Human Population at its Capacity?

I was asked this question the other day in my environmental science class.  Below is the question and my response

What evidence suggests that the human population has reached its capacity on the planet? How can the health of the environment be measured?

When talking about the world as a whole, this is a huge topic.  I would rather take things down to the lower levels.  Say a family of six lives on 3 acres of land and they are able to provide 80% of the items needed to live.  There is no waste and everything produced is able to be reused or composted, 80% is enough to survive but the standard of living is nothing like what we are used to in the higher developed nations such as the United States.  Say two families of 5 work together on 6 acres and are able to diversify what they farm and trades that they make between them, now both sets of families are able to live at a higher level and sustain for themselves through trade.  Add a third family and the need to have more children goes down but the ability to create a more robust trade system grows.  Now you can have one family that focuses on food, one on cattle, and maybe one that works on other items such as technology.  When gathering as a community the human population can accomplish great things.

Once people are gathered in very large groups is when the balance can be thrown off. Meaning in a large metropolitan area, say New York City, people no longer focus on things needed by the community like food production.  The areas that are not as highly populated are then taken and farmed to produce the food that is needed and shipped to different area.  As technology advances so do things like yield but there will be a point when the vast diversity of crops grown dwindles down to only a few strands of each crop.  When the population of any given area has given up its ability to produce what it needs on its own I believe that they have then passed over the capacity.  As a whole, the planet is on the verge of reaching this level unless people start looking for a way to become more self sustaining where they choose to live.

The health of the environment cannot be measured per say but by any one test or type of test.  There are many different valuables that need to be found and or compensated before a large picture can be drawn for the entire planet.

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WHORES Signs

Today we gathered together at a local park to make some signs.  About seven of us meet up and started making signs that will be used during the equality march in Denver, Colorado on October 6th.  Each of us a member of Women Helping Others Resist Exploitation and Sexism, both male and female, WHORES strive to create a world of equality for all genders.

A little about the WHORES, they are a group of people that shared a common interest and that thought sparked an cause that has grown from just a handful of women to what is now a group of over 140 people.  There are members from all walks of life and any event that is carried out by WHORES is sure to be all ages friendly.  From a local business owner to a retired philosophy instructor to a mother of 4 who works two jobs there are all types included in the group.  There has even been the occasional 5 year old that carries a sign that says “Girl Power.”

The first outing that I was part of with the group was on Mayday 2012.  They had a booth set up near the may pole and were handing out literature about the current war on women.  During the Mayday celebration I was able to meet many great people and get some firsthand experience as to how the media can slant any story to what they want the general public to see.  I digress; we will save that conversation for another day.  The WHORES table was great and they were even able to get up in front of the mob of people and share some of their stories.

The equality rally in Denver, Colorado on October 6th is set to be a kind of show in force here in Colorado that there are people who do have a voice and will come together in solidarity to use their voices.  They walk together and shout that they are in control of their bodies and that no man should have or try and take control for something that is not theirs nor have any experience with.  But these wars on women’s issues are not the only topics that will be covered at the march.  It is an equality march, meaning that every person who attends at least leans toward creating and treating each gender as an equal.  This is not to segregate any of the LGBTQ supporters.  No matter what your gender, all should be treated as an equal.  This means anything from stopping legislation on reproductive health to removing the stigma that a father cannot be a stay at home parent, or that in a case such as that the child will somehow turnout differently than if the mother was the one staying home.

Back to the sign making, we created signs that read:  Make Love, Not War on Women, Keep Your Laws Off my Body, I Can Say Vagina, Sexism is a Social Disease, and My Choice My Right.  I am looking forward to seeing the turn out for the march and see how much support we have on these issues here in Colorado.  We are all free and should be treated as such.  We are all equal.

Grand Junction Stands in Solidarity with Bradley Manning and OWS

Today we stand in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street and Bradley Manning on the one year anniversary of the start of the revolution.  We gathered on the grounds of city hall and helped to spread the word about the abuse, both civil and ethical, of Bradley Manning and help tell his story.  Although we are not as grand as the metropolitan area that bring in numbers like 20,000, those of us that gathered and held signs were greeted with warm regards by those that passed by.  Even the Police Chief Camper stopped to show his support, and ask us to move out of the parking spots.  But he was sincere in understanding why we were out today.  There were people of all ages from 78 years old to a 3 year old holding signs that ranged from “Google NDAA” to stats that showed how the national budget was broken down and the monies spent on the “war on peace.”  Occupy Grand Junction showed its force in a non-violent way today and made yet another step toward showing people that even in a small city there is change that is able to be seen.

People of all ages stood in solidarity today.

Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), Occupy Grand Junction, Solidarity not Charity, Women Helping Others Resist Exploitation and Sexism (WHORES),  and 9/11 Truth all stand in solidarity in support of the Constitution of the United states of America and the revolution that is ever growing.

The Sunnyside Music Festival

The Sunnyside Music Festival is a gathering held each year of locals within the community near midtown Denver which is staffed entirely by volunteers.  As the summer starts coming to a close, these neighbours make one last stand to solidify the community they have spent so many years building.  Each home in the area is asked to judge bands throughout the summer’s Battle of the Bands, the final 11 are given a chance to strut their stuff either on the main stage or in the biergarten.

From the back of the park you can almost see everyone who came out for the excitement of the event!

This years festival was the greatest one to date, even after 10 years at least that is what we were told.  The first headcount that we were able to get was in line with 14,000.  There were not only people from the around the park itself but families brought friends, and friends brought even more friends.  Minimum advertising like signage posted in about a mile radius and a Facebook page allowed for the community to build this event to whatever size they chose.

As for how the festival was set up, there was a great deal of time spent on planning as to ensure this would be a community based event.  Everything from the beer served, local micro brew, to an activity intensive kids area were all put into place.  Breckenridge Brewing Co. was brought in and even sponsored the event.  There were other alcohol vendors and even included a tent selling Moscow Mules, with the copper cup to boot.  The section that was designated as the biergarten merged with the kid area to create a seamless transition for the adults that would prefer to have a cocktail while they watched their children bounce on the portable trampoline.  If there was a need to place your younger children in a safe zone while you went and danced to the traditional african music band then there was an area for that as well.  Staffed by volunteers, children too young to be left alone for short periods of time were given an exciting tour through the play area, run through an obstacle course on large tricycles, or spend hour after hour in the bump and jump.

Local venders were also asked if they would like to be part of the festival and there was a wide range of different items to be received.  A local yogurt shop was on hand selling frozen yogurt and even had the fluffy mascot out hugging kids and handing out vouchers for a free cup.  Even in the 80 degree weather many from the community stopped in to talk with the store owner and try his new flavors.  There were also local schools on hand with booths set up raising awareness for the different programs that were on the list to be cut due to funding lapses and fine arts cuts to the budget.

Artists were on showcase as there were three different tents dedicated to painting and even a set of doors that were acquired from a recent remodel of one of the houses, these doors were set up and paint was given to all those who felt a need to express their creative sides.  As we watched the doors changed from a drab brown or cream color to a masterpiece of collective art as more than 200 little hands worked to remove the old and create something amazing.  not just the fine arts were on display either, there were multiple tents set up that showed the awesome ingenuity of artisans and the multifaceted talents that can come from a human hand.  Hand woven baskets, a local author of children’s books, and two different tents dedicated to airbrush tattoos and face painting.

We watched as the doors changed and evolved.

One thing that communities around Colorado pride themselves on is the fact that Colorado is one of the most progressive states when it comes to being green.  All around the grounds there were different trash bins staged.  Not your normal trash bins, but at each station there were three different bags.  A recycle bag for hard plastics, a compost bag for items that were not able to be recycled.  And the dreaded trash bag.  Just having the different bins was not enough, at each station there was a rotating crew that helped educate everyone that some of the items we normally throw away can actually be composted or recycled.  Breckenridge Brewing Co. was very proud that the cups they were serving were made not from plastic that had to be recycled but rather a corn based product that was placed in the composting bins.  After word got around that the cups didn’t need to be trashed but were actually aiding in lessening the impact of the event even the adults showed enthusiasm and starting moving trash themselves and talking with those around them who were making the same mistakes they had made earlier in the day.  One observation that stuck with me the most was when the owner of the yogurt company saw that his cup was hanging above the trash bin.  Once he noticed that his trash was setting the example of how not to be he made a pledge that next year his trash would not be trash.  He would be setting the example of zero waste for the event.

I guess it is time to give a little background as to how I was invited to attend this event.  We, my wife and I, are not from around the area but we were invited to help work the security for the event through Iraq Veterans Against the War.  At one of the planning meetings for the festival the revelation came to light that no one had worked out who would be working security.  Because this event was based solely on the community the planning committee was hesitant to pay for a police presents.  Amanda, roommate to the Colorado organizer for IVAW, asked if veterans would be able to cover that area.  The committee was ecstatic with this idea and expected to have at least 6 people brought in by IVAW.  We showed up with 17 total and even helped out in the other areas such as Greening.  

Through figuring out the plan after arriving in town, we had a few major roles at the festival.  IVAW was charged with keeping the peace and making sure that the majority of people were able to maintain and stay safe throughout the event.  Helping to reunite lost mothers with their children was the heaviest of roles and one that all should take seriously.  At the security table, we also maintained the lost and found of items like phones, wallets, and purses.  Over the course of the 9 hours we were able to gather 5 children and reunite them with their lost parents.  No other issues arose during the event.

Although we were helping out with the festival, we as an organization were also able to help spread the word about issues faced by post 9/11 veterans.  We were attempting to raise funds for the upcoming Afghanistan retreat, and in support of Operation Recovery we helped to spread our stories and learn more about the community we were there to support.  We were even able to get one of our newest member and her husband, victims of the Aurora shooting,  out to support the festival.

So all in all the Sunnyside Music Festival was a huge hit and created a fun and safe place for the community to settle their wild oats so to say as the summer was closing.  Everything from the way that the community came together to enhance the lives of each other to the meticulous attention paid to how the waste of the event was handled was planned out ahead of time.  Great care was taken to ensure that the gathering would go over without any problems and set the stage as an example of how we can gather, communicate, and regulate each other with outside influences.

A great ending to the night. Thanks everyone who was involved and made the festival the greatest one yet.