Tag: resources

It’s time to break the taboo and to talk frankly about human overpopulation

December 9, 2009 | By | 34 Replies More
It’s time to break the taboo and to talk frankly about human overpopulation

If you are feeling brave, take a look at the World Clock. You’ll see that more than twice as many people are being born as are dying for any given interval (click the “Now” button to see the numbers spinning out from the present). world-clock

Click the “Deaths” tab and note that for every 100 deaths, there are also more than 60 abortions, and yet the Earth’s population still spirals out of control. Click around on the other tabs and you will probably find yourself transfixed by magnitude of these numbers. Notice the vast amount of forest being decimated by clicking on the “Environment” tab. Under the “Energy” tab, notice the incredibly disconcerting “Oil Depletion Timer,” indicating that we have 40 years of oil left on the entire planet (you’ll need to do the math, dividing the days left by 365–this estimate is based on the admittedly laughable assumption that it would be economically viable to scoop up every drop of oil). Notice the ghastly numbers of entire species being lost each week (almost 300 extinctions per week). Notice the many thousands of preventable deaths every week (under the Death tab), including ghastly numbers of children dying from preventable things like lack of nutrition.

The World Clock sends me into an existential swirl. Watching these numbers accumulate fascinates me and, regarding some categories, horrifies me. Regarding the needless deaths, for example, it occurs to me that no human being has sufficient cognitive capacity or sufficient empathy to properly understand or react to numbers of this magnitude. It is impossible to feel sufficient empathy for the needless deaths of thousands people, week after week.

Last year, I posted on an effort by Global Population Speak Out (GPSO) to discuss the need to discuss overpopulation. But many people are too horrified to even consider this topic. One such person repeatedly vilified me in the comments, arguing that I was an elitist (and worse) because I merely dared to raise this issue.

But this issue of overpopulation is too important to ignore.

[more . . . ]

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What should we do about all of the new people?

April 1, 2009 | By | 3 Replies More
What should we do about all of the new people?

What should we do about all of the new people? What new people? Consider this information from the British Medical Journal:

The world’s population now exceeds 6700 million, and humankind’s consumption of fossil fuels, fresh water, crops, fish, and forests exceeds supply. These facts are connected. The annual increase in population of about 79 million means that every week an extra 1.5 million people need food and somewhere to live. This amounts to a huge new city each week, somewhere, which destroys wildlife habitats and augments world fossil fuel consumption.

What does the BMJ suggest as a solution? Nothing coercive. Rather, start by emphasizing that two children is the largest responsible number of children a family should have. Second, make sure that everyone has access to birth control, given that about 1/2 of the world’s births are unplanned; that’s right: one-half. This article asks, “isn’t contraception the medical profession’s prime contribution for all countries?” I would think so. It’s time to stop being cowed by those who get shrill–even furious–when we merely raise the issue of overpopulation, as though discussing the carrying capacity of the Earth is automatically the precursor to instituting coercive techniques to stop only poor people from having children.

It’s time to discuss this issue of overpopulation firmly and responsibly, keeping in mind that each birth in a developed Western country uses 160 times the amount of resources as each baby born in the Third World.

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What if there were far too many people, but no one had the courage to talk about it?

November 30, 2008 | By | 73 Replies More
What if there were far too many people, but no one had the courage to talk about it?

What if there were far too many people living on planet Earth, but no one had the courage to talk about it?

According to Global Population Speak Out, that is exactly our situation.

Consider that we repeatedly see news reports about scarce and dwindling resources (e.g., water, food, fish, fuel, topsoil), but these news reports rarely consider the exploding population on Earth as a major contributor to these problems. This refusal to consider the carrying capacity of Earth is truly staggering. As a thought experiment, consider how our “environmental” issues would be altered if each country had 25% fewer people than it currently does. Or 50%. Instead, we the human population of earth is at 6.5 billion, headed toward at least 9 billion by 2050.

When it comes to discussing sex, reproduction and birth control, we freeze up, even when out-of-control population growth threatens our way of life.

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The silver lining offered by a no-growth economy.

October 14, 2008 | By | 4 Replies More
The silver lining offered by a no-growth economy.

Many people with whom I speak are somewhere between scared and terrified about the economic meltdown. They are wondering how it would be possible to get by with less. Their budgets are already at bare bones. It’s long past time to start considering, in detail, how we can deal with an economy that will run […]

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