Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Thank You for Not Breeding

From Science Daily:

Overpopulation is the world’s top environmental issue, followed closely by climate change and the need to develop renewable energy resources to replace fossil fuels, according to a survey of the faculty at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF).


Viatecio said...

I don't know if it's Overpopulation that is the disease so much as the Baby Rabies and the neeeeeeed to have a child that comes from your OWN perfect genetics, not the flawed ones of those who otherwise abandoned or were forced to give their children to the foster system. Because everyone else is messed-up, right?

//tell me how NOT wanting my own children is selfish when the majority of reasons to HAVE children start with "I want"

therese said...

Population control doesn't address the actual problem of environmental impact. I've got a pretty detailed blog post on my blog:

PBurns said...

I see you are new to the population and environment debate Therese.


For the record, I have been around a bit on this one, and I am both a demographer and the former Director of the National Audubon Society's Population and Habitat program, and before that I worked on forest conservation issues, etc.

Your core thesis is that consumption is the answer. The problem there is that your answer basically tells about 4 billion people in the world that they should not have refrigerators, cars, stoves, lights, or any of the stuff you take for granted.

"Sorry little brown people of the world -- we're running out of resources, so instead of eating meat and having air conditioning in your houses, you should eat algae and realize that sweat is good for you."

How's that sound to you?

At the same time, you are telling all of the people in the world that have cars, refrigerators and indoor plumbing and air-conditioning that they should give all of that that up.

Do you think that is going to happen?

Really? Do you see it happening? I don't.

Now, let's go back to numbers, and here you simply fall down the stairs. Your thesis is that the problem is that households are becoming smaller. We'll come to the data here in a second, but before we do that, let me ask you why do you thin smaller households are occuring?

I can tell you.

One reason is divorce. Do you think women should be forced to stay in relationships where they are in misery? Do you believe women should be forced into marriage if they get pregnant? Do you think healthy old people should give up their independence so they can live in 20-people households all under one roof like they did in the "Good Old Days" (which were actually a horror, for the record).

But those are non-data arguments.

The real problem is that even if we look at data for the U.S. (where connsumption is SO high that a retrench to less consumption is actually pretty easy), we find that population growth is negating 100% of all of our conservation effors. This is not theory -- this is hard data.

For more global data see the tables here >> for example

This data is no longer up-to-date, but the core patterms behind the numbers have not changed.

The bottom line is that you save 100% of all consumption by simply investing a few dollars in contraception. You do not have to eat algae and build massive water treatment plants. Doing all of that is good, but simply having 1 kid rather than 2 is a 50% reduction in resourcs AT NO COST, while having one kid rather three is a 66% reduction.