The Road to Ruin (The Impending Overpopulation Crisis)

“[T]he only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.” – John Stuart Mill

In 2015 the People’s Republic of China ended its 35 year old one-child policy. Having broadened the laws surrounding procreation, resident families are now permitted to have two children. This, of course, is worthy of celebration. The one-child policy created a disproportionate infanticide-obsessed China, with vastly more men than women and a rapidly ageing older generation. Though, many see this as only a minor victory. Don’t people have the right to have as many or as few children as they desire? Surely, any restriction on procreation is immoral or unjust, a restriction on liberty, an infringement of human rights.

Whilst I too condemn infanticide, I fail to recognise the strength of arguments in favour of unrestricted procreation. So, I’ll get to my point (as if you hadn’t guessed it already): Our right to procreate is not, neither should it be a universal human right. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that we are not, morally speaking, at liberty to procreate willy-nilly. Why? Because limitless procreation in a world of finite resources necessarily leads to the mathematical problem of overpopulation. And that problem is presently lurking. As it stands today overpopulation is seen exclusively in parcels – in relatively small segregated communities, subsets of the global populace. These communities’ demands for food and resources outweigh their net supply of those available. That being said, in a global context overpopulation is not yet an issue. Indeed, the world produces enough food to feed more than 10 billion mouths, some 30 to 40 percent more than is required (these numbers are a little loose but still tell a horrific injustice). But this doesn’t merit us ignoring it. Rather, it tells us that we have the power to take preventative rather than reactionary measures.

It’s rather obscure as to whether the situation in China is a consequences of reactionary or preventative action. What is certain is that China’s one-child policy was implemented in part to prevent a relapse of the Great Chinese Famine. Between 1958 and 1962, 45 million people died from starvation, hunger-related disease, murder and in some instances cannibalism. On top of that, 40 million babies were unborn (again, these numbers are a little shaky, but the magnitude of this tragedy is somewhat comparable to that of the Second World War which took the lives of 60 million). As a result of Chairman Mao Zedong’s vision to empower China through population growth and then to embark upon The Great Leap Forward, the people of China were condemned to enacting a pilot program of mass overpopulation. The horrors which unfolded were unprecedented and almost immeasurable.

Imagining what such a disaster would look like on a global scale is nigh-on impossible. However, looking at such things in statistical terms can sometimes enable us to understand them a little clearer. So here it is: During the Great Chinese Famine the amount of lives lost compared to somewhere in the region of 10% of the entire Chinese population at the time (to round down!). If such a famine happened today on a global scale 700,000,000 lives would be lost. That’s seven hundred million fatalities. An enormous number. And these aren’t quick deaths. We’re not talking about pressing a switch which simply takes seven hundred million people out of ever existing. We’re talking about the sluggish toil; the gradual, harrowing journey towards fatal starvation. A scenario so dire it inspires an impulse to eat anything whatsoever. Trash, bark, mud, bodily remains. But like I said, as it is, the world is far from overpopulated (if only in numerical terms). That being said, our population continues to increase dramatically. So, let’s look at some fairly standard population projections and see what the world might look like in the not too distant future.

The UN predicts that the world’s population will increase from 7 billion to roughly 10 billion by 2050, possibly to even 13 billion by 2100. According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, demands for food will increase by 70% by 2050 as a result of having to feed around 200,000 more mouths every single day. This in turn increases our demands on agriculture and industry. Harvests are required to produce higher yields subsequent to an increase in food, medicine and multiple other recourse requirements. Rather than investing in sustainable life-giving methods, up-scaling our agricultural systems typically involves clearing rare and precious forestland (up to 58,000 square miles of forestland is lost each year; that’s 48 football fields per minute!). At present, approximately 40% of the land-surface is dedicated to agriculture. If we assume that the same agricultural methods remain in 2050, ≃68% of all the worlds land-surface will be dedicated to agriculture. I’ll not project these figures into 2100. Though, undoubtedly, they’d paint a pretty bleak picture.

With an increasing need for forested areas in order to tackle the effects of climate change and to create carbon capture and storage sinks, there’s just not enough land to go around. Indeed, without appropriate and careful changes to how we utilise our rural areas the quality of our soils, with help from a rising climate, having already deteriorated over recent decades, will continue to degrade. This doesn’t bode well for the people of 2050. Where on earth will they get their food if their most precious commodity, that upon which their harvests depend, dies? Undeniably, a world that destroys its soil destroys itself. But I stray from the point. Global warming is one of, if not the most pressing issue the world has ever faced. We are yet to feel even a fraction of its true force. If we fail to curb our emissions, which even the most incongruous of persons can see is probable, the likelihood of global overpopulation increases greatly. With the desolation of vast rural and urban areas resultant from violent weather systems, the collapse of industry, a global recession, food, water and aid all in short supply, it’s clear that we’ll be unable to sustain a standard of living similar to that to which we have become accustomed. Yet, even if global warming were a myth, at some point in the future, in the absence of any formal or natural population control, an analogous scenario would still come to fruition. Without a cap on procreation we would almost certainly find ourselves in a state of global overpopulation. The fact that global warming is a reality means that our currently being on the verge of overpopulation stands only to intensify its effects; it stands only to produce more suffering in the long run.

Especially given the evident inevitability of our world being ravaged by climate change, I’d propose that a child-cap policy is, contrary to popular belief, a morally good thing. What China is doing by sticking to their guns and not permitting unadulterated procreative freedom is, in my eyes, commendable. Relatively speaking, if there are fewer mouths to feed, there are more resources to share. With more resources we could delay succumbing to the effects of overpopulation, giving us a little more time to mitigate the consequences of and/or adapt to climate change. This would prevent a great degree of additional and unnecessary suffering.

Whilst we’ve been raised to be wary of eastern political sentiments, when it comes to China’s child-cap policy we have something to learn. Yes, it remains controversial subject, but political intervention on such matters is not as radical as it once seemed. It is clearly incumbent upon us to curb our rate of procreation, to prevent harm to ourselves and to those that we create. We are on the road to ruin, but we’re capable of making that road a longer one and of making our destination a little less austere.

A.C. Stark

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32 thoughts on “The Road to Ruin (The Impending Overpopulation Crisis)

  1. Pingback: In-Out, Shake it All About – A.C. Stark

  2. You condemn a capitalistic world model (even though nonesuch exists), but then use that model as the basis for the claim that the world’s population is “unsustainable”?

    Is your point that the world doesn’t have the capacity, when properly managed, to support the relatively small number of people on the planet?

    Or, is your argument that there is enough to go around, but that the mythic “capitalist system” is preventing that delivery?

    If the former, then how would you know unless we tried less industrial methods of resource production, extraction and distribution?

    If the latter, then your argument that the world is overpopulated is moot, since it is distribution, not capacity that is your issue.

    Which is it?

    btw: the world’s population is approaching a natural plateau. e.g.

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    • I think my argument is quite clear. I don’t attempt to push it beyond the limits of being a broadly accessible blog post.

      I mention nothing of a capitalistic ‘world model’.

      And with regards to the former or the latter, the former. To which I agree with your comment to some degree. Still, I think you’ve almost missed my argument entirely.

      As for your mention of world population reaching a plateau, that’s completely irrelevant to my argument also.

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    • I understand your argument pretty well, I think. Maybe you don’t understand it.

      This:

      What China is doing by sticking to their guns and not permitting unadulterated procreative freedom is, in my eyes, commendable. Relatively speaking, if there are fewer mouths to feed, there are more resources to share.

      is a pro-Communist, pro-central planning sentiment and argument.

      And your antithesis you offer of this argument is the “logic” of the fraud, liar and charlatan David Suzuki. Do you know who Suzuki is, and just how dishonest he is? He’s also a fair weather anti-capitalist.

      e.g. https://vimeo.com/95013401

      Your argument is underpinned by the premise that there exists a central-control economic model, which is in competition with a mythic “free market” or capitalistic model, and that the central planning of resource allocation, whether it be via controls on procreation, mass migration or so-called “sustainability, is superior to “free market” allocation. Right?

      The unexplored climate change boilerplate you employ across your blog certainly implies that this is the case.

      But, hey, if you’re not saying that “capitalism”, as we know it, is bad and responsible for what you call “climate change” and for the misallocation of resources,, then, please don’t be coy. Tell me you don’t think it’s bad, and I’ll be well and truly set straight.

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      • My comments are far from pro-communist, unless you misunderstand nuance.

        Also, I dare to say you’ve provided little proof of Suzuki’s fraudulence. Maybe try defeating the argument, rather than throwing around ad homenim.

        One can be anti-capitalist, in the sense that they disagree with the current capitalist system, whilst at the same time being open to the possibility of change to the system which might render it good. That is my stance. I am not anti-capitalist (although, I am tempted by certain arguments against capitalism – see https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26837103-climate-change-capitalism-and-corporations), I’m just opposed to certain core aspects of our current capitalistic system.

        As for the ‘unexplored climate change boilerplate’, as you so call it, I once again implore to type into Google ‘evidence for climate change’. The masses of proofs for you to explore is almost unfathomable. http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/
        If you remain sceptical – though, why you might could only highlight an irrational obstinance – think of climate change this way: It’s either happening or it isn’t. If isn’t, then in truth we have nothing to worry about. But we don’t know for certain we have nothing to worry about, so it’s better to be cautious. If it is happening, we do have something to worry about. Whether or not we can fundamentally prove it (which we can and have!) is beyond the point again, as the most rational option is again to be cautious.

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  3. If lands and resources were the same thing then maybe you’d be correct.

    But in actual fact I have. Flying from the south of England up to Scotland, mainly over countryside, one can still witness overpopulation.

    I feel like you may not have read my post, Mischelle.

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  4. It has been repeatedly been seen that the most dramatic decreases in population growth occur when women’s educational levels increase. Indeed, it is currently happening (lower population growth) in most developing countries where female literacy and education levels are increasing. The real tragedy is that arms expenditures outrun expenditure on education five to one on a global scale. The countries that have successfully curbed population growth have done so without coercion. Singapore is in the unusual position of urging its women to have more babies.

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  5. Pingback: Vertical Farming: A Huge Piece to a Gigantic Puzzle – A.C. Stark

  6. Veronika, I think that if people will be incentivised towards having vasectomies, then we must be able to incentivise them towards alternatives also.

    Whilst people may understand the necessity of having fewer childred and act upon that understanding, many would not enjoy the thought that they’d no longer have a choice to procreate.

    I guess what I’m saying is, it is one thing to stear people towards good decision making wherein they have the freedom to choose the correct option (to have a baby or to not have a bay). But it is quite another to prevent them from having that option altogether.

    Of course, the more secure way of ensuring a procreation cap would be what you have suggested. But it’s incredibly unlikely that it would be compatible with personal liberty, and that is a huge problem.

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  7. The actual 1st wave of migration to Europe is nothing to what will definitely be the case when the climate change will continue like this, because Africa will be most severely been effected by this, actually there is one of the worst drought episodes there in East- and South-Africa, but nobody is reporting about it in the mass-media. But idiots like Donald Trump get full attention everywhere. What a weird “civilization” at the brink!

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  8. I agree with at least most of what has been presented here. I have one more fly to drop in the swirling ointment. No one really likes to talk it and certainly we all face death, but with “modern medicine” and “wealthcare” at an all time peak here in the US, there is a ridiculous mission to keep humans alive at all cost (to the patients). Do I appreciate healthcare? Of course. Do I want a doctor(s) telling me every time one of my “numbers” squeaks up so they can prescribe me another pill to make the pharmaceutical comapnies wealthier? Not on your life. And when drugs are found to later have done more harm than good, it is unerplayed or fixed with class action lawsuits. But still new drugs are introduced without proper long term trials while the government condemns holistic treatment, calling it unsafe if not approved by the FDA. What has this to do with population control? Simple. I want to die naturally, not be kept alive by a multitude of pills, procedures and lastly wheeled around a nursing facility clinging to life without a clue of who or where I am. We are slolwy giving away our right to die naturally by worshipping the pill pushing medical community. Yes, people are having more children than they should in many cases; but people are also living a lot longer than they have in a very long time. There is a fear/phobia about the very natural process of living and dying among people who don’t live in undereducated, uncivilized countries. When my insurance company calls to tell me it is time to go for a checkup, I think there’s a money problem.

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  9. Many years ago I was sitting at a traffic light behind a car that that had a bumper-sticker on it that I have only seen that once, but obviously it made an impression on me since I have remembered it all these years. The bumper-sticker simply said “If you can not feed them, do not breed them”. It is a statement that I personally totally agree with. I do thank you for posting the above informative information, it is a good read.

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  10. One thought is how to enforce the child cap policy without infanticide. I often think of how much burden is placed on the mother. If the mother has too many children, she is forced into abortion. What if instead men were required to have a vasectomy after a certain number of children? It’s easy, simple, relatively painless (compared to the surgeries done on women), inexpensive to implement and track, and far more effective. Thoughts?

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    • Great question.

      Firstly, we ought to clarify the distinction between questions of whether capping procreation is morally obligatory and questions regard how to implement such caps. While I think the first question is relatively easy to answer, the second is extremely difficult.

      However, in order to be practicable and minimally restrictive on liberty, we ought to think of ways to inspire obedience to a cap. This could be successfully achieved with savvy financial intensives and/or deterrents. Education is also key in this issue, as it will be during the transition between a non-capped and capped rule. Education on the matters surrounding population is vital in order to encourage a culture which accepts the necessity for a cap.

      There is a lot more it, though – the details of which I am not yet aware. We can be sure though that the issues of implementation and transition deserve considerable thought.

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      • I’m not sure widespread education is actually the best tactic. As an environmental educator, I’m aware of the value of education, but also it’s limitations. Information actually does not create widespread behavior change, unfortunately. It may be an important component, but on its own does not create the sort of cooperative effort you are looking for. Financial/tax incentives or funding for vasectomies, social acceptance of or even social pressure to obtain vasectomies, catchy advertising and outreach to men in difficult situations –in short, all the strategies that have made abortion so widespread– are what will be more effective than population education alone. Very few women seek abortions because of the population issue even if they use it as a political justification, very few homeowners seek solar installations without tax incentives even if they fear climate change. If we took support from the abortion industry, and transferred those incentives and strategies to something *actually* safe and effective at preventing pregnancy (the vasectomy), we then would have an effective way to prevent both population overgrowth and infanticide through the free choice of the populace. Thoughts?

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  11. Thanks. Cogent, convincing arguments. Very similar to what I feel. I live in Italy where the problem for Italians is de-population of their native inhabitants. Later-age marriages, lack of jobs, a lessening of catholic beliefs against contraception and, above all, the Italian insistence of ‘fare bella figure’ (‘make a good impression’) means that couples will only produce a child if they can afford the latest style cot, buggy, baby clothes etc. A child in Italy is not just loved, the beautifully turned out baby becomes a status symbol and reflects directly on the family’s wealth and status. I worked in a factory where marriages were largely early to late thirties and less than half the workers had more than one child. Any increase in population in Italy appears to come from immigrant populations which now have to supplement the work force, especially in low-paid agricultural labour in the south. Italians can’t understand how people from other continents often have more than three children. When they understand that the family concept there is a much more extended one then they begin to understand how these overseas people pool their resources because for these people having more children reflects back to old status values. It’s been calculated that, at this rate, native Italians will consititute less than half the total population of the country by tye end of the next century.

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  12. Very interesting and generally well written essay and replies. Unfortunately, much of what was presented either is incorrect or is based on dogma.

    If you look at birth rates around the world, countries with higher rates tend to be the poorer, less developed ones, while the low rates (even below replacement levels) tend to be the richer, more developed countries.

    This makes sense, since more children are needed due to higher infant mortality and to provide old age security in poorer countries. An obvious strategy to help reduce fertility rates naturally would be to support governmental policies which make people and societies more wealthy, rather than the current crop of wealth destroying policies. (The global War on Reliable Energy springs immediately to mind.)

    The Global Warming that is causing hysteria without any ill effects having been observed – is bogus. Starting from zero, a decade after the Alarmists, the skeptical community has been busting Alarmist claims. Hockey Stick? BUSTED! CO2 mostly man-made? BUSTED! More hurricanes, tornadoes,floods, droughts, etc? BUSTED! Climate Models accurate? BUSTED! 97%? BUSTED!

    One clue that Catastrophic Man-Made Global Warming isn’t true is the amount of Alarmist lying and name calling. The land based temperature record in the US has undergone 8 revisions in 5 years (after normal QA), and each revision magically raised the trend of rising temperatures. The ocean temp record by the modern Argus system was adjusted to bring it into line with 19th century ship water collecting results (really!), and obviously the direction of the adjustments raised the trend. And, let’s not forget the un-scientific, “Science is Settled” and “Denier, Denier, Denier!”

    Monsanto is vilified for creating GMOs, even though those GMOs hold the hope of reducing the need for chemical herbicides and for more nutritious, more prolific food plants. Indur Goklany (The Improving State of Our World http://www.amazon.com/The-Improving-State-World-Comfortable/dp/1930865988) does a good job of explaining why improvements in technology – GMO and otherwise – can provide all the food we could want for hundreds of years, using less land.

    Part of the improved technology includes greater use of greenhouses. Currently in Milwaukee, 3 acres of greenhouse is feeding 10,000 people (http://www.splendidtable.org/story/how-to-feed-10000-people-from-food-grown-on-3-acres-in-the-city). At that rate, we could feed the 10 billion people on earth expected for 2050 using just 3 million acres – less than 5% of the land area of Arizona!

    What we can do to help ensure the well being of all those additional people who will be born before increasing wealth worldwide naturally reduces the fertility rate, is to eliminate all those stupid governmental policies which hinder wealth creation.

    One such stupid policy is the global War on Reliable, Cheap Energy. Windmills and Solar is a recipe for poverty. Use of existing fossil fuels and nuclear, together with whatever the Free Market may develop in the future will help in wealth creation.

    So please, let’s stop with the “OMG, we’re all going to die!” mantra and just let this non-problem of population growth solve itself naturally through wealth creation.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. This is excellent information–I appreciate your sharing it.

    I have felt, for a very long time, that this is the beginning of the end of the world. Not the planet, just the world. In other words, the planet will recover from whatever damage we do to it. But we won’t necessarily recover. This is the beginning of the end of human civilization, worldwide–and possibly the human species.

    There are four factors contributing to this end:
    Climate change,
    Digital-Age technology,
    Economic globalization,
    And exponentially-increasing overpopulation.

    We humans have endured climate change before–and adapted to it, quite well.

    But we’ve never had to endure climate change with the added factors of:
    Digital-Age technology,
    Economic globalization,
    And exponentially-increasing overpopulation.

    We simply cannot handle a load like this.

    Digital-Age technology is technology gone amok. Television used to be the most socially destructive invention. Then the Internet replaced television as the most socially destructive invention. And now mobile devices (cellphones, iPhones, and smartphones) have replaced the Internet as the most socially destructive invention, collectively.

    But I am confident that Digital-Age technology will eventually collapse under its own weight. The Internet, and all technology that accompanies it, is being overloaded. And when the load becomes too heavy, the Internet will crash–along with all technology that accompanies it. This may happen tomorrow–or a hundred years from now. But I am confident that it will happen. And I look forward to it. Because Digital-Age technology is making us less and less human, and more and more impersonal. We have created the Digital-Age Machine in our image–and now it is recreating us in its image.

    When this Digital-Age technology collapses under its own weight–when this Digital Age ends with a crash–we will be free to be human again, communicate with one another face-to-face again, and observe everything and everyone around us again.

    This economic globalization–particularly this outsourcing of jobs by corporations from their home countries to foreign countries–is setting their home countries up for economic collapse. This economic globalization is also setting up the worldwide economy for economic collapse. The impending crash of the Internet and its accompanying Digital-Age technology may cause an economic catastrophe from which we can recover. But this economic globalization will cause an economic catastrophe from which we cannot recover.

    And this exponentially-increasing overpopulation involves more than an increasing birth rate. Yes, far more human beings are being conceived than can be provided for. But far more human beings are living longer than ever, with advancing geriatric healthcare and disease control. We’re living too long. And the cost of the quantity of our years is exceeding the quality of our extended lives. We are no longer dying quick, peaceful deaths of old age–but slow, agonizing deaths in the throes of cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s. We are no longer dying with dignity among our family members–but alone in nursing homes. What a horrible way to die.

    At any rate, because we are living longer, and conceiving more–there are more people on the planet at the same time than ever before–particularly the very young and the very old.

    Abortion, as a means of birth control, is unethical as hell. Because our lives don’t begin at birth, but at conception.

    Contraception, on the other hand, is not unethical at all–when it is necessary. And contraception has never been as necessary as it is in today’s world–worldwide.

    The birthrate, worldwide, is increasing beyond the sustainability of human life.

    But it is increasing the most in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa.

    The reason is that contraception is considered equivalent to abortion by the majority of people in these two regions of the world.

    In the case of Latin America, in particular, the Catholic Church plays the exclusive role in this problem. The Catholic Church has always maintained that contraception is equivalent to abortion. There was room for this unique religious view before–because there was room for so many more people before. But there’s no longer room for it. People are dying of complications of overpopulation in Latin America–and the Catholic Church must recognize this. As long as the Catholic Church maintains its view that contraception is equivalent to abortion, this horrible trend of death-by-overpopulation will continue. In short, the Catholic Church must adjust its ideal of the sacredness of un-conceived human life to the grim reality of limitless human death.

    There is no evidence that we human beings are responsible for this current climate change–it could just as well be one of countless, natural climate change periods in Earth’s history.

    But we human beings are definitely responsible for this Digital-Age technology.

    And we human beings are definitely responsible for this economic globalization.

    And we human beings are definitely responsible for this exponentially-increasing overpopulation.

    And if we don’t own up to our responsibility for these three developments–if we don’t do something immediately to rein in each of them–the end of our civilization is inevitable.

    And possibly the extinction of our species.

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  14. I read, some years back, that the reason for China’s policy change was due to the consequences of this policy’s effects: there are now not enough people in the younger generation to provide care for the aged senior population. They now have to correct the ratio to better balance population needs.

    The caring are, literally, a dying breed. They limit their populations and use of resources, while those who don’t care are over-represented in their contributions to the gene pool and consumption of resources. Some groups are known to procreate as a means by which to offset their demographics in societies they wish to conquer through population displacement: their strategy uses births as a tactical weapon to outnumber the other populace around them. In any case, its rather Hitlerian to consider the measures and its enforcement: forced sterilizations, infanticide — we’ve seen this already in China. You never know, though, what G-d has in store… As they say, Man Plans, and G-d Laughs…

    Thanks for visiting my blog. It’s nice to read a good argument with intelligence that your posts provide. It will definitely give me “food for thought” in a metaphorical sense, and may make for inspiration in some of my future writings. I like that you can foster further discussion on these subjects. I’ll read more.

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    • Bummer of a post ! Too few people are willing to tackle this issue though so thanks for giving it a go…..the other thing that’s rarely addressed is that all this population growth isn’t really feasible without cheap energy/oil. It seems like we’ve burned up a lot of the easy stuff and have the bumpy plateau leading to decline ahead of us. ( for more info read up on peak oil theory)

      Thanks for visiting my blog and thanks for your contribution to the discourse.
      Which sites do you follow to keep up to date ?
      Podcasts that have been inspiring you?

      All the best

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      • Total bummer… But such are the weight of the issues for consideration. But, you live your Life with purpose, which gives it meaning. And it’s better to have a say in the matter, than to have it be said for you (perhaps contrarily). I draw conclusions based on varied sources, with some personal brain power thrown into the mix. Stir and serve, ha-ha! The benefit drawn of having lived for some time on this earth to see what results have been achieved through certain policies can’t be under-estimated, either. These were the pressing concerns of my youth. But, these days, while I of course care about the environment, I tackle and write about things such as the never-ending collective fatwa on the heads of Jews everywhere. My survival and that of my people has become a time-consuming pre-occupation, to the exclusion of other matters. Israel, with lack of resources, develops nice solutions to some environmental issues: pioneering drip irrigation; reforestation (top in the world for adding more trees than any other nation — many of our holidays celebrate nature: Tu B’Shvat; Sukkot). Meanwhile, oil prices right now are extremely low. I don’t suppose you were around during the Oil Embargo in the ’70’s, when the OPEC nations jacked around with production and provision, to get back at Israel-supporting countries, were you? Gas was hard to come by and the lines to the petrol stations were hours long and miles deep. The earth is in man’s dominion and we must be better stewards of its keep. It is in all our interests. There is pollution, erosion issues, extinction of species and many ecological matters, which we should try wisely at best to manage. The original study scientists were proven to have falsified the data which started the recent “global-warming” focus, but that in no way detracts from the matters at hand (but they do need to acknowledge their disingenuousness regarding the results). I read a volume of matter which includes varied topics, but my field has been narrowed to focus more on issues pertaining to survival of my own species. I concede and feel comfortable that the broader spectrum more expertly seems to belong within your capable faculties.

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      • I’ve spent quite some time mulling over the issues. Whilst researching my dissertation I came across what Derek Parfit entitled the Repugnant Conlusion. It’s definitely worth googling. That will definitely inspire thought. Otherwise, the websites provided on my Links page are a good source of information. George Monbiot is fantastic in that regard.

        I’m working on two posts currently. So, more to follow soon.

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  15. Normally people cannot populate at this rate . During the 97% of human history where we were gatherer hunters women rarely have their menses because they walked 10 miles a day and breast-fed until the child was age 5 . You want to have a small population so you have resources and this is naturally how human beings have always done it . When agriculture started women had to produce as many children as possible to be workers and also warriors to protect that land . It is common to have half the children die before age 3 and also comment have the woman die in labor when she is a baby making machine . Considering that we have removed the things that naturally kept odour population and check we are going to have to consciously do it. One of the largest obstacles to birth control in Africa and Asia is men refusing . Having children in many cultures is considered a sign of male virility and thus power and status . In those cultures women have very little say if any about their lives . This has been an amazing barrier in birth control and also in preventing AIDS spreading.

    I am very wary of people who say that we can feed 10 billion people because in our current world who will be doing that is Monsanto . This will mean utter destruction of the environment as well as people’s health . Bees will die off. How can we pollinate food? As you say we will lose soil , we need trees to keep the topsoil . Will there be more terrible ideas like damning rivers ? A lot of land is only suitable for pastoral animal grazing but is forced into growing plants for human consumption and that takes an amazing amount of chemicals . How much oil will we need to transport all of this food ?

    With cities in China only having 10% safe drinking water and the chronic health issues combined with the failing health care system in the minority nations we will start to see the population decline due to death . The baby boomers are considered peak of the lifespan and all of us after that will return to a shorter lifespan . That’s another part of population control that nature has built into being an animal.

    On an environmental level I consider children to be luxury items like SUVs . No one actually needs a child they just want one and a lot of people don’t want to adopt because they want a child that is a mini me . I don’t think people talk about that very often and I wish they would . We don’t get to have everything we want and there are a lot of people with children that they cannot take care of it would appreciate a lot more help . There are many ways where peoples needs to be involved with raising children could be met without actually having to procreate themselves . However this would require returning to a more natural state of life for human beings with much less focus on the individual and a lot more focus on the community needs . I don’t think very many people raised in a culture that is all about the individual getting what they want at all costs would be able to easily transition psychologically into one that is used on the holistic good of the people in the community . However that is our natural way of surviving , the only skills that have kept us alive our cooperation and communication and we’ve lost those .

    Human culture has to change drastically for there to be any future. For the children today I feel very very sad for them because none of the problems that terrified me as a child in the 1970s have even been dealt with and now there are thousands more . Maybe people could have children if they have solve some problems . A friend of mine with eight children suggested that there be peak oil vouchers so if you have children you don’t get to travel . I thought it was an interesting concept , equating the amount of consumption .

    Obviously people who think that they should be able to do whatever they want no matter how much it hurts others will never care about something like overpopulation .

    But it seems to me as though nature is already taking care of all of this and it’s in a way that we probably really really will suffer through and who knows if I’ll make it out the other side

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