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March 14, 2016

The Law of Nature (that None of us are Following).

Artur Rutkowski/Unsplash

*Editor’s Note: Elephant Journal articles represent the personal views of the authors, and can not possibly reflect Elephant Journal as a whole. Disagree with an Op-Ed or opinion? We’re happy to share your experience here.

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In order for us to survive on this planet, we have to start paying attention to the laws of Nature.

I read today that 85% of the world’s population lives in the driest part of the planet and 880 million have no access to fresh water.

There is something fundamentally wrong with this—and it isn’t the lack of water.

Natural law means that the beings that inhabit this planet must respect the resources it has for us, or we will not survive.

Let’s face it, we as a species are overpopulating the world. We send supplies, money and medical aid to areas of the planet that are not capable of supporting large populations of human life.

Natural law means that  these large populations would not otherwise be supported—except for the generosity (or stupidity/naiveté) of people who have abundance (us), there would only be a few inhabitants in these areas because of lack of natural resources.

The support that we are pouring into these areas is creating a critical mass of people that should not be there. Africa should probably have one-tenth of the population it has now, and the areas of the world that have abundant water and food should be much more densely populated (but we won’t let them in).

The fundamental problem is that the only way people can stay in uninhabitable areas is to reproduce rapidly. It is not because of moral depravity that Africa has one of the highest birth rates in the world.

It is because they are trying to maintain their existence in a place that won’t support them. 

On the list of birth rates per country, the top 29 out of 30 are in Africa. The lone exception is Afghanistan. These areas reproduce at about 35-45 out of a thousand per year. The world average is 19 per thousand per year. The U.S. is at 14 per thousand per year. There is something upside down about these statistics from a resources standpoint.

The reason birth rates are so high in uninhabitable countries is that in order to survive, the population must compensate for high mortality rates. The lack of sex education, the abuse of women by those in control (systematic rape) and the efforts to survive are supporting these birth rates.

Even the most basic classes in sexual education and contraception would go a long way in reducing both the death rates and the birth rates to sustainable levels. Just sending food and medicine will not bring the population back to sustainable levels.

I have personally seen what sending aid to an area can do.

In the Peruvian Manu Rain Forest, the indigenous tribes there were suffering high infant mortality and low birth rates because the water they drink out of the rivers is highly contaminated with naturally occurring toxins, according to some sources, or unregulated oil and gas drilling, primarily according to others. The population had been spread rather sparsely through the jungle as there was no reason to live in the same place.

Originally, the small villages (less than 50 people) that dot the jungle landscape were founded by Jesuit priests trying to convert the indigenous people who they considered heathens. Small schools were set up by the priests so that the natives could have some rudimentary knowledge of their language and the outside world and be converted to Christianity.

When the water projects were built, clean water was piped from springs and filtered through sand filtration to produce clean, healthy water in two small areas along the Iron River.

I have been to these areas twice. The first time I was there, it was amazing how quickly the people had gathered in the areas to take advantage of the clean water and hygiene (there were more than 150 people there).

However, I also noticed that a TV had been set up with a satellite dish powered by solar panels. When the children were not in school, they were glued to the TV set watching cartoons, and the adults were watching sports. I was troubled by the insidious nature of corruption by civilization.

The second time I went, about 12 months later, the town had doubled in size and there were various appliances scattered around waiting for solar panels large enough to power them. Garbage piles were littering the landscape. Babies were healthier and not as malnourished.

The benefits of clean water and hygiene were obvious, but it was clear that the indigenous people’s lives were changed forever by civilization. The birth rates and infant survival rates were higher. It will not be long before more and more people will flock to the clean water source and the jungle will be cleared for the denser population.

Is it a humanitarian idea to bring clean water to this area? Absolutely.

Are we irreparably changing their way of life? Again, absolutely.

We are not immune to our stupidity in the United States, and are doing even worse things to ourselves:

We are contaminating our food sources with genetic engineering that is outlawed in many countries on the planet.

We are poisoning our water through the greed and callousness of the oil industry called fracking.

We are contaminating our fresh water supplies to force oil out of the ground.

Shame on us.

We as a species have forgotten that the world has not written us a blank check. If we continue to overpopulate the world as well as deplete and poison our natural resources, we will not be able to sustain human life.

We are fooling ourselves that we are the smartest species on the planet.

Mother Nature comes to collect payment for what we have done, we will not be able to declare bankruptcy. We will just perish.

 

Relephant:

“Where’s my Free Water?” & other Delusions.

 

Author: James Robinson

Apprentice Editor: Bere Blissenbach / Editor: Emily Bartran

Picture: Artur Rutkowski/Unsplash
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James Robinson