The bucket fills

It’s the age old question, often asked but seldom answered. We fill this planet like a dripping tap fills a bucket. Ultimately, there is no more space in the bucket and the water overflows. No matter the Kyoto agreements, reducing reusing recycling, saving the whale and the rainforest, facing up to climate change or the Bush Blair hypocrisies, we are legion. We are growing more so. What are we to do?

The Sci-Fi film, Logan’s Run, played with the idea that we would all be conveniently euthanised at thirty. Speaking personally, from the decrepit age of forty five (well, in a fortnight), I’m not overly sold on that idea. There have been various small-scale attempts to limit our breeding capabilities, like paid-for sterilisation, legally enforced limits on the number of children per couple, abortion and of course war. No-one is very fond of those options either. Indeed, in the developed world we seem to spend more on artificially creating new life in IVF clinics than on sensible sex programs for the younger members of our society or nurturing the abandoned children already born. And now, with the new economies of the east starting to blossom it is said they cannot manage to raise their lifestyles to those we enjoy without a spare Earth to plunder…

Throughout the span of mankind’s domination of Earth, we have managed to invent ourselves out of the various problems that beset us. How do we do that now, when it is our very selves that are the problem? Do we rush into space, to Terra-form (terrorise?) anew? Is there time? More and more I see stories in the learned journals that tell of imminent catastrophe within the lifetimes of myself and my children.

It is the unsayable. But how do we survive with honour, if we grow and grow until we cause the death of our host. Oh, that’s a definition of something, isn’t it?

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