Good Things from Bad Situations
by Mike Meyer ~ Honolulu ~ December 1, 2020
Just to put things on a positive note, Homo sapiens is not likely to die out in the next hundred years. We are not likely to become even endangered despite the disasters that we have brought to our planet. Our species is resilient enough to come back even if only a few breeding pairs remain as we have in the past.
The closest we came to a wipeout was about 70,000 years ago with Toba's explosion on Sumatra. Some estimates estimate that the human population went as low as a few hundred or less, which is definitely endangered. It took a while to come back, but we did.
While it took our species about 200,000 years to reach our first billion, we added a billion about every twelve to thirteen years. But there have been indications that we are slowing down due to many discouraging events. Even so, our reproduction rate makes us unique among mammals.
This started to be positive, and it will continue that way even though we are now entering the COVID-19 baby bust that appears to be, you guessed it, unique. A baby bust does not show up until nine months after a significant disaster, but it seems the pandemic baby bust started a little early. This was not preview of the future that kept contraceptives in use in early 2020 but a preexisting trend.
This month, December marks a full nine-month gestation period since COVID-19 hit the news and lockdowns started. The expectation is a significant decline in births. But for people in America, it has been an awful four years with growing economic distortions and awful expectations for the future. Who would want to start a family with someone such as Donald Trump in the White House?
While disasters, even epidemics, and wars produce a baby boom following the event's bust, no expectation for that exists now or for the next few years. We are in the age of hyperobjects as problems. If one doesn’t get you a dozen more, may as they are so massively entangled.
The extent of the disaster is, as everything now, dependent on who you are and how you fit in the massively distorted and racist economies that rule the planet. The tiny educated, white elite in the US has made out like champs and will probably continue with their plans for children. If you are poor, black or brown, and not privileged, you have born the brunt of the economic collapse, and survival is iffy enough.
There are the beginnings of suggests that this is overall a benefit for the planet. The more educated and affluent have been reducing their family size for a century. The wealthiest nations are struggling with a shrinking population.
The important point is that things are changing rapidly and, as we have learned over the last nine months, the old rules no longer apply. We don’t know, yet, quite what the new rules are, but we are leaning.
The rate of change and the effect of our hyperobjects are accelerating what people think and do. Despite the great efforts to substitute lies for all truth, the basic truth is that we need to change, and it is our youngest population that will set the tone and determine the future. But they see a very tentative and declining world that needs a massive fix to become sustainable and liveable for all.
In these revolutionary situations, we need to expect the unexpected. Those that reject the future and demand a return to past failures will be pushed aside, and that has begun to happen. I expect that nothing old will survive.
We need to be prepared to end up in a very different world than the one we left, finally, nine months ago.