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Nature Lovers May #OptOutside on Black Friday, but They Consume Resources Year-Round

Nature Lovers May #OptOutside on Black Friday, but They Consume Resources Year-Round

Matthew Klingle

REI’s Black Friday campaign can look like an unabashed marketing ploy that ignores the fundamental source of our environmental problems: humans’ overuse of the earth’s resources.

Closed on November 24. (Photo: CoolCaesar, CC BY-SA)
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Capitalism is in the process of eating itself.

Too bad it’s happening too late for so many species.

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Overuse and overpopulation. Join populationconnection used to be zpg. People who talk about or have kids then rejoin in populating are part of the problem BIG TIME!


Yeah, overpopulation is a huge part of the problem, and it’s odd how many people are willing to admit humans are overusing the planet’s resources but are unwilling to admit that fewer people would lead to less overall consumption.

Another problem is the fact that we are, fundamentally now, consumers. How often do we see, and yield to advertising demands that we express who we are by buying something–to the point where everything we are and do is linked to shopping? And how much of advertising is designed to feed off overpopulation: they want you to buy something for your child, so they show a happy, proud mother with her child and that sends the message that morality = motherhood. Sure it’s all based on ego, you want someone to buy something, first offer them flattery. But how many not-yet mothers’ emotions get stirred up by those advertising images?

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Thanks, Mr. Klingle for writing an article that will no doubt step on a lot of toes. But the article does not get to the meat of the matter. 95% of the carbon footprint of passive outdoor sports is not the nylon, aluminum, plastic and “prime northern goose down”, and snobbish attitudes have zero carbon emissions. The problem is all the gasoline burned in their beloved Subaru Outbacks every weekend. We need real solutions - for example, REI or EMS or local clubs cold offer regular scheduled vanpool service out of the city to the hiking/climbing/canoeing/kayaking areas. I assume this is what is done in a lot of parts of Europe.

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The attitudes of the Paul Ehrlich generation are badly out of date.

If everyone suddenly stopped having children, humanity would face a irreversible tipping point to extinction in only about 40 years - with economic collapse coming sooner as aging population can no longer work. China has figured this out and has lifted the one-child law becasue they are below replacement rate and could face a population crash as the childbearing population dwindles . But several countries are very near the demographic point of no-return (Japan, Russia, some European countries) and can now only sustain themselves through migration. But for fairly cloistered cultures like Japan, this is a problem since nobody migrates there.

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“REI’s Black Friday campaign can look like an unabashed marketing ploy that ignores the fundamental source of our environmental problems: humans’ overuse of the earth’s resources.”

More accurately, “too many humans using earth’s resources”.

But in its infinite wisdom, nature sends global warming, war and predatory conservatives to kill us off.

The writer needs to clarify the following reference to John Muir that was made in the article as it sounds as if Muir was a conservationist in order to protect his hunting and fishing grounds like Roosevelt and Hornaday apparently did, something which I have never heard of.

"Nineteenth-century trailblazers such as John Muir grew alarmed as they saw wildlife decimated, forests denuded and scenery despoiled. Among the loudest protesters were affluent outdoorsmen, such as Theodore Roosevelt, founder of the Boone and Crockett Club, and William Temple Hornaday, first director of the New York Zoological Society.

By calling to protect nature, these conservationists also protected their own hunting and fishing entitlements. They attacked the rural poor, immigrants and minorities, who Hornaday once called the “regular army of destruction” because they took fish and game for subsistence or sale. They used their money and power to license hunters and anglers, limit harvests and ban equipment."

Here are some sources on John Muir which describe him as a preservationist unlike many conservationists who favored the “use” of national parks, forests and so forth.

John Muir’s Defense of Wildlife

As the author appears to be saying in his article, there is a difference between being an adventurous environmentalist (or techno-weenie) who sees nature as a playground and someone who can find peace and enjoyment merely from taking a walk in the woods or in a city park by their house. Nature is all around us and it is unnecessary to consume very much to enjoy and appreciate it.

Not to worry, the likelihood that EVERYONE will stop having children is pretty slim.*  Besides, “The Robots Are Coming! The Robots Are Coming!!” – so there will still be plenty of workers to take care of a population that is preponderantly us older folks for a couple of dozen years until population levels off at a number that is sustain­able indefinitely.**  That would be a lot better, IMHO, than to just keep on keepin’ on like we are now, and have an irreversible total economic and social collapse when we run out of resources to exploit.

  *  I’ve had only one child, and so far – well into her thirties – she’s had only one.

**  Of course the robots will be built, owned and controlled by the same Oiligarchs and Pollutocrats who own and control our present ‘democracy’, so there’s always the danger that they could be programmed to be even more consumptive than we humans.  In any event, it’s VERY unlikely that a decrease in human population would lead to any sort of economic collapse.

p.s.  Roughly fifty years ago, author John McPhee (winner of the Pulitzer prize for non-fiction in 1999) arranged for Sierra Club founder David Brower to accompany him on extended wilderness adventures with a mining en­gineer, a resort developer, and then a dam builder.  I just finished re-reading the resultant book – ‘Encounters with the Archdruid’ – and recommend it very highly.

Never had two legged kids but I know what you mean!

Yep you had a child and she had one- no offense but that adds to the population! Then the one who had one could have more!

Why does humanity have to be replaced at all? Earth would be much better off!

If all women had only one child (at around age 33 like my wife and my daughter*) – or had none – for several generations, the population of humans would eventually become small enough for long-term sustainability.  As Yunzer pointed out above, if everyone had no children at all, humans would die out entirely after a brief period of economic (and social) chaos.  Of course if we “keep on keepin’ on” the course we’re following at present all children will starve to death, along with their parents, when all of Mother Earth’s resources have been consum­ed.  Of course we all could – along with most other species – die of radiation poisoning within a very short time if Tweetle-Dumb isn’t restrained.

"Oh, We’ll All Go Together When We Go — Fused In An Incandescent Glow . . . "

* That’s only three generations per hundred years instead of the current average of roughly five.

ZPG won’t cut it — there are already WAY too many of us.  What I’ve described would result in NEGATIVE Population Growth – NPG – absolutely essential for the long-term survival of humanity and most other ani-
mals any larger than cockroaches.

That type of sustainability would be a dream! Let’s all support population connection the old zpg.

I follow population issues very closely and once wrote a few simple math scripts to plot population using different time varying TFR (Total Fertility Rate) numbers. China’s TFR (along with India, Europe, and the US) can be seen as a plot at http://www.china-profile.com/data/fig_WPP2010_TFR_1.htm. Of course there are a human rights issues in China as there are in all countries (though scale and type differ), and if it were up to me, I’d have implemented a plan to get to a desirable steady state population differently but I’m happy China did something as opposed to India.

Most people hear “one child policy” when they read about China and have no idea that China has NEVER head a TFR below 1.6. I don’t believe anybody who matters in the decision making of China is thinking as you suggest - that they must lift the one child policy or the system would crash. They could have gone on with 1.6 average TFR for quite a while but likely a political calculation was made that there will be less push back against the government if they relax a bit having knocked the fertility from 5 to 1.75 in 25 years.

I also disagree with what you say about Japan. It’s true that they have a TFR that is lower than China (they’ve been as low as 1.26 in 2005 but have been on a steady rise since then at 1.46). These are low numbers for a country that has a low amount of people, but Japan is already very overpopulated based on how much farming land they have. What does demographic point of no return mean? There are 127 million people in Japan. Is it no return if there are 50 million people in that country? - that is still a hell of a lot. and at the current TFR, it will take about 3 generations or 75 years to get to that level (if we don’t destroy the earth by then).

Population is the least discussed problem on the left relative to how important it is. Probably my number one gripe about the left - we seem to be too afraid of backlash to talk about the problem openly and honestly whenever climate discussion comes up. I can’t think of the last time I’ve heard it discussed on Democracy Now.

I agree- we discuss women’s right, birth control- but we are afraid of bringing up population lest we offend someone! Politicians and clergy constantly talk about “future generations”. Why? Because it brings in consumers and money. Religious fanatics ( especially the right) think that humans have a right to abuse other animals. Some people are aghast when others bring up some comments that the Earth might survive if humans are left to die off. Let’s face it: We have not only babies being born, but older people are living longer though not nessarily with a quality of life. We cannot have it both ways. Is it really necessary for instance for people to multiply ( with diminished jobs and resources)? Is it necessary to keep 90 year old “surviving” in nursing homes only to deplete their assets and fatten the bank accounts of the insurance companies? In the US there are over 300 million people and growing. And the one per centers believe in eugenics - that has not changed. The current “progressives” ( not just pols) are scardy cats- afraid of their own shadows with their heads hanging in despair. They “suffer” from depression and anxiety and it’s only getting worse.

I am REALLY glad Matthew Klingle wrote this. I can’t remember when anyone expressed at least in part stuff I’ve been feeling for years. I DO resent all the folks my age (59) who have always identified as environmentalists all these years yet did little or nothing to plan their lives with that in mind or really curb their consumption of any kind.
Here in coastal California it is oh so hip to sport Volvos with the park emblems, etc. Californians drive, drive drive and it never fucking stops. I’m a native who has lived here all my life and I see MORE driving across all social classes than ever before. Frankly, I’ve reached the point of disdain for a lot of the REI crowd. The are using the outdoors as a means of consumption, just as much as their slavish devotion to tech. They have the money, and that’s what they do. Most are actually fairly boring to talk to-if it was’t REI it might as well be car culture in the 50s. And there is an arrogance now the environmental movement did not have in the fifties. Lots of people seem just plain common sense stupid. They never even think for a minute their actual impact. It’s sort of just fashion for many.