Posted on January 12, 2005
Stop Accelerated Density,
"It's a small world after all." That cloying children's song wasn't meant to be frightening, but think about it. The earth has a finite amount of space to support its rapidly growing human population, as well as all of its animal and plant life. What if that space were to shrink dramatically over a short period of time, to so small a circumference that there was no more room for us to breathe? This nightmare scenario may sound like the stuff of science fiction, but it is much closer to becoming a reality than most of the world's leaders are willing to admit.
Ever since Sir Isaac Newton first introduced mankind to gravity, we have regarded it as our friend. After all, without it, we would all just float off into space. But like so much else in nature, gravity will only be kind to us for as long as we are willing to reciprocate. As is too often the case, humans have become so inconsiderate of the needs of nature that we have provoked it into a fiery temper, which we must now soothe, or else face the consequences.
When we think about gravity, we tend to think of it acting on something airborne, like falling apples. Seldom do we appreciate the relationship between gravity and those things and people at rest here on earth. Little do we notice that the earth's gravitational pull is constantly drawing us all closer to the planet's core, albeit by distances too small to measure on a daily basis. Over the course of a lifetime, the effects are more visible. As people age, the decades-long effect of gravity on their bodies causes them to become noticeably shorter. If you multiply one elderly person's loss of height by the number of generations in human history, you can start to get some idea of the intensity of the physical stress the planet is under.
This is but one phase of a very gradual but unquestionably destructive cycle. As all earthly objects are drawn closer together, the planet becomes more densely packed, which strengthens its gravitational pull. This in turn draws those objects even closer, triggering the whole process over again. As gravity grows more and more powerful, the cycle repeats itself more rapidly. The steadily increasing frequency of this cycle is the phenomenon that has come to be known as "accelerated density."
It's a proven scientific fact that, if the earth were to pass through a black hole, it would instantly shrink to the size of a ping pong ball. As accelerated density gains momentum, we are on course to replicate that effect in slow motion. According to one estimate, the Amazon rainforest could shrink to the size of a balcony flowerbox by the year 2100. Needless to say, not many species would survive the transition.
Although the global scientific community is in general agreement on the reality of accelerated density, Western government leaders have refused to act. In their overzealous pursuit of short-term popularity and material gain, they are gambling with the future of the planet and all its creatures. What makes this all the more tragic is the fact that there are lots of common-sense solutions that have already been proposed, but are going foolishly unheeded.
For example, one of the most destructive contributors to accelerated density is obesity. The more people weigh, the more pressure they apply to the surface of the earth. In addition, they require larger and heavier vehicles, and larger and heavier houses, which they are then likely to fill with children who, whether by heredity or habit, are at risk of obesity also.
One way to diminish this threat would be through a more equal distribution of resources. Naturally, gluttony prevails in the United States and other developed nations to which a disproportionate amount of wealth has been distributed. It is unconscionable that the citizens of these countries should behave so selfishly, at the expense of developing nations, whose people tend to weigh far less and have many tons less in material possessions. Ideally, an egalitarian global society would take a huge load off the earth's shoulders, but such a solution is admittedly far off. By the time it was realized, the planet could already have been squashed like a grape. There are, however, some less dramatic changes that could be enacted almost immediately, which could bring us closer to that goal.
With the help of international organizations like the United Nations, a treaty can be drawn up by which every nation would agree to hold the weight of its citizens to a reasonable limit. Violators shall be fined, with the revenues going to a special UN fund for promoting awareness of accelerated density.
Since obesity is now recognized as a disability, we cannot directly force sanctions on those individuals afflicted, but we can allocate to every nation a finite number of "girth credits" that it can shift from one citizen to another, so that the combined weight of the whole of a society can be kept in check. That way, one man's obesity may be offset by his neighbors. Moreover, this will motivate communities to enforce dietary control among their citizens, through the power of social stigmatization. On a broader scale, legislatures will be pressured by their less gravitationally inclined constituents to levy punitive taxes on ecologically damaging foods and beverages.
With obesity under control, it will become exceedingly difficult to justify the existence of SUVs and other obscenely large cars and trucks. Since the importance of removing heavy vehicles from the road is nearly as important as controlling the size of the people who drive them, the unanimous ratification of the Kyoto Protocol is a must. A dramatic reduction in allowable carbon dioxide emissions will not only eliminate bulky gas-guzzlers, but discourage the use of petroleum-consuming motor vehicles altogether. Furthermore, the resulting reduction in the physical mobility of the work force will have a corrective economic effect, which will reduce conspicuous consumption, brining girth rates even lower.
Another of the greatest contributors to accelerated density is the raising of livestock for food. Not only does the glut of meat and poultry from American farms fuel the country's obesity problem, but the sheer number of farm animals constantly stomping on the earth is a menace. As if that weren't bad enough, American genetic engineers have been producing increasingly larger cows, hogs, turkeys and other animals, to proportions much greater than nature would ordinarily allow. In addition, the use of pesticides has enabled them to grow healthier crops to feed their livestock, helping the animals grow even more destructive. A global treaty demanding that all foods be grown organically will reverse this alarming trend.
These are but a few of the preventative measures that can be used to combat accelerated density, but there are also corrective measures that can be taken to undo damage that has already been done. These are ways to disperse matter on or near the planet's surface, so that the forces that have been busily compacting it will be nullified.
One solution is to tether large helium balloons to the branches of every tree in sight. Though the impact of this will not be immediately perceptible, the constant lifting motion will manipulate the roots of the trees, which will gradually lift and scatter the soil in which they're rooted. Obviously, this will have to be replicated millions upon millions of times in order to have a significant effect, which is why every tree is needed to do its part. Therefore, a global moratorium on logging must be enacted.
The most direct way to counteract accelerated density is to actively remove quantities of earth from beneath the surface, and scatter them above ground. Ironically, oil drilling and the mining of ore are ostensibly constructive toward this end, but the role of these activities in producing heavy machinery more than counterbalances any benefits that might accrue.
What is needed, then, is widespread excavation for its own sake, without the taint of commercial interests. Already, some concerned individuals have begun tunneling under their own property, creating what are known as "eco-burrows." True, there are certain physical risks involved in digging eco-burrows, but with professional guidance, unfortunate incidents can be kept to a minimum. This is why an instructional pamphlet has been made available by the Hollow Orb Society, a think tank dedicated to promoting common-sense solutions to the threat of accelerated density.
Although the digging of eco-burrows in private citizens' yards is laudable, we need to think bigger. The aforementioned organic foods treaty will free up a lot of unused territory on America's commercial farms and ranches. If the farmers have land they are not using to raise livestock, why not raise dirt instead?
Other lands earmarked for the construction of strip malls, office parks and housing developments can be converted to eco-burrows as well. In fact, those other projects will need to be halted anyway, since suburban sprawl contributes to accelerated density through increased vehicular traffic. That being the case, those to whom such properties are currently distributed should welcome the relief provided by a governmental eco-burrow program.
Due to the devastation that would be wrought by inaction, voluntary participation in this effort will unfortunately not be enough. Therefore, governments in the U.S. and around the world must rely on the compulsory acquisition of property, much as had been necessary to build America's interstate highway system.
Unavoidably, there will be those who prefer to remain complacent and fat, rather than take what few responsible but inconvenient steps are necessary to save the planet from the imminent threat of accelerated density. They'll claim that this phenomenon is unproven, and that the demands that the solutions make on their lives are unnecessary. Some will probably go so far as to charge that it's all a cruel hoax, whose whole aim is to impose economic burdens on the United States and other wealthy nations.
To those doubters among us who would entertain such objections, you owe it to yourselves, your fellow living beings, and Mother Earth to take a step back and consider the possibilities. If we heed the warnings of the scientific community, and those warnings turn out to be wrong, then we will have lost nothing but a few creature comforts. We may even discover that we're better off living that way, regardless of our environmental circumstances. If, however, we listen to the science-hating cynics, it will be too late by the time we realize they were mistaken. The world and everything in it will have been crushed, just as if it had fallen into a giant trash compactor. Little good their big SUVs, spacious suburban houses and rich eating habits will do them then, when we're all shrunken to the size of amoebas anyway.
The choice before us is clear. Either we strive toward global economic equity on our own, or else accelerated density will impose it on us, by reducing us all to nothing. For the sake of the innocent Earth and all its inhabitants, let's all make the wise decision together.
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