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  1. Climate Change – Mitigating Ego – Part 2 of 2

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    April 17, 2014 by John Crapper

    In part one we examined our ego and overpopulation.  In part 2 we dive further into the relation of our ego to this problem and examine a solution. 
    Here is a brief excerpt from last week’s post. 

    “…perpetuation of self gets to the essence of our dilemma when trying to deal with overpopulation.  Most of us want our “own” and most of us want too many of our “own” children.  Couples will go to extraordinary lengths to have their “own” children.  The Church of the Holy Shitters believes this to be the most personal, hard to recognize and admit, ass-backward, my shit doesn’t stink thinking pattern we have inside of us.  It needs to be confronted and dealt with in a soul-searching, gut-wrenching, ass-forward, my shit is just like all others’ shit, sort of way.” It is at the root of our overpopulation problem. (I invite you to take the time to read part 1 in its entirety.)

    The world’s population recently surpassed seven billion.  It is continuing to rise.  We need to search for ways to control and ultimately decrease our numbers.  Adoption is one of those tools. It gets scant attention.  That needs to change. It is a tool we need to increasingly use in our fight to control our numbers and sustain our environment.  Let’s take a look.

     

    There are millions of orphans in the world awaiting a family.  There are thousands of families looking to adopt each year.  It is tragic that countless children are growing up on the streets and in institutions because of governmental policies that constrict adoption.
    As the following statistics indicate there are numerous benefits for mothers who place their kids up for adoption and for the children that are adopted.

    Adoption Statistics

    Adoption statistics for mothers who place a child for adoption:

    Significantly, unwed mothers who choose adoption do better than mothers who choose to be single parents:
    They have higher educational aspirations, are more likely to finish school, and less likely to live in poverty and receive public assistance than mothers who keep their children.

    They delay marriage longer are more likely to marry eventually, and are less likely to divorce.

    They are more likely to be employed 12 months after the birth and less likely to repeat out-of-wedlock pregnancy.

    They are no more likely to suffer negative psychological consequences, such as depression, than are mothers who rear children as single parents.

    Source: McLaughlin SD, Manninen DL, Winges LD, Do Adolescents Who Relinquish Their Children Fare Better or Worse Than Those Who Raise Them? Family Planning Perspectives, 20:1 (Jan. – Feb., 1988), pp. 25-32

    Adoption statistics for adopted children:

    Adopted children do as well as or better than their non-adopted counterparts, according to a 1994 study by the Search Institute, a Minneapolis-based public policy research organization providing leadership, knowledge and resources to promote healthy children, youth and communities. This study, the largest examination of adopted adolescents yet undertaken, concludes:

    Teens who were adopted at birth are more likely than children born into intact families to live with two parents in a middle-class family.

    Adopted children score higher than their middle-class counterparts on indicators of school performance, social competency, optimism and volunteerism.

    Adopted adolescents generally are less depressed than children of single parents and less involved in alcohol abuse, vandalism, group fighting, police trouble, weapon use and theft.

    Adopted adolescents score higher than children of single parents on self-esteem, confidence in their own judgment, self-directedness, positive view of others and feelings of security within their families.

    On health measures, adopted children and children of intact families share similarly high scores, and both those groups score significantly higher than children raised by single parents.

    Seven percent of children adopted in infancy repeated a grade, while 12 percent of children living with both biological parents repeated a grade.

    Compared with the general child population, children placed with adoptive couples are better off economically.

    Data indicates that adopted children:

    Do better in educational attainment than single parent children and children raised by grandparents.

    Enjoy a quality of home environment superior to all the other groups.

    Have superior access to health care compared to all other groups.

    There are more than 118,000 children in public foster care awaiting adoption (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2005).

    Despite the numerous positive benefits of adoption as outlined in the above statistics the trend for the number of adoptions is going down. 

    Domestic adoptions are  on the decline.  There are just not as many women placing their children up for adoption because of the increased acceptance of single parenthood.  According to an article appearing in USAToday dated January 11, 2013.

    As a result, the number of U.S. infant adoptions (about 90,000 in 1971) has fallen from 22,291 in 2002 to 18,078 in 2007, according to the most recent five-year tally from the private National Council for Adoption. Though the numbers are only current through 2007, the group’s president, Chuck Johnson, expects the number has remained fairly stable since 2007, citing efforts to promote adoption.

    The overall number of kids in the system, 401,000 in 2011, has hit a 20-year low. The number waiting to be adopted fell from 130,637 in 2003 to 104,236 in 2011, according to the U.S. Children’s Bureau. Their median age is 7 and they’re a mix of races (28% black, 22% Hispanic and 40% white.)

    From 2004 to 2010, the number of international adoptions to the U.S have dropped by 51%.    That trend is likely to continue. 

    Take for example the recent decision by Vladimir Putin who signed a bill that practically stopped all adoptions starting January 1, 2013 in retaliation for a new US law that forbids Russian officials accused of human rights abuses from travelling to the US.

    It’s hard for many Americans “to fathom why Russia’s leaders were willing to take such a drastic and unpopular step.”

    Marsha Lipman, of the Moscow Carnegie Center, says the answer has its roots in resentment of the fact that Russia, once on a par with America in terms of power, has now been relegated to second-class status.

    Once again we see the detrimental interference of human ego when it comes to taking sensible steps to solve our pressing problems. 

    Here is where children being adopted in the U.S. currently come from.

    imageYou can see the overall trend for the past several years has been downward and the recent decision taken by Russia will only accelerate that downward trend. 

    “It’s been a cataclysmic implosion of intercountry adoption,” said Tom DiFilipo of the Joint Council on International Children’s Services, a non-profit. “It’s truly the children who are suffering,” he said, as countries accused of adoption fraud refuse to make changes and others acting out of nationalistic pride insist they can provide for their own.

    Citing once again how our ego gets in the way. 

    Last week, in part 1 we discussed how our ego gets in the way of taking effective action with regard to overpopulation.  Most mainstream religions teach us we are special, chosen and made in the image of God.  They inflate our individual importance by emphasizing our uniqueness.  We therefore desire our “own” children and anything less is often seen as some kind of failure.

    Infertility is the main reason parents seek to adopt children they are not related to. One study shows this accounted for 80% of unrelated infant adoptions and half of adoptions through foster care.

    Couples go to extraordinary lengths to have their “own” children and turn to adoption only as an option of last resort. Just to remind you of those extraordinary measures being taken let’s briefly look at them.

    Intrauterine Insemination (IUI): This is sometimes called artificial insemination, but really there is nothing artificial about it.  Sperm from the partner or from a sperm bank is inseminated at time of ovulation.

    In Vitro Fertilization (IVF): This involves taking fertility medication to stimulate the ovaries.  Later the eggs are removed and fertilized in the IVF lab.  Several days later the embryos are returned to the uterus.

    Donor Eggs: Here another women undergoes in vitro fertilization and donates her egg.  If the partner’s sperm is used the baby is genetically his but not genetically hers. 

    Embryo Adoption: Here extra embryos produced through in vitro fertilization are donated to an infertile woman.

    Why don’t we consider adoption ahead of these extraordinary measures?  Once again let me say -it’s our ego. 

    The Church of the Holy Shitters believes the status of adoption needs reevaluation and elevation to being seen as much more desirable both by governments and individuals.

    Let me ask a couple of questions.   Isn’t a child who is already in the world deserving of more consideration than one that has yet to be conceived?  Isn’t a life that is already here, with heart beating more precious than one who isn’t even in the womb? 

    Our religion teaches us to look at things in an ass-forward waste-end first way. When we look at overpopulation in an ass-forward waste-end first way we realize the most egregious way to waste is to waste a human life.  The most precious and vulnerable of human life is that of a child.  Letting children already here starve to death, or suffer the ravages of poverty just because our egos get in the way is morally indefensible. 

    An increase in the acceptability and use of adoption offers a way to alleviate this situation.  We strongly believe that any human being who forgoes having their “own” child and opts instead to adopt a disadvantaged child is performing an act that rises to the level of a sacrament in the eyes of our Church.  We call it the “Sacrament of Saving Little Poopers”.

    In the performance of this Sacrament you are saving a child from being wasted.  You are giving a child already alive a better life full of new opportunities and promise.  Also, not inconsequentially you are helping to ease the environmental pressures on the planet and improving the quality of life for all of humanity by reducing energy use, consumption, and waste production in the process.  This is truly an act of selfless ass-forward action!

    Adoption is not the only way a person can receive this sacrament. The critical element for receiving the Saving Little Poopers Sacrament is to refrain from having your own child.  Doing any of the following in conjunction with making this sacrifice entitles you to receive this Sacrament. 

    1.   Become a foster parent.

    2. Provide financial assistance for living expenses to an underprivileged child until they are of age.

    3. Provide educational assistance to an underprivileged child.

    4. Work for an NGO, in the Peace Corp or other charity organization involved with the betterment of children’s lives.

    The Church of the Holy Shitters believes our desire to want and have our own children to be the most personal, hard to recognize and admit, ass-backward, my shit doesn’t stink thinking pattern we have inside of us.  It is hard to think about and come to terms with.  But we need to for our sake and the sake of all our children. 

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  2. Climate Change – Mitigating Ego – Part 1 of 2

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    April 10, 2014 by John Crapper

    There are some things we just don’t think of when it comes to action we can take to mitigate climate change.  Here at the Church of the Holy Shitters we contend the main reason for ignoring these solutions is rooted in our ego.  We actually postulate that our ego is the main culprit we need to understand and come to terms with to really begin to get a handle on addressing anthropogenic climate change. 

    One such issue I want to talk about today is controlling our numbers.  When I was born in 1951 the world’s population stood at around 2.6 billion.  Today it has grown to over 7 billion.  So it has more than doubled in 60 years!  Seven billion people shitting on average a pound of the stuff each day times 365 days a year!  That’s a load of shit to deal with!  Add another billion more people in about 15 years.  Holy crap!  Add another billion more poopers in the following 12 years.  That’s some serious overpoopulation we’re looking at don’t you think?

     Each new person added to the planet must consume to stay alive and that consumption uses resources.  But that is not the full story.

    The full story must take into account the rate of consumption of each individual based on their standard of living.  Someone in Bangladesh consumes at a much lower level per day than a person living in New York.  Modern living demands more resources.

    There is a great excerpt from Paul Ehrlich that explains this quite well. 

    INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
    ON POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT
    Cairo, 5 -13 September 1994
    TOO MANY RICH PEOPLE:
    Weighing Relative Burdens on the Planet
    by Paul Ehrlich
    Concern about population problems among citizens of rich countries generally focuses on rapid population growth in most poor nations. But the impact of humanity on Earth’s life support systems is not just determined by the number of people alive on the planet. It also depends on how those people behave. When this is considered, an entirely different picture emerges: the main population problem is in wealthy countries. There are, in fact, too many rich people.

    The amount of resources each person consumes, and the damage done by the technologies used to supply them, need to be taken as much into account as the size of the population. In theory, the three factors should be multiplied together to obtain an accurate measurement of the impact on the planet. Unhappily, governments do not keep statistics that allow the consumption and technology factors to be readily measured—so scientists substitute per capita energy consumption to give a measure of the effect each person has on the environment.

    USING AND CONSUMING

    In traditional societies—more or less in balance with their environments—that damage may be self-repairing. Wood used for fires or structures re-grows soaking up the carbon dioxide produced when it was burned. Water extracted from streams is replaced by rainfall. Soils in fields are regenerated with the help of crop residues and animal manures. Wastes are broken down and reconverted into nutrients by the decomposer organisms of natural ecosystems.

    At the other end of the spectrum, paving over fields and forests with concrete and asphalt, mining the coal and iron necessary for steel production with all its associated land degradation, and building and operating automobiles, trains and aeroplanes that spew pollutants into the atmosphere, are all energy-intensive processes. So are drilling for and transporting oil and gas, producing plastics, manufacturing chemicals (from DDT and synthetic nitrogen fertilizers to chlorofluorocarbons and laundry detergents) and building power plants and dams. Industrialized agriculture uses enormous amounts of energy—for ploughing, planting, fertilizing and controlling weeds and insect pests and for harvesting, processing, shipping, packing, storing and selling foods. So does industrialized forestry for timber and paper production.

    PAYING THE PRICE

    Incidents such as Chernobyl and oil spills are among the environmental prices paid for mobilizing commercial energy—and soil erosion, desertification, acid rain, global warming, destruction of the ozone layer and the toxification of the entire planet are among the costs of using it.

    In all, humanity’s high-energy activities amount to a large-scale attack on the integrity of Earth’s ecosystems and the critical services they provide. These include control of the mix of gases in the atmosphere (and thus of the climate); running of the hydrologic cycle which brings us dependable flows of fresh water; generation and maintenance of fertile soils; disposal of wastes; recycling of the nutrients essential to agriculture and forestry; control of the vast majority of potential crop pests; pollination of many crops; provision of food from the sea; and maintenance of a vast genetic library from which humanity has already withdrawn the very basis of civilization in the form of crops and domestic animals.

    THE RELATIVE IMPACT

    The average rich-nation citizen used 7.4 kilowatts (kW) of energy in 1990—a continuous flow of energy equivalent to that powering 74 100-watt light bulbs. The average citizen of a poor nation, by contrast, used only 1 kW. There were 1.2 billion people in the rich nations, so their total environmental impact, as measured by energy use, was 1.2 billion x 7.4 kW, or 8.9 terawatts (TW)—8.9 trillion watts. Some 4.1 billion people lived in poor nations in 1990, hence their total impact (at 1 kW a head) was 4.1 TW.

    The relatively small population of rich people therefore accounts for roughly two-thirds of global environmental destruction, as measured by energy use. From this perspective, the most important population problem is overpopulation in the industrialized nations.

    The United States poses the most serious threat of all to human life support systems. It has a gigantic population, the third largest on Earth, more than a quarter of a billion people. Americans are superconsumers, and use inefficient technologies to feed their appetites. Each, on average, uses 11 kW of energy, twice as much as the average Japanese, more than three times as much as the average Spaniard, and over 100 times as much as an average Bangladeshi. Clearly, achieving an average family size of 1.5 children in the United States (which would still be larger than the 1.3 child average in Spain) would benefit the world much more than a similar success in Bangladesh.

    Mr. Paul R. Ehrlich is Bing Professor of Population Studies and Professor of Biological Sciences at Stanford University in the United States. His most recent books, both co-authored with his wife Anne, are “The Population Explosion” (Simon and Schuster, 1990) and “Healing the Planet” (Addison-Wesley, 1991). The feature originally appeared in Vol. 6, No.3, 1994 of “Our Planet”. The views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of UNEP.
    http://dieoff.org/…

    So we have too many people in this world living, as my mother used to say, high on the hog demanding too much from the Earth to maintain their standard of living.  Plus you have more and more people coming out of poverty and increasing their consumption as they are introduced into the modern world and demanding that same high standard of living. So we know the problem.  How do we begin to address it? 
    This is a difficult area to address with no easy answers because it involves human life.  So let’s start with an examination of human life and what it means to you and me.

    Let’s state a supreme rule of existence from the outset.  “My life is the most important life on the planet.”  Say that sentence out loud.  Do you disagree?  Good.  We have just established a solid reference point from which to continue our examination.  Each of us thinks we are the most important living being on the planet. 

    The Church of the Holy Shitters realizes your life here on Earth is precious and special to you.  We believe each of us believes the same thing.  Collectively then we all believe our lives are precious and special. 

    The Church has its own “right to life” principle.  Succinctly stated we believe people alive now are more precious and special than lives that have yet to be born.

    The Church also believes that we also have an ego problem that needs recognition and examination.  Because the religions most people practice teach they are special, chosen, and made in the image of God, they are conditioned to have an inflated image of their individual importance.  This type of thinking spills over into our reproductive beliefs and practices.  It is deeply ingrained in most of us that it is important we spawn our own prodigy.  We are special and we need to insure that that specialness perpetuates itself by having our “own” offspring.  We therefore want and desire our “own” children and anything less is often viewed as some kind of failure. 

    That perpetuation of self gets to the essence of our dilemma when trying to deal with overpoopulation.  Most of us want our “own” and most of us want too many of our “own” children.  Couples will go to extraordinary lengths to have their “own” children.  The Church of the Holy Shitters believes this to be the most personal, hard to recognize and admit, ass-backward, my shit doesn’t stink thinking pattern we have inside of us.  It needs to be confronted and dealt with in a soul-searching, gut-wrenching, ass-forward, my shit is just like all others’ shit, sort of way.  It is at the root of our overpopulation problem.

    So the first solution for effectively dealing with overpopulation is our ego.  Once we get our ego in proper perspective we can begin to reorient our thinking to begin to control and ultimately reduce our numbers and rate of consumption. 

    Next week we will examine this closer.

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Our climate is changing. I'm humorously serious about addressing it. I'm convinced my ego is the main culprit. My religion, Holy Shitters, demands I humble myself and celebrate the fact my shit stinks.
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