I think I’m sophisticated ’cause I’m living my life like a good homo sapien, but all around me everybody’s multiplying and they’re walking round like flies, man. So I’m no better than the animals sitting in the cages in the zoo, man. ‘Cause compared to the flowers and the birds and the trees, I am an apeman. — “Apeman,” written by Ray Davies.
For me, the scariest event of the past year (a.k.a. “yesterday”) was seeing the above headline in the Chicago Sun-Times. Mind you, 2023 was the scariest year of my life since the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, and 2024 is shaping up to make that look like a walk in the park on a nice spring day. The fact is, eight billion people on a marble built to warehouse maybe 1.5 billion at best is cause for a Pepto-Bismol transfusion.
We can argue our actual global occupancy limit number — I rounded it off at 1,500,000,000 breathing bodies, but if you feel any need to reality test our actual limit then you should get out more often. People can’t stop recklessly pounding out more people, often because their invisible friend ordered them to. Eventually, most all of those new people will want cars of their own and maybe even a place to live. We’re rapidly running out of the latter, and in much of Europe and North America there are damn few places to build new roads and to maintain fueling stations, be they fossil or EV. And Americans despise public transportation.
So where do we put all the new bodies? In 2015, Habitat reported 1.6 billion people lacked adequate housing. In 2021, the World Economic Forum said 150 million people were homeless worldwide. That, to state the obvious, is lot of people.
We do not have enough potable water for eight billion humans. We have no means to adequately distribute the food we’ve got, which probably is not enough to feed everybody anyway and certainly this need will increase as we continue to knock-up everything that moves.
Fossil fuel? Well, the greedy cash-soaked bastards who control that shit are still trying to stop alternate sources of energy — that’s what our upcoming election is all about, and don’t get me started on how Putin has his thumb on all of that. So I’ve got to assume they figured out a way to turn the pre-fossilized dead into energy instead of Soylent Green. Don’t worry: they’ll make a couple trillion dollars more in their effort to kill us all, at which point they will die off and take their blood wealth with them to their graves.
There might be a convenient solution to the housing problem. As George Carlin pointed out at a Comic Relief benefit three decades ago, cemeteries are an incredible waste of space. Under my plan the dead will be wired up and placed in power warehouses. George also pointed out we do not need golf courses either; both would make for a convenient solution to the homeless problem until the poor all die of thirst and/or hunger. This shows us how we’ve evolved as people: we used to simply use the poor as cannon fodder, but now we won’t have to feel as guilty about that.
Maybe there is hope for the future. Sperm counts are down. I’d feel somewhat more sanguine if egg counts were down as well — men can spill a lot of seed without reducing our population growth by even one afterbirth. Nonetheless, our unending splurge of zygotes will not stand up to the affects of global warming; indeed, quite the contrary.
If you’re worried about the health and welfare of the newborn (as opposed to, by way of example, the pro-lifers whose attention spans run out when the water bursts) then by all means, stop making babies. You’re killing us, and you don’t need help bringing in the crops.
So if your candidate doesn’t prevail this November, don’t sweat the small stuff.
Happy new year. Seriously.
(A tip-of-the-toupee once again to Harry Harrison, sometime-cartoonist and author of a great many wonderful science-fiction novels including Make Room! Make Room! which served as the basis for the Edward G. Robinson / Leigh Taylor-Young movie Soylent Green.)