Population: how to control it

180 posts / 0 new
Last post
pir8don's picture
pir8don
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 30 2008
Posts: 456
Population: how to control it

To me this is the only elephant. P = E + E + E.

But the problem is almost more than we can possibly tackle.

My solution is to stop transporting food. This would force us to live within our local resource base and effectively limit our population. I think we need to do this voluntarily before we are forced to do it by lack of transport. To get some practice in, as it were. I suggest we form groups with our immediate neighbours around a hundred people based on physical boundaries where possible and start by growing food together. And yes I've talked to my neighbours but it hasn't started because most don't see a need although many are growing for various reasons. Those of us that do see a need are too few so far and not my immediate neighbours. 

There are nearly 7 billion of us all together but the best estimates of sustainable population are around the one billion mark without extracted carbon.

Do you agree that population is the elephant?

Do you have an alternative solution?

Do you think that we can support a bigger population than a billion or so without extracted carbon?

 

Don

______________________________________

If the only fix is a big fix then there is no fix

 

jrf29's picture
jrf29
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 18 2008
Posts: 453
Re: Population: how to control it

pir8don, 

Are you suggesting the systematic starvation of a large portion of our population?  Nature is certainly capable of accomplishing this herself, and if that is what ultimately must happen, then isn't your solution no less brutal than the starvation which might occur naturally upon the exhaustion of resources?

Even if we were to concede that the end result of starvation for some people is unavoidable, and even to imagine that such a result was just, as Joubert said: There are some acts of justice which corrupt those who perform them.

Some acts, even those which are inevitable, are better left for nature herself.

Damnthematrix's picture
Damnthematrix
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 10 2008
Posts: 3998
Re: Population: how to control it

It's going to get ugly, and justice won't even get a look in...

Mike 

SamLinder's picture
SamLinder
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 10 2008
Posts: 1499
Re: Population: how to control it
Damnthematrix wrote:

It's going to get ugly, and justice won't even get a look in...

Mike 

That's what I like about you, Mike. You're always looking on the bright side!  Laughing

joemanc's picture
joemanc
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 16 2008
Posts: 834
Re: Population: how to control it
pir8don wrote:

Do you have an alternative solution?

 

Yes - At least in the U.S., we can get rid of the child tax credits. If we want to go the China way, we could implement a 1-child per household law. I don't know the numbers for sure, but I think the U.S. is actually a zero population growth country if you exclude incoming immigrants, legal or illegal.

pir8don's picture
pir8don
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 30 2008
Posts: 456
Re: Population: how to control it

Hi jrf29

I deliberately haven't said anything about transporting people. Many people can move while we still have transport. Once we don't we have a lot less options.

Isn't it most likely that starvation follows from no food in the stores? Are we better to wait for it? I am not proposing a big or forced fix. I am suggesting we see if we can do it now ourselves rather than wait to see what happens. Like  a kind of insurance.

Don

pir8don's picture
pir8don
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 30 2008
Posts: 456
Re: Population: how to control it

Hi joemanc

I'm pretty sure we (in the western world) don't get any gold stars for no longer growing our numbers when our resource use is so much staggeringly higher than that of others. We of all people should be best able to live sustainably because of the resources we have - so why don't we? Isn't it nothing to do with government but a lot to do with our individual comfort and laziness. Are we about to be the first humans to starve on mass before we are even weaned? By before weaned I mean self fed.

Don

____________________________________

Store fed, store owned.

jrf29's picture
jrf29
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 18 2008
Posts: 453
Re: Population: how to control it
pir8don wrote:

I deliberately haven't said anything about transporting people. Many people can move while we still have transport.

I think that halting the transportation of food would cause starvation whether or not people could be transported. 

As I understand it, the transportation of food merely enables a food producing region to support people elsewhere, who otherwise would have had to live within that food producing region.  So, the total population, speaking only in terms of food, remains roughly the same, except that some of those people who otherwise would have needed to live within the food producing area are now able to live elsewhere.

The problem is that we cannot speak only in terms of food.  Many of our resources---timber, metal, rock quarries, minerals and salts, fuels, even water---come from non-food producing regions.  It is these resources which allow our food producing regions to produce as much as they do. 

Without food transportation, the necessary population could not be maintained in mining towns, for example.  Without the mines, tractors and plows could not be produced and food production would collapse rapidly.  Our total ability to produce food would decrease by an order of mangitude.  Without food transportation, fuels could not be extracted from the earth in fuel-bearing regions. Agricultural production would be reduced to the amount possible through manual labor alone.  There is no possible way that manual agriculture could support the present population.  Without our modern capacity for mass food production, people would starve.

Even if we assume that our capacity to produce food would not be affected by the cessation of food transport, then the only result would be that everybody would move into the current food producing regions, which does nothing to solve the problem.

Set's picture
Set
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 26 2008
Posts: 112
Re: Population: how to control it

At the risk of seeming politically incorrect, aren’t some of the most prominent religions responsible for encouraging couples to have many children?  And, if this is true, how will anyone ever discourage what many people consider to be “God’s will?”  Also, aren't these same religions against abortion as well as birth control?     

pir8don's picture
pir8don
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 30 2008
Posts: 456
Re: Population: how to control it
jrf29 wrote:

Without food transportation, the necessary population could not be maintained in mining towns, for example.  Without the mines, tractors and plows could not be produced and food production would collapse rapidly.  Our total ability to produce food would decrease by an order of mangitude.  Without food transportation, fuels could not be extracted from the earth in fuel-bearing regions. Agricultural production would be reduced to the amount possible through manual labor alone.  There is no possible way that manual agriculture could possibly support the present population.  Without our modern capacity for mass food production, people would starve.

You are describing a life without carbon extraction. We have to face it eventually. Why not start facing it now? To make the soil productive again without carbon fertilisers and carbon pesticides needs time. Why not use the time we have? Lets learn how to do it again so more of us can live. If we can't transport food to cities wont they become wastelands?

Don

jrf29's picture
jrf29
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 18 2008
Posts: 453
Re: Population: how to control it


set wrote:

At the risk of seeming politically incorrect, aren’t some
of the most prominent religions responsible for encouraging couples to
have many children?  And, if this is true, how will
anyone ever discourage what many people consider to be “God’s will?” 
Also, aren't these same religions against abortion as well as birth
control? 

There is nothing politically incorrect in observing the truth.  And it may or may not be possible to dissuade such people.  However without making any judgement as to whether or not it might be the case, if the harsh reality of the natural world and the Will of God as interpreted by a religious movement were opposed, in the long run mother nature will prevail.  So the question is moot in either case.

Set's picture
Set
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 26 2008
Posts: 112
Re: Population: how to control it
jrf29 wrote:

There is nothing politically incorrect in observing the truth.  And it may or may not be possible to dissuade such people.  However without making any judgement as to whether or not it might be the case, if the harsh reality of the natural world and the Will of God as interpreted by a religious movement were opposed, in the long run mother nature will prevail.  So the question is moot in either case.

Considering that the vast majority of people, especially in America, follow a religion that not only encourages more people to be created, but, discourages even preventing one from being born, or even conceived makes these questions far from moot.  These facts represent one of the largest obstacles humankind will have to address if we are ever to bring our population under control in a more humane manner than starvation.   

Moderator Jason's picture
Moderator Jason
Status: Moderator (Offline)
Joined: Dec 23 2008
Posts: 98
Re: Population: how to control it

To everybody: these are profound questions which are under consideration.  The population of the planet and the resources available to our children are legitimate concerns, and their consideration may follow naturally from the issues raised in the Crash Course.  However, one important purpose of this website at this time is to spread awareness of certain facts to everybody, including those who may have religious convictions. 

Although the questions raised here are no doubt important, we cannot allow the primary mission of spreading awareness to be compromised by any suggestions which would tend to harshly offend the sensibilities of any large portion of the population.  Without a broad awareness among the people, nothing good can come of any suggestion made here.  And broad awareness cannot result if this website is avoided by people---people of faith or by any other group.

This discussion treads upon relatively dangerous ground.  It may continue, but I must ask that the participants consider their words carefully, and craft their responses with due regard for the beliefs of all.  Failure to do so will result in the deletion of this thread.

Damnthematrix's picture
Damnthematrix
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 10 2008
Posts: 3998
Re: Population: how to control it

With all due respect Jason, it's EXACTLY this kind of thinking that got us into this mess.  The time has come to rattle cages...

Mike

kowanalynn's picture
kowanalynn
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 5 2008
Posts: 9
Re: Population: how to control it

Public Relations is the tool that is in order here.

Once one views the crash course and the statistics embodied therein - it is hard to disagree with the fact that population growth Is a threat to future survival for us all.

That is the idea that must be gotten across.

Steering clear of targeting a religion or an ideology will better ones chances of getting the message across.  Otherwise the message will fall on deaf ears.

To those recipients of the course who are rational. thinking individuals, it will get them thinking and re evaluating their own actions and responsibilities in light of their current new awareness. Change will come by individuals getting enlightened and then choosing to take personal responsibility. 

Change of viewpoint will not come by attacking ideologies that may have been born in a time when exponential growth was no immediate threat. 

We must be diplomatic while being insistent on getting the message across, without pointing fingers.

Getting the crash course into the hands of opinion leaders everywhere, regardless of beliefs, is a good start.

Yes - we must rattle cages on the subject of overpopulation.  With effective communication of the facts, and by steering clear of attacking groups wholesale.

Lynn

 

 

Set's picture
Set
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 26 2008
Posts: 112
Re: Population: how to control it

I try to live an ethical life guided by what I believe to be a pretty strong moral compass.  I have empathy for the vast majority who live, or more accurately put, exist, in some of the most inhumane conditions that many people can even imagine.  I respect all life and I think that on a philosophical level, one of the most important things I can do in my life is try to prevent or reduce the amount of pain, whether it be physical or psychological, that is involved for any form of life capable of feeling hurt and that I have the ability to alleviate.  

I like this website for many reasons and near the top of the list of those reasons is the fact that it gives me hope.  I am not as optimistic as I wish I could be.  I am sorry if I have offended anyone with regards to my remarks and questions involving religion.  I understand that a person’s religion can bring them the kind of hope and inner peace that I yearn for in life.  It’s not as if I am unwilling, or that I haven’t investigated most of the major ones; it’s more of an inability to put my faith into any religion.  I was not attacking religion and I do partially agree with the notion that it actually is politically incorrect to even have brought the topic up in this forum; therefore, I will write no more on this subject.  The message contained within the body of the “Crash Course” is too important to compromise by anyone for any reason.            

Damnthematrix's picture
Damnthematrix
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 10 2008
Posts: 3998
Re: Population: how to control it

I'm not religious, but I would fight for anyone's right to believe as they wish.  However, if that belief includes the bearing of totally unsustainble numbers of children, and such numbers having the capacity to affect ME and MINE, well then that is altogether different.....

Having said that, loads of Catholics have told the Pope where to go by using family planning methods the Church disapproves of.  To those Catholics, in particular, I raise my glass for thinking outside the Matrix...

Just because one is religious doesn't mean one has to also ignore reality!  I hope the moderators read this in the positive spirit it is meant in.... 

pir8don's picture
pir8don
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 30 2008
Posts: 456
Re: Population: how to control it

I think religion is a bit of a red herring in any case. It isn't an alternative solution and we will just waste our time identifying what are pretty minor aspects of the problem. People can only raise children that they can feed. The others don't get raised.

As our western societies are now I don't think any government effort like that of China would be found acceptable although it might make some sense to stop paying people to reproduce.

I am hopeful that if we could start doing anything in small neighbourhood groups we might find ourselves with solutions we had never thought of or at least moving toward greater communal sustainability. At the moment you may feel like me that we have more of a community in cyber space than in our neighbourhood. Thats not to denigrate present community networks but participation in those networks is much like the web. Links with nodes of similar thought but not with adjacent nodes. How can we make links to sufficient neighbours to capture a useful diversity?

One idea I have had is that we could get together to save money on communication. We could start a not for profit group, purchase internet bandwidth and distribute it locally by wireless. I know I could more than halve the cost of comms for each household. But; when sustainability is the issue, will a focus on forming a group around money lead anywhere else? I guess it might get us together and it has more chance than presenting the crash course at the moment. What do you think?

Don

Damnthematrix's picture
Damnthematrix
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 10 2008
Posts: 3998
Re: Population: how to control it

I totally agree that paying people to not reproduce would be far better than paying them to reproduce (as occurs here, phased in by the last government, being phased out by the new), but are 'draconian laws' any better than mass starvation?

pir8don's picture
pir8don
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 30 2008
Posts: 456
Re: Population: how to control it

Mike

If the only choice was between draconian laws or starvation, I guess I wouldn't take the starvation. Cross the ditch we don't pay anyone for progeny either way.Smile Rekon draconian laws aren't going to be very enforcable by impotent governments anyway.

Don

Damnthematrix's picture
Damnthematrix
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 10 2008
Posts: 3998
Re: Population: how to control it

"impotent governments".....  what a GREAT choice of wirds!!

jrf29's picture
jrf29
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 18 2008
Posts: 453
Re: Population: how to control it

I would argue that, if a choice must be made, strict laws would be better than starvation.  I have known several people from China, and though they had diverse opinions on other matters, they all heartily approved of their country's decision to limit reproduction to one child.  They told me this is because their parents remembered the famines of the 1960's and 70's, when millions of people starved to death.  They said, essentially, that the suffering caused by denying a family more than one child is dwarfed by the suffering of a family's children starving to death.

Starvation is a cruel way to die, and also very unfair, since those with means and connections generally survive with food to spare, while those on the margins of society endure unspeakable suffering.  I argue that laws would be more equitable, since they would apply fairly to all, and also be more humane, since the misery is avoided. 

Furthermore, it is everywhere accepted that an individual is remiss in their duty to society if they fail to make adequate provisions for their own support and instead choose exist as a burden to others.  Why not extend this principle?  Why can't we suppose that if a person has a personal responsibility not to be a burden on society, then they also have a responsibility, before they create biological reproductions of themselves, to see that these reproductions will not be a burden either? 

And what of people's responsibility to the children themselves?  Do people not have a duty to feed and clothe their children?  And to protect them from forseeable harm?  If this is true, then is it not negligence to bring the specter of starvation upon one's own offspring, if that is forseeable?

Furthermore, there is society's duty to be fair to the individual.  If we accept the mathematical truth that population growth must eventually stop, then why should a family be required to make the decision individually, thus placing themselves at a potential disadvantage relative to other families?  Why shouldn't the same requirements of austerity be imposed simultaneously upon everybody in society, so that people are not put at a personal disadvantage by doing what is necessary for the greater good?

britinbe's picture
britinbe
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 28 2008
Posts: 381
Re: Population: how to control it

One has to remember that reality or at least the perception of it lies within an individuals head and only the individual has the power to change the way they view the reality.  There are lots of similar minded people on this forum, but we all have differences of opinion (big or small) as to how we would deal with things.  Human kind has thought for decades that we can control nature and when things go wrong its because we made an error whether this be the Titanic or Katrina.

In short, population control will be forced upon us either by war or starvation in all likelihood as peoplefight for resources of the laws of nature come into play.  I do worry about the transition and as to whether we will end up in some kind of mesolithic kind of situation or whether it will be a more civilised pre-industrial revolution scenario. 

 

 

RubberRims's picture
RubberRims
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 22 2008
Posts: 145
Re: Population: how to control it

Well put Britinbe,

From Wikipedia and in my direct opinion spot on.

Consciousness may involve thoughts, sensations, perceptions, moods, emotions, dreams, and self-awareness.It has been defined from a biological and causal perspective as the act of autonomously modulating attentional and computational effort, usually with the goal of obtaining, retaining, or maximizing specific parameters, such as food, a safe environment, family, or mates.

In common parlance, consciousness sometimes also denotes being awake and responsive to the environment, in contrast to being asleep or in a coma.

RR

 

A. M.'s picture
A. M.
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 22 2008
Posts: 2367
Re: Population: how to control it

Strict laws are not the solution to anything.
Government intervention isn't likely to "solve" the problem, it'll just spread it around to people who ordinarially would have buffered themselves from it.

If I'm producing food, I don't want someone coming to my house and taking a portion to feed those who aren't doing anything for themselves. Whether you blame religion, ethinicity, culture, system of government or whatever else, how can you say it's the responsibility of the government? It's erroneous and not even worth consideration, as placing blame doesn't solve the problem, and the recipients of the blame are too numerous to consolidate for resolution.

The bottom line is humans as a species are about to reap what we've been sowing since the end of the dark ages.
We've payed no mind to conservation of resources, built an entire social infrastructure on mindless consumerism and encouraged appathy as if it were virtue.

Now, several lines of malady are intersecting; Overpopulation, ERoEI, Fiscal irresponsibility on a global level, loss of any sort of responsible management on a global level, and inter-dependance on globalization.

The government has absolutely no place regulating who does what with their property, whether it's food, land or anything else, and the sooner that it loses it's semblence of legitimacy, the sooner the population can resume management of its own interest.

Calling for intervention is calling for disaster, as you won't likely be the benefactor.

caroline_culbert's picture
caroline_culbert
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 2 2008
Posts: 624
Re: Population: how to control it

There are definitely many approaches to this problem (if one wants to call it a problem).  I just call it life.  Some of us will live (those of us who live in the countries with the upper hand), and some of us will die (those unfortunates that live in dire, food-stricken countries).  Two approaches I like to take is one with ethics and one without.

This first, that without ethics, is one I see at a lofty level.  I see us all scrambling about searching for food like ants on an ant hill and taking it down to the rest of the colony.  Simply put, at the primary level, we need nutrients to live.

The other, I see involving ethics, is the approaching pot of boiling water that floods the ant hill.  This will hopefully kill the queen from production.  I guess I'm using this example to show that we instill "feelings"; involving natural occurrences, e.g., connoting natural occurrences as natural "disasters".  We see the pot of boiling water on the ant hill as "bad"; but not so much when we store away a little ant killer at the base of our pantry of food.  My whole point being that sometimes our actions may seemingly contradict our beliefs but never contradicts our intention of surviving.

I do love nature and all of life.  I also know that my primary intention is survival.  If that means cooperating (cooperating involving making concessions to some laws that I don't like/agree with), then I must.  If that means stealing, when I'm starving, I [probably] will.  If that means killing, in a moment of 'kill or be killed', then I [probably] will.  If that means following an idea, to limit the number of offspring because of the lack of food, then I [probably] will.

To say that we [certainly] will or wont do something, prior to the moment of, is unwise at best.  So much is dependent upon survival.  Many of us need to understand that we are intelligent animals; Animals nonetheless.

EndGamePlayer's picture
EndGamePlayer
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 2 2008
Posts: 546
Re: Population: how to control it

Put birth control drugs in beer & alcohol.

EndGamePlayer's picture
EndGamePlayer
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 2 2008
Posts: 546
Re: Population: how to control it

On the more serious side- Educate, educate, educate and make birth control available to everyone.

Encourage people to grow food - at any capacity. 

Encourage bikes and public transportation.

Live in Peace.

Alex Szczech's picture
Alex Szczech
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 31 2008
Posts: 105
Re: Population: how to control it

Those of us who are concerned about the plight of the planet, and who identify overpopulation as the driving force behind the unsustainable and destructive course we're on need to forcefully and fearlessly make the point that more people mean more demands being placed on a finite planet.  Write letters to the editor, make posts on web sites (especially environmental ones), donate to groups advocating against overpopulation, practice what you preach by not have anymore than two children (but preferable one or none), send your friends e-mails with links to thoughtful articles like this: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7078857.stm  Be relentles in presenting the message while maintaining a thougtful and respecful disposition.

 

 

 

A. M.'s picture
A. M.
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 22 2008
Posts: 2367
Re: Population: how to control it

Caroline,

Great post.
Especially coming for you, being that you're rational and well spoken, this says a lot.

In times of crisis, people react based on their leadership; but there is a threshold at which the dam breaks, and people absolutely must, for purposes of survival, act with autonomy. This often times includes extreme savagery as we see in places like Sierra Leone or Liberia, where there just isn't enough to go around and society is no longer civilized. Desperation is something we all need to understand is a component of human psychology.

If/once we hit that threshold in America; which in my opinion will cause shockwaves around the world, we are apt to see some extremely hard times here.
Ironically, it will also serve to control the population. We've seen it before in Egypt, Rome, Europe during the Plauge, and World War II.

I believe that the crisis will be proportional: population divided into territory. The higher the density of population, the more drastic the problem will be - as has been said by several people in several threads.

End Game Player,

I agree with you wholeheartedly about education - but am afraid the time has passed.

caroline_culbert's picture
caroline_culbert
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 2 2008
Posts: 624
Re: Population: how to control it
EndGamePlayer wrote:

Put birth control drugs in beer & alcohol.

Smile

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Login or Register to post comments