Thursday, May 28, 2009

Overpopulation Codeword in Concerns Over Hunger, Environment

I happened to pick up a free slightly out-dated copy of Scientific American and started reading the article called "Could Food Shortages Bring Down Civilization?" during which, i realized that there was a diagram with the article that basically pinned overpopulation as the cause for food shortages and environmental destruction. However, the article itself focused more on the facts that raising animals for their meat requires a lot of grain, as well as the shift to producing ethanol to fuel american cars. I actually didn't read the whole article (yet). Frankly i don't care too much if food shortages are civilization's downfall- i care more about the people and the earth. What i found interesting was how this diagram ended up showing overpopulation as the main culprit of these problems when that wasn't exactly being said in the article. I suppose overpopulation leads to more people eating meat and more people driving cars, plus more people who need to just eat whatever they can afford. Nonetheless, overpopulation tends to be codeword for "too many brown people," but the article clearly showed that it was mostly the people who are driving around a bunch and demanding their meat that are causing these problems.

Because overpopulation tends to be a codeword that scapegoats poor brown people, i had hoped that the author of the article would clarify a bit more that it is the relatively rich people who are actually causing this problem. I suppose i couldn't really hope for the kinds of things found in chapter 3 of andrea smiths book Conquest, such as those excerpts i put in a flier and posted here. Here's one example of a good point: "Rather than being caused by overpopulation, significant environmental damage is actually caused by the environmentally destructive Western development projects, such as hydroelectric dams, uranium development, militarism, and livestock production. These projects ultimately benefit the wealthy living in industrialized countries, which are responsible for producing over 75 percent of the world's pollution. Development projects also cause unparalleled environmental damage, such as damming programs that flood entire biosystems or projects that rely on massive deforestation."

Today i was interested to read about this: Billionaire club in bid to curb overpopulation: America's richest people meet to discuss ways of tackling a 'disastrous' environmental, social and industrial threat. Interestingly, overpopulation seems to be used in the racist context here since the focus is on third world countries. When will it also address the people who are in the U.S. from third world countries. Anti-immigrant folks are apparently working on drawing in more people from the left by using the environmental and maybe even philanthropic angle to draw people in. We need to blame brown people for their own problems and then save them from their own problems by oppressing them! Or that seems to be the message.

Let's get this clear: rich people will never admit their role in the destruction of the earth, much less in the inequity that destroys the lives of the poor. The solutions that rich people come up with will never be real solutions. Real solutions would mean no one could no longer be rich. Even middle class people don't want to give up their privileges that destroy the earth and its inhabitants, for the most part.

Let's also get this clear: the racist anti-immigrant folks will use any reason they can to blame and terrorize immigrants. We have to expose them for what they're doing and keep them from being able to bring more people into their ranks.

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