Why the issue of population growth is so important

I wrote in my last blog entry about how the human population growth is a problem, in this short piece I will explain why it is the most important issue environmentally.

For me it’s pretty obvious really, just about all the problems that face our environment are down to one issue, the human population growth. We are living longer and our population is increasing at a rate that is not environmentally sustainable. We’re putting a strain on the planet and action needs to be taken, the only way to do this (well without genocides or something similar) is for people to limit the amount of children they have to only two. I’m not someone who is hoping for voluntary extinction. However I believe it would be good if people could limit their breeding to only two. I know there can be complications to this such as the birth of twins however that is unpreventable.

When you look at the emphasis that is now taking place on cutting our carbon emissions, the work done is only going to be reversed if we don’t stem the population growth. It’s great to reduce carbon emissions, however if the population keeps on growing then there is going to be a greater need for electricity, big cars, more public transport and so on. It’s just common sense. It seems to me to be a case of one step forward, two steps back.

There is a lot of opposition at the moment to the government plans to sell off 15 percent of forests owned by the forestry commission. Understandable worries that they’re going to pave over paradise and put up a parking lot, with a pink hotel, a boutique, a golf course, a centre parcs and so on. People worry about losing our green spaces, yet how many of these people are worried about population growth? Is it because it’s trendy to shout about saving our forests, yet not to speak out about people having less children? It’s logical to assume that if the population grows as expected then we’ll keep on losing our green spaces. Forests might have to be chopped down and paved over to create new housing. I know I’m sounding over dramatic, but surely there’s a good chance it could happen?

Whenever I’ve bought up the idea of people limiting the amount of children they have I’m often confronted with the replies “You can’t say how many children people have” or “I love children, I’d have more if I could”. The first statement is usually said by a righteous hypocrite who thinks it’s ok to have lots of children if you can afford them. That it’s ok for Victoria Beckham to churn out babies because she and David have the money, however it’s not ok for a family on a housing estate who live on benefits to have four children. What so people can spend the planet, but not our taxes?

As for the second statement that people love children and would have more if they could? That’s understandable you have to be a pretty cold hearted misanthrope not to coo at the sight of a baby dressed up as a lobster. The point is though, that if you really loved your children, your grandchildren. That if you want your children, their children, their children’s children and so on to have a good standard of living, to enjoy the natural beauty that we can enjoy, to be surrounded with the diverse fauna and flora that we are. Then you will support an optimum population. An unsustainable growth will mean a continuous destruction of the land, a continuous eradication of our marine life. An unsustainable growth will mean an increased demand of food, which is surrounded in environmental issues, from the use of pesticides to carbon emissions from machine and transport use.

It’s time to stop treating the talking of population grown and ways to prevent it as taboo.  Won’t people talk about it because it might offend people? If that’s the case then frankly that’s bollocks! We need to be talking about it, and it needs to become as big of a debated issue as climate change is. We need more people to speak out. We need people to pledge that they will speak out and people to pledge that they will only have two children. We need to talk about how it can be made beneficial for people to stop reproducing after two. We need more education to prevent unwanted pregnancies. We need there to be more emphasis on adoption and for the process to be easier for those who want to adopt.

If people are offended by the idea of limited breeding, if people think that it’s their given right to have as many children as they want, then I ask is your right to procreate really more important to you then the state of the planet and the wellbeing of your future generations?


http://www.optimumpopulation.org/ – Optimum Population Trust’s Website

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7agB7jriyUU – Joni Mitchell – Big Yellow Taxi  (see I don’t just steal lyrics from Morrissey)


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