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Life

Human Population and Legitimate Environmental Concerns

It is time to address runaway population growth, however unpalatable that might be to some people.

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Most conservatives know that the Green New Deal misses the mark and that dire claims of global warming often fall far short. Still there are legitimate concerns about the environment, as hurricane Ian makes its way up the east coast, that merit consideration.

Decades back, a statement signed by 1,575 scientists from 69 countries was sent to 160 national leaders, as reported by the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington, D.C. Signers included 99 of the 196 Nobel Laureate scientists living at the time, as well as senior officers from prestigious scientific academies around the world.

What was in the letter? It warned that, “Human beings, in the natural world, are on a collision course.” Environmental concerns were apparent in the atmosphere, water resources, oceans, soil, topical and tempered forests, and living species. The scientists lamented that, “Much of this damage is irreversible, on a scale of centuries or permanent.” They went on to say, “We are fast approaching many of the earth’s limits.”

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Vanishing Resources

Here are some long-running examples of the degree to which our planetary resources are being stretched:

* Water is at a premium: no more fresh water exist on the planet today than in Biblical times. Yet, the earth’s population is eight times greater than it was in 1840.

* In 1990, 1.2 billion of 5.4 billion people had no access to clean drinking water. Today, more than 2 billion of nearly 8 billion people lack safe drinking water at home.

* In 1990, one in 15 people lived in areas defined as water-stressed or water-scarce. This number eventually could rise to one in three people.

* Chronic fresh water shortages have occurred in Mexico, Brazil, Africa, the Middle East, Northern China, parts of India, several former Soviet republics, and the western United States.

* More people imperil many other species. The World Wildlife Federation’s endangered species over the years have included the ivory-billed woodpecker, Amur leopard, Javan rhinoceros, greater bamboo lemur, northern right whale, western lowland gorilla, leatherback sea turtle, and Siberian tiger.

Too Many People?

When 205 Nobel Prize winners were polled regarding the most compelling challenges confronting humanity, of 36 completed responses, #1 was population growth, and #2 was environmental degradation.

Increasing human populations don’t inherently equate to mismanaged resources and more dire conditions, yet that has been the continuing norm. Lester Brown, former president of the World Watch Society, once observed that without radical, scientific breakthroughs, large increases in crop yields that have allowed production to keep up with the decades of rising human consumption might no longer be possible.

“Human demands are approaching the limits of oceanic fisheries to supply fish, grazing lands to support livestock, and, in many countries, of the hydrological cycle to produce fresh water,” Brown observed. “As a result of our population size, consumption patterns, and technology choices, we have surpassed the planet’s caring capacity.”

The Ever Critical Masses

Some people surmise that war, famine, and pestilence all reduce population. “Doesn’t nature manage things?” they ponder. Nature does not micro-manage our population. No war and no starvation – even in Somalia or Ethiopia counterbalances the human net gain of one million more people every five days.

The key to the quality of life for future generations is keeping population at a replacement level, i.e. the number of live births equaling the number of deaths. Even with fertility declining worldwide, the fertility in some developing countries still averages more than four children per family.

It is estimated that of all 14-year-old girls alive today, more than a third will be pregnant by age 20. About 35% to 40% of the population of developing countries is under the age of 15. With so many entering their reproductive years, population is destined to increase for many decades.

More than one-half billion people are unemployed or underemployed in developing countries, and multi-millions more enter the job market each year. Difficult economic conditions, exacerbated by pandemics and rapid population growth, have prompted millions of rural poor to migrate to cities and prompted millions more to cross international borders in search of a better life.

The Only Way Out

New York, which in 1950 topped the list of the ten largest cities in the world, is no longer in the top ten. Explosive human population growth is at the root of every planetary shortfall, emergency, and full-blown crisis. It is time to effectively apply the breaks to this runaway train, however unpalatable that might be to some people. Collectively, we cannot continue down this path indefinitely.

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



 
 
 

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Life

Taking a Wrong Turn and Staying Safe

It is no time for equivocation when the issue is your safety and your life

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You take a wrong turn in the city, perhaps missing the desired exit ramp and you end up on a street with which you are totally unfamiliar. Old, abandoned warehouses and litter abound. People hanging around on corners don’t seem to have much to do.

Positioned for Caution

You consult your GPS as to how to get out of this neighborhood. All indications are that at best it will take a couple minutes, with some complex turns and twists. So, what do you do while you’re in your car?

Keep a safe distance from the car in front of you at stop lights or stop signs. You need to have sufficient room to hit the gas pedal in case you have to vamoose in a hurry. Especially while you’re stopped at a red light, stay ever alert. Continually check your rear-view mirror and your side mirrors to ensure that no one is approaching you.

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Carjacking is not uncommon and, even with your windows closed, a crowbar can smash them in seconds. In any case, if someone does approach you, be prepared to speed away.

May I be of Service?

If you happen to be on the street, out of your car, at a gas station or retail store, be especially weary. If someone approaches you and, in a reasonably pleasant voice, says something such as, “How are you today?” be prepared to take off in a hurry.

Suppose it’s too late, and the ‘cordial’ greeter is merely a few yards away. In a loud voice yell out, “I have nothing to do with you,” or any other phrase that you think will draw the attention of others and perhaps startle the nearby greeter. If you’re a woman, it is okay to scream and shout.

If you need to stop at a gas station or some retail establishment and people are hanging around, it’s best to keep moving. Drive to another location where no one is lingering. In this day and age, nearly everyone is busy. When you see people with nothing to do, the odds are that they want something from you – it could be money or could be worse.

Generally speaking, people with responsibilities do not gather together in groups outside of retail establishments, alongside walks, or the streets. So, you want to avoid such situations all together.

Action Jackson

The upshot is you need to get back on the route you had originally sought. You don’t want to linger in an unfamiliar, strange, or suspicious neighborhood. You will stand out like a sore thumb. The regulars know when someone is lost or disconcerted and the malingerers among them will move into action.

Sorry if this sounds like it’s rather a stringent approach to urban affairs, but this is your safety and your life. It is no time for equivocation.

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Education

Putting North Carolina Public Education Back on Track  

With Michelle Morrow’s leadership, North Carolina public schools can be better equipped to educate and inspire today’s students.

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It’s no secret to conservatives that the nation’s children, every single one of them, are at risk. In the main, not for reasons malnutrition, growing up in a tough neighborhood, or having toxic parents. The risk that all kids face today is the potential to be indoctrinated in public schools by their own teachers, teacher’s aides, and administrators.

America’s Children Are under Siege

Some school districts in America, are populated by boards of education, principals, and school administrators who think it is their sacred duty to indoctrinate children, exposing them to all manner of adult and sex-related topics long before any child should be. As such, they usurp the rights of parents and guardians.

Nowhere is this more evident than in North Carolina where 23% of all kindergarten through 12th-grade students are enrolled in either a charter school or private school, or study at home, and the percentage increase in these three options is 84% over the last 11 years. Why? Parents want to determine the best educational options for their own children and they don’t believe that North Carolina public schools are doing an adequate job.

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Fortunately, one candidate running for NC superintendent of public instruction means to the state’s education programs back on track. Her name is Michelle Morrow, and she is a personal dynamo whose grasp on the issues is outstanding.

First and foremost, Morrow advocates having safe schools with a culture of academic achievement and civility. If it takes having a security guard in every single school throughout the state to ensure the safety of children attending class as well as teachers and school staff, Morrow is all for it.

She believes that schools should be the safest buildings in the state. Alas, they are not. In North Carolina, school crime and violence increased a whopping 84% in just the past five years. The top three crimes being reported include drug use, weapons possession, and assault – even assault of teachers.

An Advocate for What Counts

As the NC superintendent of public instruction, Morrow will support fair and effective policies that both deter crime and promote classroom civility. She’ll be a strong advocate for teachers’ rights to employ fair and reasonable measures to manage their classrooms as they see fit.

Morrow will insist on parent-friendly schools, recognizing that a child’s academic performance often hinges on the vital partnership between teachers and parents. In too many schools throughout the state, parents are kept completely in the dark about medical treatments and, surprisingly, even academic performance.

Some children are forced to take surveys requiring them to reveal details of their sexual habits and mental state, and schools employ such data to monitor, diagnose, and treat psychological issues. Parents alone, however, have the right to make medical decisions in relation to their children’s health and well-being. Government sponsored data collection needs to end. Morrow will enforce a Parents’ Bill of Rights to ensure that families are protected and that parents have dominion over their own children.

Back to the Basics

Academic achievement has suffered for years on end in North Carolina’s kindergarten through 12th grade classrooms. A staggering one-quarter of eighth graders cannot meet national math, science, or reading standards. Test scores throughout North Carolina reveal that more than 800 schools are under-performing.

As superintendent, Morrow will be focused on ensuring that all the money earmarked for education actually makes its way to the classroom. She will ensure that schools focus on teaching science, math, reading, and real history. She will advocate for small group tutoring when needed by students who are not performing well, and touting for those who are doing exceedingly well and can do even better.

Morrow recognizes that the government in Washington, D.C., has no business in the education of North Carolina students. Parents are not co-parenting with the federal government. The programs and policies that politicians and special interest groups attempt to impose on North Carolina schools must come to an end, and any interference in teaching core academics must cease immediately.

As such, Morrow will sever the ties with public interest groups while helping to strengthen local school districts’ ability to employ proven teaching methods, with the goal of enhancing core academic achievement.

The Big Picture

Morrow will seek to enhance national unity and patriotism. Too many students throughout North Carolina are subjected to one-sided history lessons that portray America as an oppressive, racist, unredeemable nation. Some schools go so far as to stereotype their students and inform them that, as a result of their ethnicity, sexuality, or religion, they are oppressors.

This one-sided, warped view of humanity and method of education must end. Instead of dividing students, Morrow will seek to foster unity and understanding. America is an exceptional country. While every country faces challenges, ours in particular has been fair, compassionate, and forward thinking in recent years.

With Morrow’s leadership, North Carolina schools can be better equipped to educate and inspire the next generation who will become the leaders of our great nation.

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