Driving through the North American land mass, one might have the impression that the planet is sparsely– not over—populated. In Southern Mexico, great expanses of green, arable land are only sporadically dotted with small communities. Large cities, such as Mexico City and Tuxtla, are the rarity rather than the rule.
Equally, the Canadian wilderness overwhelms its pockets of concentrated human habitation. It is only upon entering the US—and the gateway border of Tijuana/San Diego well exemplifies this– that one is confronted with the existence of the “endless city.” Indeed, from San Ysidro north to Santa Barbara, the contiguous municipalities meld into each other, over 200 miles of a virtually solid mass of city blocks.
However, whether your perspective is rooted in a mountain village or in a busy metropolitan center, the staggering impact of the proliferation of humans on the planet is undeniable.
Speaking to a capacity crowd at Cideci in San Cristobal de las Casas recently, Brazilian writer and Liberation Theologian Leonardo Boff delineated four threats to the continued viability of human life on the planet.
The Catholic priest turned eco- pundit may have invoked both mystic and New Age formulations in his presentation, but his fundamental message was informed by scientific and political concerns.
According to Boff, the four threats which imperil the continuation of human life on Earth follow:
- The first threat is the “conquest paradigm,” which results in the devastation of nature, as contrasted with the “paradigm of caring,” which protects nature. As he wrote in a recent article ”in modern times, the Earth is viewed as an object of ruthless exploitation, seeking only the greatest profits, without regard to life or purpose.”
- The second threat is provided by the advanced state of armaments, including not only nuclear but also chemical and biological weapons.
- The third threat is the lack of potable water. Boff reports that only 3% of the planet’s water is potable, the rest being salt water. Of that 3%, “70% goes to agriculture, 20% to industry and only 10% is for human use.” Over a billion people, he asserts, live without sufficient potable water.
- Boff’s fourth threat is global warming.
In the perception of many climate change scientists, the unifying underlying threat, manifesting as Boff’s “four horsemen,” would be overpopulation.
According to Dr. Dady Chery, we are “breeding ourselves to extinction.” Our present rate of carbon consumption, she writes, will translate into a 3.6 degree Celsius global warming by 2100—a “catastrophic scenario,” she asserts.
The global response to this perceived threat has been most peculiar, however. Only China has attempted to seriously enact a population control policy. Thirty- five years of its “one-child” program are considered to have averted a population growth of over 400 million. After some questionable convenings on the matter, the West appears to have flung itself headlong into scientific, legalistic and military ways to kill people without their knowing they are slated for annihilation.
These are strong allegations, but not without support. Boff’s stated concern about deployment of chemical and biological weapons is substantiated by a review of the current state of the science. According to Colonel Michael Ainscough, MD, MPH: “The revolution in molecular biology and biotechnology can be considered as a potential Revolution of Military Affairs.” Tellingly, the evidence of such deployment appears most saliently in the Third World—AIDS and Ebola in Africa, diabetes and hypertension in darker skinned populations and Zika now in S. America.
As it appears, Boff’s second threat is being deployed to ensure a future for well-off white people.
Leonardo Boff’s presentation at Cideci contained a strong plea for unity. When the DNA code was cracked, said Boff, we learned that we were all brothers and sisters. The same genetic building blocks make up all living things—trees, horses, humans—revealing that we are all interconnected, he asserted.
However, the research to further create genetic weapons, capable of eliminating those bearing a particular genetic signature, has become a near obsession of “black” military projects. Rather than honoring the essential similarity of all living things, these projects are now engaged in finding the tiny variations in order to weaponize our very genetic inheritance. A recent article in the Dartmouth Undergraduate Journal of Science lists a number of ways in which the knowledge gained through cracking the genetic code can be used to create weapons, including manipulating genes to create new pathogenic characteristics aimed at enhancing the efficacy of a bacteriological weapon. Quoting Colonel Michael Ainscough, the article states that “There are those who say: ‘the First World War was chemical; the Second World War was nuclear; and that the Third World War – God forbid – will be biological.’ ”
Leonardo Boff was ordained a Catholic priest in 1964. His criticisms of secular power and the US foreign policy, coupled with his focus on the needs of poor and oppressed populations, led him to become known as one of the strongest supporters of Liberation Theology.
In 1985, he was silenced by the Vatican’s Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, led at that time by Cardinal Ratzinger, due to the publication of Boff’s book entitled Church, Charism and Power.
In order to prevent his participation in the Eco 92 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, the Church again attempted to impose the dictum of silence on Boff. He subsequently left the priesthood and has published over sixty books. In 2001 he was awarded the alternative Nobel Prize, the Right Livelihood Award. He currently resides in Rio de Janeiro.
Joan Dark, New-York based independent researcher, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.