In this continuing series on environment and population, we drill down to the nitty-gritty of what our civilization faces by bringing you the top authors that speak up and speak out. Bill Ryerson, director of http://www.populationmedia.org , hosts top writers that address the most pressing issue facing America and humanity in the 21st century. In a compelling piece, Dr. Richard Grossman explained why Americans and all countries ignore the population predicament accelerating by the day around the world: “Pay Attention to Population Issues”.
On average, 57 million humans die annually. Birth rates refill that 57 million and add another 80 million net gain annually. That breaks down to 10,000 additions per hour, 240,000 per day net gain. They flood into first world countries at an ever increasing rate of speed. The USA imports 3.1 million annually on its way to adding 75 million immigrants by 2035. But why don’t we address it? Dr. Grossman gives a few reasons: “A friend recently asked why people don’t pay more attention to population issues. Here is the combined list that we put together, with my comments. Do you know other reasons?
1. The increase in population is so slow that it is difficult to notice. True! But that is why we have census figures, which show that our population is rising geometrically (like compound interest). Other figures show that we are using resources that should belong to our progeny.
2. We are accustomed to looking at near causes, not ultimate causes. It is easy to see that there are more extremes of weather, and to read about climate change, but how many people actually connect those facts with the underlying cause-more people emitting greenhouse gases?
3. Population issues have to do with family size selection, and that is ultimately a personal decision. True again! Fortunately, people are choosing to have smaller families. Unfortunately, there are many barriers in their way. We need more research on safe and effective contraception, and we need to make all methods available to all people with little or no expense. An aside. Some people accuse me of advocating “population control”. Other than using the term “birth control”, I have assiduously avoided the word “control”. Indeed, I believe that people should have as many children as they want-including none. My role is to help people achieve their family size goals.
4. Religions tend to either promote large families or prohibit contraception-or both. Although I believe in freedom of religion (as does the Constitution of the United States), I also believe in the ability of people to use their God-given brains. Most religious prohibitions date back to the era when “…Be fruitful, and multiply” was more relevant.
5. Large size, whether it be vehicle or family size, is an important attribute. This seems to be a male thing. Get over it, guys!
6. Many otherwise reasonable people don’t realize that there are limits to growth. Or, perhaps, they just never thought about the possibility of limits. Our European forefathers came to a sparsely populated continent and enjoyed its bounty. Regrettably, the level of resource usage that we have enjoyed cannot go on forever.
7. The International Conference on Population and Development turned away from population and toward reproductive health (RH). The reasons were good. Concentrating on population, in India for example, had led to coercing people to be sterilized. RH would include family planning, but RH includes other important services such as prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.
8. The influence of vocal anti-abortion activists. Many people who are against abortion associate population issues with abortion. Remember that the best way to slow population growth-and to prevent abortions-is with good access to modern contraception
9. The success of family planning and attention to declining birth rates. Indeed, most rich countries (and many poorer ones) have fertility rates that will eventually lead to stable population sizes-but there are still many other countries that have high growth rates.
10. Many people confuse the decreasing rate of growth with population shrinkage. Wrong! The world’s population is still growing by 80 million people a year, and the overshoot of our global Ecologic Footprint is 50%. That means that we are far from being sustainable.
11. The media don’t pay much attention to population issues. This is the reason for this column! For more than fifteen years the Herald has been the only newspaper in the country-perhaps in the world-to carry a regular column treating population issues. 12. People deny that the world will be very different in the future than what we have known. It is easy to just assume that the world will continue with the status quo, but oh, so wrong! “I have left a couple of reasons out of this article,” said Dr. Grossman. “Some people believe we need growth for our economy to thrive; last month’s article dealt with growth. More troublesome is how we can support the increasing numbers of old people with fewer young people coming along. “Happily, National Geographic has ignored the taboo against population. This prestigious magazine is running a series of articles in 2011. January’s cover reads: “Population 7 billion: How your world will change”. “Many of us will not be around long enough to see our world deteriorate much more. It is our kids and grandkids who will feel the effects the most.” You may contact Dr. Grossman at http://www.populatiomedia.org
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Some ideas on wealth distribution and entitlement, also strain on Earth’s resources. Simply put, the more you strain the world’s support structure, the less luxury you should be entitled to. Luxuries and space to live are automatic birthright. BUT, after Utopianism is implemnted (20 million limit) – all members of a single family (with an +0.5 point allowance for polygamy/andry, meaning single parent for child) are entitled to the below maximum basic and automatically granted lifestyles appropriate to their burden on OUR planet :
A* 1 Latest arrival Both in 60s
A 1 Latest arrival Both in 50s
UU 1 Late arrival Both in 40s
MU 1 Medium arrival Both in 30s
LU 1 Early arrival Both in 20s
MU 1 Very early arrival Both in Teens 2
In general, the later one has a child the less resources are being strained by ‘overlapping simultaneous strain on Earth’s resources’ (it is sad and not preferred, but the more people alive at a given moment, the more consumption). All though should be entitled to a Lower Upper Class lifestyle with 1 child, with the late bearers having more privilege for holding back (they will die earlier and thus the current population load will be lower thanks to them).
Every 2 decades later adds 1 lifestyle class. This later decade birth can be spread between both parents. It will thus be typical for females to be the non-contributor in years due to biological limits, unless later births are made possible without ill effect or diminish children.
Large numbers of flights taken, also deduct class status due to carbon footprint, extreme numbers of apparel-accessories-shoes-bags every 100 total could count as a -1???, consumer goods (how many unnecessary), use of vehicles (how many collected but unused, locking up resources when others don’t have any?), unnecessary consumerism (buys-hoards unneeded stuff, mindless consumerism), unnecessary food wastage or food consumption (extreme weight counts against – a person who eats the food of 2 or 3 persons could be lowered 1 or 2 classes etc..), any ideas to add?