The Ugly Face of Overpopulation

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Texas, the lone star state. My recent visit to Texas gave me a new outlook on the Lone Star meaning. They say that this Lone Star state is capable of containing all of the world’s population. Texas has a square mileage of about 268,581 which equates to 7,487,608,550,400 square feet. Over 7.4 trillion square feet gives about 1000 square feet to each of the 7.5 billion people of our Earth’s population! So that’s what they mean by lone star state! Texas truly IS the only state that the world needs!

But what about transportation, farms, food services, power plants, etc.? Realistically, that would be a problem if we all lived in Texas, but that is not the point. What matters is that we have sufficient room on this planet for up to 282 billion people (calculated by Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research) and surely technology will always evolve and adapt to the limited space available to us. If not, then we build UP! Towers, skyscrapers, pyramids, whatever we can think of. Even, eventually, out into the new frontier!

So why all this overpopulation talk? Why is there all this talk of Kenya’s population needing to be controlled because of its drastic population increase? Why are we so afraid of reaching 9 billion people by 2050?

The answer is not in sheer numbers but in the daily consumption of those increased numbers and the toll it takes on the environment. It is in resources and available luxuries of a comfortable lifestyle that we are lacking. Roger Martin, chair of the NGO Population Matters states that:

Every additional person needs food, water and energy, and produces more waste and pollution, so ratchets up our total impact on the planet, and ratchets down everyone else’s share.

In reality, we Americans live lavishly, even at poverty levels compared to that of the rest of the world. Here in America we associate a good, happy life with a big house, a nice car, a high paying job, and a family that is fed and satisfied. Other countries are not so lucky and a daily struggle for food only increases as the population grows. One of many gruelling facts:

Americans constitute 5% of the world’s population but consume 24% of the world’s energy.

Where are all the solutions?! What can we do as a country to prepare for an Environmental Crisis?! Do I have to give up all of my luxury?

I am confident that most of you reading this article have heard the claim that the United States produces enough food to feed the entire world before. So then why are we still worrying about a shortage of food or overpopulation? Because every day supermarkets throw away food while people die of starvation all over the planet. Because day after day the corporate world  churns out more than is needed, creating piles of waste so that we can have comfortable lifestyles in America. Because no matter how much we produce or how efficient we become, nothing will deter the environmental crisis if we do not work for a cleaner and healthier environment around us.

Obama and his congressmen have been putting off the reforms needed in environmental advancements in order to have more sustainable energy and a cleaner environment. Germany already has implemented better energy efficient methods that are improving both the environment and their people’s way of life and is setting records for solar power production. Even if all that can be reached is a consensus on a future we want but do not currently have, we need to start moving in the right direction to help create that better, sustainable future.

Already the revolution towards a cleaner environment is happening. Already we are creating edible landscapes, creating gasoline out of air, working towards more efficient heating methods, and most importantly, using waste as a form of energy! The Environmental Revolution is upon us. Do not let yourself get left behind.



Doctors Communicate with Vegetable Through Brain Scans


A Canadian man named Scott Routley, who has been in a vegetative state for 12 years, was able to communicate with doctors via a brain scan, proving that even a seemingly brain dead person may have an active and fully conscious mind. He was able to successfully explain to doctors that he is not in pain.

A vegetative state is defined by being unaware of your surrounding and incapable of conscious thought. Until this remarkable discovery, Routley was thought to be a complete vegetable.

This is the first time in medical history that a vegetative patient has been able to relate some type of clinically relevant information to doctors.  British neuroscientist professor Adrian Owen, leader of the research team at the Brain and Mind Institute of Western Ontario, said:

Scott has been able to show he has a conscious, thinking mind. We have scanned him several times and his pattern of brain activity shows he is clearly choosing to answer our questions. We believe he knows who and where he is.

The team uses an fMRI scanner to located active regions of the brain.  They ask the patient to imagine playing tennis or walking around their home.  These thought process create very distinct patterns of activity in the brain. The doctors are able to assign one thought process as meaning ‘yes’ and the other as meaning ‘no.’  In this way, Routley is able to have a conversation with the doctors through his imagination.

Proffessor Owen believes this breakthrough will make a profound difference in improving the lives of patients all around the world.  He explains that:

In [the] future we could ask what we could do to improve their quality of life. It could be simple things like the entertainment we provide, or the times of day they are washed and fed.

Professor Owen believes that 20% or more of people assumed to be in a complete vegetative state may in fact be completely conscious.

I believe far more time and consideration must go into ensuring people like Routley are still able to live as comfortably as possible. It is equally important that these people are able to make decisions for themselves. They may not have control of their body, but their life is still their own.




Invisible Bike Helmet

Ana and Terese have developed a bike helmet that is fashionable, comfortable, and most importantly, completely invisible! You wear it around your neck, not your head.  It works very similarly to a car air bag.  In the event of a bike collision or being thrown off of your bike the helmet inflates and protects your entire neck and skull.

The two students created the invisible helmet in an attempt to make riding bikes safer so that more people would start using the bicycle as their primary mode of transportation.

Sign me up!