Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world.

Inspired by aspects of Iron Helix 's truly impressive post, I write this post on a subject I haven't really run into on Evoke. Or did I not look hard enough? (also a distinct possibility).

Apart from the knowledge that, in fact, there are enough resources on the planet to feed, educate, give health care to, etc. all people alive today, there remains the question: Why do we need to be with so many?
I am not for organizing genocides at all but the health of the planet sure could do with a little less people. In case you are looking for the extreme position on this, check out The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement. They offer simple and even funny (very important that) reasoning behind the idea of 'phasing out' humanity.
Personally I wouldn't go that far, but as long as people are well informed and can decide voluntarily not to breed numerous amounts of offspring, there is not much to be said against the idea.
Imagine how much future generations will be able to benefit from a drop in population. More resources, more room, less demographic pressure. And, maybe most importantly, a reason the more to drop the engrained conviction that economies are supposed to grow. Preferably constantly.

In only a few generations time we could halve the population of Earth.
Imagine that.
And then comment.


Views: 94

Comment by Mattias Jardstedt on April 8, 2010 at 9:54pm
Interesting thoughts :)
Comment by Patricio Buenrostro-Gilhuys on April 8, 2010 at 10:41pm
Less is the solution? People in Monaco have one of the highest standards of living and they are also the most crowded "The tiny country of Monaco has the world's highest population density. With an area of 3/4 of a square mile and a total population of 32,000, Monaco has a density of almost 43,000 people per square mile." http://geography.about.com/od/populationgeography/a/popdensity.htm
I hoped it was as simple as: We are less and that´s better.
Comment by Iron Helix on April 8, 2010 at 11:25pm
There are inherent problems with population reduction. I'm not going to bother to list them, but just look up arguments against eugenics and you will come up with a litany of arguments, most of which are quite valid. A point that I was trying to make, but may not have come across as clear, was that population is a big factor is society, yes, but it's not necessarily the root problem. More importantly, the problem is a lack of surplus energy to support that population. When a society is not kept in check as to having a sufficient marginal return (i.e. margin of error) to overcome problems, then those problems will overcome society. Applying that to population dynamics in today's, population growth does not yield a corresponding growth in surplus energy but rather a decline in available energy per capita, meaning human society is less able to cope with future problems by having more population. That does not mean that human population couldn't grow or be at today's levels, but for that to be the case, that society needs to have sufficient surplus energy (i.e. marginal yield) for future problems/solutions and the complexity increase required. Today, energy returns are at a precipice. Population has been allowed to grow without adequate support. The margin of return on energy in the future (for whatever reason you want to give) is looking to be less than it is now (or even during the past). Again by energy, it can apply to many critical aspects of society: energy supplies (of course) food, water, disease control, etc. If future margins of return are looking slimmer, but population in turn is growing, that means a larger population having a smaller margin of error. At some point, that will not be allowed to continue (either voluntarily or involuntarily).

If this were a computer simulation, and there was a cheat for infinite energy, then population would have, for all intents and purposes, an infinite marginal yield (and thus a very large safety net), and would even be able to grow under that circ**stance since increasing population does not affect the marginal yield and the corresponding societal functions… that is to say so long as there are no other limitations (which there would be of course).

@ Patricio Buenrostro-Gilhuys
The contention is still that standard of living does not necessarily equate to sustainability, which you pointed out yourself in a previous post.
Comment by Daniel LaLiberte on April 9, 2010 at 1:37am
Fewer people won't help if the ones that remain are the least sustainable and worst polluters, namely those of us in the more "developed" parts of the world.

Indeed, the world population is still growing, but less rapidly, and the explosion is coming to an end. Surprised? Iron Helix is right that population shouldn't be considered the root problem.

Check out my blogs "Visualizing World Population", and "Sustainability = Renewable Energy + Time".
Comment by Floatstone on April 9, 2010 at 7:22am
Thank u for ur feedback.

Monaco has a high standard of living but it produces very little. I was looking at the globe as a wh*** when considering overpopulation, since, apart from cosmic radiation and meteor impact and the leaking of stuff out of our atmosphere into space, the Earth is a closed system.

My point basically is that a finite amount of resources cannot sustain an infinitely growing population.

That said, it seems that statistics prove population is not about to explode. Fine. Great, actually.

Eugenics is a far cry from what I am suggesting. I am not for the improvement of the gene pool by artificial breeding. I think it is impossible for us to know what genes will be most benificial in the future anyway. Nature takes care of that and then without any bias.

What I am suggesting is to consider dimishing the Earth's population voluntarily. I think that sharing the planet and its resources with say 3 billion people will be a less complex (yes, Iron Helix, ;) ) situation than it will be with the almost 7 billion of today.

As much as our current monetary system has to be redesigned since it is obsolete because it has aims that are counterproductive to our welfare (for a simple introduction to this, see the link in this blog of mine), so the number of people on the planet must be considered as a vital factor in a wide perspective on the long term future of mankind and Earth.

DIminishing Earth's human population is not a short term solution, nor a deus ex machina which will solve all problems, but rather something to take into account when looking at the big perspective.
Some aspects of human life seem to be regarded holier than others. I am opposed to that. To see the future and consider all its possibilities to the greatest possible extent, is to be ready to challenge even the most traditional of values. And for some values to be able to truly change one needs to be ready, at least, to start imagining a world with the new ones in place.

Comment by Sarah Shaw Tatoun on April 9, 2010 at 7:56am
I think the evidence shows that as women become more empowered the population WILL decline. The number of children women would like to have varies across cultures, but studies show that on average they generally want fewer children than their husbands and families would like them to have.

That said, declining populations have their problems. The world economy as it is now structured is based on 'growth', and the easiest way to achieve growth is with increasing populations. The age structure, too, can be problematic when there is a large elderly population relative to those of working age.

Still, I agree. We are driving other organisms into extinction at an alarming rate-- and we have no clue for most of them, how they are linked into the overall ecosystem that sustains us all. Somewhere recently I saw a question: If all the other organisms on earth could vote on whether the human species should continue, would we be voted off the planet? I think the answer is more likely to be 'no,' if we stop hogging so much space.
Comment by A.V.Koshy on April 9, 2010 at 8:01am
i hear you -short intense clear
we should all voluntarily sign a no more than two children peace treaty and ensure equal gender distribution and healthy offspring
Comment by Shakwei Mbindyo on April 9, 2010 at 8:02am
+1 spark. I wrote a post Population growth hampers development in Africa - Fact or Fiction? that looks at this.
Comment by A.V.Koshy on April 9, 2010 at 8:51am
i had a post on this but it is not on a present - maybe later...


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