Well, the first thing that comes to mind after viewing Avatar: is there anything that James Cameron can’t do? He wrote the screenplay, produced it and then directed it. It still fascinates me when I try to comprehend how anyone is able to convince a major film studio to open their wallets to the tune of $250M! 

At the same time he convinced them that they would not only get a decent return on their investment, but one that was going to be totally dependent on a film technology that hadn’t, at that time, even been fully developed. I’m sure he also dangled the possibility that the returns could approach a billion dollars. Which so far, and everyone is still counting the money, it has already returned two billion dollars in receipts. Without a doubt he is a compelling and determined visionary!

I guess it didn’t hurt that Titanic was already in his back pocket, among many other films of note. But still…

There was obviously an important story here and he knew exactly how he wanted to tell it. But it could be just a rousing science fiction adventure yarn, embossed with the most exotic and dramatic special effects created so far in the history of cinema. Could this be just a simple boy meets girl story intertwined with the fanciful hallucinations of a herculean filmmaker?  I suspect that would certainly be good enough for the majority of the millions of Avatar aficionados around the world, something akin to why most people loved Slumdog Millionaire

But others, myself included, would like to think that Mr. Cameron had a few more things on his agenda: the mind can run wild with Hindu theology, coupled with a parable of 22nd century American imperialism and capitalism. Always grasping in a crisis of our own making, we try once again to manipulate poor choices, and the efforts always turn to disaster whenever arrogance and power run amok.

And it is so true,Western culture has never come to grips with the indispensible network of ecology that we are all tethered to.We are constantly challenging the very phenomenon which gives us life. We exploit and abuse it, as if it is our inherent right to use up and destroy anything which was provided for us by creation and good fortune. It seems to be beyond our ability to comprehend that the destruction of the core means the destruction of all.

Always on script, we struggle mightily to usurp the laws of nature with a sterile one-dimentional technology, and then wonder why we fail miserably to sustain a liveable environment, all the while becoming farther and farther out of sync with our biological past.

It is illuminating to watch as science fiction melds more and more quickly into the realm of  hard science. It is not so difficult now to make the leap between running out of resources on planet Earth, and eventually being forced by circumstances to search for other sources on distant planets, moons and asteroids. One would think we should create emerging sciences to prevent such future shortages, but instead we create gadgetry and mindless technologies that force us deeper into realms, which can only hasten the depletion of resources. 

We stagger into the future, blindly addicted to questionable wizardry, while our final dependence and forced expeditions in the future are clearly beckoning. What fatal flaw drives us to such journeys? What drives us to consume, contaminate or destroy the finite resources that will at some point become so limited that all nations will be encumbered by economic and ecological calamity, until life itself is threatened?

The sheer numbers of human beings on this planet – seven billion and increasing dramatically everyday – is surely the key component in our ongoing slide towards disaster, but also, as the film points out so brilliantly, there is simply not the holistic consciousness that could possibly change the destiny of civilization. Without understanding that all life, whatever the form, is interconnected, and only our diminishing numbers can return us to the ecological balance required, the future looks bleak indeed.

James Cameron may not be an avatar as represented in Hindu tradition, but his film does us a great service by presenting a future scenario and stark warning about mankind’s repeated inability to choose the right course, and which ultimately then becomes an unavailable choice.

Remember: One Billion people = 1000 Million people

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The Real “Inconvenient Truth”

NASA Photograph

The intelligent solution would require the courage and the wisdom to put our knowledge to the test.  It would be poignant and distressing in ways, but not fatal. It would henceforth limit every human female on Earth capable of bearing children to one.

Alan Weisman The World Without Us

What Al Gore Has Accomplished


  • I admire the book, An Inconvenient Truth. I admire its entire presentation 
  • I admire how it evolved into a film from a man’s quest to educate through a series of slide shows, traveling throughout the United States and other countries 
  • I admire Al Gore’s  messianic zeal to tell a story that has to be told 
  • I admire his courage coming back from a questionable “political defeat”  to center on a cause, which is critical for us and future generations
  • I admire all the people; researchers, editors, producers, artists that worked on both the book and the film – it was all very well done


But Al Gore Failed to Acknowledge The Defining Issue

What I don’t admire nor understand is how Al Gore could have rejected the telling point of his journey.

Global Warming is certainly a major issue. It is extremely important, but that alone does not make it The Defining Issue.  

  • What is crucial to understand is that we are adding one million people to this planet every four days 
  • What is crucial to understand is that we have now burdened the planet and ourselves with almost 6.5 billion people; and 300 million plus live in the United States  
  • What is crucial to understand is that 300 million Americans are using and abusing 30% of the world’s resources, and the rest of the world is doing a good job of consuming what remains  
  • With an ever-increasing sea of humanity, it would seem irrefutable that a few adjustments here and there to our environmental footprint is not going to be statistically significant in reducing Global Warming or the rate of depleting natural resources

Consequently, the billions of inhabitants on this planet are most assuredly the root cause and The Defining Issue

Why We All Fail to Acknowledge The Defining Issue

  • People shun efforts to reduce populations because we have already produced more than our fair share of children, so we ourselves are already part of the problem 
  • Therefore, we find it uncomfortable and somewhat disingenuous to be lecturing about population reduction when we ourselves have failed to live up to our own pleas for restraint 
  • Al Gore has four children, that is a significant increase from one or two 
  • When rereading the Gore book I could find only 6 pages out of 325 that spoke in any real way about overpopulation  

What We Can No Longer Avoid

  • Many Should Consider Having No Children, Most Should Consider Only One, a Very Few Only Two
  •  Let’s at least be realistic,  we can’t possibly make any significant changes in our current environmental catastrophe-in-the-making until we are willing to be forthright about the fundamental cause
  • Reducing populations is the only measure that can significantly impact and reduce Global Warming and stop the depletion of our natural resources
  • Anything else  is comparable to building more freeways that will be obsolete before they are completed.  To be frank, that is “Don Quixote” stuff

Yes, but some would say the United States is a relatively small part of that 6.5 billion number.  True, but we are also the greatest consumer of resources and products, and the greatest polluter and contributor to greenhouse gasses. 

Reducing populations means we must be at least as committed as others, if not more so.  We are the most powerful country in the world.  As we go, so goes the world.  To ask others to do what we are not willing to do is a formula for failure and eventual disaster.

In conclusion, what would you rather have: a world population of  3 billion in 2075 and a comfortable, livable environment, sharing equitably and sustainably our natural resources; or a world of 9 billion people in constant conflict and anxiety, with much of that population living in a poverty, pollution, toxic nightmare and governments fighting constantly for whatever natural resources remain?


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More Scope For James Hansen

What do overpopulation, global warming, and James Hansen have in common?  Apparently nothing if we are to read James Hansen’s excerpts in Newsweek from his new book, Storms of My Grandchildren

Credits and Appreciation for James Hansen

Everyone should have the greatest respect for anyone warning of the dangers of global warming, but here are some quotations from Mr. Hansen whose credentials include: one of the first to publicize the possible cataclysmic results of global warming, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, adjunct professor at Columbia University and Columbia’s Earth Institute, and director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

  • I believe the biggest obstacle to solving global warming is the role of money in politics, the undue sway of special interests
  • But let me tell you: President Obama does not get it.  He and his key advisers are subject to heavy pressures, and so far the approach has been “Let’s compromise”
  • So far, the effects of climate change have been limited because of climate-system inertia, but inertia is not a true friend.  As amplifying feedbacks begin to drive the climate toward tipping points, that inertia makes it harder to reverse direction
  • Continued growth of greenhouse gases in the near term will make that result (global chaos) practically inevitable, out of our children’s and grandchildren’s control
  • The problem with governments is not scientific ability. . . Instead, the government’s problem is politics – politics as usual
  • You can recognize right away that our government is not taking a strategic approach to solve the climate problem
  • Our planet, with its remarkable array of life, is in imminent danger of crashing.  Yet our politicians are not dashing forward.  They hesitate; they hang back
  • This will be the most urgent fight of our lives


All of the Above Has Merit But

With all due respect, Mr. Hansen, the biggest obstacle to global warming is not money in politics, but influential scientists such as yourself refusing to acknowledge one of the seminal causes of global warming, which is overpopulation and the tremendous rate of increases we see in the world each day – 227,000 people. 

That is  the ultimate force to be reckoned with!

So blaming President Obama for not “getting it”, when in fact you fail to get it also, and in so doing compromise both logic and common sense, does not help the cause of global warming.

And while climate-system inertia certainly plays a pivotal role, no role is more critical than the inertia of overpopulation, driving this planet even faster towards climate change tipping points, which will only accelerate that which will soon be irreversible.

A More Inclusive Strategy

And please, do not criticize others for their lack of strategic approach, when you yourself lack the vision and foresight to include overpopulation as one of the main causes of climate change.  Without that acknowledgement, you have substantially diminished the strategic approach you advocate.

Finally, climate change is most urgent and we are in imminent danger, and because of that threat we need all the tools at our disposal to free ourselves from the path of self-destruction. 

When you, in your own words, fail to “dash forward” or ” hesitate and hang back” by not including the problem of overpopulation in any discussion of global warming, you do the cause, yourself, the United States and the rest of the world a great disservice.

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In Memory Of Man

What overpopulation has done - and might very well do!

What overpopulation has done - and might very well do!

James Hopkins, in his essay Human Population Crisis, gives a lucid and compelling argument explaining the principle of exponential growth combined with the difference between quantity and quality. 

How much have we contributed toward humanely contolling our number and preserving the environment? Nature is a balance of existence. In order to coincide with nature, we must balance the saving and extending of lives with the number of lives which we produce. We mustn’t use resources any faster than they can be reproduced. We need to respect ourselves by learning to respect the environment which we rely upon for our own existence. If not, we will cease to exist.

James Hopkins

But not until the coda appears does the reader truly understand the depth of our dilemma.

            In the end it all comes down to, You Reap What You Sow!

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More People More Pollution:Bill Burr

Overpopulation and pollution problems get some comedy relief from Bill Burr as he wastes nor minces any words about their obvious connections.

Sometimes you just have to skip all the formalities and let the comedians go at it! 

BE WARNED: not for people concerned about the F-word or decorum issues.


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Geo-Engineering: Salvation or Threat

If you are digging yourself into a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging!


We should all  be astounded by the article in the July/August  2009 issue of The Atlantic magazine.  Graeme Wood in his article, Moving Heaven And Earth, summarizes and correctly wonders about our collective sanity when we begin to truly give credence to the newest buzz word in the world of global warming, Geo-Engineering. 

Geo-Engineering!  What you may ask is that? 

Well here are some snippets and quotations from Graeme Wood which may help resolve some of your questions, if not your credibility.

Humans have been aggressively transforming the planet for more than 200 years. The Nobel Prize–winning atmospheric scientist Paul Crutzen—one of the first cheerleaders for investigating the gas-the-planet strategy—recently argued that geologists should refer to the past two centuries as the “anthropocene” period. In that time, humans have reshaped about half of the Earth’s surface. We have dictated what plants grow and where. We’ve pocked and deformed the Earth’s crust with mines and wells, and we’ve commandeered a huge fraction of its freshwater supply for our own purposes. What is new is the idea that we might want to deform the Earth intentionally, as a way to engineer the planet either back into its pre-industrial state, or into some improved third state.

Certainly Paul Crutzen has it right reflecting on the last 200 years and mankind’s immense impact on the planet, but the last sentence is the one that takes on a more sinister aspect. The author goes on.

Large-scale projects that aim to accomplish this go by the name “geo-engineering,” and they constitute some of the most innovative and dangerous ideas being considered today to combat climate change. Some scientists see geo-engineering as a last-ditch option to prevent us from cooking the planet to death. Others fear that it could have unforeseen—and possibly catastrophic—consequences. What many agree on, however, is that the technology necessary to reshape the climate is so powerful, and so easily implemented, that the world must decide how to govern its use before the wrong nation—or even the wrong individual—starts to change the climate all on its own.

Does this sound a lot like the post WWII warnings about nuclear proliferation? And we all know how successful we have been with that policy after decades of other countries joining the now not-so-exclusive club. You may also be wondering about the altruistic intentions of say North Korea and Iran. 

A Sample of Geo-Engineering Proposals

We all know global warming is an issue that threatens all of us, but what does this Geo-Engineering science  propose to allay the gathering threat? Well, below is a short list:

  • Dragging propellers behind 1500 ships so the resultant spray will form more clouds
  • Shoot Frisbee-size ceramic disks-800,000 every 5 minutes for 10 years to reflect the sun
  • Sulfur-aerosol injection: Pumping sulfur dioxide from factories to Zeppelins at  65000 ft, basically causing smog and blocking the sun-this is referred to as the Blade Runner solution.
  • “Carbon-eating trees” that would decay into topsoil creating carbon traps
  • Building-size structures to filter and trap carbon chemically. Then pump the carbon (major greenhouse gas) back into the ground
  • Huge Plankton gardens on the surface of the seas to ingest carbon and trap it at the bottom of the oceans

Potential Blow-back

And apparently every country, that can afford it of course and has the technology, can be undertaking their own program(s) of choice.  Never mind that the blow-back from any of the above could be catastrophic in its own right. 

Has everyone forgotten there is only ONE atmosphere, no backups here!

But what should be somewhat disturbing to all of the doubters is the author’s own response and concluding paragraph.

We should keep such images in mind. And they should remind us that, one way or another, a prolonged love affair with carbon dioxide will end disastrously. A pessimist might judge geo-engineering so risky that the cure would be worse than the disease. But a sober optimist might see it as the biggest and most terrifying insurance policy humanity might buy—one that pays out so meagerly, and in such foul currency, that we’d better ensure we never need it. In other words, we should keep investigating geo-engineering solutions, but make quite clear to the public that most of them are so dreadful that they should scare the living daylights out of even a Greenfinger.

Graeme Wood goes on in the last sentence of his concluding remarks to make what seems a somewhat understated solution.

In this way, the colossal dangers inherent in geo-engineering could become its chief advantage. A premonition of a future that looks like Blade Runner, with skies dominated by a ruddy smog that’s our only defense against mass flooding and famine, with sunshades in space and a frothy bloom of plankton wreathing the Antarctic, could finally horrify the public into greener living. Perhaps a Prius doesn’t sound so bad, when a zeppelin is the alternative.

Reduce Populations Rather Than a Zeppelin

You are to be applauded for your warnings and insight, but is that it Graeme? A Prius instead of a Zeppelin! That’s our only choice?

Well, if that is our only solution than we are truly doomed to a Blade Runner scenario, even with the help of everyone driving a Prius. 

Doesn’t it make more sense  to make some logical choices now so that Geo-Engineering becomes pointless, and can be left to all the “smart people” drinking way too much coffee down at Starbucks?  

Where is the real source of the  problem? The problem is not the symptom global warming. The root cause is too many people continually creating and feeding the conditions for global warming.

Back to Basics: We Are the Problem

Let’s quit mincing words and refusing to deal with reality. If we are going to doom ourselves to Zeppelins and Frisbees let’s at least be honest about the whole thing, we are the problem. 

There is an expanding  industry materializing around the global warming issue. That is most likely the motivation for the Geo-Engineering scenarios. 

Again, as always, we have to follow the money, and there isn’t a whole lot of money for Wall Street in reducing populations, so unfortunately expanding populations, growth economies and now Geo-Engineering will still try to rule the day.


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Growing Cities and Wildlife

The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity … and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.

William Blake

This brief video, Overpopulation vs Nature, depicts striking images of animals adapting to urban encroachment on their habitats.  The musical score adds a haunting tension to the theme.

Urban Sprawl and Degradation

It is truly impossible to divorce ourselves from our daily encroachment on other worlds around us that are constantly being impacted by our inability to control our ongoing population sprawl and environmental degradation.

  • We simply cannot deny the direct correlation between our increasing presence on this planet and the destruction of habitats critical to the survival of other species
  • What looks to be at first glance to be insignificant changes in a multitude of  areas around this country, add up quickly to a picture of immense interference and breakdown of eco-systems crucial to the survival of the natural world   
  • But most importantly for all of us will be the grinding deterioration of our quality of life and ultimately our own self-destruction 

Imagine a World Without Nature

To preserve and protect the natural world means some sacrifices and a conscious effort by all to control our numbers. 

Imagination is key.

The payback is not only morally sound, but provides for a future full of hope and beauty rather than a tarnished, lonely world and our final passing.

If you poison the environment, the environment will poison you.

Tony Follari


Video Credit: humanbeing777 You Tube

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