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Population: The Last Taboo, by Julia Whitty



May 10, 2010 – Comments (2) | RELATED TICKERS: GRO , WTH

...Survival in the 21st century is different. Its real measure lies in the depth of the snowpack in the Himalayas, in the sustainable tonnage of fish caught in the Bay of Bengal, in the inches of topsoil remaining on the Indian plains, and in the parts per million of coal smoke in the air. The root cause of India's dwindling resources and escalating pollution is the same: the continued exponential growth of humankind.

As recently as 1965, when the world population stood at 3.3 billion, we collectively taxed only 70 percent of the Earth's biocapacity each year. That is, we used only 7/10 of the land, water, and air the planet could regenerate or repair yearly to produce what we consumed and to absorb our greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Global Footprint Network, a California think tank, we first overdrew our accounts in 1983, when our population of nearly 4.7 billion began to consume natural resources faster than they could be replenished—a phenomenon called "ecological overshoot." Last year, 6.8 billion of us consumed the renewable resources of 1.4 Earths...

....But it's not enough. And it's still not fast enough. Faced with a world that can support either a lot of us consuming a lot less or far fewer of us consuming more, we're deadlocked: individuals, governments, the media, scientists, environmentalists, economists, human rights workers, liberals, conservatives, business and religious leaders. On the supremely divisive question of the ideal size of the human family, we're amazingly united in a pact of silence.

"Overpopulation, combined with overconsumption, is the elephant in the room," says Paul Ehrlich, 42 years after he wrote his controversial book, The Population Bomb. "We don't talk about overpopulation because of real fears from the past—of racism, eugenics, colonialism, forced sterilization, forced family planning, plus the fears from some of contraception, abortion, and sex. We don't really talk about overconsumption because of ignorance about the economics of overpopulation and the true ecological limits of Earth."

2 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On March 21, 2012 at 10:36 AM, normgarnett (< 20) wrote:

And I thought that the only person mentioning it was - David Attenborough.

Good luck, Julia!

Neville Green

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#2) On March 21, 2012 at 11:02 AM, hohocake (< 20) wrote:

For the last several years I, at age 29, have been the only outspoken person I know for global population control. While nobody ever argues with me when I bring it up, nobody else has the guts to even talk about it. Solutions include war, famine, disease, or choice. Somehow people are more afraid of the last one. 

 And for anyone who hasn't seen it: These videos are classics.


Oh and choice based solutions include manditory death age or manditory birth controls. Or you could incentivize them instead of using force (extra tax for being old or having children). Just some of many examples. I'm more for incentivized birth control then dealing with killing old people. Though, incentivizing 'early retirement' may be additionally required.

 Not that I think any of these items are going to come to pass. We won't go out with a bang but with a wimper.

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