As everyone from Dick Smith to David Attenborough will tell you (check worldlandtrust.org) eponential population growth is the fundamental cause of:
- land degradation
- depletion of finite resources
- destruction of biodiversity
- lack of water
- wars fought over territories and resources...
But chances are, when the worst aspects of apocalyptic fiction confront us, we will be too brutalised to notice. As we chew on the thighbones of our relatives, we'll congratulate ourselves on finding food.
Population growth - the invisible calamity? Why?
They used to say that the customer is king.
The multinational is king and constantly requires more consumers. So multinationals bribe governments to foster immigration. Nothing consoles business more than the homeless tide now washing around the world.
As for the religions, life is conveniently seen as sacred - particularly if it increases congregations and influence. Religions with political agendas see propagation as the path to world dominance. Even the Bible tells us to go forth and multiply!
So both these vested interests have no wish to raise the population issue.
And where do governments fit into the debate?
The too-hard basket is suspiciously full in this area. Better to pretend to tackle the peripherals - deal with the symptoms, not the cause. Because people represent revenue, voters, units of consumption and business contributions to campaigns. And, not so long ago, the catchphrase was "populate or perish".
But surely China had the right idea?
Unfortunately, while commendable in concept, it hasn't had enough effect. As for India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia and the rest, there are no initiatives there apart from the occasional covert sterilisation scheme - now consigned to history as far as I know. Though I'd be delighted to hear otherwise. If you have information on this, please provide it.
In the meantime - what can we do?
Will we permit the human plague to denude this once beautiful planet? Will future ecologists favour genocide to decrease the burden on the environment? However you examine the prospects, there are no particularly bright perspectives.
I talked to a friend the other day - a professional person with wide experience. He made one suggestion that could have a short term application at least.
He said that NGOs should only provide aid to countries that agree to permanent contraceptive measures. You can put your own interpretation on permanent but the male snip is simple enough.
Would any authority have the balls to tackle the balls?
Whatever you think of his idea, it has the ring of good practical advice. And it could be good to repeat such statements - to try and insinuate them into the collective consciousness. Then, eventually, someone in the right situation might own the idea and run with it.
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