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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.”

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

21 Ways That People with Work-life Balance Are Different from Others (Part 1)

Take time for rest and reflection throughout the day, and accomplish more as a result

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The typical person thinks that work-life balance is needed only when things get hectic. Not so! Here are the first seven observations and accompanying recommendations for achieving Work-life Balance.

1) The typical person thinks that work-life balance is needed only when things get hectic. Those who have work-life balance realize that it is an everyday practice. So, what can you do?
* practice work-life balance techniques everyday, much like taking a daily shower
* recognize the small opportunities around you all day long
* plan from Sunday night to next Sunday
* maintain a mindset of not loading up on activities and not overdoing it

2) The typical person becomes stressed throughout the workday from mounting demands. Those with work-life balance anticipate unexpected demands and dispense their energy accordingly. So,
* leave sufficient slack in your schedule
* have one weekday evening per week with nothing scheduled
* pace yourself throughout the day
* establish a resource network of key contacts, phone numbers, email, etc.

3) The typical person suspects that only a privileged few can attain work-life balance. Those with work-life balance understand that it is within everyone’s grasp.
* read about work-life balance
* talk about work-life balance
* trade work-life balance ideas
* be on the lookout

4) The typical person assumes that “money buys happiness.” Those who have work-life balance know that money won’t help if you’re on the wrong path.
* consider that simple solutions often work best
* adopt a less is more approach
* pare down
* systemize or eliminate

5) The typical person regards taking time for themselves as a luxury they can’t afford. Those who have work-life balance recognize that taking time for themselves is vital.
* pause for ten one-minute breaks
* go on true lunch breaks
* take strategic pauses
* allow for whole weekends off

6) The typical person thinks that achieving work-life balance will be fleeting; it won’t last long. Those who have work-life balance take a rational, methodical approach to maintaining it.
* recognize that upsets and overwhelm will occur
* ask: what do I want to finish by the end of work today to feel good about the evening?
* ask: what do I want to finish before Friday to feel good about the weekend?
* keep creating a clearing (like Zen masters)

7) The typical person sacrifices rest and reflection in the hope of getting more done. Those with work-life balance take time for rest and reflection throughout the day, and accomplish more as a result.
* sleep eight hours a night
* linger after lunch
* center yourself on the way to the restroom, water cooler, even between tasks
* draw upon self-calming rituals all day long

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Business

Work-Life Balance in Your Life

It the ability to experience a sense of control and to stay productive and competitive at work while maintaining a happy, healthy home-life

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Work-life balance (WLB) is the ability to experience a sense of control and to stay productive and competitive at work while maintaining a happy, healthy home-life with sufficient leisure. WLB, also referred to by some as work-life harmony, work-life shift, work-life blend, work-life effectiveness, or work-life integration, requires focus and awareness despite seemingly endless tasks and activities competing for our time and attention.

Work-life balance entails having what I call “breathing space” for yourself each day, feeling a sense of accomplishment while not being consumed by work, and having an enjoyable domestic life without short-changing career obligations. WLB is rooted in whatever fulfillment means to you within the course of a day and a week, and however many years you have left in your life.

Supporting Disciplines

Several disciplines support work-life balance though, individually, none are synonymous with work-life balance:

1) Self Management

Sufficiently managing one’s self can be challenging, particularly in getting proper sleep, exercise, and nutrition. Self-management is the recognition that effectively using the spaces in our lives is vital, and that life, time, and available resources are finite. It means becoming captain of our own ship; no one is coming to steer for us.

2) Time Management

Effective time management involves making optimal use of your day and the supporting resources that can be summoned – you can only keep pace when your resources match your challenges. Time management is enhanced through appropriate goals and discerning what is both important and urgent, versus important OR urgent. It entails understanding what you do best and when, and assembling the appropriate tools to accomplish specific tasks.

3) Stress Management

By nature, societies tend to become more complex over time. In the face of increasing complexity, stress on the individual is inevitable. More people, noise, and distractions, independent of one’s individual circumstances, require each of us to become more adept at maintaining tranquility and being able to work ourselves out of pressure-filled situations. Most forms of multi-tasking ultimately increase our stress, while focusing on one thing at a time helps decrease stress.

4) Change Management

In our fast-paced world, change is virtually the only constant. Continually adopting new methods, adapting old, and re-adapting all methods is vital to a successful career and a happy home life. Effective change management involves offering periodic and concerted efforts so that the volume and rate of change at work and at home does not overwhelm or defeat you.

5) Technology Management

Effectively managing technology requires ensuring that technology serves you, rather than abuses you. Technology has always been with us, since the first walking stick, spear, flint, and wheel. Today, the rate of technological change is accelerating, brought on by vendors seeking expanding market share. Often you have no choice but to keep up with the technological Joneses, but rule technology, don’t let it rule you.

6) Leisure Management

The most overlooked of the work-life balance supporting disciplines, leisure management acknowledges 1) the importance of rest and relaxation, 2) that “time off” is a vital component of the human experience, and 3) that one can’t indefinitely short-change leisure without repercussions. Curiously, too much of the same leisure activity, however enjoyable, can lead to monotony. Thus, effective leisure management requires varying one’s activities.

Entirely Achievable

Achieving work-life balance does not require radical changes in what you do. It is about developing fresh perspectives and sensible, actionable solutions that are appropriate for you. It is fully engaging in life with what you have, right where you are, smack dab in the ever-changing dynamics of your existence.

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