Hello. Welcome to my blog. In this blog I intend to pursue an exploration of what kind of a polity, that is, what kind of a society, with what kind of government, do we need to have here in the United States that by its essential nature, to the best of available human knowledge, functions in a way that is in harmony with the continued existence of the rest of life on the planet. What kind of a republic for do we need to have that is truly for the Earth, and all of the life upon it, both human and nonhuman?
And further, what kind of a republic do we need to have that will be capable of advancing the meaning and implementation of the best of our ideals that we have inherited from the founding fathers of our country and past generations of Americans?
No matter what goals we might seek in trying to change society, whether it is greater economic security and equality for everyone in society, or justice for all, no matter what our concerns might be, whether it is racism or sexism, or what kind of a world our children will inherit, any lasting progress towards or attainment of our goals will be jeopardized if we do not focus as we never have before on some fundamental questions. What does the Earth need? More specifically, what does life on Earth need? Even more specifically, what does the non-human part of life need from humankind in order to continue sustaining our existence? That is the reality that we have to face. Our existence is sustained, not by our cleverness, despite what might seem to a great many people, to be our impressive technology. Nor is it sustained by our wisdom.
Our existence is sustained, in the sense of what we absolutely must have in order to live any kind of lives at all, by the rest of life.
One of the most fundamental of our needs is the ability to breathe. We need oxygen from the air that we breathe in order to live. And we need food to eat. Without thousands of different species of microorganism called phytoplankton that float beneath the surface of the ocean and bodies of water on the land, and without plants on the land that have chlorophyll molecules in their tissues that give them the ability to take energy from the sunlight falling on them and carbon dioxide and use them to produce oxygen and organic material, food, for their own needs, and for other organisms, animals and microbiota which cannot do this for themselves, we would not be here.
All of our other physical needs, besides breathing and eating, we obtain either from the rest of life, or by disturbing the Earth, where life is, and life is almost everywhere within the zone where it exists, in or upon the outer layers of the Earth’s crust, and in the lower part of the Earth’s atmosphere. For thousands of years we obtained the materials for our clothing, either from other animals, or from plants. These included furs, and also cotton and wool. In the past one hundred years or so, we have created synthetic fibers for our clothing from oil. Now, because of climate change, we are going to have to learn to get by without it.
In addition to enabling us to meet almost all of our physical needs, all of the other animals and the plants, even the microbiota, which make up the rest of life, nourish us spiritually. By interacting with the other creatures of the Earth over the course of thousands of years, and later by studying them systematically and scientifically, we came to know ourselves, and what kind of creatures we are, and how we came to be.
Where would we be without the greywolves, or the lions nd tigers and bears, and the deer and the antelope and the beetles and the bees? These creatures are our sisters and brothers. We came from their world. And we are still a part of their world. And they have a right to be here, just as much as we do. If we push them out of this world, we will be pushing ourselves out in the process.
We are all now paying a great deal of attention to climate change, to the alarming increase int the global average temperature of the atmosphere, which has contributed to so many extreme weather events in recent years, including extreme cold and blizzards as well as extreme heat, drought, more frequent wildfires and unusually heavy precipitation in short periods of time. This climate change, which is mostly caused by human activities, especially our almost exclusive and pervasive use of fossil fuels for almost everything we have been doing for more than the last one hundred years, threatens all of humankind and most of the rest of life. Or at least most of us are paying attention to it. We are struggling to find ways to do enough about it soon enough to avert an unacceptable level of climate change that will imperil our very ability to live on this planet. We do indeed need to transform the use of energy in our economy so that it is as close as possible to being 100% free of the use of fossil fuels. This will be no easy thing. Our economy is rooted in our history and our culture and our infrastructure. And these things are rooted in the extensive use of fossil fuels over the past more than one hundred years for almost everything we have been doing.
In addition, as extremely serious as the problem of climate change is, we need to not lose sight of our other major environmental problems. Many scientists think that we are on the brink of a sixth mass extinction of other species of life, the worst in over two hundred million years.
There are also other types of air pollution than the greenhouse gases that cause climate change. There is water pollution, and chemical and industrial pollution, deforestation and desertification, and the extensive loss of wildlife.
In recent years we have drifted away from an awareness and understanding of one of the fundamental underlying causes of most of our environmental problems, human population growth, which is a problem for people of all races in all countries, including the United States. Human population growth and population size are problems because of the finite, limited extent of the biosphere of life on Earth, and because of the fragile, interconnected, interdependent nature of that life, and the enormous, overwhelming impact of our rapidly growing human numbers, and the large size that our population has already reached on the biosphere. The biosphere of life on Earth, making up the totality of all life on Earth, in some definitions includes the inanimate parts of the Earth with which life interacts, such as the outer layers of the Earth’s crust, and the lower parts of the atmosphere. (see “Biosphere” by Michael B. Thompson, John N. Thompson, and David M. Cates at https://www.britannica.com/science/biosphere and “Biosphere”, encyclopedia entry at https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/biosphere) World population is projected by the United Nations to reach 9.8 billion by the year 2050 and is currently estimated at about 7.6 billion (see
https://www.un.org/development/desa/en/news/population/world-population-prospects-2017.html .) As recently as 1975 it was estimated to have reached somewhat over 4 billion. About the time of the Great Depression, 1930, it has been estimated to have been about 2 billion. So world population has almost quadrupled in less than one hundred years. This is very rapid growth on the time scale of recorded human history, or the estimated time that the human species has been in existence. ( see
As a corollary to the problem of human population growth, the large volume of immigration from one nation to another, including from many nations to the United States, is inevitably a part of the population growth in the countries receiving the immigration.
Tragically, a great many people have come to believe that concern about these two problems, population growth and immigration, originates almost solely or entirely in racism. This is not true. Population growth and population size are fundamental aspects of reality. They cannot be evaded. Especially given the huge size of the population currently living in the United States and in the world as a whole. Our current U. S. population is over 328 million. ( see https://www.census.gov/data.html.) Our American society and our global human civilization cannot really be understood without considering them and integrating them into one’s picture of the reality of life on Earth as a whole in the universe.
It is true that racism is and has been involved in discussions of immigration here in the United States and in policy making regarding it throughout our history. That doesn’t mean that immigration and population growth are not potential problems for people of all races. There are many myths about human population growth that, tragically, a great many people seem to believe. Another major one, besides the idea that concern about it originates in racism, is that the main problem with human population growth is almost solely the problem of providing adequate food for such a huge, rapidly growing number of people. This also, is not true. As I have already tried to indicate, the problem is much more complex than this. For now, I wish to say in regard to immigration that I do not support President Donald Trump’s racist, hateful approach to it.
It is possible to be dispassionate about what the facts are about immigration and population growth in a way that still values the life of every individual on the planet. We may have to make hard choices. I personally believe that we need some restrictions on both legal and undocumented immigration. A continuing large volume of immigration will inevitably have negative consequences for the environment. It should be possible to discuss the facts with regard to these two problems without racism, hysteria, or dogma, or unjustified assumptions about why other people think as they do.
In addition to the subjects I have already mentioned, I intend to also explore how the phenomenon of economic growth affects or threatens the biosphere. First, we have to consider what economic growth is. Economic growth is defined as an increase in the total quantity of goods and services produced in an economy in a given time period, usually a year. The powerful and the privileged in our society seem to think that economic growth is and inherently good thing and that it always will be. However, when we think more carefully about what is involved with economic growth, we may be led to question this.
No matter how efficient we get in the production of goods and services economic growth will always mean an increase in the total quantity of matter and energy as inputs into the economic process. It is this continuing increase in the quantity matter and energy into the economic process that even the most resource efficient economic growth inevitably produces that is a threat to the biosphere.
I also intend to explore how different ideas and belief systems and institutions and reform movements have evolved over the course of our history and what lessons they may have to offer us now in our own time, or not. I will also try to imagine new kinds of policies and institutions that may help us to deal effectively with the major problems of our time. I also intend to advocate for a new political party and explain why I think our two currently existing major parties cannot be counted on to do what we need them to do.
From one post to another I hope to gradually fill in more detail on the separate parts of the big picture of reality as a whole, and the reality of our political order, as it functions now, and why and how we might hope to improve it, so that it functions more closely to an ideal.
These are among the problems and subjects I hope to explore in this blog. I hope you will join me with your interest, by reading it, and with your comments, if you have any, and any information or knowledge, or expertise that you would care to share. And your financial support, in the form of your donations, any amount, large or small will be appreciated. If you wish to support this blog, please go to my GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/golden-web-communications and donate. I am trying to raise funds to start a small business, which will publish nonfiction books related to the topics I cover in this blog, which I will write myself, and also operate the blog. And your emotional support or encouragement will also be appreciated. Questioning the picture of reality promoted by the powerful and the privileged, and popular unexamined assumptions, can be a hazardous enterprise.
Some possible topics for future posts
- Economic growth and the type of society that the United States is.
- Some possible problems with the carbon-free economy
- Why we need a new political party
- What the new political party should be like and what some of its main goals should be
- The international empire of business corporations
- The globalized US and world economies
- Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Accountable Capitalism Act, how good is it, and how could it be improved, or what should we have instead?
- The perception and understanding of truth in a democracy
Thank you again for your interest. I hope you found something of value here, or that made you think. I hope you will come back.
Copyright 2019 all content on this blog Richard E. Garner, Jr