Friday, February 19, 2010

More on the tired notion of population control saving the planet

I have blogged on the population issue before and will no doubt return to it again, because the penny is beginning to drop with some governments that their policies in pushing contraception and abortion has caused major population depletion, which combined with population ageing will ultimately cause economic collapse

The Guardian weekend magazine (13 February 2010)published an article,"Climate change: calling planet birth" on the subject of population control for the so called ‘saving of the planet’.

‘Twelve years ago, the American author Bill McKibben published a short book entitled Maybe One: A Personal And Environmental Argument For Much Smaller Families.’ This is how the article starts. It’s a long article, and it makes for some interesting reading. Here are a few extracts:

‘… Even commentators who warn of the evils of overpopulation, proudly trumpeting their willingness to raise controversial issues in defiance of “political correctness”, only rarely emphasise the notion that we – rather than those in the developing world – might consider doing less of the populating. […]
‘If you live in Britain or the US in 2010, there is nothing you can do to reduce your impact on the environment that even comes close to the effects of having one fewer child. This makes intuitive sense: every new human is a new consumer with their own carbon footprint, along with their own potentially limitless chain of descendants.
‘[…]The Stop At Two position caused a minor furore last year when Jonathon Porritt, the veteran environmentalist and then a government adviser on sustainability, told an interviewer, “I think we will work our way towards a position that says that having more than two children is irresponsible.”’

Commenting on this statement, Josephine Quintavalle – described as ‘the pro-life campaigner’ – is quoted as saying: ‘This seems to be the same old thing: save the world but kill a human.’

The article ends with a quote from The World Without Us, by Alan Weisman (2007) – ‘At such far-more-manageable numbers […]’ [referring, presumably, to the aftermath of a massive population control] ‘we would have the benefit of all our progress, plus the wisdom to keep our presence under control. That wisdom would come partly from losses and extinctions too late to reverse, but also from the growing joy of watching the world daily become more wonderful. The evidence wouldn’t hide in statistics. It would be outside every human’s window, where refreshed air would fill each season with more birdsong.’

The only problem with such an idyllic picture of the world is – who is left to enjoy it?