For some reason this number makes me despair. Here I am thinking about biking to work again. I use estate sales to buy some of the things I want, clothes, kitchen stuff, tools, partly because it's cheap and partly because it's true recycling. I put in energy efficient bulbs. I keep the heat turned down.
Meanwhile the human race is reproducing like bunny rabbits. Is any individual effort even remotely meaningful? Should I care about the next wave of floods and storms and droughts killing off a hundred thousand at a sweep? Should i hold back on charitable giving for medical care to the destitute, and spend it on a trip to Vegas?
I don't know what's right, or what's humanistic. The human race is pretty much like a bunch of pigs in a pig sty, and are rushing headlong to self destruction. If we consume every thing in site, drown ourselves in our own shit, and continue pumping out litters of babies, why should I even try? How do I know what's right and what's wrong?
My 2 cents.
For me it's largely about seeing what I value being taken away, and feeling completely unable to do anything about it - a beautiful planet with diversity of species, humans with some hope of living lives without poverty and scarcity (never happened before, I know, probably never happen anyway), the world essentially turning into a pigsty.
If I could invent a virus that would spread like the flu, and result in 95% infertility, with no other lasting negative effects, would I? Yes. People would have to take care of themselves in their old age, but the world overall would be better.
But that is a fantasy and wont happen. I just feel like my own efforts are futile in light of how small I feel in front of the word "billion".
As is happens, a lot of things that are good for the planet are healthy - living close to work, walking or bike commuting, those reduce risk for diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and are psychologically beneficial. Frugality, such as buying 2nd hand goods, tools, etc, means more security for the future. Organic gardening, composting kitchen and yard waste, all healthy and pleasurable. But I feel Im fooling myself to say it will matter to "the planet" or to humanity.
Yet, we are also the only creature with the capacity to leave the earth. If an (large enough) asteroid were to hit and destroy most/all life on earth than the phenomenon of organic (and sentient) life may forever die out in this small corner of the cosmos. If humanity were to spread away from earth (and this solar system) then we will actually be doing the most which we could to preserve life. The problem is there's no guarantee we could be able to successfully leave before destroying ourselves.
There is too much uncertainty in this world to rest easy.
Korea and NE China has a chain restaurant that features St. Bernards. They grow them especially for dumplings. We could do the same with children. With proper herbs and spices people would get over their remorse, and they're not as gamey. If people would just get over the "cute baby syndrome", they would have another popular food for all sorts of uses. Not every deer is Bambi, and not every baby is cute either. Jonathan Swift went into great detail regarding the eating of Irish babies, but I think in this day and age we should be more diverse.
"I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee or a ragou"
how does petting one's slave improve the world?