It’s 3AM. I can’t sleep. I feel like the walls are closing in. There is no more room to roam, no more wild spaces, no more unknowns beyond the horizon…except in outer space maybe…but that’s a different topic.

This is about Earth.

I turn 40 this year. In my lifetime alone, the world population has nearly doubled. I estimate that, given current growth trends, it will likely double again in another 20 years, though the UN estimates only around 10 billion by 2050. You think it’s crowded now? You think there is terrible conflict over resources now? Wait another 20 years.

Everywhere I look there’s some kind of human-induced dilemma.

We can’t save the world as one person, right? So we take life one day at a time. But some days, just trying to do your part feels impossible: wake up, go to work, to the store, to the dentist, to school, to the movies, the library, the nightclub, the laundromat…all of these activities cause a great deal of pollution or resource use. Oh society. Remind me again how this social structure supports human nature? Most days, to me, it just seems to erode nature, both within the person and around the person. Sometimes all at once in massive movements of bombs dropped, hurricanes landed, forests clearcut, oil rigs overturned…Sometimes slowly: one, slow second by slow second, almost imperceptibly, we destroy ourselves on the daily.

But is it destroying or is it evolving? Shedding the old, more natural ways and (de)evolving into pavement and plastic and pills and phacebook. Entertainment devolves from artful expression into shock-and-awe distraction; “Community” devolves to forced co-habitation…real nourishment, for the body and soul, has devolved to not much more than empty stuffing. It’s just fluff. Where’s the substance?

Whatever your concern, whether social dilemmas, environmental issues, political problems, economic troubles…are any of these issues going to improve with a rapidly growing global population? Not likely. So what are we going to do about population growth? Are we going to talk about population control or just pretend it’s a non-issue, like Santa Susana?

Hopefully we can become more responsible humans. But the concept of an inevitable dystopic future often occurs in my mind. When that happens, I can still find peace in this thought: Whether you live a wonderful life from birth to death, or struggle all of your days, we all end up in the same place (karma aside). No one’s getting out alive. So you’d better enjoy it while it lasts. This is the doom of freedom: we are free because we are doomed. This thought, and the contemplation of outer space: that life somewhere will still go on and that, both scientifically and spiritually speaking, we are all made of space dust…

Eric Stikes

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Do good. Be good.