Monday, October 18, 2010

Population Growth

At some point in the year 2011, the human population of the planet Earth will reach 7 billion people (for you visual folks that is 7,000,000,000 people). Since the mid 70's the world population has increased a billion every 11 or 12 years. So barring any major planetary event, the next billion will be sometime around 2023 or possibly sooner.

Since the planet is so massively over-populated, I have a very hard time celebrating the birth of children. When someone tells me that they are pregnant, I give them an obligatory "congrats," but to myself I am saying "what the hell are you thinking?" or "that's too bad" or "my condolences." I know I am not the only one. At a community gathering last week, someone announced the birth of a child, some people clapped but many abstained (I was in the latter group). Is this still a joyous occasion? Perhaps on a personal level it is, but big picture wise ... I say it again: what the hell are you thinking?

I don't want to make it seem like I don't like children. I happen to really love them. I love them so much that I really fear for the type of world we are handing over to them. I find the energy of children to be infectious and their minds are a joy. I find, in their presence, hope. If I were to decide to have children, there are plenty of children at orphanages around the planet that I could bring into my life. This is something my wife and I talk about often. I am actually more in favor of it than she is at this point. I know several couples, both straight and gay, that have adopted and I applaud their decision. They brought a child into their lives without adding to the stress on our planet's resources. This is a great thing.

If people don't think the planet is over-populated now, at what point will it be? 8 billion? 16 billion? Do we have to wait until all the polar caps are gone or we're going to war over clean water before people stop celebrating the birth of children? It seems to be elementary science or math to me. We have limited space and limited resources on the planet and we have an out of control factor of population, increasing at an exponential rate, draining these resources. Every time a person exhales they contribute to the warming of the planet. Every time a tree (aka planet coolers) is knocked down to make room for a person to live or our food to grow/graze, we are contributing to the heating of the planet. And yet, we are still throwing baby showers? At what point is this going to stop? Shouldn't we be sending gifts and celebrating when someone has a vasectomy?

I had a vasectomy years ago. The environment impact of this decision was not the only one of the reasons why I did it. Economics played a big part of it. Another was that my wife didn't want to have a child. Like everyone else, I have a biological drive to reproduce. But like a lot of our biological drives, we need to put them aside and make logical decisions about our future. This is the basis of civilization ... up to now anyway.

1 comment:

Bagheera Kiplingi said...

excellent blog. too bad no one is listening.