Will this northward migration of granite and basalt cause the Northern Hemisphere to grow increasingly heavy until the world ”tips over”? Or perhaps just as dangerously, until our planet is nudged into a more unstable wobbling rotation – and thereafter into a disastrously altered orbit – which will then bring us too far from the Sun – or too close? Probably not, if the sole addition to such a growing weight imbalance is the northward drift of the Indian sub continent.
But other weighty minerals are also streaming north. Millions of tons of copper and tin from Chile for our computers and telecommunications systems, coal from South Africa for our furnaces, gold and diamonds for our fingers. Even mountains of guano from the South Pacific for our gardenias.
Adding to all this, several other accelerating factors are at work that may contribute to a catastrophic top-heaviness of our planet. As the citizens of China, for example, become more prosperous, they opt more and more for status-giving beverages such as beer, and fat-laden fad foods, all of which will increasingly require imported grain. Some time around 2010 China will have to import grain from as far away as Australia, South Africa and South America, thereby depleting world surpluses.
And as these grains transport nutrients, water and roughage to China, they also carry with them weight, much of which will be retained in the growing corpuses of the Chinese People, adding countless hundreds of thousands of tons to the weight of the Northern Hemisphere – and every ton of it subtracted from the south.
Other contributing factors to an increasing global top heaviness is the never ending financial tribulation of many nations in the Southern Hemisphere. As these nations increase their exports of rubber, tin, copper, coffee, cocoa, cotton clothing at a desperate pace, the value of their own currencies continue to sink, making their imports of goods from our Northern Hemisphere more and more seldom. Again weight is exported to the North.
Adding to the problem, heavy hardwood forests are being felled at an alarming rate, and the timber either exported to the rich northern hemisphere – or simply burned to make way for quick depletion and move on farming. Whereas formerly ten square meters of jungle land may have been covered by 100 tons of mahogany or teak, today the same area may merely be covered by a half ton of maize plants.
The Northern Hemisphere, too, is becoming more heavily populated, with China, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh alone making up two thirds of the population of the world. Adding to this weight are the hoards of refugees from Africa and South America trying to reach the rich north. Also, because of AIDS, the population of Africa may start dropping dramatically, thereby helping to decrease the weight of the southern hemisphere. Sadly all these trends point to a northward transference of mass.
But what can be done to ward off this alarming shift, the worried reader might well ask. Well, here are a few simple tips for helping to maintain the global weight balance:
1) If you can’t bring yourself to put your overweight brats on a diet, send the butterballs to a school or fat farm in Australia or Paraguay. The change of scenery will do them good (..and the absence of the little eye-sores will help improve the scenery in these parts.)
2) Plan ahead. Before the Grim Reaper begins to beckon with a bony finger, either buy a burial plot in Botswana, or arrange to have yourself cremated and your ashes spread over the Andes.
3) Instead of junking your old car, ship it to New Caledonia where it can house a family of five. Dead refrigerators can shelter Pigmies in the Cameroon.
4) Every time you vacation below the equator, leave your smelly worn-out sandals and chili-stained shorts there. Why bring them home with you to be thrown out? And you could easily buy fewer crap souvenirs. Do you really need a forty pound fertility mask from New Guinea?
5) Clear out your garage. Send those hundreds of pounds of old magazines back to where they originally came from.
(No, not the publisher or printer, but to the paper mills of South America for pulping and recycling.) Desperately bored mathematicians without sex lives have estimated that there are 375 million tons of old National Geographics in the state of Delaware alone. (And another half million of old Playboys under my bed.) The growing numbers of old magazines in dentist offices ought to be enough to tip the world over in another decade. And simple logic tells us that legislation requiring on line-only versions of Sunday suppliments, telephone books and Ben Elton excretions ought to be quickly enacted.
6) If you insist on marrying and reproducing, import a miniscule spouse from Thailand or the Philippines. Why marry some great white tuber from Milton Keynes and breed even more flab buckets?
7) As everyone knows, Plutonium is one of the heaviest of all elements. Perhaps we should begin exporting our worn out reactor fuels to Terra Del Fuego? But what would make the citizens of that cold and faraway place willing to accept our toxic wastes, you ask? Free lead-walled homes to live in - and mountains of heavy metal and unsold Michael Jackson c.d.s.
Whew! That’s a load off my mind!