Is human population growth really a problem?

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danhalmar's picture
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Is human population growth really a problem?

I'm a firm believer that we have enormous challenges facing us in the next 10 years and am very thankful for Chris Martenson's insight and analysis, not to mention the creative, engaging presentation.

However, I want to introduce another line of thinking that population DECLINE is a problem, not its growth.  Consider, if you will, the experts who cite these facts and views on www.demographicwinter.com.

Important to say that whether population growth or decline is a problem, the net effect is the same: massive upheaval which requires earnest preparation.  I appreciate your thoughts and consideration to this matter. <!--break-->

 

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Re: Is human population growth really a problem?

The effects of population decline will cause uncomfortable problems, but they will not be as catastrophic as a population explosion. We ARE between a rock and a hard place.....

FIRST, you have to come to grips we all die. YOU will die. No ifs no buts. When you check out is far less important than HOW you check out.... and you don't want to check out starving to death. If your pension funds disappear, it's really no big deal, there are ways of getting around the inability to not being able to have holidays in the Bahamas every other year in retirement!

I didn't look at the video (I rarely do, bandwidth issues, and my speakers died last month anyway, and I can't be bothered replacing them......

Mike

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Re: Is human population growth really a problem?

 While it is possible to maintain population growth at 0% - while we all become poorer as a result of peak oil, a worse scenario is becoming poorer as a result of peak oil and even poorer due to increased taxes necessary to support an aging population. Some may argue that depopulation is necessary in order to allign the amount of population to the carrying capacity of the earth, however every forecast of catastrophy has been wrong, and human ingenuity has not even begun to tackle this challenge. So, I remain optomistic about humanity's abilty to surpass peak oil, and pessimistic about the western world's ability to strengthen the family.

For population growth or 0% population growth to be back on the political agenda, a whole bunch of things would need to change. Let's hear some some suggestions from y'all. I'll start:

- dump pop culture, and promote an appreciation for real culture based on history, phylosophy and religion - especially with the young

- Establish penalties for couples who divorce without due cause (violence, cheating etc)

- Establish affordable housing programs to support young couples... so they don't wait until they are 40 to have kids!

- Develop back to work programs to assist stay at home mothers to return to work after a few years at home raising kids

What do you think?

John

 

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Re: Is human population growth really a problem?

Dan, population decline is a problem only because we've built an economic/monetary/political system that depends upon population growth. That manmade exponential system is what the experts in the documentary no doubt understand, but realize the limitation of such analysis.  It takes our manmade exponential system as a given--a fatal flaw--we don't live on an infinite earth and we aren't robots.  So even though we could push the growth system further for probably a long time, Japan could stack its citizens even deeper on top of each other, Europe could eliminate all grass to build more houses (their wilderness is already completely gone), Americans could run around even faster, a limit will be reached eventually.  And I don't look forward to a world where our grandchildren pump out even more kids to work even faster and harder, pay even more taxes, suffer under even more debt, consume even more McDonalds, watch more Dancing with the Stars, all to keep our flawed system afloat. That's not a life.

john wrote:

I remain optomistic about humanity's abilty to surpass peak oil, and pessimistic about the western world's ability to strengthen the family.......promote an appreciation for real culture

John, in my opinion the destruction of the family was an inevitable result of endless debt-based exponential growth which attacks culture, religion, history, philosophy, family. What destroyed real culture was the growth of the exponential debt/banking/corporate culture which will only keep destroying more cultures and creating deeper levels of pathology in people as long as the exponential culture continues.  The few government programs you propose will do nothing to fix this.  I don't mean this as a slap, rather just a different way to look at things, you're demonstrating the dead nature of our culture...looking up to non-human harvard/yale grads in DC to design a couple incentive programs to fix our lives. That's the culture of a dog on a leash, not an alive human.  Real culture, family, philosophy, spirituality emanates from within your individual soul, not from DC.  We gotta tear down the DC/Wall St system which keeps us on a leash instead of trying to tweak it.

 

 

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Re: Is human population growth really a problem?

 Well it does not help that we had been taught in school that the Chinese could line up and walk into the ocean and never stop . The propaganda has been pushed for a long time .

  If 6 billion people gathered together in a group  how much of the world will they cover ?    Not even as much as one  USA City .  And if you put them in cute little families of 4  and give them a house and lot . They would all fit in the state of Texas with room to grow .  . If we gave the families an Acre  they might cover Australia .    What  small family could not feed themselves on an Acre of land ?

 First the agenda has been  to postpone marriage  and change the image of the family ., Young people want to start out better off than their parents.  WE  encourage the moms to work and make them feel worthless if they do not .   Let people become more and more selfish and greedy so children are a liability . They interfere with our pursuit of happiness.  Baahh.  I tell you  that we do not need a TV. dumbing us down when you have a two year old to entertain you .

We have been sold  these lies .

 world shortage of food .   Are there too many people to feed .   Well you have seen the pictures and T.V. adds .  Poor people starving !!!  FACT ... We PAY farmers to NOT grow food ... Billions of Dollars .  Corn is below $3 a bushel   with the money   we could buy 20 billion bushel of corn .  We can  feed 1/4 o the world population  nutritious meals on what we pay the  US. farmers Not to grow.     We could actually feed the whole world  well balanced diet  from 10 USA  Midwestern  states. .  And if we mix beans and the wheat together we get a more complete protein. Yes there are people starving , even regions of them .   2 % of the people feed the other 98%   this should scare us.

People are not a drain on the wealth and resources , they are the producers of it .   People produce more than they consume .

 It all comes down to knowing a need from a want .  Families of four do not need  5000sq ft houses .  People do not need 5000 calories a day unless they are working VERY hard .   We just  need to be faithful stewards .    Haven't we noticed just by growing our own gardens how much less trash we have ?  Less  fuel to move the food .   If we eat the foods that grow in our area We feel better because our nutrition and exercise is better .  We feel more alive .

 Maybe we should think about what we have been sold .

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Re: Is human population growth really a problem?
Full Moon wrote:

... If we gave the families an Acre  they might cover Australia .    What  small family could not feed themselves on an Acre of land ?...

Sorry , but I think is a somewhat simplified view ... "we have land, we can populate nearly every square foot of it"

I'd like to know just what level of population is okay?

8 billion? 10 billion? 20 billion... 100 billion?

Here in Australia, the majority of land is not arable...

wikipedia wrote:

Australia is a developed country, with a prosperous multicultural society and has excellent results in many international comparisons of national performance such as health care, life expectancy, quality of life, human development, public education, economic freedom, and the protection of civil liberties and political rights.Australian cities routinely rank among the world's highest in terms of cultural offerings and quality of life.

By far the largest part of Australia is desert or semi-arid lands commonly known as the outback. Australia is the flattest continent, with the oldest and least fertile soils, and is the driest inhabited continent. Only the south-east and south-west corners of the continent have a temperate climate. The population density, 2.8 inhabitants per square kilometre, is among the lowest in the world, although a great proportion of the population lives along the temperate south-eastern coastline.

We are currently living through a ten year drought, and our reservoirs are at 30% percent capacity with summer on our doorstep.

"Build more dams!!" people scream.

Sure we can dig holes but without rain they won't fill up!

Our main food bowl is struggling to feed the population we already have and we are having electricity brownouts through summer thanks to people taking their government handout stimulus money and buying air conditioners and plasma TV's.

Our entire population of 22 million might not seem like much with a continent as large as ours but it  will not support people being packed in like sardines just because 'there is space'. Most of us are crammed along the east coast.

Basing population capacity purely on physical space doesn't work. There must be a balance that includes quality of life.

We currently have a good quality of life compared to many countries, but no species can keep growing idefinately because sooner later the bubble will burst. Animal populations wane when they exceed the ability of their environment to support their numbers.

Our two largest cities are approaching 5 million people and that alone causes all kind of infrastrucure and transporation issues.

Have you lived in a city of 20 million plus people?... Mexico City for example.

Food, water, housing, employment, transport, waste disposal, crime, pollution, healthcare, poverty and infastructure issues are all amplified.

If permaculture was a mandatory part of the global education system then I'm sure a larger population could be supported along with a reasonable standard of living. But until the current unsustainable system collapses (which it will) we will contnue to career towards the abyss and when enough have fallen off then a change may, just occur.

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Re: Is human population growth really a problem?
danhalmar wrote:

 ... I want to introduce another line of thinking that population DECLINE is a problem, not its growth.  Consider, if you will, the experts who cite these facts and views on www.demographicwinter.com

Strabes is exactly right, except perhaps he gives "the experts in the documentary" a little too much credit. To me, they seem completely clueless. The theory behind the film seems to be that in order to avoid a lot of pain we need to keep the music playing - forever, evidently. Never mind that that's not possible. But the unavoidable fact is, in every game of musical chairs, eventually the music stops, there's a winner (in this case, the top 1%) there are losers (the rest of us), and we all have to pay the piper.

johnbryson wrote:

For population growth or 0% population growth to be back on the political agenda, a whole bunch of things would need to change. Let's hear some some suggestions from y'all.

My suggestion? " The government should stay out of it. They are not wiser and more enlightened than the rest of us. Strabes nailed it:

Quote:

...looking up to non-human harvard/yale grads in DC to design a couple incentive programs to fix our lives. That's the culture of a dog on a leash, not an alive human.  Real culture, family, philosophy, spirituality emanates from within your individual soul, not from DC.  We gotta tear down the DC/Wall St system which keeps us on a leash instead of trying to tweak it.

Amen

Full Moon wrote:

If 6 billion people gathered together in a group  how much of the world will they cover ?    Not even as much as one  USA City .  And if you put them in cute little families of 4  and give them a house and lot . They would all fit in the state of Texas with room to grow .  

We all better hope you're right and we've still got a little more room left to grow - because we certainly don't have any choice - but barring the completely fantastic and unforeseeable, like it or not, a spherical planet with finite resources will eventually dictate limits to growth. We may or may not be able to live without oil, but we can't live without water. The Colorado river no longer reaches the Pacific Ocean. America's largest and most critical aquifier, the midwest Ogallala is headed for depletion. http://shipbright.wordpress.com/2009/10/12/water-and-agriculture-the-ogallala-aquifer/  China is losing a million acres a year to desertification http://geology.com/news/2007/desertification-in-china.shtml

Quote:

Well it does not help that we had been taught in school that the Chinese could line up and walk into the ocean and never stop . The propaganda has been pushed for a long time .

I don't dispute that there's propaganda, or that there are powerful forces pushing an agenda, but the same people pushing this have no intention of abandoning the growth addicted Ponzi scheme economic paradigm that is working at cross purposes with it. And they are the same people who have been pushing to facilitate maximum immigration (legal and illegal) into the United States. This is about control and it's about even more consolidation of power, in my opinion. But that doesn't change the fact that overpopulation is in fact a very real problem.

rowmat wrote:

I'd like to know just what level of population is okay?

8 billion? 10 billion? 20 billion... 100 billion?

That seems like a fair question to me. Albert Bartlett in his terrific presentation puts it in perspective (with mathematical precision)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFyOw9IgtjY&feature=video_response (I hugely recommend the whole series) 

At a modest 1.3% growth rate we will reach a density of one person per square meter of dry land on earth in just 780 years. If it were somehow possible to continue, in 2400 years the mass of people would be equal to the mass of the earth.

I'm afraid I have to agree with the good professor when he says with absolute certitude, "we will reach zero population growth."

Cheers

Greg

 

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Re: Is human population growth really a problem?

  Simple is what I am , Rowmat .          It takes people to raise the food  other people eat .  It does not get done with 1.8 children .  The farms here are average size 2000 acres .  Each feeds Many people. ... 130 I think  .  That is about 15 acres per person .    But I will tell you there is MUCH  land idle.  Some farms have no one left to farm them  the families got smaller and smaller .  My nearest neighbor is an 80 year old lady sitting on her 2000 acres .. The next is a couple on theirs.  Many farms do have 4 children to help run the place and still have to hire outside workers.

 Yes I lived in Japan, Philippines ,and Germany .   Loved the time there and the people, but 3-4 years in each was a plenty .   Felt totally dependant on the farmers there for our food.   Got back to the farm as soon as we could and hope to never feel that vulnerable again .

Everyone is at the mercy of the weather .  But wow 10 years of drought !      

 

   .   

 

 

 

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Re: Is human population growth really a problem?

And if you put them in cute little families of 4  and give them a house and lot . They would all fit in the state of Texas with room to grow .  . If we gave the families an Acre  they might cover Australia . 

And they'd all DIE!!

What  small family could not feed themselves on an Acre of land ?

One stuck in the Australian Outback where sometimes it won't rain for TEN YEARS STRAIGHT!!!!!!!

It hasn't rained here for over five months, and we are starting to struggle....... hope the storm they promised us this arvo eventuates....

Mike

 

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Re: Is human population growth really a problem?

      Here the towns are shriveling , the schools are closing  and we are busing farther and farther .  More people are choosing to home educate  so the children are not sitting on a bus for 2-3 hours a day .   Some buses have very small amount of children on them . On our bus route just 30 years ago there were 40+ kids today there maybe 10 . Every year our enrollment is in decline .  The sports and debate teams have to travel 1-4 hours for competitions .   There are no kids 'Dragging Main ',  few kids playing in the parks, riding bicycles , and   few swimming in the pools .

  Some  farms  have to hire people to come and work the land and animals ,  they put adds in the papers and the Internet .   Wives have to come home from work to work  yet more hours in the fields. The Harvest is plenty but the workers where are they ?   Some  that do apply for the jobs  have no qualifications , no CDL , some just do not like to work .    We  here are not shriveling because of lack of water but because of lack of  people . Our wells are only 20-40 ft. deep to hit good water .

 We are sitting at 3% unemployment and there are  help wanted adds in the shops , hospitals, nursing homes . Eventually even those will die off .  So those who are unemployed do not have to be .      Each week I see Hitchhikers go through our area  not even stop to look for work .  You may not get rich but  you could   make  a living . 

 Some of the young people leave because they too do not like to work ....  tired of dad pushing them so hard .  Some like a regular paycheck  and not to be at the mercy of the weather . Some just lack character . Some have been sold a dream ....   Ahh to be a famous athlete or actor !

   But  why do so many cling to the coasts ?   Sea Food ? Walks in the sand ? The friendly neighbors ?  Really wondering what  draws them there .    Will people get hungry enough to move or will they sit and draw off our  tax money  ?   Will fewer and fewer people need  to work to feed more and more  ?  Maybe it is our attitude that keeps people from moving here and starting businesses  but it takes people to support businesses .  We do lack in the entertainment area....

  I believe it was a drought that started pulling our people from the area and they have just not returned home  .   I always have more  questions than answers ,   you seem have all  the answers.    I will wait . 

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Re: Is human population growth really a problem?

Are we impotent to address population predicament?

By Ticky Fullerton for Lateline

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/11/05/2734609.htm?section=justin

About 90 per cent of the world's population growth has come from less developed regions, the least able to cope. (Reuters: Enny Nuraheni)

In 1935 prime minister Billy Hughes gave his famous orders to Australia: Populate or perish.

Seventy-five years on, it is a different world, with global population set to hit seven billion early in 2012 and top nine billion in 2050.

Only last month Australia's forecast was revised upwards by 20 per cent to 35 million.

But with climate change and growing resource pressures, some global experts are now warning it is a case of populate and perish.

Every year, more than 110 million children are born, the fastest growth the world has experienced.

Global population exploded after World War II from 2.5 billion, with about 90 per cent of this growth coming from less developed regions, the least able to cope.

From 1950 to 2000, Kenya's population grew five-fold to 30 million. And projections for 2050 have recently been revised from 44 million, made in 2002, to 85 million.

While talk of over-population is not new, in the 18th century Thomas Malthus was blunt in his assessment. Today his supporters are growing louder and more influential.

Sir Crispin Tickell speaks for the Optimum Population Trust (OPT), a British-based think tank warning of dire consequences of human proliferation.

The trust boasts other powerful voices including Sir David Attenborough, Gaia thinker James Lovelock and Paul Ehrlich, the man who became a household name in 1968 with his book The Population Bomb.

Inconvenient truth

While Mr Ehrlich's predictions of mass starvation have not come true, now at 81, he is adamant that world leaders are avoiding the most serious threat.

"And the problem is that the Al Gores and so on of the world actually refuse to look at what are the really inconvenient truths," he said.

"What are the inconvenient truths? There's a maldistribution of power. We have a population problem.

"When you look at the Inconvenient Truth movie, the solutions in the end are all brick-in-the-toilet type; that is the sort of things that if we did every single one of them as well as we could, it would delay the collapse of our civilisation by maybe 10 hours."

Refugee pressures will be one of many miserable consequences, according to Sir Crispin.

"The inhuman migration that would flow from increase in population is a major issue and countries are going to be keen to resist migrants from overseas," he said.

So dire are their predictions, the OPT does not believe there will be anything like the forecast nine billion people on Earth by the end of the century.

Professor Ehrlich paints a dystopic picture of the next 100 years.

"Great increases in hunger, the high likelihood of nuclear war, much bigger problems with plagues than we are having now with the H1N1 flu virus," he said.

"And a general deterioration in standard of living of everybody and many, many, many more premature deaths."

If there is even a chance these predictions are right, then where is the media and where are world leaders engaging in the population debate?

And why is it that most leaders accept nine billion as inevitable and focus on other issues like climate change?

Sir Crispin says leaders are frightened of offending powerful groups including the Catholic Church.

In March, Pope Benedict warned against condom use in Africa, even suggesting it would worsen the Aids problem. In July, he condemned all development funding linked to birth control.

Not far from Capitol Hill in Washington is another influential force; the Population Research Institute (PRI) has a network of pro-life groups in more than 30 countries.

Its goal is to expose what it calls "the myth" of over-population.

What population growth?

PRI spokesman Steven Mosher has testified in Congress and appeared on many US talk shows.

"What population growth? Europe is dying. The US continues to increase because of immigration from other countries," he said.

"Remember this, the Food and Agriculture Organisation based in Rome, part of the UN, says that with current agricultural technology we can feed 14 billion people. We will never get to 14 billion. We might get to eight billion.

"I have seen first hand what happens when governments take over control of fertility in a country. I was in China when the one-child policy began.

"I witnessed the forced abortion of women at six, seven, and eight months of pregnancy and I suspect that if Professor Ehrlich had been with me in the operating room and seen these forced abortions, that he might feel a little bit differently about his population control proposals.

"We've documented human rights abuses in 42 different counties as a direct result of population control ideas promoted by people like the Optimum Population Trust."

Thanks in part to the PRI's campaigning, the body charged with world population policy, the United Nations, is itself pretty impotent.

Accused of supporting sterilisation programs in Peru and forced abortions in China, US funding was cut off by all three Republican presidents for any UN-related aid groups that might offer abortion.

But this year has brought change. Barack Obama has restored funding to the UN, and significantly former president Bill Clinton has spoken out on the dangers of population growth.

Education push

"There is really one fool-proof way to slow the world's population growth, in a way that will not violate the values of any religion, and that is to dramatically accelerate our efforts to put every single girl in the world in school," Mr Clinton said.

Research presented this month to the UN supports Mr Clinton's push, educating women as the key to population restraint.

Sir Crispin say it is also the main message of the OPT, which does not support forced population control.

"Where women have the proper, same rights and the rest as men and where they have control over their own bodies, then you find the population very rapidly gets into balance and you can see this illustrated very well in India," he said.

"In the tropical south west, the small state of Kerala has succeeded where the rest of India has failed by controlling population growth.

"The women in this predominantly Christian state are better educated and have more rights than elsewhere."

Ironically, the best example of such female empowerment is fundamentalist Iran, now the condom capital of the Middle East.

The PRI supports education but argues that it is poverty, not populations, that destroy the environment. And Mr Mosher claims the UN Population Fund still has a much tougher agenda.

"How can they on the one hand be claiming espousing choice, and on the other hand be instructing governments that they have a population problem and they must do something about that problem, and 'here, we will give you the means to reduce the fertility among your people'," he said.

Too many rich babies

The big shock for experts has been the forecast population growth in western countries like Australia and the United States.

While the poor masses may die off in a cruel natural selection, Professor Ehrlich says population policy needs to address the gluttony of the West.

"The problem isn't too many poor babies. It's too many rich babies," he said.

"They're the ones that put pressure on our life support systems, so there should be gigantic penalties on rich people for having too many children."

But father-of-nine Mr Mosher is unrepentant.

"Children have an economic value. Every child born in the US over his or her lifetime will contribute about two thirds of a million dollars more than they consume," he said.

"That is that they will leave America a better place."

But as America's environmental footprint grows and the population clock ticks away, expect little talk of population at Copenhagen in December.

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Re: Is human population growth really a problem?

Great discussion here! Just a few comments from my side

Firstly - it is true that mathematically speaking we are experiencing exponential population growth, and that at some point this can collide with the carrying capacity of the earth, but there are so many factors which may influence the outcome of population growth, most of which have not been considered publicly.

Consider this -  most rural families in India and many other emerging or not so emerging countries - have +3 kids so that the parents can be supported by their childrenin their old age.  A system that operates a bit like a pension scheme. The more kids you have - the better looked after you are! People in the west don't think this way, because we have built a more prosperous society that so far has allowed individuals to generate wealth, retire and live off their savings - not requiring people to have kids in order to provide for them in their old age.

Add to this the fact,

... that it is poverty, not populations, that destroy the environment .

And we can thus conclude that raising the standard of living whilst providing a system that protects peoples savings would be a way to change attitudes and thus reduce population growth.

Secondly, we have barely scratched the surface of human ingenuity in regards to tackling sustainability. While I do believe there will be hickups along the way - especially as a result of peak oil - I don't believe that we are not able to find ways of producing energy, water and food in sufficient amounts to support an even larger population than we currently have on this planet.

Let's consider water. It is true, that rivers are running dry, and that we experience droughts every so often - and sometimes for decades - and that the water table in some countries is becoming ever more contaminated etc. etc.. However, water is present in many forms around the world; from condensation, to ice, rain etc - and I am sure that we can find sufficient ways to capture it so that we sustain ourselves. For example - here's an ingenious product that condenses water from air (www.air2water.net). And this is just the start!

Thirdly, since  

People are not a drain on the wealth and resources , they are the producers of it .   People produce more than they consume .

so - why are we assuming that over the coming decades, or centuries - we are constrained to the physical limits of only the earth? It might sound like a dream now, but maybe one day we will figure out how to create an atmosphere on Mars, and colonize it. Landing on the moon was a fantasy 70-80 years ago - until JFK established it as a goal.

The question I have - is not whether we will manage to find the answers to the challenges we face (I am sure we will!), but whether we will be allowed to follow through and solve these problems to build a more equitable and sustainable world.

So far the TPTB are not allowing open, and fair debate on the subject of population - similar to other subjects: peak oil, global warming etc... So, I checked out the National Population Institute site: (http://pop.org/). It has an interesting group of articles called pop 101.Check it out!

John

 

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Re: Is human population growth really a problem?

 I am still not sure of the motive behind the agenda here.  I know I am getting old and tired  and  if it takes 6 people working to support one person on social security /Medicare we do not have enough young people .Who will grow our food ? Who will build our bridges ,?Who will fight our wars? Who will wipe our butts ?     We need people .    I would rather depend on and  hug a grandchild than a bigger tractor , bigger combine,or bar of gold .    But hey , if I am the only one  among the 1000 or so who visit here that believe Children are a gift from God, then  you might not have as big a worry as you think  and we will see 0 population growth very soon .  

 

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population growth is THE foundation problem

• Dividing an ever shrinking pie of resources among an ever expanding population is not a recipe for prosperity. It’s a Ponzi scheme.

• It’s not how many people the earth can contain; it’s how many people the earth can sustain.

• Sooner or later, human population will decline. The only question is whether it’s due to falling birth rates…or rising death rates.

• Can we continue to feed an ever expanding human population? As they say on Wall Street, “Past performance does not guarantee future results.”

• How do we add 2.5 billion more people to the planet, eradicate poverty, feed the hungry, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80%? Good question.

The Real “Inconvenient Truth”

Most Americans believe that we are “exceptional”—both as a society and as a species. We believe that America was ordained through divine providence to be the societal role model for the world. And we believe that through our superior intellect, we can harness and even conquer Nature in our continuous quest to improve the material living standards associated with our ever-increasing population.

The truth is that our pioneering predecessors drifted, quite by accident, upon a veritable treasure trove of natural resources and natural habitats, which they wrested by force from the native inhabitants, and which we have persistently overexploited in order to create and perpetuate our American way of life. The truth is that through our “divine ordination” and “superior intellect”, we have been persistently and systematically eliminating the very resources upon which our way of life and our existence depend.

http://wakeupamerika.com/intro.html  Brief intro

Chris Clugston on American Sustainability Summary (PDF, 218 KB)

http://www.wakeupamerika.com/PDFs/On-American-Sustainability.pdf contains the models, evidence, and references for the conclusions reached in the above summary.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overpopulation

http://dieoff.org lots of great sources: search for "Population" and "Carrying Capacity" on  this page

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=population-and-sustaina...

Given the long-term contribution that a turnaround in population growth could make in easing our most recalcitrant challenges, why doesn’t the idea get more respect and attention? Politicians’ apathy toward long-term solutions is part of the answer. But the more obvious reason is the discomfort most of us feel in grappling with the topics of sex, contraception, abortion, immigration and family sizes that differ by ethnicity and income. What in the population mix is not a hot button? Especially when the word “control” is added, and when the world’s biggest religions have fruitful multiplication embedded in their philosophical DNA. And so critics from left, right and the intellectual center gang up on the handful of environmentalists and other activists who try to get population into national and global discussions.

 

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earthwise
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Re: Is human population growth really a problem?

 

Full Moon,

But hey , if I am the only one  among the 1000 or so who visit here that believe Children are a gift from God...

You aren't.

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strabes
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Re: Is human population growth really a problem?

yes, children brought into the natural world are a gift to live in harmony with it.  

but given the destructive, exponential systems of empire we've built, we've thrown things out of harmony.

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Damnthematrix
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Re: Is human population growth really a problem?

"But hey , if I am the only one  among the 1000 or so who visit here that believe Children are a gift from God..."

Children, like everything else you use and own, are gifts from NATURE, and Nature has the ultimate right to take back what it has given.....

Mike

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Re: Is human population growth really a problem?
Full Moon wrote:

. . .  if I am the only one  among the 1000 or so who visit here that believe Children are a gift from God . . .

We may be rare, my lunar friend, but you're not the only one . . . Smile

 

 

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earthwise
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Re: Is human population growth really a problem?

Damnthematrix,  if...

Children, like everything else you use and own, are gifts from NATURE, and Nature has the ultimate right to take back what it has given.....

then doesn't that mean that nature is committing conscious acts of giving and taking through the excercise of it's "ultimate right". And since nature's ultimate right therefore includes the giving and taking back of everything we use and own, even children, doesn't that  thereby signify the superiority of nature above all things (even humans)?. Aren't all these things attributes of God? And isn't it then logical to conclude from your post here (and reinforced by your other posts)  that you your Supreme Being, i.e. nature, is your God?

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Damnthematrix
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Re: Is human population growth really a problem?

I was simply writing metaphorically, I don't believe Nature is "conscious". In the same way, I think Gaia behaves like an organism, but it isn't one. I stand in awe of the energies of the Universe, but I don't idolise it, it isn't alive, it doesn't make choices about whether we exist or not, and there may well be many more Universes we will never know about. Why should we think "our" Universe is the only one? So anthropocentric.......!

Mike

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Re: Is human population growth really a problem?

But hey , if I am the only one  among the 1000 or so who visit here that believe Children are a gift from God, then  you might not have as big a worry as you think  and we will see 0 population growth very soon .

You are not alone.

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r
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Re: Is human population growth really a problem?
Quote:

But hey , if I am the only one  among the 1000 or so who visit here that believe Children are a gift from God...

Excuse me but this says a lot about why the population problem is intractable.  You have the Pope dispensing this truth to the poor in Africa and Asia.  But Catholic charities cannot do enough to combat child labor, prostitution and militias in war-torn areas.  And I don't believe enough parents think this is true. 

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Re: Is human population growth really a problem?

 r.     you could be right , I know nothing of the Catholic teaching or the Pope  , I do  think  it is the Muslims that are passing up everyone else added together .            Right again about  not enough parents think it is true. ...   you just can't make people care or have a servants heart .

   It is going to get interesting , very interesting ,in the world to come . 

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Re: Is human population growth really a problem?
Full Moon wrote:

...  if I am the only one  among the 1000 or so who visit here that believe Children are a gift from God ...

earthwise wrote:

You aren't.

Cloudfire wrote:

We may be rare, my lunar friend, but you're not the only one . . . 

johnbryson wrote:

You are not alone.

Anyone else?

Come on guys. Enough of the 'holier than thou' stuff. Consciously or not, the passive aggressive argument that you're advancing here, with all the subtlety of a Mack truck, is a blatant straw man fallacy - the notion that those of us  who think overpopulation is a problem (and who apparently outnumber you poor persecuted few) must therefore NOT believe children are a gift.  - For the great majority of us, I'm sure, that is simply untrue and unfair.

I'm willing to defend your right to have as many children as you want just as vigorously as you would. But I would ask that you respect my desire to make this a better world for them - and I don't think a world where people are starving and fighting over increasingly scarce resources is a better world. That's all.

Peace

Greg

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Re: Is human population growth really a problem?
r wrote:
Quote:

But hey , if I am the only one  among the 1000 or so who visit here that believe Children are a gift from God...

Excuse me but this says a lot about why the population problem is intractable.  You have the Pope dispensing this truth to the poor in Africa and Asia.  But Catholic charities cannot do enough to combat child labor, prostitution and militias in war-torn areas.  And I don't believe enough parents think this is true. 

r,

Your frustration is understandable, but I don't think this is really the problem. The problem, in my view, is the growth addicted debt based economic system we talk about on this site everyday. Not only does the inherent profligacy of the system exponentially reduce the carrying capacity of the earth, it ensures that the poor stay poor. Short of brutally tragic or brutally authoritarian measures, we will never overcome the population explosion without overcoming poverty. And we will never overcome poverty until we change the fraudulent and exploitive system of economics we currently live under. I think that's the real problem.

Peace

Greg

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Re: Is human population growth really a problem?

Hi Greg,

I think we have the same objectives but maybe a different way of going about the solution.

We live in a consumption based society, without a proper dicernable understanding of needs vs wants. There is so much inefficiency in our consumption in the west, and so much inequity within the distribution of these material goods through out the world. As you righly mentioned this debt based, corporate, western world centric financial system - is driving much of this inefficiency and inequity. And I agree the first thing to do is to get rid of it!

But what do we replace it with? Whatever we replace our current system with I think needs to be based on a system that:

1) recognizes the limitations and constraints we have in this world

2) provides an opportunity for individuals to develop prosperity, and keep it!

3) strengthens society so that it is able to sustain difficulties in building a better future

4) has respect human life - in all it's forms.

Declining resources (oil, natural resources) requires changes capable of a morally strong society. One that is able to accept short term pain for long term gain. The alternative is every man for himself, which usually ends up in chaos or at best a dictatorship of some sort.

Having said this, are we really sure that overpopulation is a problem, and not over consumption?

If we assume that overconsumption is the problem, wouldn't steps taken to solve this issue reduce the influence of the monetary, financial and corporate system over the population? In this advent of declining resources, I see the "crisis" of overpopulation as the the ideal pretext for governments and the elite to exert more control over the population - not a way to make people more free. I also find it as a perfect excuse to redistribute the pie amongst less people.... just another way to increase individual wealth!

John

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Re: Is human population growth really a problem?
johnbryson wrote:

Hi Greg,

I think we have the same objectives but maybe a different way of going about the solution.

Having said this, are we really sure that overpopulation is a problem, and not over consumption?

If we assume that overconsumption is the problem, wouldn't steps taken to solve this issue reduce the influence of the monetary, financial and corporate system over the population? In this advent of declining resources, I see the "crisis" of overpopulation as the the ideal pretext for governments and the elite to exert more control over the population - not a way to make people more free. I also find it as a perfect excuse to redistribute the pie amongst less people.... just another way to increase individual wealth!

John

John

Only on Chris Martenson can I find myself simultaneously outflanked from the left AND the right at the same time! While I agree we appear to share many of the same objectives, we do not share the one in question here - that being population. You want to increase it. I do not. As for our solutions to our respective objectives, I agree, we've got different solutions. You want to use the government to increase the population. I don't want to use the government to increase it OR decrease it. I don't think it's any of their business. I'm from the "government that governs least, governs best" camp.

Is overpopulation a problem? It sure looks that way to me. In almost every part of the world we're up against serious resource constraints, especially water. But in a sense it doesn't matter what I think, because the only solution I'm proposing is poverty alleviation. I'm confident that prosperous, educated people will be capable of deciding for themselves whether it's a good idea to have more children or not. They don't need elite central planners to decide for them. And so as for your concern about government and elites exploiting an overpopulation "crisis." I think your concerns are justified. I want no part of that agenda.

As for over-consumption, I think that's a function both of our growth addicted economic system as well as a foreign policy that is deeply exploitive of the developing world. Globalization is a sham. The IMF and World Bank keep the developing world in insurmountable debt. The WTO and other trade agreements skewed heavily to the rich nations keep 3rd world workers working for next to nothing - exacerbated by our reserve currency abuse. And of course the CIA and our trillion dollar military corrupts foreign governments and assures us cheap subsidized oil and other resources. I love my country as much as anyone, but our foreign policy is shameful.

But I sure hope you're right about the population, because we're not going to solve any of this quickly. This stuff is deeply entrenched. But if we can manage not to blow ourselves up or wipe ourselves out completely, I do think we could get it right someday. That's my hope and belief.

Peace

Greg

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Vanityfox451
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Posts: 1636
Time Gentlemen Please !!!

It's a wonder ... what in hell happened to inteligent debate here at CM over the past year ???

2000 years of murder through belief, 150 years of exponential growth from cheap energy and a doubling of global population since the inaugeration of President Kennedy? What does this tell you? 

We're reducing one of the most genius sites to ever emerge on the net to a squabling match over who knows best!!!

As ever, well done to Greg for at least trying to reduce the sniping and, as ever, to DamnTheMatrix in bringing into the fray a 'VERY IMPORTANT' subject, only to have it reduced to rubble yet again. .

C1oudfire???

... as Albert Bartlett asks, "What time is it?"

Get your lives in perspective please. Oh, between wiping your feet at the door and before you sit down as a guessed at the table of this site, please hang your ego on the hook behind the door ...

Best,

Paul

 

 

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Re: Is human population growth really a problem?

 

 

 

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johnbryson
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Posts: 54
Re: Is human population growth really a problem?

Hi Greg,

Thanks for your comments. The points I made at the begining of this thread - about incentivating population growth - was directed towards mainly European countries where births are way below replacement rates. As shown in Hans Roslings presentation (Thanks plato1965), population growth slows as populations grow older, safer and richer. So, if the trend holds true, population growth will stop in a few decades at 9-10 Billion.

As for government intervening in population growth - I think you are right that it is none of their business. I was attempting to propose some creative solutions for discussion, in light of the low births per woman we are experiencing here in Europe (Spain 1.3, Belgium 1.7).

Cheers,

John

 

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ronmeisels
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Posts: 11
Re: Is human population growth really a problem?

Hey John,

I think you have a few good ideas there, except for

- Establish penalties for couples who divorce without due cause (violence, cheating etc)

PENALTIES! ARE YOU NUTS! Who the heck are you to tell someone else who they should marry, when they should marry, or if they get divorced?

It's call civil rights dude! one of the most basic of all human rights.People have a right to decide their own destiny and are free to do what they want especially when it comes to living with someone. Who cares what the reason if any man, or woman decides that a relationship is over it's over! Do you know why John? Because relationships are two-sided and if one side wants to get up and leave the other person is just out of luck!

Thats why there should be plenty of mutual understanding and love and caring but still marriages go sour and it's not anyone's decision to make whether someone stays in a marriage except the person in the marriage.

You are sounding like a very disturbed religious fundementalist with no respect for women as human beings with rights and choices of their own. How would you like someone telling you how to live your life?

Which brings me to another point of yours

-dump pop culture, and promote an appreciation for real culture based on history, phylosophy and religion - especially with the young

which on the surface sounds ok except for the religion part. Who are you to say that real culture must include religion? Maybe you are a religious fanatic. If you are then please adhere to your own bible when it says judge not lest you be judged and the other part about the lord judging people not you! Why do so many bible thumpers think they are the lord and have the power to judge?

Well I don't believe in any god and I consider myself enlightened and have an open mind that can be objective and rational and recognize logical thoughts and your thoughts are anything but logical.

I feel very sorry for any women in your household.

 

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