. That is how political rights have been diluted to mere shadows of their former selves. The norms and values by which we live are losing their meaning because they are based on dated loyalties, old knowledge and false comforts, which is why we blame others for our shortcomings and sense of disorientation and impotence, taking out our anger and frustrations on the people who are least like us and most vulnerable. That is how class and civilizational rifts have come to dominate our times and cloud our judgments and outlook with dire effects on cultural and group rights.
And this happens not because there is a lack of will and compassion but because we are in a catch 22 situation, the better we do the more we multiply and the longer we live, with disruptive consequences for the social, economic and environmental balances on which our wellbeing depends and to which we have become accustomed to. This forces us to think and work smarter than ever before, to forge consensus and cooperate deeper and wider than ever before, and to restructure and build a social, political, economic and environmental architecture that for the first time in our history considers the entire planet and all of humankind. We live accelerated lives that place unfathomable burdens on our ability to cope and adapt to these global demands. And because we are still developing the global consciousness we need to cope with these demands, we feel overwhelmed and inadequate.
Yet the logic is simple. More people, beyond the 7 billion we already have, require increased economic and industrial activity at a time when 60% of us are already malnourished because we have surpassed the planet’s ability to support us. The inevitable by-products of increased economic and industrial activity are resource depletion and environmental pollution, at a time when both are at acute levels, which in turn lower quality of life and standards of living for present and future generations and threaten the very survival of the species by further damaging the planet’s life support systems.
Continue reading here:
Add a Comment