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DAY TIME (EST/EDT) Series Name Editor(s)
SUN 6:00 PM Young Reader's Pavilion The Book Bear
Sun 9:30 PM SciFi/Fantasy Book Club quarkstomper
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MON 11:30 AM Political Book Club Susan from 29
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Mon 11:00 PM My Favorite Books/Authors edrie, MichiganChet
TUES 5:00 PM Indigo Kalliope: Poems from the Left bigjacbigjacbigjac
alternate Tuesdays 8:00 AM LGBT Literature Texdude50, Dave in Northridge
alternate Tuesdays 8:00 AM All Things Bookstore Dave in Northridge
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WED 7:30 AM WAYR? plf515
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Fri 6:00 PM Books Go Boom! Brecht
SAT (fourth each month) 11:00 AM Windy City Bookworm Chitown Kev
Sat 9:00 PM Books So Bad They're Good Ellid

Our beans are sprouting!

I already wrote a diary about planting the first plot of our vegetable garden,
last Wednesday:

Feelin' good.

Yesterday, Monday,
I dug up some more crabgrass and dandelions,
and planted more seeds.

As I looked closely at last week's plot,
I saw about a dozen of the beans,
about six green beans
and about six yellow wax beans,
sprouting.

My second 4' x 4' plot is a continuation of the first,
so I now have four rows,
each eight feet long:
one cabbage,
one green beans,
one yellow wax beans,
and one row of carrots.

The next seeds I plan to plant are
green onions,
turnip greens,
cucumbers,
and tomatoes,
eight foot long rows of each.

I plan to plant one more 4' x 4' plot,
at the end of all that,
with 80 yellow onion bulbs.

That's how many come in the bag,
80 yellow onion bulbs,
for $1.58,
guaranteed to grow.

The front of the house faces West,
so,
after planting all that I just wrote about
in the back yard,
I want to plant
strawberries
and watermelon
in the front yard,
so they get the afternoon sun.

As I was digging up the back yard,
just that tiny plot,
in that big back yard,
I was reminded of a few things:

The past:

Our house was built in 1950,
and in nearly each shovelful of soil,
there was trash:
broken glass,
chunks of plastic,
a metal jar cap,
a smashed aluminum pie pan,
a Wonder bread bag.
Mostly lots of broken glass.
This trash was not a problem,
just gave the experience an interesting dimension,
looking at the past,
by way of what I call
urban archaeology.

Fertile soil:

In each shovelful of soil,
there was at least one earthworm,
and a few insect larvae,
a few millipedes,
and,
in one shovelful,
there were tiny ants,
and two large larvae that may have been queen ants.
And the texture was great.
I'm feeling confident about a great harvest,
with such great soil.

The future:

I've been writing for years,
about the coming famines,
and the house of cards we've built,
by relying on diesel fuel
to produce and transport nearly all our food,
here in the USA.

Unless someone,
very quickly,
starts making nuclear powered tractors and combines,
or wind and solar powered,
or electric,
truly practical electric tractors and combines,
quickly.....

Even then,
what about the water it takes to grow the crops
to feed the livestock....

New Dust Bowl

I found a kindred spirit
in the comment thread:

 
It's not about water ... (7+ / 0-)
Nor is it about energy, nor CO2 levels.

It's about too many people. Overpopulation is the root of humanity's problems. Malthus was right, although he got it wrong by thinking that food production was the limiting factor.

Try this thought experiment. Suppose there were only 700 million people on the planet instead of 7 billion. We would be burning only a tenth of the fossil fuel we now burn. We would not be draining our aquifers; we would rather be growing all our food in areas where there is sufficient rainfall.

There are just too many fucking (oh, the irony of that expletive) many of us. And there will be even more next year, and the year after that. Evolution (and religion) has instilled in us the urge to "be fruitful and multiply". Like fools, we happily keep on doing so.

I would love to be able to propose a remedy; unfortunately, there is none. Reducing our population to a sustainable level is not possible without having an enormous number of people dying prematurely. The cure is much worse than the disease.

Nature will eventually force us to arrive at an equilibrium. I fear that it will be a very painful process.

Note to Boehner and McConnell: "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." --Bob Dylan-- (-7.25, -6.21)

by Tim DeLaney on Mon May 20, 2013 at 09:56:05 PM CDT  

I do not agree that there's no hope,
but let me highlight
one small part of that comment:
 we would rather be growing all our food in areas where there is sufficient rainfall.  
In my thought experiment,
I go up to 10 billion,
then move the decimal point two spaces:
not 10 billion humans,
not 1 billion humans,
but 100 million humans on planet Earth.

For America,
not 300 million,
not 30 million,
but 3 million.

For my home town,
Wichita, Kansas,
not the current 500,000,
not 50,000,
but 5,000 humans in Wichita Kansas.

If there were only 5,000 humans
in Wichita, Kansas,
every one of that 5,000 could do what I'm doing,
plant crops in yards,
but one family would have about 200 yards,
200 empty houses,
the yards ready to plant.

Forty acres and a mule,
as the old saying goes.

And the large trees,
and the houses themselves,
gives enough shade
that the area holds water well,
so crops might survive relatively dry years.

Many of the larger trees could be cut down,
if they create too much shade.

To reach this lower number of humans on Earth,
young folks will need to
voluntarily
get their tubes tied,
four out of five of them,
and one couple,
after one child,
do the same.

That produces
one child from ten adults.

Do that for two generations,
then wait for old folks like me to die,
and you will reach the goal.

Then each couple could have two children,
maintaining a stable number of humans on planet Earth.

There is hope.

But you must hurry!

Young people,
get your tubes tied!

Most folks say it's too late,
but it's never too late
to make things not as bad as they would be
if nobody ever did anything
to make it not so bad.

Get your tubes tied!

Thanks for reading.

And,
Build a Chicken Coop,
Before Catastrophe Comes.

(BCC is my symbolic name for efforts
at feeding ourselves,
since eggs provide the nine essential amino acids,
complete protein,
for rebuilding our cells.)

Will someone take a Tuesday?

May 28th
June 4
11
18
25.

Pick one.

You think you can't host for next week?
Your nose I should give it a tweak!
It's a great ego boost,
you'll be ruling the roost!
And no one will call you a geek.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (7+ / 0-)

    Bringing a child into the world at this point in history is a crime, the crime of child endangerment.

    by bigjacbigjacbigjac on Tue May 21, 2013 at 02:00:09 PM PDT

  •  I agree that ... (6+ / 0-)

    It would be a good idea to reduce population by, say, 99%. That would leave some 70 million people worldwide. Humanity could be sustained almost indefinitely with such a population, especially if we weaned ourselves off fossil fuels.

    But the problem is that you can't get there from here. The insoluble problem is demographics. Let's suppose we started tomorrow reproducing at a rate that would eventually leave us at 70 million. For the sake of argument, let's suppose that only couples in the 25-30 cohort were allowed to have children.

    My simplifying assumption is that everybody lives to age 75, and then dies. Of course, it's not as simple as that, but this assumption gives us a rough view of the problems we would face. At year 60, for example, we would have 60 million 60+ citizens, and 2.4 million citizens younger than 60. 96% of us would be over 60.

    Year 25: We have, during that time, a birth rate roughly 1% of the historic birth rate. Actually, slightly less, because we want a static population eventually, not a growing one. Therefore, at year 25 we will have a population that is dominated by the 25 - 75 cohort. This period would be one of great prosperity, because we would not have to devote nearly as high a percentage of GDP to rearing the young. But at year 25 things start to change.

    From this point onward, the percent of the population that is working to produce the things we need to survive begins to drop off. From this point onward, we are losing workers and basically not replacing them.

    After another 25 years, virtually all of our workers are over 50, because virtually all of our population is over 50.To a first approximation, the US population will consist of 100 million 50+ folks, and 2 million who are under 50.

    Finally, at year 75, we have our ideal population distribution. The last of the old timers has died, and we have reached the goal. But along the way, our economy has been jerked around unmercifully. Take the case of the middle school teacher who was, at year zero, teaching sixth grade. That teacher was, let us say, 40 years old at year zero. At year 12 or so, the number of kids in sixth grade dropped to nearly zero, and this teacher just turned 52. Somehow, this teacher will have to learn to harvest wheat, or do something else other than teaching. Multiply this problem by all the occupations that cater to a particular age cohort. Massive numbers of workers will have to be retrained.

    There are other horrendous economic problems. For one thing, the value of real estate would virtually vanish. Any couple that relied on the value of their paid-up mortgage to help sustain them in their golden years would be sorely disappointed. In a period when population was contracting, real estate would be a liability rather than an asset. Are you a construction worker? Better switch to demolition.

    The actual situation is that we cannot reduce our population humanely in a short time frame. Actually, we are a couple centuries short; we should have started long ago. So, what can we reasonably hope to do to reduce our numbers?

    Of course, it can be done if we give ourselves enough time. 75 years is obviously too little time. Realistically, it would take several centuries to achieve meaningful population reduction without causing severe hardship. Meanwhile, we must contend with climate change and energy production. All three problems are overwhelming compared to the problems our "leaders" routinely concern themselves with. Just for amusement, list all the issues that hit the news cycle everyday. The deficit, Gitmo, terrorism, IRS targeting, AP phone records, the sequester, Benghazi, gun control. You could probably add a dozen others without breaking a sweat. Yet all of these combined are insignificant in the long run when compared to the big three: Climate change, population control, and energy production. Where are our leaders when it comes to the truly important problems?

    I hope I have not painted too pessimistic a picture of population control. It should be obvious that we should do what we can, but be prepared for a very long term effort. This is not a problem that can be solved during the next presidential cycle, or even the next century. That doesn't mean it shouldn't be addressed.

    Note to Boehner and McConnell: "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." --Bob Dylan-- (-7.25, -6.21)

    by Tim DeLaney on Tue May 21, 2013 at 02:14:09 PM PDT

    •  Did I give you the link to this diary before? (5+ / 0-)

      Our future

       In the worst case scenario,
      since America is the land of guns,
      folks may start shooting each other,
      fighting over food,
      or land to grow food,
      or water to irrigate land to grow food,
      (that fighting goes on now)  
      I did not think through
      the consequences
      of trying to use so much contraception
      to reduce our numbers quickly.

      Thanks for your input on that.

      However.

      Are any of those consequences worse
      than gangs with guns
      killing for food?

      After they run out of ammo,
      it will be gangs with machetes,
      killing for food.

      I think that's worse than older Americans
      forced to engage in farming.

      But all this is moot,
      since folks will not listen to either of us.

      Even after millions of Americans die from hunger,
      the survivors will likely repeat the same mistakes,
      growing the population,
      always on the edge of hunger,
      always blaming anything but the true cause:

      Too many fucking humans.

      Thanks for your comment.

      Bringing a child into the world at this point in history is a crime, the crime of child endangerment.

      by bigjacbigjacbigjac on Tue May 21, 2013 at 07:56:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I found your last diary sweet, romantic, dramatic (2+ / 0-)

    and personal - the one about the wedding - and I was happy to see it rescued, with 50 tips. Well done.

    I like this one too, with your big warnings, and little sprouting beans of progress. Even when you're talking about the kinds of trash and insects you shoveled up (not conventionally beautiful things), I enjoy the gritty details of living in the moment and digging towards a more fruitful tomorrow: I thought "the texture was great."

    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

    by Brecht on Wed May 22, 2013 at 02:15:21 AM PDT

    •  My dear Brecht, always wonderful to read your (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brecht, RiveroftheWest

      words,
      giving approval to my words.

      I'm not a tough guy;
      I need someone to give me an "Amen!"

      Yes,
      the Saturday wedding in the public park diary,
      that one had me basking in the glow,
      the glow of approval,
      folks telling me they could smell the park,
      and the food,
      all from a few words on their computer screens.

      Gives me a feeling of power.

      And,
      with this diary,
      I'm so glad you were able to see
      the beauty in the broken glass,
      the joy in the earthworms.

      All gardeners know
      there's joy in earthworms,
      right?

      And thanks for the comment about texture,
      the texture of the soil,
      and the texture of my words....

      Thanks again.

      Bringing a child into the world at this point in history is a crime, the crime of child endangerment.

      by bigjacbigjacbigjac on Wed May 22, 2013 at 02:23:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hey, you did all the hard digging - I just looked (2+ / 0-)

        at what was in your shovel. So thank you, bigjacbigjacbigjac.

        May your beans, onions, cabbages, carrots, cucumbers. tomatoes, and even your turnip greens, but especially your strawberries and watermelon, all turn out delicious.

        There is a special savor to food you bring forth from the earth.

        You and Tonia sleep well, and have a good day when you get up.

        "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

        by Brecht on Wed May 22, 2013 at 02:53:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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