Planet Earth Weekly

Climate Change and Renewable Energy: Saving Our Planet for Future Generations


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Investors Support Population Growth for Profit

Overpopulation and wallstreet

Do Republicans support overpopulation?

“Should the Republican Party sweep the coming elections, the availability of family planning services will be greatly reduced and our population will continue to grow at an unhealthy rate.”

By Dr. John J. Hidore

September 22, 2016—-The human population of planet earth is under a great deal of stress. Civil uprisings and violence are widespread. There are a variety of factors responsible for the stress. They include population growth, resource depletion, climate change, and the rapid concentration of wealth in a small group of super rich.

Slowing Population Growth

There is no simple answer to these problems but slowing or halting population growth provides part of the answer. Much of today’s global unrest and violence can be traced directly to overpopulation. The population in large areas has simply grown to the point that there are no longer enough resources to provide even a basic standard of living. However, there are those that profit from the rapid growth and are working to prevent efforts to slow the rate of growth.

Population Growth and the Corporate World

The global population is growing—80 million people each year. It is now adding a billion every 12 years. It’s clear the earth cannot sustain this kind of growth. Wall Street and its investors want to see our population grow. The operating philosophy of the corporate world is economic growth. Economic growth has been the cornerstone of political and the economy since the advent of the industrial revolution more than 200 years ago.

Corporate Profits and an Expanding Market

The industrial revolution was about increasing the production of manufactured goods for profit. Corporate profits depend on expanding the market for their manufactured goods and services. This can be accomplished in either of two ways. The first was to expand the market geographically and the second was by reducing the price of the commodity. In the United States, 70% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is now generated by services, and so the major market is the size of the population itself. Increasing the population automatically increases the market for goods and services. Based on this simple principal of growth, corporate America has opposed any effort to slow the population growth.

Planned Parenthood

Opposition to Defund Planned Parenthood

In the United States, there is a substantial effort to reduce family size through methods of birth control. However, there are more than three million unintended pregnancies each year. Most are not using oral contraceptives simply because they do not have access to them. Planned Parenthood of America (PPA) is one of the most prominent groups providing these services. The demand for their services is high. It is estimated that twenty percent of American women have been to a clinic operated by PPA for health reasons. Most of the clients are low income and have no other health care provider.

The Republican Party vs. Planned Parenthood

There is now a major movement in this country to eliminate birth control. The opposition to these services is led by a variety of groups which consider themselves as being pro-life. One anti-abortion group even produced a video supposedly showing a clinic selling fetal parts after an abortion. The video has since been shown to have been fabricated.

In recent years the the government has supported Wall Street’s position. The Republican Party has long prevented US funds from being used for family planning in foreign countries. It is now supporting the religious right in efforts to defund family planning in this country. They consider contraception to be a form of abortion. They thus argue that contraception is not compatible with the pro-life movement.

Opposition to the Affordable Care Act

The current congress is also in opposition to the Affordable Care Act under which contraception is available. As a result opposing contraception has become a Republican strategy. The house of representatives proposed the defund Planned Parenthood act of 2015 (HR3134) last year. This bill would prohibit any funds from being used for any purpose by Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The 114th congress blocked funding for Planned Parenthood for providing abortions. This bill would remove nearly half a billion dollars from the organization.

Also in 2015 congress setup several committees to investigate Planned Parenthood. Fortunately, President Obama has prevented these bills from becoming law. Many states have since passed their own laws limiting family planning. Should the Republican Party sweep the coming elections, the availability of family planning services will be greatly reduced and our population will continue to grow at an unhealthy rate.


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Turmoil in Today’s World Revisited

Working toward 100% renewables

Working Toward Renewable Energy

Evidence points to the fact that as the population grows so does the severity of problems.

By Dr. John J. Hidore

July 16, 2015–In the second decade of the 21st Century, Earth’s human population is in turmoil. People are protesting hunger, poverty, unemployment, and drastic environmental changes. The Fund for Peace maintains a list of nations that are in danger of failing due to internal stress. In 2015 among 11 categories, 10 countries in Africa are listed in the most critical two categories. These countries are in the most danger of collapsing into failed states. Out of the 35 countries in highest risk conditions 25 of them were listed as higher at risk from 2012 to 2013.

Root Causes of Turmoil

A large percentage of people in these countries are leaving their homes and migrating to other regions in order to avoid violence, poverty and terrorism. In 2014 extremists in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia committed 13,500 terrorist attacks compared to 10,000 in 2013. Terrorists killed an estimated 33,000 people last year compared to 18,000 the previous year. They also carried out more than 9000 kidnappings. There are a number of phenomenon now operating simultaneously that are root causes for the uncertainty and turmoil.

The root causes of global turmoil include the following:

1. An exploding population: The global population is growing at some 80 million per year. This means adding another billion every 12-13 years.

2. Global warming: The year 2014 was the warmest ever recorded on the planet since records have been kept. Every region, from the Antarctic to the tropical rain forests, are changing as a result of the warming. The evidence of the planetary heating is overwhelming. Still the economic establishment has spent billions to deny the existence of a warming planet and to cover up the impact of global warming. Many admit global warming exists but insist this change is not due to human activity.

3. Resource depletion: The cost and consumption of non-renewable fuels is rapidly growing. Fresh water, agricultural land, and mineral resources are becoming scarce.

4. Individual and International debt: Individual debt is the highest in history. The European Economic Union is in danger of collapsing.

5. The rapid transfer of wealth upwards into the hands of a few. There are now nearly 2,000 billionaires in the world. On the other hand, there are more than three billion people that live on less than $2.50 per day. What’s worse is that there are more than one billion that live on less than $1.25!

The wealth of a nation can still mean poverty for its people.

Half of the world population live below the poverty level.

Human History and Our Future

Human history covers three million years and modern humans have inhabited the earth for the last 200,000 years. The global population has been growing throughout this long period of time. Evidence points to the fact that as the population grows so does the severity of problems. If we translate the three million years of human existence into a day, these events have become widespread in less than the last second of human history. What is unique is that they are all now taking place at the same time on a global scale. Not only are they taking place at the same time, but the speed of these processes is increasing at an accelerated rate. The rate of change, in some cases, is so rapid it is difficult to forecast their future status more than a few months in advance. This makes planning for the future very difficult.

Common Characteristics of Civil Uprisings

Desperate people take desperate measures. Civil uprisings are widespread over the earth. The people want change, the ruling establishments do not. The uprisings result directly from growing poverty among the people. In Africa, Asia and South America governments have fallen to these uprisings. Some of the characteristics of these unstable areas are:

High population growth rates
Economic decline
Deterioration of public services
Breakdown of law and order
Growing inequality of wealth
Tribal conflicts

Predictions for our Future

If these trends continue, the results include, but are not limited to the following:

There will be more intense crowding
There will be more and more uprisings by large numbers of people as they protest the continual decrease in quality of life.
There will be more and larger migrations of people in search of better opportunities.
There will be more and more environmental problems and disasters of all kinds.
Global climate change will result in greater stress for most living species.

Making a Difference

How long these trends will continue is unknown. If enough people take action to resist these changes they can be drastically slowed or stopped. The source of all action is the individual who decides to make a difference. Whether alone and moving ahead with individual projects for change, or by joining other people who are concerned and creating strength of action through numbers, it is only when enough people decide the negative trends are against the benefit of the majority, will things take place to stop them!


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The Concentration of Wealth in the U.S.

The Concentration of Wealth in the Hands of a Few

Expectations of the Working Poor Decrease

By Dr. John J. Hidore

 

Wealth in the Hands of a Few

February 8, 2014–There are several ominous trends taking place in the United States today. These trends are causing social, economic, and environmental problems. The major one is the rapid growth of the population. Another is the rapid transfer of wealth upwards into the hands of a few. The concentration of more and more wealth in the hands of a few has been going on for a long time. It began, in earnest, with the advent of the industrial revolution and has continued with one major exception. There was a brief period following WWII when the income gap in the United States dropped to the lowest it had been in many years. This reduction was, in part,  due to the growing strength of worker’s unions, which negotiated higher wages. It was also due to the introduction of the minimum wage and other policies. In 1973,  the share of the nation’s income earned by the top one percent dropped to its lowest level in recent centuries–to less than 8%. Today, the gap in income and wealth between the rich and the majority of people,  is  growing faster than at any time in our history. In 2013 the wealth of the top one percent was greater than the combined wealth of the bottom 95 percent. In other words, out of every 100 people there is one that owns as much 95 of the others combined.

The Backward Economic Trend of the Middle Class

The poor and the middle class are losing ground in sharing the wealth in the U.S.  Over 1/3 of the workforce earns less than $10 an hour and they work longer hours than they did in 1973. In 2013 the bottom 90% of families had an average income of $31, 244. The median family income was near $50,000. In real income or buying power, the average family is far poorer than they were in 1980. If family income had kept up with the economic growth, the median income should be about $92,000, or nearly double what it was in 1980. The bottom 90% of families has been able to accumulate very little in wealth. They must spend nearly all of their income on food, clothing, and shelter.

While the majority of our families have been losing ground, the wealthy have made huge gains in recent decades. In 2013, each household in the top 5% had a net worth of over $1.9 million. Each household in the top 1% had a net worth of over $6.8 million. Four of America’s richest families are Wal-Mart heirs. In spite of the recent recession, their joint wealth is $17 billion. Of the total household wealth in the United States, 74% is held by the top 10% of the population. The top 1% of the population has over a third of the total wealth in the United States. About 125,000 families control almost all of America’s wealth.

Rapid Growth in Income for the Wealthy

The Economic Policy Institute reported that before the economic collapse between 2000 and 2007, nearly all of the income growth went to the richest 10% of our population. In 2004, some 240,000 tax returns had adjusted gross income of over one million dollars. By 2007, Forbes reported 946 billionaires. At the same time, more families are living below the poverty level than ever before.

The wealthiest families are also experiencing the most rapid growth in income. In 2012, the incomes of the top one percent increased nearly 20%. The remaining 99% of the families saw an increase of one percent. The top one percent, of the richest one percent, are experiencing even more rapid growth.

Factors Contributing to the Concentration of Wealth in the U.S.

A number of factors are propelling this concentration of wealth in the hands of a few. The wealthy have huge estate tax breaks, which can save thousands of dollars, and it allows them to keep and pass wealth on to their heirs. These same people have benefited the most from the rise in the value of the stock market and real estate. Much of their income is taxed at the lowest rate, which is less than the rate most of the middle class pay.

Another factor in the increasing disparity in wealth is increasing corporate profits. Labor costs money and affects employer profits. Therefore, corporate America has been eliminating jobs as rapidly as possible. Many jobs have been sent overseas where wages are less than in the United States. Jobs have been going overseas for the past 40 years, but have been going most rapidly in recent decades. A second factor in reducing labor costs has been the rapid increase in technology that eliminates human labor. Albert Einstein is quoted as having stated, “The economic depression, especially in America, seems to be caused mainly by technological advances that decreased the need for human labor and, thereby, cause a decline in consumer purchasing power.” Today computers and robots are rapidly replacing human labor.

The Decline in the Middle Class

The gap in the employment rate and income has also been increasing in recent years. The rate of unemployment for the lowest income class is now over 20%. Among those families now making over $150,000 a year, the unemployment rate is 3.2%. Thus the lower income families have an unemployment rate nearly seven times greater than the upper middle class. Those households where family incomes are between $20,000 and $150,000 are rapidly being moved downward in employment opportunities. This pushes the lowest income group into unemployment. The net result is the decline of the middle class and an increase in the number of unemployed.

Unless there are changes in the policies which have created the economic decline of the middle class, unrest in the population will continue to increase.