This week, the news was all about falling life expectancy, the global population crisis and declining male fertility. So far, nobody has linked these three news items, so AYCE is giving it a go.
First, we learned that life expectancy in England has slowed down, and may grind to a halt altogether. Perhaps even go into reverse. The steady increase in life expectancy has almost halved in England since 2010.
This poses quite a conundrum for the government. So far, they have successfully sold us the case that claiming the state pension has to be post dated, again, on the ticket that we are all “living longer than ever”.
It’s not often a government’s bold claim goes unquestioned by all sides, but this one did for a very long time. In reality, it was always a delusion, because here’s the thing. Yes, there are more people celebrating their 100th birthdays than ever before. But these people are the war generation. They were not reared on a diet of factory fodder – they were brought up on real food, and the snack food industry had barely been conceived. Did anyone seriously think that children born in the 1970s onwards, into a lifetime of obesity and junk, propped up by drugs and surgical interventions, were going to live long, healthy lives? All on their generous state pensions.
As irony would have it, all this news comes not long after we marked World Population Day on 11 July. It’s a touchy subject, because as we all know, there are way too many of us. ‘Raising awareness’ of this issue is like telling us we shouldn’t really be here, and the planet would be better off without us. Thanks, whoever organised that particular awareness day.
Still, we have trashed, and continue to trash, this beautiful planet, which would probably be glad to see the back of us. Its in luck: we may be hastening our own extinction sooner rather than later, solving both the population problem and various environmental catastrophes in one go.
In the news this week we learned that life expectancy in The Okinawan islands of Japan, famous for having the highest concentration of centenarians in the world, is now plummeting. The islanders have succumbed to the temptations of the Western diet and lifestyle, and consequently gone on to experience our ill health and disease. The islanders traditionally consumed a lot of fish, seaweeds and other plant foods. But they got a whiff of our chips, fags and booze, and knew what direction the wind was blowing. Chips it was.
The Okinawan islanders perfectly illustrate the point that eating a junk diet and living a long life are incompatible. The reality for these islanders is that today, almost half the men in their 40s are obese, and nearly 30% die before the age of 65. So much for a long healthy life being all about genes.
Meanwhile, we in the West are making our own contribution to solving the population crisis. Sperm counts are falling, leading to warnings that humans could become extinct. According to research – the pooled data of 185 studies – the sperm count among men from Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand has halved in less than 40 years.
Why? Environmental chemicals have been blamed. So too have obesity, smoking, stress, diet, and – AYCE’s favourite – watching too much TV. Naturally, AYCE believes that diet has a great deal to do with this – see the article Six Crucial Nutrients for Male Fertility.
We Homo sapiens have been around for a mere 200,000 years. That makes us newbies – our cousins, Homo erectus, reigned supreme for 1.5 million years. Why these people eventually died out is not known, but it looks like we are heading the same way after a much briefer stay on the planet.
And we won’t even get our pensions.
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