Monday, August 7, 2017

death, infertility, and this crumbling nation

Thanks for all the condolences. Allen was a good neighbor and we'd BS at times but we weren't really friends in that we didn't socialize together. I will miss seeing him around though but I'm sure the property will stay in the family.

Allen's sudden departure did give me a little kick in the butt. We finally made out wills for the first time ever back in 2009 but we just never got around to signing them which does no good at all so I've been all about getting them updated and this week they get signed and notarized. Dying intestate in Texas is a pain for those you leave behind. I know of two people whose spouses died without a will and the children from the previous marriage of the deceased spouse laid claim to half the property because they could rather than any legitimate claim. Of course, there are no children from previous marriages, but still, the state has no problem making claims of it's own.

So, life goes on. I wonder what the world will be like in another 20 years when my grandkids are on the verge of their 40s with children of their own, if that's even possible by then with male fertility taking a big hit. I read a very interesting article recently on the overpopulation of the planet that predicts that the human population will stop growing within the lifespan of people living today. The planet reached 7 billion people sometime last March but it took longer than it did to add the 6th billion, the first time that has ever happened. The trend has been for shorter and shorter intervals but that has now changed and the reason for that is fewer women having children and having fewer children when they do. Some of that is from decreasing male fertility and some from urbanization. Urban dwellers typically have fewer children or none at all. Already Western Europe is losing population, more people dying than being born, and could lose 1/4 of their population by the end of the century. Russia and China stand to lose half their population by the same time.

It takes 2.1 live births per woman to maintain population equilibrium, more for the population to grow. In Germany, the birthrate is 1.36; in Spain, 1.48; in Italy, 1.4. The United States has managed to grow mainly through immigration. Immigrants tend to have more children than native born but even that is falling and with Trump restricting immigration and even deporting parts of our population, the US no longer has a birth rate that will maintain our population levels. Even high birth rate countries like Mexico and India and Brazil have fallen to barely sustainable rates and birth rates are diminishing in Africa as well.

Some experts believe the world population will top out at 9 billion sometime around 2070. If these trends continue and the world birth rate stabilizes at 1.5, then the world population will halve by 2200 and will fall to 1 billion 100 years later. This is all assuming, of course, that the current trends continue and we don't self-annihilate in a nuclear war.

Fertility issues aside, I worry about the society my grandkids will be living in. Will this country continue the decline it seems intent on, taking us back socially to the pre-civil rights era of repression for all who aren't white and male, ignoring the knowledge of science and in general discouraging education of the population, turning their backs on the poor and disabled, closing our doors to immigration? Already farmers' crops are rotting in the fields because either migrant workers aren't being allowed in or they just aren't coming because of the hateful atmosphere Trump has engendered and all those job hungry Americans aren't so eager to do farm work.

It is possible that this nation will not recover from Trump since the Republican controlled Congress seems content to let him and his white supremacist buddies turn this country into a dictatorship, trampling on our first amendment rights and attacking the free press substituting his propaganda arm, Trump TV while the NRA foments armed rebellion if Trump gets removed from office.

Our constitution is only as strong as the people who believe in it and defend it and it looks like those in power who swore to defend it and uphold it have no real intention of doing so.


  1. Oh, don't get me started on critical mass Ellen. I fear by the time the population starts to drop all the flora and fauna will be gone, or as the book said, "the late, great, planet Earth." Maybe someone will have colonized Mars or the Moon by then.

  2. Oh, I do not think that colonizing on other planets will ensure our species. And I share your worries about our country. I often wonder how in the world we can regain what we had, simply in terms of respect for the presidency and the offices of government before this joke got elected. Well, he's no joke, is he?
    It's some scary shit, Ellen. As you know.
    But good on you for getting those wills locked down. We need to do the same.

  3. I wonder about my grands and the planet, too. And, of course, I had a second long flash on nra enforced labor camps, a la Trump's ban on the people who actually get food from the ground. Only a second, though. It could never happen.

  4. I am not optimistic as you know. I hold no hope for this failed species. I must have a little bit of hope though because last Friday we finally did get around to signing out wills and sorting out medical directives.

  5. I do what I can to be a member of the opposition. I wouldn't want anyone in the future to think I supported this president. In the meantime I look for small pleasures to keep my spirits up.

  6. Although I have great fears for the present and the future, I will not give up hope that we and our country will get through this, albeit, somewhat broken and torn. We have been through very bad times before and survived and there are enough good people out there who can assure we will get through difficult times again.

  7. When I pass a friends home I always expect him to be in his garden. He has been gone for a few ear, but I always yell a greeting. LOL

  8. Interesting info on population. I've heard that theory, that the population will naturally level out, but I hadn't heard that it may already be happening -- or that fertility is declining in Africa, for example. Clearly I have some reading up to do! Anyway, it's encouraging news. I know from an economic standpoint there's cause for worry when births fall below replacement levels, but it's hard for me to understand how that can be a bad thing in the long run. More space for nature!

    1. re Africa, not just births but emigration, people leaving Africa, adding to it's population decline. apparently, the danger is that the population level will decline with increasing infertility to the point that we will die out. if you haven't read the article, if you are interested they give much more information.

  9. There are many reasons that I'm glad I don't have children, but this is a big one. Of course, I still worry about other peoples' children - but it's nice to not have a dog, er child, in that fight.

  10. We went through the arduous process of updating wills and powers of attorney last winter. Written, signed, and notarized. Now we need to finish up with the medical directives. I found a notary who works on Saturdays. Just need to get the papers completed.

    About all the rest....It leaves me an undercurrent of anxiety. I don't put my head in the sand because I think it's important to stay informed. I also take time away from the news to regroup. We right now have some of the smartest people we've ever had in this country - and that idiot in the White House is free to run his mouth and wreak havoc. I implore the powers to be to put a stop to the madman on our very soil, get a handle on the reins, and pull us back to the democratic, diplomatic, leading country we have the capacity to be.


I opened my big mouth, now it's your turn.