|Here are my answers to the excellent questions posed by my interviewer, Edmontonian Wendy Tomlinson of Cyrenity.
1. In an ideal world, how would population control be achieved?
In an ideal world population control wouldn’t be needed. All other species control their own population instinctively, aware that excess numbers damage the whole ecosystem and therefore threaten their own survival, and intuitively adjust their birth rate to keep numbers in balance. We did the same for our first three million years on Earth, until about 30,000 years ago when we started to separate our culture from the rest of life’s, and lost this critical survival instinct.
I don’t know how we can get that instinct back. If we could, in an ideal world, we would voluntarily reduce our current birth rate by about 2/3, which would gradually reduce human numbers by about 1% per year, and we would keep that up for about two centuries until human numbers were back to the 300,000,000 or so that, based on scientists’ estimates, seems to be the ‘natural’ human population level that prevailed for hundreds of millennia. I believe the resultant improvement in quality of life would be so astonishing that no ‘control’ would be needed to keep numbers at that level. Maybe that means I’m an optimist about human nature.
2. What’s the one non-fiction book that everyone should read?
If I absolutely have to pick just one, it would be Stephen J. Gould’s Full House. It’s aggravating, but worldview changing. It demonstrates scientifically that the appearance and evolution of life on Earth is (after each extinction) principally a random crap shoot, and that humans are not only not the pinnacle of evolution, but that we are not even especially remarkable. And since the likelihood of vertebrates (let alone humans) emerging from the primordial soup was about one in sixty million, and many of the alternatives might have been much more interesting and successful than how the experiment on Earth has turned out, it’s humbling as well.
3. Are you a vegetarian? Why/why not?
I’m an aspiring vegetarian, which is difficult when your family is not, and when work-related social occasions often don’t provide a vegetarian alternative. I’m getting a lot closer, and as more meat-alternatives come on the market I think I’ll get there.
My reasons for wanting to do so stem primarily from the way ‘food animals’ are treated, especially in today’s increasingly prevalent factory farms. The idea of keeping animals enslaved in cramped, unnatural, uncomfortable spaces all their lives just to feed humans is absolutely abhorrent to me. I also feel healthier when I eat vegetarian foods.
4. If you couldn’t live in Canada, where would you move to?
The Netherlands, for reasons I explain here.
5. Are religious leaders (the Pope, the Dalai Lama) more helpful or harmful?
All leaders (religious, political, business) who preach one set of answers to the exclusion of others are harmful. Good leaders don’t talk, they act. They show a better way to live, as Ghandi did, by personal example. They accept leadership roles humbly, reluctantly, briefly, to prevent power from corrupting them. They embody the consensus of those they lead, rather than trying to convert people.
Once again, here are the rules of this game (which I’m merely passing on — no one seems to know who started it), for any others who want to play. And thanks to the fourteen readers who already agreed to do so:
Other Writers About CollapseAlbert Bates (US)
Andrew Nikiforuk (CA)
Carolyn Baker (US)*
Catherine Ingram (US)
Chris Hedges (US)
Dahr Jamail (US)
Dark Matter Women Witnessing (CA)
David Petraitis (US)
David Wallace-Wells (US)
Dean Spillane-Walker (US)*
Deena Metzger (US)
Derrick Jensen (US)
Doing It Ourselves (AU)
Dougald & Paul (UK)*
Gail Tverberg (US)
Guy McPherson (US)
Jan Wyllie (UK)
Janaia & Robin (US)*
Jem Bendell (UK)
Jonathan Franzen (US)
Kari McGregor (AU)
Keith Farnish (UK)
Kristinha Anding (US)
NTHE Love (UK)
Paul Chefurka (CA)
Paul Heft (US)*
Post Carbon Inst. (US)
Richard Heinberg (US)
Robert Jensen (US)
Roy Scranton (US)
Sam Mitchell (US)
Sam Rose (US)*
Tim Bennett (US)
Tim Garrett (US)
Umair Haque (US)
William Rees (CA)
Archive by Category
My Bio, Contact Info, Signature PostsAbout the Author (2016)
--- My Best 145 Posts, by category, from newest to oldest ---
Dying of Despair
Notes From the Rising Dark
What is Exponential Decay
Collapse: Slowly Then Suddenly
Slouching Towards Bethlehem
Making Sense of Who We Are
What Would Net-Zero Emissions Look Like?
Post Collapse with Michael Dowd (video)
Why Economic Collapse Will Precede Climate Collapse
Being Adaptable: A Reminder List
A Culture of Fear
What Will It Take?
A Future Without Us
Dean Walker Interview (video)
The Mushroom at the End of the World
What Would It Take To Live Sustainably?
The New Political Map (Poster)
Complexity and Collapse
Save the World Reading List
What a Desolated Earth Looks Like
If We Had a Better Story...
Giving Up on Environmentalism
The Dark & Gathering Sameness of the World
The End of Philosophy
A Short History of Progress
The Boiling Frog
Our Culture / Ourselves:
The Lab-Leak Hypothesis
The Right to Die
CoVid-19: Go for Zero
The Process of Self-Organization
The Tragic Spread of Misinformation
A Better Way to Work
Ask Yourself This
What to Believe Now?
Conversation & Silence
The Language of Our Eyes
May I Ask a Question?
Cultural Acedia: When We Can No Longer Care
Several Short Sentences About Learning
Why I Don't Want to Hear Your Story
A Harvest of Myths
The Qualities of a Great Story
The Trouble With Stories
A Model of Identity & Community
Not Ready to Do What's Needed
A Culture of Dependence
So What's Next
Ten Things to Do When You're Feeling Hopeless
No Use to the World Broken
Living in Another World
Does Language Restrict What We Can Think?
The Value of Conversation Manifesto Nobody Knows Anything
If I Only Had 37 Days
The Only Life We Know
A Long Way Down
No Noble Savages
Figments of Reality
Too Far Ahead
Learning From Nature
The Rogue Animal
How the World Really Works:
Republicans Slide Into Fascism
All the Things I Was Wrong About
Several Short Sentences About Sharks
How Change Happens
What's the Best Possible Outcome?
The Perpetual Growth Machine
We Make Zero
How Long We've Been Around (graphic)
If You Wanted to Sabotage the Elections
Collective Intelligence & Complexity
Ten Things I Wish I'd Learned Earlier
The Problem With Systems
Against Hope (Video)
The Admission of Necessary Ignorance
Several Short Sentences About Jellyfish
A Synopsis of 'Finding the Sweet Spot'
Learning from Indigenous Cultures
The Gift Economy
The Job of the Media
The Wal-Mart Dilemma
The Illusion of the Separate Self, and Free Will:
Bark Bark Bark Bark Bark Bark Bark
Healing From Ourselves
The Entanglement Hypothesis
Nothing Needs to Happen
Nothing to Say About This
What I Wanted to Believe
A Continuous Reassemblage of Meaning
No Choice But to Misbehave
What's Apparently Happening
A Different Kind of Animal
Did Early Humans Have Selves?
Nothing On Offer Here
Even Simpler and More Hopeless Than That
What Happens in Vagus
We Have No Choice
Never Comfortable in the Skin of Self
Letting Go of the Story of Me
All There Is, Is This
A Theory of No Mind
Reminder (Short Story)
A Canadian Sorry (Satire)
Under No Illusions (Short Story)
The Ever-Stranger (Poem)
The Fortune Teller (Short Story)
Non-Duality Dude (Play)
Your Self: An Owner's Manual (Satire)
All the Things I Thought I Knew (Short Story)
On the Shoulders of Giants (Short Story)
Calling the Cage Freedom (Short Story)
Only This (Poem)
The Other Extinction (Short Story)
Disruption (Short Story)
A Thought-Less Experiment (Poem)
Speaking Grosbeak (Short Story)
The Only Way There (Short Story)
The Wild Man (Short Story)
Flywheel (Short Story)
The Opposite of Presence (Satire)
How to Make Love Last (Poem)
The Horses' Bodies (Poem)
Distracted (Short Story)
Worse, Still (Poem)
A Conversation (Short Story)
Farewell to Albion (Poem)
My Other Sites
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons License.