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  • Podcast

    Bill Ryerson — Dealing With The Elephant In The Room: Overpopulation

    Strategies for dealing with this massive, third-rail issue
    by Adam Taggart

    Tuesday, May 22, 2018, 7:32 PM

Worldwide, three new humans are born every second. Every day, 225,000 more mouths are added to the global dinner table.

That adds up to 80 million new people per year — the population equivalent of the five largest cities in the world. That's like a new Shanghai, a new Beijing, a new New Delhi, a new Lagos, and a new Tianjin being added every year.

This growth trajectory is simply not sustainable from a planetary resources standpoint. As the global population continues to grow at an exponential rate, its demand is causing key resources like fresh water aquifers, rainforest canopies, fishing stocks, fertile topsoils, etc to similarly deplete exponentially. These oppositional exponentials, mathematically, can only result in an evitable planetary 'overshoot' — which many argue we are already well into.

What can be done? Bill Ryerson, president of the Population Institute, joins us to discuss the work of the Population Media Center in addressing the interconnected issues of the full rights of women and girls, population, and the environment. It's mission is to empower people to live healthier and more prosperous lives and to stabilize global population at a level at which people can live sustainably with the world’s renewable resources.

Our earlier podcast with Bill focused on the existential dangers of overpopulation (you can listen to it here). This week's podcast focuses on the strategies that show the most promise for slowing, or perhaps even reversing, world population growth, should we be willing to pursue them:

All of those new people on the planet have needs for food, shelter, housing, and clothing. When you look at their environmental impact, the number of new people is a major driver of lost biodiversity, and it's a significant factor in climate change.

Now, I've heard a lot of environmentalists say 'Well, population doesn't matter' because the real culprits in climate change are the high consumers of the West who each have a huge carbon footprint. But in fact, if you take the median projection of population growth by the UN Population Division from now to 2050 — an additional 2.5 billion people — and multiply that times the admittedly low per capita carbon emissions of a citizen in the developing world, it's the climate equivalent of adding two United States to the planet.

Put another way, projections show that whether we have a major effort to promote family planning and small family norms and delayed marriage and stopping child marriage, or a minor effort, that will result in a difference, from a climate standpoint, of 2 United States by 2050.

I would venture that the leaders of virtually every environmental group, if spoken to privately, would clearly recognize that population growth is a major threat to the environmental goals of their organization. And yet, publicly, they’ve made a decision not to touch that issue for fear that they'll get themselves in trouble. And part of the reason for that I think has to do with their approach to environmental issues.

Many environmentalists think in terms of regulation as the solution to everything: if we have a climate problem, let's have a carbon tax; if we have a pollution problem, let's have pollution laws and regulations. But if we have a population problem — oops, what does that mean? Does that mean we have to tell people how many children to have? Therefore they conclude they better stay away from population because telling people how many children to have would obviously get them into trouble.

But what's very clear is that coercion, in addition to being a human rights violation, is not effective. Persuasion and modeling of behavior that helps people understand the benefits to them, of educating their daughters rather than selling them into marriage, of allowing women to have say in how many children to have and allowing women equal rights in the workplace outside the home and various other goals including information and access to family planning services – that all this, within a human rights context, has been the reason that countries like Thailand have moved from rapid population growth to below replacement-level fertility. Environmentalists just haven't come to grips with the fact, or realized that, indeed, the population problem can be much better resolved through human rights-based approaches.

Click the play button below to listen to Chris' interview with Bill Ryerson (41m:14s).

About the Guest
Bill Ryerson

William Ryerson is the Population Institute's Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer.  Ryerson, who also serves as President of the Population Media Center, has a 37-year history of working in the field of reproductive health, including 20 years of experience adapting the Sabido methodology for behavior change communications to various cultural settings worldwide. He has also been involved in the design of research to measure the effects of such projects in a number of countries, one of which has led to a series of publications regarding a serialized radio drama in Tanzania and its effects on HIV/AIDS avoidance and family planning use. He also serves as President of the Population Media Center, which works in partnership with the Population Institute. He received a B.A. in Biology (Magna Cum Laude) from Amherst College and an M.Phil. in Biology from Yale University (with specialization in Ecology and Evolution). Before founding Population Media Center, he served as Director of the Population Institute's Youth and Student Division, Development Director of Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania, Associate Director of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and Executive Vice President of Population Communications International. As a graduate student, he was Founder and first Chairperson of the Yale Chapter of Zero Population Growth (ZPG). He also served on the Executive Committee of ZPG, as Eastern Vice President and Secretary of the national organization. Mr. Ryerson is listed in several editions of Who's Who in the World, Who's Who in America and Who's Who in the East. In 2006, he was awarded the Nafis Sadik Prize for Courage from the Rotarian Action Group on Population and Development.

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35 Comments

  • Tue, May 22, 2018 - 1:38pm

    #1
    MKI

    MKI

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    Posts: 69

    Science always takes a beating when ideology rises

    Brian O’Neill at University of Colorado, Boulder, did an analysis of what would happen to climate if we made a major effort in promoting family planning and small family norms. And he concluded it would yield between 16 and 29 percent of what is necessary to avoid catastrophic climate change.
    Since “climate change” (let alone “catastrophic” climate change!) has no meaningful definition (why the term is always used methinks) it makes the whole statement merely emotive.
    But even if it was somehow defined with numbers…we’ve shown zero scientific ability to predict climate anything (which makes it more akin to witchcraft than science). So I call BS on said study. But hey we gotta do something with all that global warming money…
    Also shook my head here: …my parents have ten children…and my father beats my mother…
    Why exactly does having 10 children have to do with beating one’s wife? Freudian slip, anyone?
    But on the subject of overpopulation: it’s sort of amusing, from a scientic (say Darwinian) perspective. It’s just math: cultures who deliberately restrict breeding for ideological reasons will…vanish from the genetic pool. Those who feel otherwise will become more numerous. There is simply no way around this without force. Which is why intelligent people are so uncomfortable about the subject.
    Also, war tends to thin out human populations if they get too high, long before resource shortage becomes an issue.

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  • Tue, May 22, 2018 - 2:55pm

    Reply to #1

    Matt Holbert

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Oct 03 2008

    Posts: 66

    The real elephant in the room...

    But on the subject of overpopulation: it’s sort of amusing, from a scientic (say Darwinian) perspective. It’s just math: cultures who deliberately restrict breeding for ideological reasons will…vanish from the genetic pool. Those who feel otherwise will become more numerous. There is simply no way around this without force. Which is why intelligent people are so uncomfortable about the subject.

    We can transcend our evolutionary urges. We can as “intelligent people” look around, observe, and rationally think that there are just too damn many people on the planet. At an advanced — well, maybe even a not so advanced — intellectual level, we can “comfortably” admit that the life of the planet as a whole is quite a bit more important/meaningful than getting our spawn out there.
     

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  • Tue, May 22, 2018 - 5:56pm

    #2

    AKGrannyWGrit

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 06 2011

    Posts: 424

    Overpopulation - Not The Problem

    Intellectually I understand resource depletion and overpopulation.
    On the other hand I have flown over Alaska in small planes and helicopters and driven the Trans Alaska Highway.  Day after day of driving and and encountering extremely few people.  It’s hard to see thousands and thousands of acres of undeveloped land and think about the horrors of over-population.  And no don’t tell me that food can’t be grown in Alaska or Canada because I have first hand experience to the contrary.  
    Just perhaps if life’s purpose were not profit and money and control the concept and word over-population wouldn’t exist. Perhaps the simple explanation is that the world is just over-populated with too many greedy, evil people.
    AKGrannyWGrit

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  • Tue, May 22, 2018 - 6:03pm

    Reply to #1
    Mohammed Mast

    Mohammed Mast

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: May 17 2017

    Posts: 112

    MKI wrote: Brian O'Neill at

    MKI wrote:

    Brian O’Neill at University of Colorado, Boulder, did an analysis of what would happen to climate if we made a major effort in promoting family planning and small family norms. And he concluded it would yield between 16 and 29 percent of what is necessary to avoid catastrophic climate change.
    Since “climate change” (let alone “catastrophic” climate change!) has no meaningful definition (why the term is always used methinks) it makes the whole statement merely emotive.
    But even if it was somehow defined with numbers…we’ve shown zero scientific ability to predict climate anything (which makes it more akin to witchcraft than science). So I call BS on said study. But hey we gotta do something with all that global warming money…
    Also shook my head here: …my parents have ten children…and my father beats my mother…
    Why exactly does having 10 children have to do with beating one’s wife? Freudian slip, anyone?
    But on the subject of overpopulation: it’s sort of amusing, from a scientic (say Darwinian) perspective. It’s just math: cultures who deliberately restrict breeding for ideological reasons will…vanish from the genetic pool. Those who feel otherwise will become more numerous. There is simply no way around this without force. Which is why intelligent people are so uncomfortable about the subject.
    Also, war tends to thin out human populations if they get too high, long before resource shortage becomes an issue.

    Yeah well over 200 million got killed in state sponsored violence in the 20th century. If we are going to depend on war to “thin” the population we are going to have to step up our game

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  • Tue, May 22, 2018 - 6:39pm

    #3
    greendoc

    greendoc

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    Posts: 112

    Maybe One by Bill McKibben

    When my son was about two years old, people started asking my husband and i when we planned our second.  I already felt like our family was complete, for environmental reasons among others.  I almost caved to the peer pressure to give him a sibling. 
    But I happened across the Bill McKibben book Maybe One, and I stuck to my guns to have only one child.  I am one of 6 kids and could easily see my parents where overwhelmed trying to provide for us all: emotionally and finacially. I opted for something completely different. Waited till I was 39 when I felt ready and able to really, truly experince the joys (and irritations!)  of all the developmental stages and gave my son a good home life.  Adn now that he is 19, I am not overly worried about paying for college without jeopardizing our financial future.  
    My experience looking at my peers (who mostly came from large Catholic families) is that they opted to have small families; 1-3 kids at most.  The role model narrative of 6-10 kids was not attractive to us at all.  Although there is a certain camaraderie/tribal spirit that can arise in large famiies, it can also be internecine warfare.  
    The midwest of the 1960s and 1970s seemed able to absorb huge families, but looking at the suburban sprawl fueled by those offspring now (witness: metro chicago, kansas city, Omaha, Minneapolis, etc. ) one can see the sobering consequences of all that fertility and “progress” from cheap oil.    

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  • Tue, May 22, 2018 - 6:43pm

    #4

    Swampmama3

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    Posts: 30

    the catch-22 is intellect

    Yet, only ‘intelligent’ people will see the need to restrict their breeding.  Thus, leaving the world to be inherited by those who don’t realize the peril or care so much about it.  By intelligent people chosing to breed at below replacement rate, we are also chosing to leave the world to those who will have no care for it. 
    We are stuck.
    There is an ideology out there determined to dominate the world through demographic warfare, migrating to open nations and outbreeding their native peoples in the name of thier deity.  How can ‘intelligent’ people passively sit back and allow that to happen, yet think we’re leaving the world a better place?
    Are we naive enough to think that open borders and assimilation will somehow cure these invaders of their stated goals?  That hasn’t worked so far.  We are running a dangerous experiment.
    I agree that violating people’s human rights and telling them how many children they can have is not the way.  But I also agree that we should not support their large families with our tax dollars or international aid.  If they want large families, let them support them on their own, in their own nations, without our aid.  And do not keep our borders open for them to come here and invade.
    As for me and mine, we also believe a large family is good, but we support ourselves and do not rely on the surplus of others.  This is because I do not want the world’s future to be handed by default to those who will turn it into the 3rd world hellhole we see the immigrants fleeing from.  If we believe we are good, intelligent people, we should have enough children to hold our ground and maintain civil society..

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  • Tue, May 22, 2018 - 7:36pm

    #5
    Rodster

    Rodster

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    It's All About The Money

    I was watching a segment on Bloomberg TV and it was discussing how China is easing it’s childbirth policy to encourge families to have more than one child and the panel said it’s not just a China issue but a Japan, USA and population issue around the world. The panel said that in order to “fulfill” pension obligations for older individuals you need a younger generation to work and provide to ensure those pension obligations are met.
    So again, and I believe i’ve heard this from Chris but it’s our money system that requires exponential growth for everything because of future promises/debt that have been made. So to hell with the Planet, lets just keep adding more younger workers or as I like to call them, “new recruits” to an already populated planet where millions are starving and water security is going to be a problem for future generations.

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  • Tue, May 22, 2018 - 8:07pm

    #6

    Swampmama3

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    Posts: 30

    population and water security

    Rodster, you’ve got a good point about water security.  It’s always seemed unwise to me that so much population growth has happened in areas where there isn’t enough water.  Water being the most basic requirement, I don’t know why people would settle in areas with not enough of it.  We’ve artificially supported areas which aren’t fit for habitation and I think that needs to stop.  It would be a good start for building permits to require enough water infrastructure to be in place before any more development happens. 
    I vacationed in central Texas a few months ago.  So many want to live there, but I don’t know where they will find the water for more McMansionville.  If we can’t even properly manage expansion in the United States, it’s surely a nightmare in under-developed nations. 
     

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  • Tue, May 22, 2018 - 11:52pm

    Reply to #5

    Mark_BC

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 30 2010

    Posts: 275

    Rodster wrote:I was

    Rodster wrote:

    I was watching a segment on Bloomberg TV and it was discussing how China is easing it’s childbirth policy to encourge families to have more than one child and the panel said it’s not just a China issue but a Japan, USA and population issue around the world. The panel said that in order to “fulfill” pension obligations for older individuals you need a younger generation to work and provide to ensure those pension obligations are met.
    So again, and I believe i’ve heard this from Chris but it’s our money system that requires exponential growth for everything because of future promises/debt that have been made. So to hell with the Planet, lets just keep adding more younger workers or as I like to call them, “new recruits” to an already populated planet where millions are starving and water security is going to be a problem for future generations.

    I never bought into that justification for increasing the amount of young people, supposedly needed to “support” all the old people wanting to retire, so we’re told. The pervasive influx of robots into the economy over the last few decades has done a great job of that, and more. Robots now do the jobs of young people. The real issue is one that governments won’t admit; that governments can’t directly tax robots and the productivity improvements they bring. But they can tax working people.
    The productivity improvements brought on by automation instead go to improving the profits of the big multinational corporations that best utilize automation to cut costs (i.e. jobs) and increase profit. What governments don’t want to admit is that they don’t fairly tax those big corporations, so the wealth drain from the middle class is going unchecked. They’d rather tell us that we need more working young people to support granny, because that creates “new” wealth through economic growth that will then support old people via taxes.

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  • Wed, May 23, 2018 - 1:37am

    #7
    climber99

    climber99

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    Posts: 177

    work things out for your selves.

    Maximum population size is determined by the resource base. Without fossil energy, the generally agreed metric is that one hectare of arable land can only support a family of 4 at a subsistent level.
    Hence you can roughly work out the long term carrying capacity of the World. One such calculation puts it as low as 600 Million.
    I urge readers to do their own calculations, the data is out there.
    Once you have done that, the next question is, how long will it take to burn through all our fossil fuel?
    By my reckoning, we will be pretty well through it all by the end of this Century.
    Summary: 9 Billion to less than 1 Billion in 80 years.

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  • Wed, May 23, 2018 - 2:46am

    #8

    thc0655

    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 27 2010

    Posts: 1423

    Counterpoint


    crying laugh wink

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  • Wed, May 23, 2018 - 3:47am

    #9

    Olduvai.ca

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    Posts: 9

    Overpopulation is but one issue...

    While I would agree, on aggregate, overpopulation should be in the discussion of how to fix the mess our species has and is creating on this finite planet, another large issue that many (most?) in ‘advanced’ economies need to be discussing is the insane overconsumption by the minority of us. 
    Looking in the mirror at how much our complex societies waste with our many (especially technological but some sociocultural) ‘conveniences’ and ‘habits’, there is a significant drain on our resource base by a fraction of our population. 
    As with any complex system, there are many variables at play…

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  • Wed, May 23, 2018 - 4:17am

    Reply to #2

    LesPhelps

    Status Silver Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 30 2009

    Posts: 456

    AKGrannyWGrit

    AKGrannyWGrit wrote:

    Intellectually I understand resource depletion and overpopulation.
    On the other hand I have flown over Alaska in small planes and helicopters and driven the Trans Alaska Highway.  Day after day of driving and and encountering extremely few people.  It’s hard to see thousands and thousands of acres of undeveloped land and think about the horrors of over-population.  And no don’t tell me that food can’t be grown in Alaska or Canada because I have first hand experience to the contrary.  
    Just perhaps if life’s purpose were not profit and money and control the concept and word over-population wouldn’t exist. Perhaps the simple explanation is that the world is just over-populated with too many greedy, evil people.
    AKGrannyWGrit

    Alaska will save us?  
    My sister’s priest once told her that all the people on the plant would fit comfortably in Texas.  Of course, since he was her priest, she believed him, without bothering with anything as unimportant as math.
    There are excellent explanations of exponential population growth available to you free, that will help you understand the problem with your statement above and how catastrophic the missunderstanding is.
    Thomas Robert Malthus wrote “An Essay on the Principle of Population” in 1776.  You can find pdf files and youtube videos of Dr. Albert Bartlett’s speeches on the subject widly available on the internet.  Heck, Chris has an explanation of exponential population growth in the “Crash Course.”
    What I don’t get, for the life of me, is how people can see what is going on all around them, every single day, and not realize we have a massive problem, both real and in the narrative we are innundated with.




    I’ve got more pictures.
     

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  • Wed, May 23, 2018 - 4:33am

    #10

    LesPhelps

    Status Silver Member (Offline)

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    Posts: 456

    Excellent Podcast on My Largest Hot Button

    One of the things you didn’t cover is that we subsidize children, at least in the United States, with lower taxes, lower per person health insurance costs and welfare.  Parents don’t pay for educating their children, society does.
    Welfare is the very “Christian” idea that Robert Malthus, an Anglican Priest, exposed as a fallacy, in his essay.  We not only increase population, but we don’t reduce the number of hungry people and we make poor people poorer in the process.  Plus, it can’t go on indefinitely.

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  • Wed, May 23, 2018 - 6:37am

    #11
    Uncletommy

    Uncletommy

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    Posts: 508

    I have to agree with George Carlin.

    Perhaps we need to look at humans as a potentially great source of nutrients for a world yet to come.

    Hubris – excessive pride toward or defiance of the gods, leading to nemesis.

    In the meantime, I’ve racheted my expectations and consumption back to a level that is almost sustainable. The garden is really looking nice, so far, this year.

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  • Wed, May 23, 2018 - 6:47am

    #12
    robie robinson

    robie robinson

    Status Gold Member (Offline)

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    Posts: 851

    Mother Earth

    wont miss us a bit.
    I’m siding with Les and George. Nature has a 12 biliion year head start on efficiency, we’re just a mere bit. 
    Off to hitch my solar powered ‘orses to a hay mower, gonna lay down about 4acres this afternoon.

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  • Wed, May 23, 2018 - 9:29am

    #13
    yogmonster

    yogmonster

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    Posts: 8

    Impressive numbers

    Glad to hear two people talk about this without the emotional arguments that usually arise. Think I read about one of his radio shows in Redirect by Timothy Wilson. Good social psychology book about story editing, or “narrative” editing.
    Very impressive results Bill gets with the amount of people that edit their narrative by listening to an entertaining radio show.
    Wonder if the numbers are similar in the U.S.’s entertainment industry, in “helping” us edit our narrative.

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  • Wed, May 23, 2018 - 9:47am

    Reply to #2
    skipr

    skipr

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    Joined: Jan 09 2016

    Posts: 122

    AK vs entropy

    When I fly over the midwest I see nothing but endless farms.  It didn’t take long to do all of that damage thanks to conventional (easy) fossil fuels.  Is that AK’s future when the easy stuff is gone and the crunch kicks into hyperdrive?  A while ago I heard of companys lining up to profit from this disaster by “efficiently” clear cutting those “endless” AK (and all other) forests for fuel.
    I have a friend who lives off-grid on a remote 150 acre homestead site in national forest land in northwest MT near the Canadian border.  A town of 3,000 is 35 miles away.  I asked her a while back whether she was planning on growing a garden.  She said that fertile top soil would have to be trucked in.  After living up there for 20 years she finally sold her place and plans on moving back to WV to be near family and to grow a garden in real top soil.
    Since fossil fuels are needed for fertilizer, truck fuel, etc etc, will more and more forests have to be cleared in order to continue to feed more and more people?  And once the forests are gone and what’s left of the top soil is “dust bowled” away will we need to clear cut nonexistant forests to grow even more food and regenerate the forest soil so that we can cut the trees down again and again and again?  Is there such a thing as negative soil fertility?  That damn entropy (aka Seneca Cliff) will bite us and everything else on this planet in the ass pretty soon.

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  • Wed, May 23, 2018 - 10:05am

    #14

    AKGrannyWGrit

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 06 2011

    Posts: 424

    Alaska will save us?Oh

    Alaska will save us?
    Oh please I didn’t say that!  But I did get a large chuckle out of the comment. As a matter of fact we have a colloquialism up here that goes like this “Alaska, where the strong stumble and the weak die”.  We also used to say that Alaska – “where the odds are good but the goods are odd”, meaning there were a lot more men than women and it was a good place to find a husband.  But not anymore, the population has equaled out.  People are leaving in droves right now but as always it seems to be boom or bust up here. But I digress.
    Anyway, it seems my point was completely missed so I will restate.  We as a species could have extended good will and helped out our neighbors thus helping to educate, raise living standards and make the planet a truely habitual place for all.  Unfortunately, as a species instead of extending a helping hand we have used the jack boot of oppression which has led to resource depletion and overpopulation.  (See John Perkins book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man).  Is it our nature or just what we have chosen to nurture?
    Secondly, I have a number of elderly clients and those with multiple children seem to have a better experience in their later years as children share in their care.  Generally speaking.  So on an individual level for all incomes children can be an asset to ones aging.
    The true elephant is what is being done to reduce overpopulation.  I suspect that is a discussion that is going on at the highest levels.  And that is what should scare us all.  Will there be a covert or overt action taken.  The highest resource users or the most over populated areas.  Will we know or are things being done in secret?  How’s that water taste?  The food?
    Perhaps some of those thousands of undeveloped acres might look attractive to some?
    AKGrannyWGrit
     
     

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  • Wed, May 23, 2018 - 10:21am

    #15
    skipr

    skipr

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jan 09 2016

    Posts: 122

    how long can this continue?

    How long can this continue?
    https://www.ecowatch.com/biomass-humans-animals-2571413930.html
    “Humans account for about 36 percent of the biomass of all mammals. Domesticated livestock, mostly cows and pigs, account for 60 percent, and wild mammals for only 4 percent.
    The same holds true for birds. The biomass of poultry is about three times higher than that of wild birds.”

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  • Wed, May 23, 2018 - 12:32pm

    Reply to #14
    jerryr

    jerryr

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    Joined: Oct 31 2008

    Posts: 46

    Population reduction foretold in Beatles lyrics

    AKGrannyWGrit wrote:

    The true elephant is what is being done to reduce overpopulation.  I suspect that is a discussion that is going on at the highest levels.  And that is what should scare us all.  Will there be a covert or overt action taken.  The highest resource users or the most over populated areas.  Will we know or are things being done in secret?  How’s that water taste?  The food?

    I agree that this discussion must be going on behind closed doors. Especially with the advances in robotic technologies for labor replacement at all levels, capitalists no longer have any use for so many people.
    For that matter, it’s been obvious for a long time that this crisis is coming.
    Were the Beatles trying to warn us about this? Or were they part of the conspiracy?
    https://postflaviana.org/warning-oysters-beware-walrus/

    Quote:

    I Am the Walrus’ (like most lyrics and imagery from the Beatles) is not difficult to decode. In addition to being saturated with occult references, its meaning shows that Lennon treated the topic of genocide with amused detachment; and that he participated in the deliberate creation of the destructive ‘counter culture’, along with others such as Gordon Wasson and Gregory Bateson, a lifetime actor.
    Lennon’s description of a ‘crying Walrus’ in the song comes from the poem The Walrus and The Carpenter by Lewis Carroll, which is from the sequel to Alice in Wonderland called Through the Looking-Glass (1871). In his 1980 Playboy interview, Lennon said: “It never dawned on me that Lewis Carroll was commenting on the capitalist and social system. I never went into that bit about what he really meant, like people are doing with the Beatles’ work. Later, I went back and looked at it and realized that the walrus was the bad guy in the story and the carpenter was the good guy. I thought, Oh, s–t, I picked the wrong guy. I should have said, ‘I am the carpenter.’ But that wouldn’t have been the same, would it?”
    Lennon’s statement is an intentional misdirection. In Lewis’s poem, the Carpenter and the Walrus share the same moral position. That is, they are murderers that kill and eat the generation of ‘young oysters’ that they have fooled into walking with them. ‘The Carpenter’ would be widely recognized as a symbol of Jesus, or (more generally but esoterically) a representative of ‘Tektons’ or Masonic architects in general; but he is certainly no friend to the oysters.

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  • Wed, May 23, 2018 - 1:17pm

    #16

    Rector

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 07 2010

    Posts: 315

    Die Off is in the Cards

    Hate to be a bummer, but natural systems have a natural cap – a big die off.  It is a ruthless and irreversible consequence of a growing population and growing prosperity and consumption.  It cannot be changed or avoided.  Perhaps this is why Armageddon figures so prominantly into our collective conscience.  We are like fish in a bowl – either pollutants, food scarcity, war, disease or lack of space will eventually prevail.
    Why?  Our biology, psychology, and every endeavor of human ingenuity is focused in the direction that makes overpopulation worse.  Medicine, agriculture, product design etc. all focus on trying to lengthen, improve, and increase our lives and numbers.  Growth is part of who we are and it will not changed by voluntary abandonment.  If liberal elites and deep thinkers want to neuter themselves for the collective good – it will be offset and consumed by the mindless breeding that occurs across the globe.  Systemic collapse is the only method for population reduction other than war.  The end is predicted in Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.  There is no way out of this particular problem.
    Rector

     

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  • Wed, May 23, 2018 - 2:01pm

    Reply to #14

    LesPhelps

    Status Silver Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 30 2009

    Posts: 456

    AKGrannyWGrit wrote: We also

    AKGrannyWGrit wrote:

    We also used to say that Alaska – “where the odds are good but the goods are odd”, meaning there were a lot more men than women and it was a good place to find a husband.

    I heard the same saying about the people who spend the winter in Antartica.
    I gotta say, I hope something gets done about human population before all the other critters on the planet are gone.  It’d be a sad planet indeed with mostly just humans on it. 
    I’ve always hoped that we, as a species, would take rational action.  That ship has sailed.
    So that leaves a mass die off due to pollution, famine, disease, war or some cabal of crazy people taking matters into their own hands.  There’s no a really good option in the list.
     

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  • Wed, May 23, 2018 - 4:04pm

    #17
    skipr

    skipr

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    Posts: 122

    overpopulation environmental group

    There’s one environmental group that does address the overpopulation time bomb directly:
    http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/
    I wonder how Mr Ryerson would design his program for the “depopulation is a government conspiracy” crowd.  Could the US be his toughest audience?
    I think the song “In The Year 2525” says it as accurately as possible in such a short song:

     

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  • Wed, May 23, 2018 - 4:11pm

    #18
    chipshot

    chipshot

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    Posts: 48

    A Giant Game of Musical Chairs

    That’s kind of what humanity is engaged in, where the number of participants continually increases, the chairs  (resources)  decrease, and the music  (financial system)  keeps on playing non-stop.  A lot of fun for the time being  (for some players, at least).  However, a basic rule of the game is the music must stop at some point.  And when it finally does, chaos and frenzy will probably reign.
    Enjoy the music while it’s playing! 

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  • Thu, May 24, 2018 - 10:27am

    #19
    MKI

    MKI

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    Posts: 69

    Only 'intelligent' people will restrict their breeding...

    Cimber99: Summary: 9 Billion to less than 1 Billion in 80 years.
    Your prediction is conveniently outside of our lifetimes. I would love to bet you my entire net worth you are even more wrong than Marthus was (which is saying a lot).
    Swampmama3: …only ‘intelligent’ people will see the need to restrict their breeding. 
    Intelligent people? It’s more like Darwin Award people.
    Matt: We can transcend our evolutionary urges. We can as “intelligent people” look around, observe, and rationally think that there are just too damn many people on the planet.
    Er, no. The crux of the Darwinian view is that somebody, somewhere, will not agree and continue to breed. Basic genetics; no escaping it. Besides, I can assure you from personal experience that many people won’t stop breeding without force.
    And the data also shows the opposite of our “intelligent” thesis: the highest IQ places in the world are Asian (Japan/China/Korea) are also the most crowded & enviornmentally damaged.
    Clearly your argument is a moral one, not a logical nor a rational one.

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  • Thu, May 24, 2018 - 12:42pm

    Reply to #19
    Tude

    Tude

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    Posts: 5

    Only 'intelligent' people will restrict their breeding...

    MKI wrote:

    And the data also shows the opposite of our “intelligent” thesis: the highest IQ places in the world are Asian (Japan/China/Korea) are also the most crowded & enviornmentally damaged.
    Clearly your argument is a moral one, not a logical nor a rational one.

    I know, that comment made me roll my eyes. What it really boils down to is the worry most people have that the people I want to exist might not be the ones left.
    The sad fact is, it’s the so called “intellegent” people that made this whole damn mess and that over consume on this planet, as well as desperately try to cure death. Biologically we are supposd to be living within the earth’s available resources, and dying somewhere around 50-70 years old. Instead, we have 10% of the population consuming 100% of the earths resources, while simutaniously doubling a person’s life expectancy. It’s simply a disaster…and it’s all those geniouses in “science” that are causing much more of the problems than any poor person in a third world country. And these “intellegent” people are spreading their disease.
    I used to think I was one of those intelligent people. I looked around and realized I was the problem. I did however make a decision to not breed. And if/when I get cancer or some other disease, I’ll die gracefully.

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  • Fri, May 25, 2018 - 8:48am

    Reply to #19

    Mark_BC

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 30 2010

    Posts: 275

    "Science" clearly shows that

    “Science” clearly shows that this is a train wreck waiting to happen. Only “scientists” corrupted by greed or blinding ideology believe otherwise. This mess was created largely by economists, bankers and business-people, none of which are required to spend any time studying science. They encourage the masses to consume more to “help” the economy. 
    Just because economists use lots or charts and numbers doesn’t make it science no matter how much they would like people to believe it is. Science is a process and methodology of analyzing the world, not about fancy abstractions. Economics is about as far from science as you can get. 

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  • Sun, May 27, 2018 - 6:36pm

    #20
    pgp

    pgp

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    Joined: Mar 01 2014

    Posts: 164

    Human Rights, Freedom or Just One Big Sales Pitch

    Human rights is just another slogan for the fashion that gave us full suffrage – the right of all people to vote.  Check your history books, it wasn’t a movement designed to spread justice, it was started by people seeking power in the left side of politics.  In reality, if justice had been the objective, focus would first have been on education and then as a reward, the right to vote would have been given to those qualifying at some kind of general level.
    The purpose of government is not to control its population.  It is not to manipulate democracy with fashionable statements and false advertising  It is to protect and maintain order.  Governments stopped doing that a hundred years ago, at about the time of full suffrage.   When politics became a game of vote buying.
    With good government comes rules.  Rules that guarantee rights and safety but at the same time restrict the stupid from abusing their freedoms. The idea that the human race, with all of its failings can be allowed to choose its own destiny is so naive its embarassing.  We attempt to stop drug users or people prone to the pursuit of chemically induced pleasure from expresing their right to choose because their choices often hurt others.   Clearly any excess has a cost, even if it is subtle.  Unbridled freedom therefore is more often than not a recipe for disaster. 
    Freedom to be stupid isn’t freedom, it is incarceration for those of use who live proper (just) lives.  Its not freedom the world needs, its justice.

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  • Sun, May 27, 2018 - 7:11pm

    Reply to #2
    ffkling@sbcglobal.net

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    Posts: 0

    Overpopulation THE proximate cause of environmental destruction

    A flight over Alaska is proof the world is not experiencing a population explosion, really? The world’s productive land is already in use for human agriculture. More than half of entire global land surface is used for farming- an area the size of South America is used for crop production with another 8.900.000.000 acres is used for livestock. And there are large areas of desert like the Sahara desert that occupies 2.370.000.000 acres where any form of agriculture is impossible. Where will all the other species on the planet live? We require a healthy environment to feed us, provide us with natural resources like clean water, to treat our sewage and waste. We require healthy and diverse forests for medicine. More than half of all medications on the pharmacy were derived from a living organism.
    The point is the issue is far more complex then it appears. Meanwhile, every 365 days, 78 million more human consumers are created while during this same time period thousands of species are driven extinct.

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  • Sun, May 27, 2018 - 7:15pm

    #21
    ffkling@sbcglobal.net

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    Posts: 0

    Population is the trigger for all environmental pillaging

    Denialism is another form of insanity that is prevalent these days. Despite the best efforts of the denialist community to try and refute any claim that ecological collapse is actually in progress, deep down inside they acknowledge the truth. They are fully aware that a perfect storm is now forming, but the coping mechanism for these people is just to deny every piece of evidence that becomes manifest. How more obvious can these catastrophes become— a human population explosion as 78 million more human consumers are added to an existing population of 7.600.000.000 every 365 days while during this same time frame, thousands of animal and plant species are driven to extinction aka “6thMass Extinction Event” due to pollution, chemical contamination, desertification, oceanic dead zones, ocean acidification, mass coral die-offs, deforestation, groundwater depletion, etc.

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  • Sun, May 27, 2018 - 7:19pm

    #22
    ffkling@sbcglobal.net

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    Posts: 0

    Humanity is a cancer

    “I’d like to share a revelation. It came to me when I tried to classify the human species. I realized that you’re not mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops an equilibrium with the surrounding environment, but you humans do not. You move to an area, you rapidly multiply beyond the carrying capacity of the ecosystem, and consume until every natural resource is exhausted. The only way you can survive is to metastasize the human contagion to new, unspoiled environs. There is another organism on this planet that follows a similar destructive pattern. It’s a retrovirus. The human race is a destroyer of worlds. You are a plague, and we are the cure.”

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  • Mon, May 28, 2018 - 12:49am

    #23
    ffkling@sbcglobal.net

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    Joined: Jan 21 2010

    Posts: 0

    Trump administration defunds global family planning

    While the sane world recognizes the obvious contradiction of unlimited human population growth on a finite planet, in response the Trump administration defunded completely US international family planning programs- the definition of insanity.

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  • Mon, May 28, 2018 - 7:43pm

    #24

    newsbuoy

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Dec 10 2013

    Posts: 51

    Elephants are not whats in the room

    It’s cats. Google cats, go figure.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/26/technology/google-cats-owls.html?module=WatchingPortal&region=c-column-middle-span-region&pgType=Homepage&action=click&mediaId=thumb_square&state=standard&contentPlacement=10&version=internal&contentCollection=www.nytimes.com&contentId=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nytimes.com%2F2018%2F05%2F26%2Ftechnology%2Fgoogle-cats-owls.html&eventName=Watching-article-click&login=email&auth=login-email

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  • Thu, Jun 07, 2018 - 3:28am

    #25
    yogmonster

    yogmonster

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    Posts: 8

    Interesting take on this subject

    https://www.corbettreport.com/meet-paul-ehrlich-pseudoscience-charlatan/

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