Sometime ago I wrote this article. Since that time we have been undergoing a world wide pandemic which in many ways reinforces some of the points I raised in this article.
We can all think of the changes occurring in our lives as we grow older. (in my case I am now 74 years old and I can reminisce about the good old days for ages) . In Australia you could be forgiven for not thinking too hard about the world at large as we live in a reasonably well protected cocoon. With social security, minimum wage protection and lots of internal aid organisations these buffer some of us from getting a real perspective as to what is really happening in other parts of the world. But still the signs of social breakdown are becoming more apparent. I have discussed these before younger people not be able to afford housing, living on the streets, drug addiction, depression, alcoholism and worse of all giving up and committing suicide.
But in other parts of the world water and food shortages are evident. Even with wealth the rest of the world couldn’t live like us. There just isn’t enough water, food and other goodies to meet that demand. And our scientists are looking for ways to squeeze more out of the land, to utilise our water supplies where most needed and to continue to use up our resources until the inevitable collapse of our world.
We already see our climate changing. The skeptics can say that this is not people related perhaps just an aberration. However how can it not be people related? If there is a so-called average consumption number or water demand or fuel demand or any other consumable measurement they must all inevitably increase as the population grows. Now the lag time in climate response is catching up with us. The movements in the weather patterns have become dramatic.
Here in Tasmania we have found our horticulture possibly under threat from a fruit fly invasion last year. Even if it comes in with fumigated fruit or vegetables makes no difference. The fact that it can over winter here with climate warming is where the real threat lies. Water and temperature issues can also create difficulties. On our East Coast we had a very hot and dry summer in 2019-2020. The bushland which surrounds us is full of dry fuel probably more so than what existed before the 2006 bushfire. So dry has it been this year that the Wallabies have entered our orchard and eaten everything they can reach. Normally invasions like this are limited. A few get in but most stay out due to the fencing set up which exists. This year it has been a much wetter spring and the bush fire danger where we live hasn’t been here yet. But with just a few more days of hot weather which we are now experiencing who knows what might happen.
Our cities are at bursting point and fringe development on the Eastern free-board has led to almost continual coastal development from Melbourne to Brisbane. Some questions need to be asked .
Why are we doing this? What do we achieve with more people? Australia is one of the last countries on Earth which still has this capacity to absorb people. It is obvious to the rest of the world that Australia is a big country. But it is not so easy to survive in much of Australia and hence our settlements are in the fringe areas only. Even where our settlements exist it is only possible with present day technology. Water has to be pumped, houses require electricity, food has to be transported, cars are almost an essential requirement except in the most densely populated areas and so on.
We have to question whether we want to increase our population even further or to say enough is enough. Let us keep Australia as it is as a reminder to the rest of the world how their country was…
Lets not play any more games . Lets recognise we have to keep politics our of our thinking. Just as they say in dealing with the pandemic we have to trust our scientists. The same applies to our world. We need to make it sustainable and soon. The graph below says it all. Our population is at plague proportions.