Back in the 1970s when we lived in Bangkok, there was considerable hubhub about how the world’s resources were running out because the world’s population growth was outpacing things like agricultural sustainability, timber availability, access to clean water, etc. Programs from United Nations agencies like UNESCO and WHO warned of impending disasters on a massive scale. Needless to say, we were terrified of the possibilities of chaos, pandemics, and global starvation.
But, for the most part, these problems have only occurred in localized areas like parts of Africa where warfare is more to blame than limited access to natural resources (but, more on that later). The global population at the time we remember hearing all the fear-mongering invectives was a meager 4 billion. Today our population is more than double that.
Well, it looks like the prognosticators of pending population peril were more concerned (or premature) than they should have been. Advances in medicine, efficiency in economies, agricultural development, etc. are allowing population growth to be more manageable. But the problems are eventually going to catch up to us. To a large degree they already have. Potable water is increasingly difficult to come by, the proximity of humans to each other can and has caused serious situations like the spread of diseases and limited localized resources. These types of scenarios create pressure that leads to political and economic instability.
So, we’re not out of the woods and things are likely to get worse than better. Unfortunately for the world as a whole, the developed countries over-consume their share of resources so to a large degree overpopulation is already happening due to the disparity of available supplies. And, poor resource management is probably a valid reason why destitute places like Africa can’t get out of horrific conditions like war. There’s scholarly stuff out there that proves this, but we’re not going to bother with responsible blogging today. But just because you didn’t read it here at Comics A-Go-Go! doesn’t make it any less real.
At a Comic-Con a few years ago, we meandered around the artist area and stumbled on Peter Kuper‘s shingle. If you don’t know him, Peter is one of the primary artists that illustrates Spy vs. Spy for Mad Magazine. He’s also a contributor to various news magazines like Time, Newsweek, and Businessweek, and he has illustrated for newspapers like The New York Times. Peter’s non-comic artwork is typically cerebral in nature so it was interesting to leaf through his original art and prints. He has a unique style that combines spray paint and stencils. Recently, however, he decided it wasn’t such a good idea to use aerosol paint since some of his subject matter involves environmental responsibility. So, we assume he must be using discarded Denny’s crayons. That’s what we would do.
We found a piece of unpublished art titled “Population Explosion” that reminded us of that period in Thailand years ago and decided it was still a good representation of our anxieties and political bent. So, we bought it. Here it is for your viewing pleasure.