On a recent trip to Costco in Oxnard, an employee was serving samples of applesauce in disposable ramekins with disposable spoons, the applesauce itself coming in single-serving disposable packages. When asked where the big jars of applesauce were, she said that she didn’t know of any. She then expressed her frustration over the infinite pieces of garbage created every day because we are a convenience-based society. We share that frustration.
Our seemingly ongoing disregard for our consumption habits and procreation without proper planning or consideration of fair access to opportunity and resources is unnerving. And 15,000 scientists worldwide agree that this is beyond just a problem.
In “15,000 scientists give catastrophic warning about the fate of the world in new ‘letter to humanity,’ ” published in the U.K.-based Independent on Tuesday, Nov. 14, our mindless consumption habits are alarming too many:
A new, dire “warning to humanity” about the dangers to all of us has been written by 15,000 scientists from around the world.
The message updates an original warning sent from the Union of Concerned Scientists that was backed by 1,700 signatures 25 years ago. But the experts say the picture is far, far worse than it was in 1992, and that almost all of the problems identified then have simply been exacerbated.
Mankind is still facing the existential threat of runaway consumption of limited resources by a rapidly growing population, they warn. And “scientists, media influencers and lay citizens” aren’t doing enough to fight against it, according to the letter.
If the world doesn’t act soon, there [will] be catastrophic biodiversity loss and untold amounts of human misery, they warn.
We have discussed in numerous editorials the impact of consumption, from gas to plastics, and their consequences, from the growing Great Pacific Garbage Patch to increasing carbon emissions and global climate change, etc., trying to drive awareness and action though it often seems futile. We still fight global hunger plus food insecurity right here in Ventura County. The ongoing costs of trying to keep up with housing, education and transportation, these are all serious issues that we seem largely to ignore. But why?
It’s so plain to see the lack of mindful and careful consumption; and, for some strange reason, we keep doing it, applying a self-serving mantra. There is some good news, however: Millennials are waking up. In a recent report by “How millennials are slowing U.S. Population growth and enhancing sustainability,” published by the nonprofit Negative Population Growth, it discusses how times are changing, including how stressed out the younger generation is compared to the baby boomers and falling fertility rates:
The United States is in the middle of what some call a “baby bust”. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of babies born in this country fell by 338,000 – or 8.7 percent between 2007 (the year prior to the Great Recession) and 2016. Over that period the national fertility rate (births per 1,000 women of childbearing age, 15 to 44) fell from 69.3 to an historic low, 62.0, in 2016.
In the warning letter by the scientists, the hopeful sentiment of the scientists, who expressed that if we change, we can reverse some of this, but what exactly will be the catalyst is unclear. Maybe the millennials are trying to correct what they see as wrong with wasteful consumption, spending and procreation habits of their parents. Now we can only hope that the older generations will start realizing that if we individually do our part, rather than justifying doing nothing because they don’t see enough people doing anything to help seeing, we can save our burdened planet.