Part of my degree was British and European Economic History. For the last 30 years my research work has included demography, involving statistics. When I started, my pyramid of ages came to a sharp point for those living over 75. It is now flattening out, with the explosion of people living into their nineties. Why the ‘Maths’ situation? Because I am addicted to planning and projections. I got a Nuffield Scholarship because of my ability to budget for a wayward industry, market gardening.
Now, I look at the world population, at the ‘new’ extended life expectancy, and work out that x people will occupy the planet for more years, and that will mean housing demands which cannot be met, living in close proximity, stressful, and not enough food or water for us all. Not to mention the ‘great unknown’ Climate Change The personal aspect has been heightened by the advent of great-grandchildren. And the fervent wish for as good a life for them as I have had, despite wars, frequent lack of money, crises and tragedies.
Then I watch endless wild life programmes. France co-operates with Germany, super programmes with their own David Attenborough clone. These programmes talk of umpteen millions of zebras, wildebeest, bison, pelicans, flamingos, gulls. Rwanda is proud of a new Safari Park, costs a fortune for rich visitors to come. The average family is five children, Rwanda cannot feed itself and has a dire water problem. But save the animals. This set off a whole new ‘stream of consciousness’, pure arithmetic, but with world politics, sentiment, and pusillanimity in the mixture.
We are being urged to stop eating meat, cows give off loads of polluting methane. How much pollution is caused by millions of wild ruminants? The huge amount of herbage they eat could produce human food. The millions of litres of water drunk could provide water for crops and drink to millions of suffering Africans. You could decimate their populations and not risk their extinction. Pelicans flamingos and their like consume millions of tons of fish, again, food for the starving. There are so many gulls, taking most of their eggs away might remove a lot of their nuisance. Some countries are trying to legislate for stronger measures to control cats, domestic and feral cats are responsible for extinction of some small mammals, and birds.
These very personal and possible esoteric views lead me to the point of this diatribe. Do you still feel strongly enough about world problems to protest in some form? On line petitions, actual marching and banner waving. Greta Thunberg I saw as hopeful, a wave of feeling world-wide to DO something. Now she is regarded as a bit of a nuisance, a freak. Countries are backing down from the Paris agreement, looming elections or the inflation rate prompts present gain against a future Armageddon (or do I mean Apocalypse)? I do not want to become an ostrich. But I might just as well play dominoes and count the spots.