For some reason this number makes me despair.  Here I am thinking about biking to work again.  I use estate sales to buy some of the things I want, clothes, kitchen stuff, tools, partly because it's cheap and partly because it's true recycling.  I put in energy efficient bulbs.  I keep the heat turned down.

 

Meanwhile the human race is reproducing like bunny rabbits.  Is any individual effort even remotely meaningful?   Should I care about the next wave of floods and storms and droughts killing off a hundred thousand at a sweep?  Should i hold back on charitable giving for medical care to the destitute, and spend it on a trip to Vegas?

 

I don't know what's right, or what's humanistic.  The human race is pretty much like a bunch of pigs in a pig sty, and are rushing headlong to self destruction.  If we consume every thing in site, drown ourselves in our own shit, and continue pumping out litters of babies, why should I even try?  How do I know what's right and what's wrong?

 

My 2 cents.

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I think overpopulation will completely destroy our traditional conceptions of morality. The example of the Inuit who kill their children and elderly first in the event of a resource shortage is case in point. You cannot separate morality from utility and/or environmental realities.

That was true of pre-sedentarised, pre-technologised civilisations, but the more technological we become, the more vested interests the powers that be have in conserving enormous masses of cheap humans as means of production to preserve their wealth and power. I don't think that trend is anywhere near done yet. Today's golden rule is : thou shalt not kill the fucker who is ruining your life... :)

Wealth and power spares from the law, people in positions of power do not need to follow the golden rule, they simply buy their way out of shit.

It is also worthwhile to note that humanity has destroyed many of the other ecosystems and species on this planet. This leads to the the hilarious contradiction of animal rights activists. 

 

"Don't put the cheetahs, lions, and tigers in captivity, it's 'inhumane'" they say. Having Exotic pets is inhumane and/or dangerous - ban them. Well here is the choice they and we have to make - either we make the other species of the planet useful in someway to humans or they will be eradicated by resource pressure. Funny thing is that we are killing the most iconic species, animals that we have an affinity for, the more intelligent apex predators, because they require intact ecosystems... while those animals we dislike like parasites, and cockroaches become more common. 

 

Just some thoughts.

That's because the animals at the top of the food chain and which are large and mobile take up the most room to live. A Cheetah has a far greater range of living than does a tiny parasite. If it can live in the worst of circumstances and we destroy the land so that the more exotic and (not to be condescending) interesting animals cannot live there then the death we cause only breeds further death. All of the bottom feeders will spread in the decaying land and become more invasive to us.
What, did the bar run dry?

How about making an announcement that there are 3 lifeboats discovered at the other end of the ship - quick everyone, now is your chance!  Then the jelly donuts are mine, all mine!  Mine!

 

Or... like you say. maybe the ship isn't really sinking - it stablilized but with no engine power.  But there's a thousand people on board!  No radio, no power, no food when the jelly donuts are gone.  And the toilets don't flush.  Time for a lottery.....  

 

(ever read Life of Pi? Not the same analogy tho.  All alone in a lifeboat with a tiger)

I kind of like the Titanic analogy. However, it seems different than the donuts. It is not about doing something that is considered to be enjoyable in your last moments. It is instead about living your life the way you want to. If you value being a good person and making the right decisions, such as concerning your health, then it seems this should be how you spend your last moments. Nor does dying tonight mean you should scramble to finish your bucket list it. The issue is about being who you really are and (more importantly) want to be. If you were a good person yesterday, why change that today just because tomorrow may not come?
Your post reminded me of Population Biology and issues regarding carrying capacity. I posted a few things below about the subject.


Relation to Sustainable Scale
The concept of carrying capacity is well rooted in biological science, and describes the rise and decline of plant and animal populations. It clarifies that there is a limit to the growth of any biological population, and identifies some of the parameters that determine the pattern of population rise and collapse. Additional layers of complexity occur for the human population in terms of the dynamics involved.  Human choices are needed to ensure we imitate a K rather than an r-selected species.
 
"…carrying capacity is determined jointly by human choices and natural constraints. Consequently, the question, how many people can the Earth support, does not have a single numerical answer, now or ever. Human choices about the Earth's human carrying capacity are constrained by facts of nature which we understand poorly. So any estimates of human carrying capacity are only conditional on future human choices and natural events." Joel Cohen
http://www.sustainablescale.org/ConceptualFramework/UnderstandingSc...
More information on population biology:

http://www.sustainablescale.org/conceptualframework.aspx
What is the "Scale Problem"?
Scale problems refer to the threats posed by economic activities to global life support systems such as the atmospheric ozone layer’s protection against ultraviolet radiation, and the carbon cycle’s provision of climate stability. Human economic activities are now threatening these natural systems at both the local and global levels, for the first time in the history of the planet. (See Understanding Scale for an introduction to scale concepts and the dynamics of relevant ecosystems).
 
Why is the Scale Problem Important?
Scale problems are pervasive and unprecedented. The life support systems addressed by the scale issue are essential and irreplaceable ecosystem services that literally make life on earth possible. If these life support services are damaged beyond repair, then human civilization as we know it will collapse. There are currently many scale related problems that are unprecedented in human history, and that will irrevocably damage these life support functions if not corrected. (See Importance of Scale for a discussion of the various reasons why scale problems are of vital interest).
 
What Are Some Examples of the Scale Problem?
The A, B, Cs of the scale problem are
Atmospheric Ozone Depletion (which is allowing harmful ultraviolet radiation to reach the earth’s surface)
Biodiversity Loss (which is removing species 100 to 1000 times faster than at any previous time in the history of the planet)
Climate Change (which is threatening to disrupt global climate stability upon which all life depends).

Any one of these major global system changes would be a challenge in itself, but they are occurring together, and each is affecting the other. There are many other life support systems which are threatened in addition to these better known ones (see Areas of Concern for a more complete list of these major areas of concern).
lets see.... take the bait!  don't take the bait?  nahhhhhh.

Yet, we are also the only creature with the capacity to leave the earth. If an (large enough) asteroid were to hit and destroy most/all life on earth than the phenomenon of organic (and sentient) life may forever die out in this small corner of the cosmos. If humanity were to spread away from earth (and this solar system) then we will actually be doing the most which we could to preserve life. The problem is there's no guarantee we could be able to successfully leave before destroying ourselves.

 

There is too much uncertainty in this world to rest easy.

I like the idea that you can reach down to pet your dog, and make the world just a little better than it was before. Focus on the things you can change.

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