A Dialogue: Ultimate Outcasts and Overpopulation Insights
I was critical of an article from NEWSWEEK by Robert Samuelson whose major thesis was that it is somehow our duty to produce children because it is good for the economy.
In my response I expressed some concerns about his narrow perspective. We currently have a system that rewards, encourages, subsidizes and markets to women and men who are simply able to have children.
The problem is that we have not created a system that benefits and rewards responsible reproduction. Moms are the best people to develop systems which benefits and rewards responsible reproduction. Moms are the best people to develop systems that would improve the situation because they have the experience.
The reproductive work that mothers do is too often considered a byproduct of events in society, instead of the source through which every event is made possible. The financial, social, religious and political set up is backwards and out of balance.
Hence, much energy, writing and angst from overpopulation concerns is directed at those more universal and impoverished groups (often women with children), rather than the equally important task of developing systems and reinforcing attitudes and behaviors for a more select group of responsible and enlightened potential mothers and fathers.
I agree completely. We live by example. Often it’s difficult for women to see beyond the joys or pressures of a young man’s attention, which leads to unplanned pregnancies. Especially, if it is what her mother did.
For young women to take a more intentioned path, they need to see the road ahead as one wide enough to walk along with a child and dream for herself. That involves reviewing economic systems, particularly our own in this country. We have an opportunity to lead the world on this issue.
I do have concerns about the role of poverty in either producing unwanted children, or children with little or no economic resources.
One idea that has been considered is paying people, especially young women at the poverty level, to delay having children and pursue more education. That would postpone their choosing to have children they cannot afford yet, raise both their skills and consequent pay level so they are more competitive and productive in the job market.
In the end we have a more mature, better educated person less dependent on society for her support, and studies have shown she will have fewer children and live a happier more stable, productive life.
I think paying women to not have children would create many ethical issues. But I support the idea of implementing greater financial incentives for child-bearing in women who have pursued education or have had a job. A woman engaged in these activities will tend to bear fewer children and select more responsible partners. Currently, there are more financial incentives for an impoverished woman to have a child than get an education or work in this country. That needs to change.
I think we should consider a grant system for all new births as has been implemented in many countries in the world. There would be a generous base grant amount for the first two births. Additional monies would be provided through the system based on the educational and work history of the individual woman. I think we can create an American version of this system through market mechanisms.
We need to create incentives for women to access a variety of opportunities, select an ideal partner to have children with and have a good life that includes a manageable number of children.
The more women can explore the world, they are more likely to find numerous reasons to put fewer humans on it.
And they would be a direct example for their sons and daughters.
Just what are the ethical issues you are concerned about in paying women not to have children until they are prepared to do so?
It would seem to benefit both the mother and any future children. A win-win situation, if you will.
Secondly, paying women not to have children in essence is a grant system, so why would we need to institute a second grant system if women were already prepared through education and job training to support their children, if they choose to have them.
Finally, the trend is actually fewer births in educated families and they are the least likely to need a grant system. So far there is little evidence that most women in poverty have few if any incentives to not have children.
Unfortunately, I suspect there is so little that is available and meaningful to women in poverty that producing children is the only thing that is an option. I have empathy for their circumstances and lack of choices, but it is counterproductive to empowering women and mothers, and reducing both poverty and overpopulation.
In summary any incentives most likely should be aimed at raising the standard of living and education of those least able to afford and raise children successfully, rather than including those with more resources. Those more educated and effluent groups are quite able to pragmatically choose whether to have children or not, and be able to nurture, educate and financially support them, if they do choose to have children.
In theory, paying women not to have children does sound like a solution until women are doing extreme things to rid themselves of unintended pregnancies. I think we would also see increases in newborn abandonment.
Paying women not to have children should coincide with paying people not to procreate altogether. It takes two after all. So neither are
realistic policies since pregnancy is (usually) the by-product of one brief act. It’s a women who carries all of the evidence. And in
unfortunate situations, it has created a certain degree of punishment for women.
This reproductive bias and feminine suppression is ever-present in religions, politics, economics. Having children is still viewed as quite negative.
China has proposed it’s solution for years. Chinese mothers still remain in a difficult ethical, emotional and some may argue moral dilemmas when a fleeting moment turned into another human being to feed. Abortions are common, but the elderly are living longer and longer. We need to pay attention to both problems:
Are babies the problem or is it an aging population?
In an ideal world what you advocate is certainly a reasonable scenario. Unfortunately, we are very far from an ideal world, and this country and others are already in serious crisis mode. Dramatically slowing fertility rates in the near term have to be the major foundation for any real change in population dynamics. That can only happen if the focus is on the groups in our societies producing most of the unneeded and unwanted children, specifically in this country, but also in the rest of the underdeveloped nations.
It would seem only logical then to funnel most allocated resources to the poor and uneducated, both women and men as you rightly point out.
But first, for any potential solutions to occur, there must be a general acknowledgement by all that overpopulation will doom us and our children to ongoing conflicts and economic decline. That universal consciousness does not yet exist.
In the end it will be the mothers (and fathers) that will carry the burden for not only educating their own children about the dangers of too many people, but who also represent the biological means in which fertility rates will fall to more sustainable levels.
That is a burden and responsibility that needs all the assistance we can provide, whether in the form of grants or incentives.
Remember: One Billion people = 1000 Million people
Credits: Many thanks to Ultimate Outcasts
Guest Author, Overpopulation, Society Children, Mothers, Overpopulation
Ann Gets It Right!
There are two reasons why we will not see any curbs on human population growth any time soon.
1. Our economic system is dependent upon a constantly expanding population.
2. Leaders of certain religions forbid any kind of family planning — because the bigger their flock, the more power they have.
Until we resolve those two factors, we’ll have to leave it up to Mother Nature, who will deal with it the old-fashioned way — war, famine, pestilence and disease.
Ann Harroun: Denver Post.com
Hot, Flat and Crowded
It is getting hot, flat, and crowded. That is, global warming, the stunning rise of middle classes all over the world, and rapid population growth have converged in a way that could make our planet dangerously unstable. In particular, the convergence of hot, flat, and crowded is tightening energy supplies, intensifying the extinction of plants and animals, deepening energy poverty, strengthening petrodictatorship, and accelerating climate change.
Thomas L. Friedman: Hot, Flat and Crowded
He (Muhammad Atif Ali, District Population Welfare Officer) said that the national issues such as inflation, unemployment, environmental degradation, food and water shortage, energy dearth and law and order are directly linked with overpopulation.
Tehsil Administrator Haroon Rasheed, in his address emphasized on the need that Health, Population, NGOs and civil society together should work on population planning as a team.
Don’t overlook population issue: The Nation: Pakistan
Illegal Immigration Slows
The extraordinary Mexican migration that delivered millions of illegal immigrants to the United States over the past 30 years has sputtered to a trickle, and research points to a surprising cause: unheralded changes in Mexico that have made staying home more attractive.
A growing body of evidence suggests that a mix of developments — expanding economic and educational opportunities, rising border crime and shrinking families — are suppressing illegal traffic as much as economic slowdowns or immigrant crackdowns in the United States.
Better Lives for Mexicans Cut Allure of Going North: Damien Cave: NY Times
World Population Day
The world population is expected to soon surpass seven billion. That is more than double the number of people living on Earth just 50 years ago. Monday is “World Population Day,” a yearly event created by the United Nations to highlight the significance of population trends. But just what is that significance?
Every day, one billion people go hungry. One billion people don’t have access to clean water. According to CBC News, part of the message of World Population Day is that despite declines in fertility rates around the world, 215 million women in developing countries don’t have access to effective family planning methods. A goal of the U.N.’s 7 Billion Actions campaign is to “break the cycle of poverty and inequality to help slow population growth.”
World Population Day: A Connection Between Global Warming And Overpopulation? : Joanna Zelman: The Huffington Post
There is no reliable data on the pervasiveness of asylum schemes, but law enforcement officials say they are among the most common immigration frauds, and the hardest to detect and investigate. “Fraud in immigration asylum is a huge issue and a major problem,” said Denise N. Slavin, an immigration judge in Miami who is vice president of the National Association of Immigration Judges.
Overpopulation + Drought = Hunger + Starvation + Chaos
More than 10 million people are desperately in need of food assistance in Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya, the World Food Program estimated this week, as the worst drought in 60 years continues to ravage eastern Africa.
The situation in Somalia in particular is the “worst humanitarian disaster in the world,” the U.N. refugee agency said on Sunday, and child deaths at refugee camps are spiking to three times average emergency levels.
The French Are With Us
The specter of overpopulation was raised once more in 2008 by the decline in global food stocks and rapid deterioration of the environment. The figures are frightening — 218,000 more mouths to feed each day, 80 million more each year, a global population now close to 7 billion.
In 1997 Salman Rushdie wrote to the six billionth world citizen, due to be born that year: “It has proved impossible, in many parts of the world, to prevent the human race’s numbers from swelling alarmingly. Blame the overcrowded planet at least partly on the misguidedness of the race’s spiritual guides. In your own lifetime, you may well witness the arrival of the nine billionth world citizen. (If too many people are being born as a result, in part, of religious strictures against birth control, then too many people are also dying because [of] religious culture.)” In 2011, or early 2012 at the latest, we are expecting the arrival of the 7 billionth world citizen. He or she has a 70 percent chance of being born into a disadvantaged family in a poor country. Should we be preparing a welcome or an apology?
Too Much Life on Earth?: Georges Minois: LeMonde: NY Times
Another Film Solution To Overpopulation
What I like about the movie is that it examines a number of current societal trends and imagines what might happen if they developed to their logical conclusion, just as great science fiction should. Already in 2011, time is more important than money to many people, while overpopulation is an issue to the extent that countries such as China have been restricting growth artificially for decades. It’s probably only a matter of time before scientists work out how to halt the ageing process – how will we work out what to do with all those people if nobody ever dies? In Time offers an intriguing suggestion.
Is In Time the intelligent sci-fi film we’ve been waiting for? Film Blog: guardian.co.uk
Remember: The More People On The Planet, The More Problems On The Planet
Guest Author, Overpopulation Overpopulation
Why is this man screaming? *
It couldn’t be because the world’s population will reach 7 Billion people this year
It couldn’t be because we we will have 9-10 Billion people on the planet by 2050
It couldn’t be because the United States’ population is 310 million and will most likely reach 400 million around 2050
It couldn’t be because the United States will now and in the future be expected to, totally or in some fashion, subsidize, feed, and clothe at least 3 Billion of the world’s population
It couldn’t be because archaic growth economies are supposed to grow the world out of poverty, when in fact they only create more conditions for grinding poverty and inequality
It couldn’t be because as we become more dependent on technology we have fewer options and less control
It couldn’t be because we go to war in the name of freedom and equality, but in fact we go to war to protect and guarantee dwindling natural resources
It couldn’t be because as more and more people inhabit the planet, the problems increase geometrically in their complexity and, consequently, solutions become less and less a possibility
It couldn’t be because we are destroying the very environment that keeps us all alive
It couldn’t be because overpopulation is the root cause for all the major problems of not only this country, but particularly the rest of the world, and most of us seem to not even care or take notice
So, why aren’t we ALL screaming?
*The Scream: 1893: Edvard Munch
Remember: One Billion people = 1000 Million people
Art, Overpopulation Overpopulation
Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.
H.G. Wells: The Outline of History: 1921
A common theme or premise will emerge when any major political, economic or social problem is being examined. It may be openly discussed or in many cases simply implied and woven into any discussion: Any problem will tend to greatly increase in complexity when total numbers become larger; correspondingly, the inverse will occur when total numbers become smaller and problems will tend to greatly decrease.
Education is no exception.
Today, we are all directly or indirectly involved in the process of education either with our own children attending classes, or as taxpayers funding the cost of education. Therefore, it is in everyone’s interest to see that education is a success. But yet our communities are often unable to agree on what education should accomplish, much less agree on a standard curriculum. Consequently, education has been less successful than what we would all like. High School graduation rates have declined from a peak of 77% in 1969 to around 69% in 2007.
The major factor influencing public school decline in this country is ongoing overpopulation. Growing populations mean growing problems, and therefore, more services required throughout our system of government. Costs to maintain needed services are escalating faster than the growing numbers of taxpayers. Program budgets are continually being reduced or downsized to reflect the lack of funding, even though there is more demand for services. Education is often a major casualty of financial consolidation.
The amount of students in each classroom, commonly known as class size, is directly effected by reduced budgets and attempts at downsizing. When there is less money and more students, the result is more students in fewer classrooms. Applying the premise that more students means an increase in complexity and more problems, it is clear that a class of 15 students will be more efficiently run and more learning will take place than a class of 35. It is logical that one teacher simply cannot control, manipulate, and educate 35 students as well as a class of 15 – all other things remaining equal.
The argument is often voiced that an exceptional teacher will be able to teach more students effectively than the average teacher, which may be true in some cases. But common sense should reflect reality: How many exceptional teachers are there in this country?Exceptional is a rare commodity, just like any other field whether it be lawyers, carpenters, dentists, machinists, doctors or etc.. The fact is that most of us are dedicated committed people who do the best job we can, and average results are the norm. Average is not a negative, it is a gauge to measure results on a spectrum, and most will be average. To expect anything else in any occupation is to be naive.
Money does not continue to flow to education in direct proportion when student populations are increasing. More demand for other government services such as police, and the need for new services such as welfare agencies, especially in large metropolitan areas, will considerably shrink education budgets. In fact, just when education needs proportionally more money to solve the problems associated with greater numbers, it is usually forced to absorb major cutbacks.
Interestingly though, when student populations shrink, money often remains at the same level or even increases. For one thing schools will be more effective as the total amount of students-at-risk (students who have behavior and learning problems) decreases relative to the drop in student population. Total students-at-risk will undoubtedly drop at a faster rate than the reduction in overall student population as other problems also decrease in society – crime, drugs, etc.. All of which tends to have even a greater cumulative impact on reducing the amount of dysfunctional families; consequently, less students-at-risk. As taxpayers we will be more willing to pay for education when we see more positive results.
It is the same principle that works in private schools. The more affluent among us pay more money for the education of their children because they know their is a direct correlation between private schools, class size and success. An effective public school system, with a clear set of goals and mission statements, not beleaguered with discipline and social problems is more likely to generate more revenues than one that is in shambles, as many are today. A confused and threatened public is not likely to pass bond issues when we are already heavily taxed for other services, and we believe little is to be gained by more money being spent. This is especially true for people who have no perceived direct connection to education such as single taxpayers, married couples without children and, senior citizens in the community.
Inner city schools are particularly prime candidates for reducing total student populations and class size. Students in poor inner city schools attend school for many different reasons, least of all for some is education. Drug dealing, making friends, girl friends and boy friends, escape from a dysfunctional home, a decent meal, or simply a warm place to spend the day is oftentimes far more important to disadvantaged students than what they may or may not be learning. Many of the schools in the inner cities are warehouses for students who have few other places to go. Schools are too often a haven from the streets and homes, which are sometimes places of violence and abuse.
The likelihood of making any real changes in inner city schools without a radical change in student populations is remote at best. There is simply not enough money for needed classrooms, specially trained instructors, and teaching resources; consequently, there are few if any effective solutions on the horizon, and hope is just another four letter word, more often replaced by despair and failure.
All public education though will continue to show declining results without a reduction in student numbers, no matter what new buzz word comes along. There will always be some well meaning doctoral candidate who will develop some new system or theory that on paper looks promising. But recent experiences show that when new ideas hit the playground and reality sets in, most die quickly following a fast track to oblivion. And the reason they die, even the most thoughtful and creative, is that they face the impossible task of competing with overwhelming student populations, which will defeat the best of intentions before they can be implemented.
What is crucial for all of us, is to begin to understand the relationship between numbers of students and numbers of problems. Our system of public education is a mirror image of our society in general. If society is undergoing a trend of unemployment, poverty, violence and crime so will education. Students are the products of adults who create the conditions under which we all live. Crime, drugs, violence are all rising at a faster rate than the population, which is a troubling indicator for the future. Education is directly linked to these problems and faces the same quandary that society does: Populations are becoming more unwieldy, more impersonal, and more dangerous. Certainly, increasing the general population and student populations will only tend to dramatically increase the problems for both society and public education.
The major objective for both education and society is to decrease both overall student populations and populations in general, so taxpayers and others will again have confidence in the goals and results of public schools. Americans will support success and are less likely to support failure. Human nature being what it is, we are more likely to pour more money into success than continue to feed a system which is more and more confusing and threatening to the citizens who are responsible for funding it.
Today, we all have a tendency when dealing with increasing numbers to look at them in a fatalistic way. Increasing numbers are always with us, they never seem to go down and most likely they will entail growing expenditures. More houses, buildings, traffic, congestion, crime, government bureaucracies, the list is endless.
But students should be viewed differently. Unfortunately they represent a resource which is steadily increasing in numbers also, and by all reports, declining significantly in overall quality. But like it or not students are the future of this country. We should view their increasing numbers and seriously consider the correlation between more students, less money, declining quality, and more complex social problems.
That correlation should be a serious reminder to all of us that overpopulation should be taken as an ever increasing threat to this country.
Remember: One Billion people = 1000 Million people
Overpopulation, Society Education, Overpopulation
- These Quotes are presented here in the spirit of discussion and dialogue.
- They do not necessarily represent the views of Overpopulation Insights
- A selection of links are available for further information and study
Poverty Attacks The Middle Class
Unemployment improved a bit last month but it is still nearly nine percent and the trouble is job creation is so slow, it will be years before we get back the seven and a half million jobs lost in the Great Recession. American families have been falling out of the middle class in record numbers. The combination of lost jobs and millions of foreclosures means a lot of folks are homeless and hungry for the first time in their lives.
One of the consequences of the recession that you don’t hear a lot about is the record number of children descending into poverty.
The government considers a family of four to be impoverished if they take in less than $22,000 a year. Based on that standard, and government projections of unemployment, it is estimated the poverty rate for kids in this country will soon hit 25 percent. Those children would be the largest American generation to be raised in hard times since the Great Depression.
Nationwide, 14 million children were in poverty before the Great Recession. Now, the U.S. Census tells us its 16 million – up two million in two years. That is the fastest fall for the middle class since the government started counting 51 years ago.
Hard Times Generation: Homeless Kids : 60 Minutes: CBS News
Mainstream Media Recognizes Overpopulation
You really do have to wonder whether a few years from now we’ll look back at the first decade of the 21st century — when food prices spiked, energy prices soared, world population surged, tornados plowed through cities, floods and droughts set records, populations were displaced and governments were threatened by the confluence of it all — and ask ourselves: What were we thinking? How did we not panic when the evidence was so obvious that we’d crossed some growth/climate/natural resource/population redlines all at once?
“The only answer can be denial,” argues Paul Gilding, the veteran Australian environmentalist-entrepreneur, who described this moment in a new book called “The Great Disruption: Why the Climate Crisis Will Bring On the End of Shopping and the Birth of a New World.” “When you are surrounded by something so big that requires you to change everything about the way you think and see the world, then denial is the natural response. But the longer we wait, the bigger the response required.”
Gilding cites the work of the Global Footprint Network, an alliance of scientists, which calculates how many “planet Earths” we need to sustain our current growth rates. G.F.N. measures how much land and water area we need to produce the resources we consume and absorb our waste, using prevailing technology. On the whole, says G.F.N., we are currently growing at a rate that is using up the Earth’s resources far faster than they can be sustainably replenished, so we are eating into the future. Right now, global growth is using about 1.5 Earths. “Having only one planet makes this a rather significant problem,” says Gilding.
This is not science fiction. This is what happens when our system of growth and the system of nature hit the wall at once. While in Yemen last year, I saw a tanker truck delivering water in the capital, Sana. Why? Because Sana could be the first big city in the world to run out of water, within a decade. That is what happens when one generation in one country lives at 150 percent of sustainable capacity.
“If you cut down more trees than you grow, you run out of trees,” writes Gilding. “If you put additional nitrogen into a water system, you change the type and quantity of life that water can support. If you thicken the Earth’s CO2 blanket, the Earth gets warmer. If you do all these and many more things at once, you change the way the whole system of planet Earth behaves, with social, economic, and life support impacts. This is not speculation; this is high school science.
The Earth Is Full : Thomas Friedman: NY Times
Gays Weigh In On Overpopulation
Some have gone a step further, claiming there’s a direct correlation between the number of gay people and the increasingly dire state the world is in.
“Today overcrowding, urban sprawl, pollution, and increased yet inadequate farmland are negatively affecting both wildlife and the humans who cause it at an alarming rate,” wrote G. Roger Denson in an article for the Huffington Post.
“Given what we know about natural selection as an eminently versatile response to environmental endangerment, and what we know about the genome’s metabolic adaptability, it follows that humans over generations would develop a mechanism within them to check and balance procreative extravagance.”
If it’s true, it couldn’t be happening at a better time. The World Health Organization recently announced that over a billion people — one in six of us — are facing starvation. Food prices continue to skyrocket, as more and more hungry mouths demand their share of a dwindling agricultural resource.
The world is, quite frankly, a mess, and “breeders” are the number one cause of the problem. The world’s population increases by 74 million a year, with scientists estimating almost 8 billion people crammed onto our tiny planet by 2022. We face the real possibility that within our own lifetimes, we’ll reach a stage where the number of people on this planet could become unsustainable.
Homosexuality, it’s argued, is one of nature’s solutions to that.
It makes a lot of sense. We’re living on the knife-edge of a new era, in which science and medicine might one day keep people alive for decades, centuries or perhaps even indefinitely. That removes the human necessity of reproduction, which is arguably the only biological difference between straight and gay relationships.
In all other respects, gay people and straight people are the same. The look the same, have the same hopes, dreams, and ambitions. They share the same strengths and weaknesses, including the desire to build emotional and sexual bonds with other human beings (just ones of the same sex).
The only difference is that straight people make babies naturally, whereas gay couples require the intervention of science or adoption (and, in all honesty, a lot more straight people should consider adopting a parentless child rather than add one of their own to the increasingly overcrowded world).
And despite what conservative Christians try to tell you, such a scenario isn’t science fiction. Homosexuality isn’t just entirely normal in nature — it’s rampant. Over 1,500 animal species have shown demonstrations of homosexuality or bisexuality. Studies of rats demonstrated that this behavior tended to increase when kept in overpopulated conditions, even when the ratio of males-to-females remained static.
Is Homosexuality the Next Stage in Human Evolution? : Roland Hulm : Eden Fantasys.com
Advice For Future Martian Settlers
I advise the Martians to keep in mind the experience of societies on Earth, that a high standard of living in conjunction with readily available contraception can be major factors in holding back unrestrained population growth and resultant overpopulation. Conversely, a good standard of living can be promoted by keeping population in check so that plenty of Martian resources are available to everyone. Our planet may be humankind’s first step to colonizing the cosmos.
It would be best to make the experience of Mars and her teeming cities a template for colonization of the solar system and the stars beyond.
Teeming Cities of Mars: Jared Daniel: Lifeboat.com
Illegal Immigration Enforcement
Earlier this month, New York and Massachusetts joined Illinois in withdrawing from Secure Communities, the promising immigration enforcement program that the Obama administration hopes to extend nationwide by 2013. The effort, begun in 2008 and since expanded to nearly 1,800 jurisdictions in 43 states and territories, links federal, state and local arrest data with the immigration status and fingerprint records of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency; the agency then uses that information to decide whether to deport lawbreakers.
The idea behind Secure Communities is to focus enforcement on those immigrants who pose the greatest public safety threat. The program is far from perfect — immigration officials sometimes deport minor offenders, like traffic law violators, rather than the more serious criminals, who should be the top priority. But by withdrawing from the program, these states are weakening an essential immigration enforcement tool rather than working to improve it.
Of course, Secure Communities will always arouse controversy: while we can all agree that Level 1 offenders should be the first targets, and mere traffic violators should be the lowest priority, reasonable people will differ about the many in-between cases. Even some who are guilty only of immigration offenses, such as previously deported immigrants who have repeatedly returned illegally, are fair game for federal immigration agents.
Secure Communities is an essential program that is beginning to reshape its priorities. The three governors who have abandoned the program rather than working to improve it seem to be making a grand gesture intended more to impress their political bases than to strengthen immigration enforcement.
Three States Short of a Secure Community : Peter H. Schuck : Professor of Law:Yale University and New York University
Overpopulation = More Profits – More Poor – More Crime
Overpopulation is good for business. If a company in China or India can sell a product at a fraction of the price charged by an American company, that is because the cheaper product is based on what is virtually slave labor: the backbreaking misery of the poor.
The world is divided into a small number of the very rich and a much greater number of the poor. There is also the middle class, a vanishing breed who have neither the money of the rich nor the leisure of the poor.
Overpopulation is also correlated with crime. Contrary to its depiction on TV, there is nothing mysterious about crime. Anyone born in a poor neighborhood must occasionally break the law in order to survive. Prostitution, for example, is not an occult society: to a large extent, it is just a way of paying the rent.
Collapse: The Practical Paradigms: Peter Goodchild: Counter Currents.org
Commodity Prices and Global Warming
The rapid growth in farm output that defined the late 20th century has slowed to the point that it is failing to keep up with the demand for food, driven by population increases and rising affluence in once-poor countries.
Consumption of the four staples that supply most human calories — wheat, rice, corn and soybeans — has outstripped production for much of the past decade, drawing once-large stockpiles down to worrisome levels. The imbalance between supply and demand has resulted in two huge spikes in international grain prices since 2007, with some grains more than doubling in cost.
Those price jumps, though felt only moderately in the West, have worsened hunger for tens of millions of poor people, destabilizing politics in scores of countries, from Mexico to Uzbekistan to Yemen. The Haitian government was ousted in 2008 amid food riots, and anger over high prices has played a role in the recent Arab uprisings.
Now, the latest scientific research suggests that a previously discounted factor is helping to destabilize the food system: climate change.
Many of the failed harvests of the past decade were a consequence of weather disasters, like floods in the United States, drought in Australia and blistering heat waves in Europe and Russia. Scientists believe some, though not all, of those events were caused or worsened by human-induced global warming.
A Warming Planet Struggles to Feed Itself : Justin Gillis : NY Times
A “Minor” Shortcoming
The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
Sir Winston Churchill
Sounds Like Us!
The main thrust of Idiocracy is to shine a light on our short-term priorities and our culture’s lack of foresight as society today expands and devours up the planet’s resources converting everything into large monuments of trash. Judge also accounts for the reckless breeding where the uneducated pop out more and more children. This reproductive recklessness is arguably the cornerstone of the other intractable problems. As population explodes natural resources will disappear. The world will lurch toward crisis, famine, collapse.
Idiocracy, Re-Visited : Joe Giombrone : Film Review : Counterpunch.org
Suicide After 70?
There is a simple but agonizingly difficult solution to mankind’s overpopulation problem. It is legalizing suicide after a certain age, say 70, and making it easily available.
No, wait, don’t just condemn it out of hand. This is a serious proposition worthy of serious thought. There are millions of people out there who are condemned to useless lives, helpless in bed, entirely dependent on others for their very existence. There is every reason to believe that given a rational choice, free of religious dogma and superstition, they would choose suicide over their present condition.
Think of the immense burden we now bear to support these citizens in their meaningless lives. An easy suicide would be a blessing for them, their families and society as a whole.
And it would end the financial shortfalls of Social Security and Medicare and possibly eliminate Medicaid altogether.
It is already legal in Holland and Oregon, and just recently, a canton in Switzerland rejected by a vote of 85 percent a call to ban assisted suicide. So it is not an unheard of proposition.
All it takes is a few courageous legislators, both state and national, to start the ball rolling. Certainly any such bill would go under in a hail of ridicule, but a few would see the need. Over a generation or two, as population pressures continued to grow, so would the logic of a suicide solution.
A controversial, but rational, solution— Otto Knauth, Des Moines Register.com
The Old and New Slavery
What I do know is that it is surreal that these scenes are unfolding in the 21st century. The peak of the trans-Atlantic slave trade was the 1780s, when just under 80,000 slaves a year were transported from Africa to the New World
These days, Unicef estimates that 1.8 million children a year enter the commercial sex trade. Multiply M (one child: ed.) by 1.8 million, and you understand the need for a new abolitionist movement.
She’s 10 and May Be Sold to a Brothel : Nicholas D. Kristof : NY Times
A Fertile Plains Land Grab
A new scramble for Africa is under way. As global food prices rise and exporters reduce shipments of commodities, countries that rely on imported grain are panicking. Affluent countries like Saudi Arabia, South Korea, China and India have descended on fertile plains across the African continent, acquiring huge tracts of land to produce wheat, rice and corn for consumption back home.
Some of these land acquisitions are enormous. South Korea, which imports 70 percent of its grain, has acquired 1.7 million acres in Sudan to grow wheat — an area twice the size of Rhode Island. In Ethiopia, a Saudi firm has leased 25,000 acres to grow rice, with the option of expanding. India has leased several hundred thousand acres there to grow corn, rice and other crops. And in countries like Congo and Zambia, China is acquiring land for biofuel production.
These land grabs shrink the food supply in famine-prone African nations and anger local farmers, who see their governments selling their ancestral lands to foreigners. They also pose a grave threat to Africa’s newest democracy: Egypt.
Growing water demand, driven by population growth and foreign land and water acquisitions, are straining the Nile’s natural limits. Avoiding dangerous conflicts over water will require three transnational initiatives. First, governments must address the population threat head-on by ensuring that all women have access to family planning services and by providing education for girls in the region. Second, countries must adopt more water-efficient irrigation technologies and plant less water-intensive crops.
Finally, for the sake of peace and future development cooperation, the nations of the Nile River Basin should come together to ban land grabs by foreign governments and agribusiness firms. Since there is no precedent for this, international help in negotiating such a ban, similar to the World Bank’s role in facilitating the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty between India and Pakistan, would likely be necessary to make it a reality.
None of these initiatives will be easy to implement, but all are essential. Without them, rising bread prices could undermine Egypt’s revolution of hope and competition for the Nile’s water could turn deadly.
When the Nile Runs Dry : Lester Brown : Earth Policy Institute
China: Critical City Water Shortages
A chronic drought is ravaging farmland. The Gobi Desert is inching south. The Yellow River, the so-called birthplace of Chinese civilization, is so polluted it can no longer supply drinking water. The rapid growth of megacities — 22 million people in Beijing and 12 million in Tianjin alone — has drained underground aquifers that took millenniums to fill.
Not atypically, the Chinese government has a grand and expensive solution: Divert at least six trillion gallons of water each year hundreds of miles from the other great Chinese river, the Yangtze, to slake the thirst of the north China plain and its 440 million people.
The demands of the north will not abate. Migration from rural areas means Beijing’s population is growing by one million every two years, according to an essay in China Daily written last October by Hou Dongmin, a scholar of population development at Renmin University of China. “With its dwindling water resources, Beijing cannot sustain a larger population,” Mr. Hou said. “Instead, it should make serious efforts to control the population, if not reduce it.”
Beijing has about 100 cubic meters, or 26,000 gallons, of water available per person. According to a standard adopted by the United Nations, that is a fraction of the 1,000 cubic meters, or 260,000 gallons, per person that indicates chronic water scarcity.
The planning for Beijing’s growth up to 2020 by the State Council already assumes the water diversion will work, rather than planning for growth with much less water, said Mr. Wang, the former official.
City planners see a Beijing full of golf courses, swimming pools and nearby ski slopes — the model set by the West.
“Instead of transferring water to meet the growing demand of a city, we should decide the size of a city according to how much water resources it has,” Mr. Wang said.
Plan for China’s Water Crisis Spurs Concern : Edward Wong : NY Times
Remember: One Billion people = 1000 Million people
Guest Author, Overpopulation, Society Overpopulation
Although there is satisfaction at the recent assassination of Osama bin Laden by the U.S. military, it has been ten years since the 9-11 event and even longer for other terrorist acts generally credited to his masterminding. No question that this man got what was coming to him, and no one in the West or even some in the East will bemoan his passing.
But with the passage of a decade and our engagement in two major wars, including a significant number of minor conflicts (most recently Arab Spring etc.) and the consequent loss of life, the spending of a good deal of our national treasury, a recession that is now dragging into its fourth year, and still no peace or hope for peace in the Middle East; it is certainly an appropriate time to ask our selves whether the killing of Bin Laden actually brings us any closer to unifying the world’s nations, or was he just another manifestation of other more serious issues that we simply refuse to confront?
Before OBL became more than just an annoying Arab who occasionally held sway on the world stage, he was oftentimes sounding clarion calls for nationalistic and fundamentalist Islamic beliefs. While helped in no small part by his substantial family wealth and connections, he gradually came to understand the power of massive numbers of young Middle Eastern men, hopelessly unemployed, controlled by dictatorial regimes, powerless to control their own destiny, unable to provide for their families, faced with a bleak future of poverty and despair, shamed by their inability to acquire the barest of essentials for themselves, being forced to watch on television, computers and other media the never ending message of materialism and consumerism that was totally beyond any hope for their participation. Adding more fuel to an already overcharged environment, they are humiliated at every turn by an expansionist, militaristic Western supported Israel that to this day continues to deny rights and statehood for the indigenous Palestinian people. And finally, they are trapped in the ongoing duel between those countries with huge oil reserves and those dependent on the oil.
With all that in perspective does it seem so unrealistic that someone such as OBL came to power? The only real question to be asked is whether it was going to be him or someone else? In the end any leader of such a frustrated group of people is only the figurehead for a movement that would have, did, and will continue to seek some kind of justice and satisfaction for their obviously perilous circumstances.
The fact is that without solving the core issues that precipitated Bin Laden’s rise to power, killing him is a symbol of revenge rather than diminishing in any real way the terrorist threat he represents. The massive numbers of unemployed men (and women) have not gone away because of the death of this man, they only continue to increase. Our assassination efforts are meaningless unless we are determined to institute policies that bring reason and influence to nations that are completely unwilling to control and reduce their burgeoning unsustainable populations.
We should do this, not only because it is simply the right thing to do for people living as precariously as a good part of the world does, but because if we don’t do it we will continue to reap the ramifications of homeless, unemployed, migrating refugees which eventually someone will have to pay for – most likely this country – in some way or fashion. Those refugees, certainly hundreds of millions and potentially a billion or more, will certainly be manipulated and controlled by men similar to Bin Laden with their messages of hate, religious zealotry and violent tactics, which in the near future could make 9-11 look like child’s play.
And even more importantly for this country is that we have our own potential for chronic unemployment. Our ongoing recession seems to have all the potential for developing a permanent unemployed class, acting in unison with disappearing job opportunities and consequent decreasing consumer demand. That is not an encouraging synergy. A crisis of too many people chasing too few jobs. Technology will certainly continue to automate and replace not only blue collar manufacturing workers out on the production line, but more and more white collar workers and executives are finding their job descriptions and positions being displaced by either computer technology or outsourced to cheap foreign labor working somewhere in some third world country.
So before we get too smug and complacent about our own place in the world, it would be best to be re-examine what the future holds for the American economy, with a workforce that looks to being downsized at a tremendous rate.
Not only are we downsizing, but because of our own ignorance, laziness and corporate greed we are also facing the onslaught of basically refugees from Mexico, Latin American and South American countries. Those governments are encouraging the migration because they no longer have the economic resources or systems to create jobs for their own citizens. And corporate America is subsidizing all this by marketing the mantra – “there are jobs Americans refuse to do” – when in fact there are only wages that Americans cannot survive on. By the way illegal imported labor can’t survive on those wages in this country either.
Then we throw in the impact of our one trillion dollar Underground Economy – that alone would add dramatically to any realistic unemployment figures. For the uncounted unemployed in this country, this is the economy that fulfills all the needs and desires that our private sector and government sector is either unable or unwilling to provide. It is a cash and barter economy that mostly avoids paying any taxes, but still makes tremendous demands on infrastructures, law enforcement and social services, all of which have to be paid for.
So, we combine the forces of ongoing worldwide unemployment, migrating refugees seeking jobs and a semblance of stability, continually developing technology and automation that are constantly reducing the need for traditional labor, not only around the world but in the most sophisticated Western countries, including this country. Compounding the problems is a destructive multi-national corporate mentality that looks at cheap imported or outsourced labor as the key to increasing production and decreasing production costs, more demand for unneccessary goods, and of course in the end much greater profits. And if that wasn’t enough, huge underground economies here and around the world supply both legal and illegal goods and services tax free.
- Does that summary look like an economic, social, and political disaster in the making
- Now add between two or three billion people by 2050
- Do you think there may be a few more Osama bin Ladens lurking out there
- Do you think reducing populations here and abroad should be our number one priority
Remember: A Billion people = 1000 Million people
Overpopulation Employment, Jobs, Overpopulation, Violence, War
These Quotes are presented here in the spirit of discussion and dialogue.
They do not necessarily represent the views of Overpopulation Insights
A selection of links are available for further information and study
Older Residents’ Numbers Rise, Put More Demand On Shrinking Budgets
Growing older: Census data released this month showed significant increases in the population of older residents from 2000 to 2010:
2010 pop.: 37.2 million (Change from 2000: 9.8 percent)
65 and over: 4.2 million (Change from 2000: 16.8 percent)
85 and over: 601,000 (Change from 2000: 41.1 percent)
The Press-Enterprise – Jim Miller/Ben Goad
Unrestricted population growth can put women and children at risk.
In response to the suffering experienced by men, women, and children in nations with rising populations, biblical scholar Sarah Ruden recently wrote in support of family planning programs. She focuses on Paul’s defense of marriage in 1 Corinthians 7 and she writes, “Paul condemns by clear implication most of the conditions in the Third World that are blamed for catastrophic overpopulation: the forced marriage of young girls, the general oppression of women, marriage as “just what you do” and marriage as a mode of production. He insists that both men and women consider their own needs and choose freely what the best life will be for them as individuals.”
A Christian Response to Overpopulation-Amy Julia Becker
Overpopulation Tsanumi-By Luojie: Yuba Net.com
Overpopulation, Religion and Science
In America, religious groups are being manipulated by corporate interests to work against their own members’ best interests, in health and economic well-being. They are being used to cast doubt upon well-established scientific findings in important issues such as overpopulation, pollution, and global warming. This would not be happening except for the diametrically opposed world-views of religion and science. In America today, corporate interests and the conservative politicians they have purchased use religion to stifle science.
In other words, trust in God. He won’t let us destroy life on earth. Could there be any better example of the folly of faith?
In conclusion, it is time for scientists and other rationalists to join together to put a stop to those who claim they have some sacred right to decide what kind of society the rest of us must live in. We must act for the sake of the betterment of humankind, and the future of our planet. Based on the favorable signs that young people are increasingly abandoning religion, I have great hope that perhaps in another generation America will have joined Europe and the rest of the developed world in casting off the rusty chains of ancient superstition that stand as an impediment to science and progress. I just hope it’s not too late.
Victor Stenger: The Folly of Faith – Huffingtonpost.com
Arizona: SB 1070
As sheriff of Cochise County I am responsible, along with my 86 deputies, for patrolling 83.5 miles of that border, as well as the 6,200 square miles of my county to the north of it — an area more than four times the size of Long Island.
Whether illegal aliens committed a crime to enter this country, or a civil offense to remain unlawfully, they are still breaking the law, and S.B. 1070 is Arizona’s solution to help the federal government hold them accountable without becoming embroiled in confusion that enables individuals to fall through the cracks. At the same time, it assures the standards of probable cause and reasonable suspicion are applied throughout the process.
Of course, the law’s critics prefer to think that any state-level effort to control illegal immigration is racially motivated, and that the law is just an invitation for us to racially profile Americans and legal residents of Hispanic descent.
What’s more, such critics have a strange impression of what law enforcement officers along the border actually do. In Cochise County, my deputies and I often have to travel many miles to respond to a resident’s call for assistance. The last thing we have time to do is harass law-abiding people.
Unskilled Labor and Social Stability
People who are concerned about overpopulation generally think of the problem in terms of impact on the environment and depletion of resources. Another concern, perhaps just as significant, is that overpopulation is leading to a worldwide surplus in low and unskilled labor.
Ironically, President Obama noted in his May 19th speech about the Middle East that millions upon millions of people without any marketable skills in the Arab world pose a threat to regional and global stability. Yet in a speech delivered nine days earlier in El Paso, Texas, on immigration policy, President Obama laid out a plan that would legalize millions of low and unskilled illegal aliens and create for millions more such workers to immigrate legally to the United States.
Every human being possesses inherent value and is entitled to respect and dignity. But the reality of the world in which we live is that low and unskilled labor, as a commodity, is rapidly losing whatever value it might still have. And, as the president correctly points out, millions of people with little or nothing to contribute economically pose a threat to social stability. Unfortunately, the president has a hard time reconciling this reality to his immigration policy.
The Dan Stein Report-Ira Mehlman-FAIR
Need For Space and Overpopulation
Consider that although the origins of a war may be rooted in antiquity, and are complex in nature, it is essentially about the need for space, which breeds all manner of justifications for violence, with the root cause concealed behind politics. Our globe has been subject to overcrowding for several centuries, and consequently the fabric of our society has been pulled to the breaking point.
Unless a reasonable means of implementing birth control is found, the situation will take care of itself, unfortunately through mass murder, genocide, suicides, and famines. It’s time to re-start the dialogue about overpopulation.
JD Adams – Salem-News.com
I’m going to add my quote to all these other people. THE MORE EXTREME OUR NUMBERS, THE MORE EXTREME OUR CHILDREN’S CONSEQUENCES.
Frosty Wooldridge, Novakeo.com
Out of Balance
Working from the premise that all of the above issues are part-and-parcel of the same macro problem—overshoot—Cooksey explains his wake up call that global warming was just one symptom of something larger. He then goes about encouraging people to look for solutions. Real solutions. (He’s clearly not a fan of anything that just sets out to maintain the status quo.)
Film: How To Boil a Frog, Treehugger.com
Pay Me Now or Pay Me Later
Several writers have cautioned that as many of the resources the world depends on are depleted (possibly as soon as the middle or end of this century), food production will decline rapidly, giving rise to starvation on a massive scale. The result will be a reduction in the world’s population, possibly to the two billion which can survive wholly on renewable resources. We have the choice of achieving the necessary population reduction pre-emptively, or by allowing it to take place through starvation and social breakdown. It is up to us.
Hal Sundin – Glenwood Springs Post Independent
Again, The Wealthy Few Controlling The Many
It’s mind-blowing when you actually think about it: The fate of our planet, our destiny, is being determined by a small group of wealthy corporatists and politicians, who control, and profit from, dirty energy and military-war decisions. The consequences of their decisions have already brought about an unfathomable hell of economic and ecological ruin. (Read Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine) If they are allowed to have their way over the opposition of millions of people, globally speaking, the future could very easily resemble the 1973 sci-fi film “Soylent Green“.
Film: By Day and By Night
In the future, overpopulation causes humans to split into two groups. One group lives by day, while the other never sees the sun. One mother’s daughter goes missing and finds herself awake in the strange daylight. Director Alejandro Molina considers what is ethical when it comes to humanity’s survival – DIFF synopsis for By Day and By Night
It Doesn’t Pencil
Population growth is a major step-back in terms of making any significant progress in reducing global environmental impacts. While most nations agree that something needs to be done, most models do not seem to include the human growth factor in the picture. Let’s say that average world environmental footprint (energy use, waste generation, food consumption…) reduces by 30% (very ambitious) by 2050 through advances in technology innovations. By that time the world population would have grown by at least 2 billion. The environmental pressures and energy demand as a direct result of this 2 billion person increase will most likely far exceed the impacts saved through this improvement. At the end of the day despite significant improvement in reducing our current impacts (based on current population), and unless some nations set targets for controlling population growth, the overall human footprint will continue increasing very significantly as a sole consequence of global population growth.
Sylvain Richer de Forges, Eco-Business.com
Greg Mortenson:Poor Bookeeper – Right on Girl’s Education
I also believe that Greg was profoundly right about some big things.
He was right about the need for American outreach in the Muslim world. He was right that building schools tends to promote stability more than dropping bombs. He was right about the transformative power of education, especially girls’ education. He was right about the need to listen to local people — yes, over cup after cup after cup of tea — rather than just issue instructions.
Sci-Fi vs Science
If it were not for movies like Blade Runner, maybe the consequences of our industrialized society would not seem as severe. Maybe I will never see a water world, or find myself back…from the future, but it is not impossible. In the words of Michio Kaku, a renowned physicist, “a lot of the predictions made by science fiction writers have been replaced by the march of science,” and as documentaries begin to look more like the latest from Roland Emmerich, the more the division between science and Sci-Fi blurs.
Guest Author, Overpopulation, Society
Well, the first thing that comes to mind after viewing Avatar: is there anything that James Cameron can’t do? He wrote the screenplay, produced it and then directed it. It still fascinates me when I try to comprehend how anyone is able to convince a major film studio to open their wallets to the tune of $250M!
At the same time he convinced them that they would not only get a decent return on their investment, but one that was going to be totally dependent on a film technology that hadn’t, at that time, even been fully developed. I’m sure he also dangled the possibility that the returns could approach a billion dollars. Which so far, and everyone is still counting the money, it has already returned two billion dollars in receipts. Without a doubt he is a compelling and determined visionary!
I guess it didn’t hurt that Titanic was already in his back pocket, among many other films of note. But still…
There was obviously an important story here and he knew exactly how he wanted to tell it. But it could be just a rousing science fiction adventure yarn, embossed with the most exotic and dramatic special effects created so far in the history of cinema. Could this be just a simple boy meets girl story intertwined with the fanciful hallucinations of a herculean filmmaker? I suspect that would certainly be good enough for the majority of the millions of Avatar aficionados around the world, something akin to why most people loved Slumdog Millionaire.
But others, myself included, would like to think that Mr. Cameron had a few more things on his agenda: the mind can run wild with Hindu theology, coupled with a parable of 22nd century American imperialism and capitalism. Always grasping in a crisis of our own making, we try once again to manipulate poor choices, and the efforts always turn to disaster whenever arrogance and power run amok.
And it is so true,Western culture has never come to grips with the indispensible network of ecology that we are all tethered to.We are constantly challenging the very phenomenon which gives us life. We exploit and abuse it, as if it is our inherent right to use up and destroy anything which was provided for us by creation and good fortune. It seems to be beyond our ability to comprehend that the destruction of the core means the destruction of all.
Always on script, we struggle mightily to usurp the laws of nature with a sterile one-dimentional technology, and then wonder why we fail miserably to sustain a liveable environment, all the while becoming farther and farther out of sync with our biological past.
It is illuminating to watch as science fiction melds more and more quickly into the realm of hard science. It is not so difficult now to make the leap between running out of resources on planet Earth, and eventually being forced by circumstances to search for other sources on distant planets, moons and asteroids. One would think we should create emerging sciences to prevent such future shortages, but instead we create gadgetry and mindless technologies that force us deeper into realms, which can only hasten the depletion of resources.
We stagger into the future, blindly addicted to questionable wizardry, while our final dependence and forced expeditions in the future are clearly beckoning. What fatal flaw drives us to such journeys? What drives us to consume, contaminate or destroy the finite resources that will at some point become so limited that all nations will be encumbered by economic and ecological calamity, until life itself is threatened?
The sheer numbers of human beings on this planet – seven billion and increasing dramatically everyday – is surely the key component in our ongoing slide towards disaster, but also, as the film points out so brilliantly, there is simply not the holistic consciousness that could possibly change the destiny of civilization. Without understanding that all life, whatever the form, is interconnected, and only our diminishing numbers can return us to the ecological balance required, the future looks bleak indeed.
James Cameron may not be an avatar as represented in Hindu tradition, but his film does us a great service by presenting a future scenario and stark warning about mankind’s repeated inability to choose the right course, and which ultimately then becomes an unavailable choice.
Remember: One Billion people = 1000 Million people
Environment, Films, Overpopulation Avatar, Overpopulation
- These Quotes are presented here in the spirit of discussion and dialogue.
- They do not necessarily represent the views of Overpopulation Insights
- A selection of links are available for further information and study
Feminism and Mothers
I think women need a new movement with a new arc, one that feminism fits into, not the other way around.
It must address the importance of women’s sensual appeal – not ignore or suppress it. This movement must make social, political and economic issues the most central factor in women’s reproductive rights – not suppress or ignore mothers. It must explore the power that mothers have to shape the world through themselves, their children and supportive partners.
Part of the problem has to do with structural changes in the economy. Sectors like government, health care and leisure have been growing, generating jobs for college grads. Sectors like manufacturing, agriculture and energy have been getting more productive, but they have not been generating more jobs. Instead, companies are using machines or foreign workers.
The result is this: There are probably more idle men now than at any time since the Great Depression, and this time the problem is mostly structural, not cyclical. These men will find it hard to attract spouses. Many will pick up habits that have a corrosive cultural influence on those around them. The country will not benefit from their potential abilities.
This is a big problem. It can’t be addressed through the sort of short-term Keynesian stimulus some on the left are still fantasizing about. It can’t be solved by simply reducing the size of government, as some on the right imagine.
The Missing Fifth – DAVID BROOKS – May 9, 2011 – New York Times
Republicans and Family Planning
Greater access to birth control would also help check the world population, which the United Nations warned a few days ago is rising more quickly than expected. The U.N. now projects the total population in 2100 will be 10.1 billion.
Yet this year, Republicans in Congress have been trying to slash investments in family planning. A budget compromise last month cut international family planning spending by 5 percent, but some Republicans are expected to seek much bigger cuts in future years.
If they succeed, the consequences will be felt in places like this remote Somali town. Women won’t get access to contraceptives, and the parade of unwanted pregnancies, abortions, fistulas, and mothers dying in childbirth will continue.
Ah, but there was one Republican-sponsored initiative for family planning in Congress this year. It provided contraception without conditions — for wild horses in the American West. It passed on a voice vote.
Maybe on Mother’s Day, we could acknowledge that family planning is just as essential for humans as for horses.
Mothers We Could Save – NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF – May 7, 2011- New York Times
There are no jobs Americans won’t do; only wages that Americans won’t work for.
Thermodynamics and Overpopulation
The primary goal of industrialized economies is to grow, and this is an inherently unsustainable ambition. Even increasing eco-efficiency will not compensate for the damage we are inflicting to the environment through population growth and excessive consumption. Although it has been shown that environmental impacts will decrease initially as “green” technologies are emerging and growing, this will only hold up for as long as this growth can occur faster than the parallel growth of the economy. At the point wherein economical progress overtakes the progress in eco-efficiencies, environmental degradation will become a mainstay as long as economic growth is the main objective. Therefore, thanks to the second law of thermodynamics, it is possible in the short-term to have both economic growth and environmental protection, but never will they endure as long-term mutual outcomes. As Huesemann puts it, “current efforts at improving industrial eco-efficiency without addressing overconsumption and overpopulation are nothing more than putting off a socially and economically disruptive day of reckoning.”
Thermodynamics and the Downward Spiral of Industrialized Society – Lindsey Wedewer – Triple Pundit.com
Technology and Self-destruction
It may seem impossible to imagine that a technologically advanced society could choose, in essence, to destroy itself, but that is what we are now in the process of doing.
Elizabeth Kolbert – Field Notes from a Catastrophe
Contrary to what endless columns in newspapers and magazines or minutes of broadcast time would lead you to believe, celebrity, sports, business and politics are not the most important issues. The reality is that the most powerful force shaping our lives today is science, whether it’s in industry, medicine or the military. We cannot control the ideas and inventions unleashed by science if we, as a society, are scientifically illiterate.
We elect our politicians to represent us and lead us into the future and they must make decisions to deal with climate change, overpopulation, endocrine disrupters, stem cells, cloning, genetically modified organisms, toxic pollution, deforestation and a host of other issues that require some understanding of science.
SCIENCE MATTERS – David Suzuki: Common Ground.com
Resource depletion, ecological disasters, over-population and climate chaos are indicators of spiritual as well as ecological collapse. They demonstrate also how much we need a story that renews our love for the mystery of the Earth — a story that can integrate the world’s wisdom traditions with the sciences of cosmology and evolution. Thomas Berry pointed out that the universe itself is our new sacred story. Everything in the universe had a common origin in the mysterious Big Bang some 13.7 billion years ago. We ourselves are participants in its awesome physical and spiritual dimensions, which are an authentic source of joy, celebration and support.
John Stanley and David Loy – Eco-Buddhism: A Sustainable Enlightenment
Animal Rights and Overpopulation
Yes, I think human overpopulation is itself a form of animal persecution and we need to find ways of massively reducing the occupation of the Earth by the human species, so that other creatures can have their fair share of the world’s habitat. The term I use is “human supremacism”, which is the totally selfish, arrogant, immoral and illogical view that human beings are somehow more important than other animals. It’s on a par, in terms of wickedness, with notions of white supremacism and Aryan supremacism, as advocated by the Nazis.
Sadly this may all be too much for many “animal protectionists” who still want their jobs their cars their umpteen kids, their domestic appliances. But half a liberation is no liberation. Animal rights campaigning needs to extend itself to other areas which hitherto it has hardly touched on.
Beginning today, ask of every local, state or national problem you encounter, ‘Will this problem be easier or more difficult – and costly – to mitigate if local, state or national population continues to grow?’
Edward C. Hartman: The Population Fix: Breaking America’s Addiction to Population Growth
Machines and The Future
Machines will definitely be able to observe us and understand us better. Where that leads is uncertain.
America and Immigrants
They had waved good bye to their birth place to give their children a new life and did everything in their power to help their children assimilate into one culture.
Nothing was handed to them. No free lunches, no welfare, no labor laws to protect them. All they had were the skills and craftsmanship they had brought with them to trade for a future of prosperity. Most of their children came of age when World War II broke out. My father fought along side men whose parents had come straight over from Germany, Italy, France and Japan. None of these 1st generation Americans ever gave any thought about what country their parents had come from. They were Americans fighting Hitler, Mussolini and the Emperor of Japan. They were defending the United States of America as one people. When we liberated France, no one in those villages were looking for the French-American or the German American or the Irish American. The people of France saw only Americans. And we carried one flag that represented one country. Not one of those immigrant sons would have thought about picking up another country’s flag and waving it to represent who they were. It would have been a disgrace to their parents who had sacrificed so much to be here. These immigrants truly knew what it meant to be an American. They stirred the melting pot into one red, white and blue bowl.
And here we are in 2007 with a new kind of immigrant who wants the same rights and privileges. Only they want to achieve it by playing with a different set of rules, one that includes the entitlement card and a guarantee of being faithful to their mother country. I’m sorry, that’s not what being an American is all about. I believe that the immigrants who landed on Ellis Island in the early 1900?s deserve better than that for all the toil, hard work and sacrifice in raising future generations to create a land that has become a beacon for those legally searching for a better life. I think they would be appalled that they are being used as an example by those waving foreign country flags.
Remember: A Billion people = 1000 Million people
Guest Author, Overpopulation, Society
For all of you, who like this author, somehow completely missed The Big Event: the world has slipped quietly into the age of the Singularity.
It was only because a February issue of TIME caught my eye, that I was brought to task about this potentially radical departure from what we historically have known forever as the Human Era. And after reading the article, researching some other sources, combined with some of my own soul searching, what ultimately makes this so compelling, fascinating, daunting and haunting, is not only is there a good chance we will all literally become this movement, but we will, and are now, the architects of our own demise – at least for awhile anyway.
Apparently,there is an emerging organization afoot – the Singularitarians – that give a fairly persuasive argument that not only will computers be able to replicate the total human thinking process, but these new breed of super computers could, in the not to distant future, decide we are an archaic phenomenon that needs to be redone, rebooted, replaced, or simply deleted if you will – therefore putting to bed the final phase of the human Information Age.
Many of you might of thought that AI represented artificial insemination, but you will be forced to modify your vocabulary, although one could argue that Artificial Intelligence, the new AI, could be portrayed as eventually not being all that far away from the original.
The author, culprit and figurehead for this movement is Raymond Kurzweil, who I’m afraid looks to be a good deal smarter than not only the average “Joe” on the street, but most likely 99.9% of the rest of us. His visions move way beyond the linear cognitive thinking that most of us are cursed with, into the world of exponential growth and curves. For those of us math-challenged that means everything moves in multiples of two with doubling times that increase rates of change to an unimaginable degree.
An example from Kurzweil will help: the average cell phone today is about a millionth the size of, a millionth the price of, and a thousand times more powerful than the computer he had at MIT 40 years ago! Does that start to get your attention?
If not this will: he predicts that by 2015 computer power will accelerate past the brain of a mouse, by 2023 it will accelerate past the brainpower of a single human, and by 2045 will exceed all the brainpower of everyone on earth. You should now be fully awake.
Want more? How about being functionally immortal. Just scan, implant, inseminate your conscious being into an ultra-intelligent Cyborg and you have just played God. Kurzweil believes that there are people alive today who will most likely not be bothered with the angst and frustrations of aging and death. Everything can and will be translated and transformed into the mind-twisting world of mega-digital AI.
My guess is that all those corporate “suits” or “torn Levis and Crocks”, if you will, from Apple, Microsoft, Google and Facebook are taking this a little bit more serious than you are at the moment. Want to bet whether Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Larry Page and Mark Zuckerberg have picked up the check for lunch with Raymond Kurzweil in the last few months? I’m going to guess that the AI champion also knows his way around both Silicon Valley and Wall Street pretty darn well, and all the digital and financial moguls are listening when he enters the room.
But before you start shouting with glee and giving a huge sigh of relief at your fortunate rondevous with destiny, there are just a couple of things to be considered before breaking out the champagne and caviar. If Kurzweil’s predictions seem somewhat feasible to you, and his impeccable credentials and previous endeavors look, shall we say, spectacular:
- Do you really think we (they) are going to need nine billion human beings on the planet in 2045?
If he is correct, we will, over the next years and decades, slowly but dramatically become the most downsized and unwelcome flotsam inhabiting this world.
Other than eventually being the laughing stock of the Cyborg generation for allowing the world of AI to drive us to the point where we have created our own self-devouring machines, what possible scenario do we fit into? Absolutely none, because we have let ourselves become so vulnerable to digital imperialism that technology has evolved into our surrogate economic, political and spiritual master. In essence, it is our only hope for our day to day necessities, while promising a future for us that seems less and less clear as more time passes.
Now, I know there are those out there thinking:
Yea, but that will never happen! We’re too smart, too dominate to let technology overwhelm us. We would never let something like that control our lives, be completely dependent on an automated economy, let a corporate culture so easily manipulate our every moves with their message of mindless materialism, and then knowingly participate in the wounding and destruction of our ecosystem until circumstances drive us to the point of no return.
Well doubters, I would only say to you: Look around for God’s sake!
Kurzweil, as brilliant a visionary as he is, will not and cannot save us. Technology is written, as much as human history is written. It is a Pandora’s Box. We have breached its warnings, and any attempts at this late date to return those lessons are unrealistic and impossible for a slew of reasons.
What is not written though is the pace of technology. Technology has always been driven by numbers, those numbers being you and me and everyone else. Our population numbers have moved, and will continue to do so, in direct proportion to the many stages of mankind’s development, including the Information Age and beyond. The basis for all major changes in the world’s civilizations has been the advent and miraculous development of technology, driven hand-in-hand by dramatically increasing populations.
Unfortunately, we have moved from cultivating technology with all its labor saving benefits, medical wizardry and whiz-bang creations, to being totally dependent on it. But we could make a significant difference by slowing the demand for more and more of this increasingly omnipotent science. That is something we can do, and that would slow the spiraling momentum of our destiny. We would be foolish and shortsighted not to control demand by choosing to reduce population pressures and realize more time for contemplation and introspection.
- Raymond Kurweil could be wrong, but if he is right we are moving into a world that would have been inconceivable just a decade ago
- And that world could very possibly be one that does not include us
- So keep in mind we may be no-shows at any future celebrations, at least not in any form we would recognize today
The problem is not simply that the Singularity represents the passing of humankind from center stage, but that it contradicts our most deeply held notions of being.
Remember: A Billion people = 1000 Million people
Thanks to Author: Lev Grossman – TIME: February 21,2011