Let’s Turn The Population Trend

i-ab760a188315530720bd0937527b32f9-gerbils.jpgImagine that you’re ten years old, you’ve got a cageful of gerbils and your weekly allowance is just big enough to feed five of them. If one of the females pops out a brood of pups, you’re in trouble. You can either try to weedle a bigger allowance out of your parents, try to give gerbils away, starve the gerbils… or start killing gerbil pups.

Now, at more than six billion people in our worldwide gerbil cage, we’ve pretty much got the same choices, only we can’t give people away — but we can control the number of pups born. And we need to. Because within the next century, our global population is going to come down one way or the other. Famine, war, pandemics — or contraception. Those are our choices.

The key thing is to make sure that next generation is smaller than the current one, and continue that way for centuries until we reach a sustainable level again. Chinese dictatorial population practices have been highly successful in this regard: on one hand, the one-child-per-couple policy (ethically defensible in my opinion), on the other the underground tendency for selective abortion of girls (ethically iffy but unintentionally very effective in curtailing population growth). We need to do even better by democratic means.

Woman or man — thy loins must never issue more than two children, preferably less! That’s the replacement rate. But by all means have a whole gerbil-like clutch of children, a full quiver, a soccer team — through adoption. Empty the world’s orphanages! And regardless of whether you decide to have kids at all — put money into the education of girls. Because one of the surest ways known to sociology of keeping nativity figures down is to give girls an education.

Putting children into the world comes with a certain responsibility. They’re not going to thank you for putting them on the planet if in 30 years their kids are dying of dysentery and malnourishment in a refugee camp. Let’s try to ease population down, and maybe we can avoid a crash.

This is my contribution to the Global Population Speak Out initiative.

Comments

  1. #1 MikeS
    February 14, 2009

    I expect you to get a lot of blow back from religious people saying God told us to be fruitful and multiply. My answer to that has always been something like, “We’ve already been fruitful and multiplied. It’s time to move on to the next item on the to do list….”

  2. #2 Martin R
    February 14, 2009

    It’s hardly Christian charity to doom your descendants to starvation.

  3. #3 Hypatia
    February 14, 2009

    You are absolutely right. Sadly, I live in the U.S., where saying such things gets one labeled a eugenicist or worse. “Culture of life” and all that.

  4. #4 george.w
    February 14, 2009

    My biology 101 prof in college told us we ought to control population ourselves, so nature doesn’t have to do it for us. Nature’s own methods are pretty unpleasant.

    One note however: adoption is very, very difficult. That process needs to be streamlined somehow.

  5. #5 Romeo Vitelli
    February 14, 2009

    The actual Biblical phrase is “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (italics are mine). Presumably, once the Earth was filled, it would be all right to stop.

  6. #6 troy
    February 14, 2009

    Sure we can give some of them away, theirs always Mars. No sucessful species has ever limited itself, the very nature of life is that it spreads. Personally what I don’t get is in a world where so many of our problems stem from too many people on this rock, there isn’t any real effort towards extra-terrestrial expansion. Its called Space for a reason….

  7. #7 Elf Eye
    February 14, 2009

    george.w, I’m a parent by adoption. I had this odd notion that it didn’t make any sense to bring an infant into the world if a child was already in need of parenting. I certainly agree that adoption should be made a more realistic option. In my case, I found the process to be very straightforward, but the expense was close to prohibitive. In fact, I would have adopted a second child if I hadn’t used up all my funds (and some of my parents’ funds). On the other hand, if I had chosen to become pregnant, my insurance would have covered nearly the entire bill. Assuming fertility, most potential parents are going to be strongly motivated to try for pregnancy over adoption if only for financial reasons. To encourage people to consider adoption as an alternative for parents who could otherwise conceive, we need to cover adoption expenses at the same rate that we cover pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum expenses.

  8. #8 Benjamin Franz
    February 14, 2009

    Troy: Space isn’t a population growth safety valve. World population increases by roughly 200,000 people per day. There is no way you could migrate that many people off planet.

    Self-sustaining off planet colonies are useful for a different reason: They provide ‘backups’ populations in case the main population dies off.

    The human population is in a population ‘overshoot’ right now. The long term result won’t be pretty unless we voluntarily reduce our population to below the planetary carrying capacity.

    If we don’t choose to do it voluntarily, it will be done involuntarily for us by physical law.

  9. #9 Martin R
    February 14, 2009

    Space is not a realistic safety valve. The Red Planet is the Dead Planet.

    But we needn’t worry about the future existence of the human species. It’s gonna stick around. What we should think about is the prospects of billions of individual humans.

  10. #10 Larry Ayers
    February 14, 2009

    Nice contribution, Martin! I concur with your views on the matter. I helped raise two kids and I was surprised at the deeply-rooted parental feelings which welled up within me. We are genetically programmed to “be fruitful and multiply” — this made a lot of sense ten thousand years ago but these days those instincts will be our downfall without some draconian public-policy initiatives. I’m not holding my breath…

    I agree that adoption should be made less costly and generally encouraged.

  11. #11 tbell
    February 14, 2009

    aren’t our efforts best focused on economic development, education, and empowerment of women? Aren’t these the factors that have historically led to low or negative population growth world-wide? I’m asking because I’ve heard this to be true, but it’s not really my area. It does seem consistent with birthrates though.

    The top down approach of ‘let’s all decide not to have more kids’ seems so unlikely…

  12. #12 Matt Springer
    February 14, 2009

    You’re behind the times! These days a large number of countries (Russia and France are good examples) are paying their citizens to have more kids. It seems too many people are taking your advice and damaging the economy with too-rapidly decreasing populations and (worse for the economy) inverted population pyramids. The total fertility rate is under 2 in most of Europe, and even the US has a zero population growth rate due to birth – our growth is entirely immigration.

    Which isn’t to say too much population growth isn’t a problem. it is, just not any place people are likely to be reading you.

  13. #13 kerrjac
    February 14, 2009

    Paul Ehrlich using similar logic wrote in 1969, “By 1985 enough millions will have died to reduce the earth’s population to some acceptable level, like 1.5 billion people.” That of course didn’t turn out to true. But imagine if we had erected single-child family laws based on his flawed predictions. Of course over-population might one day be a problem, but we have to be *very sure* about it before we take action.

    In your post I think you’re overlooking the vast differences between a cage & the world, and also between humans & gerbils.

    Firstly, the world has a variety of resources, which go beyond a giant hand in the sky that delivers gerbil-feed. In the real world, if gerbils reproduced beyond their capacity, they would either die-off, or find new sources of food. Animals are very clever that way. Just look at ants.

    Secondly, humans are perhaps the most clever species on earth. We’ve been able to sustain our growing numbers thru innovation and technology, which historically has had a much greater effect on human human survival than mandating single-children families (and there’s a concrete evolutionary reason for this). If you blocked humans from any form of innovation whatsoever, then it would be necessary to limit family-size. This is way those laws were necessary in China, b/c their communist rule discouraged innovation.

  14. #14 llewelly
    February 14, 2009

    If you boil the gerbils, their skins will peel off easily. Then you can dip them in batter and fry them in bacon fat. Delicious, I’m telling you.

  15. #15 Gotchaye
    February 14, 2009

    But the developed world isn’t really the problem, right?

    I don’t know the numbers off the top of my head, but aren’t natural-born citizens of the US and Europe already reproducing at very nearly replacement levels (or lower)?

    My concern is that, if population control is something that mostly needs to be taken care of by people in developing countries, then there’s both an enormous enforcement problem and an enormous ethical problem – they neither have the civil infrastructure required to make sure a policy is followed nor the kinds of economies that don’t require parents to have lots of kids in order to guarantee support and survival for the family. I have a hard time imagining an effective means of global population control other than cutting off aid to Africa and the like and consigning millions of people to horrible deaths.

  16. #16 llewelly
    February 14, 2009

    The actual Biblical phrase is “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (italics are mine). Presumably, once the Earth was filled, it would be all right to stop.

    Earth has a radius of 6.37 * 10^6 m, and thus a volume of 1.08 * 10^21 m^3 . A typical human will fit in a volume of 0.08 m^3 . It requires 1.35 * 10^22 humans to fill the Earth.

  17. #17 llewelly
    February 14, 2009

    I have a hard time imagining an effective means of global population control other than cutting off aid to Africa and the like and consigning millions of people to horrible deaths.

    In the long run the deaths that result from cutting off aid are overwhelmed by new births. The only proven effective methods of population control are (a) dictatorial rules, as in China, or (b) educate the women.

  18. #18 zombie_bot
    February 14, 2009

    it won’t happen.

    people are idiots, they will breed. either no one will stop them or stopping them would be as brutal as uncontrolled growth.

  19. #19 David Marjanović
    February 14, 2009

    There was a Nature paper in 2001 that showed that, all else being equal, the world population will have started dropping before the end of the century. The question is whether the heights it will reach in the meantime will be sustainable.

    We need to do even better by democratic means.

    The Indian state of Kerala has managed to do that.

    Also, the Chinese numbers aren’t quite accurate, because there are tens of millions of “submarines” (children who don’t officially exist).

  20. #20 Red
    February 14, 2009

    I agree with your article and think it is vital that we curb our population growth. Our generation needs to curtail reproduction and if the need to parent is undeniable then individuals must adopt children suffering in glutted orphanages throughout the world.

    I do take offense with how you stated that China’s method of population control (the selective abortion of females) was “ethically iffy.” It is incontrovertibly wrong. To abort a fetus based on its sex is immoral and there is nothing dubious about that. Education of women concerning contraception is essential to controlling our numbers not selectively slaughtering them. That you would call this practice “iffy” is misogynistic and offensive.

  21. #21 Gotchaye
    February 14, 2009

    Red, that’s not a universal position. Martin was using ‘iffy’ as ‘questionable’, indicating that some people have a problem with it while some people don’t (and some are just uneasy).

    Your position is only obvious if we grant that a fetus is a person, which is something that most pro-choicers aren’t going to want to give you. There’s an argument to be made that, if a fetus isn’t a person, then one can discriminate among fetuses for any reason whatsoever, whether you want a healthy one, a smart one, a female one, or just one with red hair. That’s not to say that some pro-choicers aren’t going to oppose discriminatory abortion (though it does seem a bit inconsistent to me), but many could easily go the other way.

  22. #22 Red
    February 14, 2009

    Gotchaye: It seems like nothing is universal anymore. The current climate of moral relativism in our society makes this impossible.

    My understanding is that the sex of a fetus can be determined as early as 11 to 12 weeks (maybe earlier depending on the method used). At this juncture, the fetus has experienced significant brain development and produces brain waves. In my (admittedly non-universal) opinion, this is a human being. As such, it would be unconscionable to slaughter it for its mere existence and even more atrocious to selectively slaughter it based on its sex. Is slaughtering a fetus because it is female any less arbitrary and cruel than slaughtering it because it has red hair?

    Pro-choice advocates believe that female autonomy confers the right to terminate a pregnancy. Since abortion is a right of female autonomy according to pro-choice advocates, it would be very interesting to see what their response would be to such a scenario. If abortion is acceptable, then is it acceptable to selectively abort a fetus based on its gender? To me it seems that aborting a fetus because it is female does not support the ideals of feminism or female autonomy.

  23. #23 supes
    February 14, 2009

    Beyond the “iffy” aspect of China’s approach are the other not so iffy practices that crop up as a result of this practice – a lack of available females has led to a significant rise of young women/girls being abducted and kidnapped into marriage. Beyond this factor, a look into Human Rights reports on how the one-rule is enforced can be somewhat horrific reading.

  24. #24 kerrjac
    February 15, 2009

    But the developed world isn’t really the problem, right?

    Wealthier societies tend to have less children per family and poorer societies tend to have more. This is pretty well-accepted, but the cause is up for debate.

    I suspect that it’s b/c poorer families depend on having more children in order to get by. It takes capital to make capital. And if you don’t have wealth, or accessible resources, then you have to rely more heavily on labor and human capital. If you cut these families off from having more children, you would entrench them even further into poverty. As family members get older, who is going to tend the field if they’re limited to having 1 kid? Furthermore, large families have different effects on overall population in developed vs. undeveloped nations. A family with 5 kids in a developed nation will have a larger effect on the world’s population than a family of 5 in an undeveloped nation. This is due to differences in health, life-span, & infant-mortality.

    Overall, in my opinion, it pretty much evens-out. There’s no use in limiting population growth in wealthy nations b/c they can support more people, and they tend to have less kids anyway; and there’s no use in limiting population growth in undeveloped nations, b/c they need the human capital, & unfortunately they’re much more likely to die earlier anyway.

    I don’t think this is a coincidence, b/c nature tends to work itself out this way. Granted, modern technology hasn’t been around for most of human history, but the focal point isn’t on the technology, it’s on the presence of abundant resources versus a scarce resources. In terms of survival, when goods are scarce, you need to reproduce more to create/find them; when goods are abundant, you need to reproduce less. (Likewise in sexual selection, if lifespan/infant mortality is miserable, you’d need to reproduce more to ensure passing on of genes.)

    Of course, I maybe wrong about all this, but at the very least we have to be sure about what we’re doing – and it’s effect on all of us – before implementing such a drastic policy.

  25. #25 Martin R
    February 15, 2009

    Overall, in my opinion, it pretty much evens-out.

    No. Global population is growing fast.

  26. #26 Martin R
    February 15, 2009

    And since fetuses aren’t people, it’s not such a big ethical deal how you select fetuses for abortion. Questionable, yes; evil, no. Men and women have equal value, so a 57% male rate is neither cause for tears nor rejoicing untill you start wondering where those extra men are going to find wives.

  27. #27 Gotchaye
    February 15, 2009

    kerrjac: I don’t think the concern is so much about whether or not the human race can get by or whether or not the earth will keep on going. What we’re looking to avoid is a collapse in the carrying capacity of (regions of) the world causing tremendous numbers of deaths. That kind of event simply is how nature works this kind of thing out – let a deer population grow without any check and it’ll get too big for its ecosystem, the ecosystem will collapse, and large numbers of deer end up starving (such is my understanding, at least). That’s not the whole of our problem, however, because we also have to worry about other events that could cause changes in the carrying capacity of various human ecosystems (global warming, say). I note that people don’t balance out their reproduction with their resources – lots of demographics in the developed world are reproducing at significantly less than replacement (in a local environment that could support significant population growth, even), and even a 100% survival to reproduction rate can’t explain that. Likewise, part of the fecundity of poorer demographics is explained by their need to have more children in order to maintain stable populations, but the fact remains that they’re having significantly more children than they need in order to maintain stable populations. Perhaps nature balances it out such that each set of parents is, say, 95% likely to have one child survive to reproduce, but that’s still going to create intolerable population growth in the developing world.

    Also, you earlier said:

    Secondly, humans are perhaps the most clever species on earth. We’ve been able to sustain our growing numbers thru innovation and technology

    This isn’t exactly true. On several occasions, we’ve run into severe trouble due to overpopulation. Plagues and the like are essentially control mechanisms that acted to keep populations in check – you only get a widespread epidemic with sufficient population density to sustain it. More debatably, it seems likely that overpopulation was a contributing factor in quite a few major wars, World War 1 among them (and World War 1, of course, was a significant cause of World War 2). European expansion into the Americas was a huge safety valve for European overpopulation, and Africa and India don’t have the same option. Of course, all of those killed a great many people. We’re good innovators, but that’s not all that’s kept our population under control.

    In the long run the deaths that result from cutting off aid are overwhelmed by new births. The only proven effective methods of population control are (a) dictatorial rules, as in China, or (b) educate the women.

    I can buy that, but it’s obviously only going to be true up until some limit. My point was more that I don’t see a practical method of global population control other than just letting certain regions of the world hit their carrying capacity and experience mass die-offs, which is horrifying. On the other hand, if that’s going to be what we eventually let happen, it’s likely better to rethink our aid policies and figure out how to continue them in population-neutral ways, lest we just worsen the eventual problem. I’m very much with you (I imagine) that contraceptives need to be a much, much bigger part of what the US does with respect to AIDS in Africa. I’m also interested in knowing what data there is on how effective educating women can be.

  28. #28 christina
    February 15, 2009

    So, Summa Summarum: ADOPT and sterilize.

    Maybe sterilization should in the future be a standard procedure on the lines of the different vaccinations babies get?

    A vaccination against earth disaster…

  29. #29 kerrjac
    February 15, 2009

    War & disease certainly limit population growth, but technological innovation has saved disproportionately more lives. Disease is still a threat, but its threat has been mitigated by vaccines & other advances in modern medicine. Genetically modified foods are thought to have saved billions of people. Compare that number to the 50-70 million of people estimated to have died from WWII.

    Ultimately I think where you’re faltering is that the earth’s carrying capacity isn’t static. This is what has allowed the human population to grow so fast over the past few centuries. But we didn’t expand so quickly overnight. It took the agricultural revolution. It took advances in medicine. Genetically modified foods. Sometimes fortuitous circumstances allow certain populations to expand (or detract) like wildfire – the changing of some sort of condition, like a forest fire or a rainy season. But our expansion hasn’t been the result of fortune, it’s come b/c of our intelligence.

    let a deer population grow without any check and it’ll get too big for its ecosystem, the ecosystem will collapse, and large numbers of deer end up starving

    If the ecosystem were really that fragile, then it would’ve collapsed a long time ago. No one person in nature “let”‘s a population grow out of check, and I think this gets at the heart of the issue, which is a confusion of cause & effect. The sheer size of the modern human population is so large b/c it’s been tremendously successful. This is almost a tautology, b/c regardless of fluctuating amounts of wealth/resources, if more humans died off than reproduced, then we wouldn’t have been successful in any meaningful sense of the word.

    Our size is no real threat, b/c it’s a direct result of our success, and it may even be necessary for our continued success. Agriculture, for instance, wouldn’t have worked w/o a certain number of people cooperating. You can’t till a field with a small family. Likewise, our modern economy rests upon tapping economies of scale. This is why economics is a new science; it wouldn’t have made much sense in ancient Greece where the population was relatively small. The economy also taps a variety of skills across the whole world. If you limit population, you limit the diverse resources that the economy needs to expand.

    The cons of limiting population growth are increasing poverty and oppression. These cons are fairly concrete and certain. The pros of it are more hypothetical. They rest on the carrying capacity of the earth relative to human innovation, which has proved to be quite dynamic. Of course sure there’s a probability that our growth will still be placed in check, maybe even as a result of nature, maybe future as a result of a natural catastrophe, and maybe further as a result of one partially caused by over-population. What are the chances of this occurring? What are the chances it could even be mitigated by human intervention? Relative to this what are the chances of a natural disaster not related to population growth such as a comet from outer space? Limiting population growth poses its own real disaster in increasing world poverty. How would even know whether that disaster would be worse than the disaster that it was designed to prevent?

  30. #30 natural cynic
    February 15, 2009

    kerrjac: Our size is no real threat, b/c it’s a direct result of our success, and it may even be necessary for our continued success.

    You are writing only in terms of *human population*. There are other populations that will suffer even if we humans innovate our way out of disaster. Or, to paraphrase, let’s pave paradise and put up a parking lot. Parking lots are more useful for humans, right?
    Another aspect of this is that we have found that innovation always trumps oncoming scarcity. Are you sure that will continue? In the developed world, will we be able to substitute alternative fuels in an economically reasonable manner before oil becomes prohibitively expensive? Then what about the Third World” It would be nice if they don’t aspire to our economic conditions, but I wouldn’t trust them not to.
    A reductio ad absurdum to your view is “Let’s have more children so one of them will solve the population problem.

    And if you don’t have wealth, or accessible resources, then you have to rely more heavily on labor and human capital. If you cut these families off from having more children, you would entrench them even further into poverty.

    Actually, you are putting the problem off until the next generation, when it will be worse. If land is limited, can you keep dividing it into smaller parcels for the next generation? If the excess population moves to the cities, what will they do? If the populations in the cities still carry on with the same attitude towards having more children, then the cities become more squalid. The problem is population outstripping resources. If the resources are available elsewhere, like the developed world, how is the developed world going to cope with massive immigration? I’n glad that you are willing to share your resources and are willing to encourage others to do so.

  31. #31 natural cynic
    February 15, 2009

    p.s. read Collapse by Jared Diamond.

  32. #32 kerrjac
    February 15, 2009

    Thanks for the thought-provoking response, cynic.

    I hear you in terms of other species, but that adds a complex dimension to the argument. You’re never going to convince countries to cut down on children per family b/c of certain species growing extinct. And further, to what degree are we responsible for their survival? Pets for instance have thrived with human development; deer and the measles haven’t. Overall, however, wealthier societies who have the luxury of attending to endangered species generally do. The problem occurs when they want to protect these species at the expense of poorer societies. But certainly there are ways to protect various species without unduly hindering the poor.

    If land is limited, can you keep dividing it into smaller parcels for the next generation?

    If humans did expand by dividing land across the whole earth into equal parcels, then that would be real threat to other animals. But we don’t do that, and neither does any other species for that matter. We congregate in cities b/c, in developed nations, trade & commerce facilitate wealth, & in undeveloped nations, they facilitate survival.

    So land is finite, but this has a minimal appreciable effect on human population growth, primarily b/c not all land is created equal. A few of the differentiating factors include natural fertility, types of natural resources, & access to society/civilization – the latter not only underscoring the formation of cities, but also cities in coastal regions. Fluctuating land/real estate prices are a testament to how different the value of one plot of land is from another to the eyes of a human.

    Actually, you are putting the problem off until the next generation, when it will be worse.

    Then you skip forward to that next generation, and see if the problem has gotten worse. Historically, you skip forward many times to the next generation. Over many, or even a few generations, if the problem kept getting worse, we would cease to exist. Natural selection has already solved this problem; those species who really did get worse with each new generation died off.

    A reductio ad absurdum to your view is “Let’s have more children so one of them will solve the population problem.

    It’s not a question of looking for single breakthroughs that help the whole human race, altho those certainly help. It’s a question of using economies of scale, along with piecemeal innovations, to improve everyone’s lot in life. The 2 go hand-in-hand. Innovations are only valuable insofar as people are around to benefit from them. Multiply the value of one genius innovation, say one that ends up prolonging human life by 50 years, over 10,000 people. Next multiply the value of a very mediocre innovation, say one that prolongs human life by 1 year, over half a billion people. The latter, in its historical context, is more valuable. Without an economy of scale, you’d never get these piecemeal innovations in the first place. Add them all up, and the whole pie of valuable resources really does expand.

    For some time, the people of the wealthiest nations still mostly did physical labor, be it in farms or factories. Now many more Americans have office jobs. We’re not working all day in the fields – like most humans did for the vast majority of our existence – so where are our resources coming from? Follow this trend line ad iniftum and you’ll see that with the proper innovation it may one day possible for the whole to physically be working less. But for now we can just talk about degrees of physical vs. non-physical labor. All of which is to say that economics & innovation really do set us free, moreso than limiting population growth.

    It would be nice if they don’t aspire to our economic conditions

    I am enjoying this conversation, but that’s just cruel. If you really believed that, then you might as well just go live with them.

  33. #33 Sigmund
    February 16, 2009

    I’ve got it!
    Lets just appoint Jenny McCarthy as head of the World Health Organization!
    I think I can safely guarantee you that implementing her ideas on vaccination will make a huge dent in these overpopulation figures.

  34. #34 Martin R
    February 16, 2009

    Yeah! Or Dr. Beetroot!

  35. #35 Marcus
    February 16, 2009

    Why don´t you start a thread on VoF´s forum about this topic and present your arguments there Martin? If you want to discuss the topic seriously, I think that is a better idea.

  36. #36 Ian
    February 16, 2009

    I am not worried about the growth of human population numbers right now. I see the trouble beganing sometime pass the 8.5 Billion number to the 10 billion number.

    WHY.
    Land on Earth for humans for about 7 useage:
    Argriculture, Industrial,Commerical.Infurstructural, Recreation, Natural Resevere, Housing

    Argriculture has been the cheif factor responibile for our large growth in population.
    Our land resource compacity is presently approaching they limits, and thus the probability of maintaining soil feritily will be a cost factor in the production of food.

    When the cost of these feritilers gose up then food prices will rise.If the reprocessing cost for raw materail input also rise , then supply issue will arise( market forces may also come in to play and push the price higher). Human will need to look for new land space beyond Earth.

    The other factors which I see affecting our population growth and socail stablity is the continuing marginalization of male economic power via technology and with pro-feminists soceities.
    The delerberate pushing of pro female policies and automation and pre-fabrication technologies , as a mean of reducing cost and empowering women to help reduce the world population will lead to social problems up the road.
    This is a dangerous trend.
    Social unrest with human numbers between 8.5 to 10 billion will be unplesant.
    Under those circumstances the human population will nose dive, with declines in feritile rates and increase materity rate of death will be common factors. This may be an unentented consquence of this direction.

    Mars may be considered a dead world , but earth biological resoucres are quite capable of taking root there in some locations and begun the teraformation process. It may take years but if Mars soil sample are obtain in large quantities and and allow to be used as test bed for our search for new foot holds , then humans will not need to worry about our growth in numbers

  37. #37 Martin R
    February 17, 2009

    Marcus, I’m a blogger. I don’t discuss, I tell people what to think! (-;

  38. #38 Don Robertson
    February 17, 2009

    This scientist typically, isn’t even close.

    “I want to see Niagara Falls restored the way it was!” -God

    Seriously, Click my url link and buy my book, The New Epistemology of Morality and Truth. (Or google it.)

    We cannot rely on scientists to provide humanity the truth. That is what has brought us to this disaster in the first place.

    I’m a philosopher. There are answers you never dreamed.

    Pass on the word. Science builds knowledge sets that are immoral. It is like witchcraft. And it is the knowledge sets of science that are destroying our world.

  39. #39 Guillaume Clave
    February 17, 2009

    Two things:
    1.Nature has it’s on way to regulate population.
    2.The One Child Policy in China seems very attractive at first, but now China face a very dreadful problem and they know it: A bunch of very self centered, egoistic and unsocial brats that run the country…

    If you think of Population Management issues, maybe it’s not the Population that should be reduce, but the “Managers” and their Management practices that should be change….

  40. #40 MARTHA ROSE CROW
    February 17, 2009

    HOW IGNORANT ARE ALL OF YOU??? DON’T YOU KNOW THAT IF YOU GIVE PEOPLE A DECENT LIFE (FOOD, HOUSING, MEDICAL CARE, EDUCATION & NECESSITIES PLUS A FEW LUXURIES), THE POPULATION LEVEL DROPS OFF.

    IT’S WHEN YOU STRESS PEOPLE OUT WITH PSYCHOPATHIC-INDUCED STRESS DOES THE BODY STRESS OUT, THINKING THAT IT’S RUNNING OUT OF TIME AND THUS PRODUCE MORE CHILDREN. PLANTS & ANIMALS DO THIS WHEN YOU STRESS THEM OUT: THEY START TO RECREATE THEMSELVES BECAUSE LIFE IS IN THE DEFENSE FROM PREDATORS OR RUNNING OUT OF TIME MODE.

    BUT TO SHARE THE WEALTH OF THE PLANET WOULDN’T BE FAIR TO THE TOP 10% PSYCHOPATHIC ELITE THAT OWN IT ALL AND RUN IT ALL. THEY THINK BECAUSE THEY HAVE MONEY TO BUY POWER THAT THEY HAVE SOME KIND OF “MYSTICAL” RIGHT TO RULE US AND KILL US PREMATURELY WHEN WE ARE NO LONGER USEFUL TO THEM (SHOCK=STRESS=PREMATURE DEATH).

    GIVE PEOPLE A DECENT LIFE AND THE POPULATION NUMBERS DROP AND FLATTEN NATURALLY. YOU CAN EITHER WORK FOR A GIFTING WORLD OR YOU CAN KEEP IT SAVAGE LIKE IT IS AND THUS, PLAN POPULATION CONTROL FOR EVERYONE ELSE.

  41. #41 Per Bondesen
    February 17, 2009

    We are not running out of resouces, we are drowning in them!

    Agriculture is presently the most wasteful economic activity there is and it is causing soil depletion at a rate 1000 times faster than new soil is built.

    By simple means it is possible to retain nutrients in a closed cycle thus providing the basis for significant improvement of productivity of land without causing soil depletion and pollution, which is the source of many water borne diseases.

    There will be marginal or no need for commercial input in such farming, which is why FAO is never seen promoting this kind of solutions. However, it can be done.

    You can read about it here: http://www.onevillagefoundation.org/ovf/downloads/pdfs/IF&WMS_Packet/IF&WMS_overview.pdf

    The gospel of population reduction is only preached by those who consider themselves the “chosen ones”, they are not the ones to give up their comfortable life. The Club of Rome is one such elitist organization.

  42. #42 Paul
    February 17, 2009

    What we really need is for the great religious organizations of the world to ‘fess up and admit that they knew all along that they were peddling a load of made-up rubbish in order to amass power to themselves, and making everyone populate regardless was part of that.

  43. #43 Martin R
    February 17, 2009

    I share your sentiment, but I’m pretty sure that the population explosion has more to do with improved health care and nutrition than with organised religion. Just look at India and China — not too many Christian fundies there.

  44. #44 Christopher Marlowe
    February 17, 2009

    It’s interesting to see people base their belief that “there are too many people” on something silly like an arbitrarily large number: “Now, at more than six billion people in our worldwide gerbil cage, we’ve pretty much got the same choices…” Why six billion? Why not six million? Six Trillion?

    “Woman or man — thy loins must never issue more than two children, preferably less!” What kind of nerve does it take to decide that you know how many children everyone else should have?

    Martha Rose seems to have it right: SHARE THE WEALTH OF THE PLANET! If we use our resources right, we have more than enough for billions more people.

    But selfish people can never have enough. And if you are a selfish person, there will always be too many people in this world.

  45. #45 Neil
    February 17, 2009

    Population Control servers the masters of our races who wish to make certain that only certain people die offfand others flourish.

  46. #46 Erwin
    February 21, 2009

    I’m think I’m doing alright, I have 2 kids and that’s enough for me. My brother has none and isn’t planning to get any. That brings the number of grandchildren for my parents to 2. The my parents come from families of 5 each (well, my mother of 6 but a sister died age 14 so I guess that doesn’t count, does it?). So in one generation we go from 10 to 2. How’s that for population control. In the west, just wait until the baby boomers start dying and things will be awesome again. Even in that respect our families are doing great, my father and my father-in-law are dead (at 40-something and 50-something respectively). We should get an award :)

    (black humor rules!!)

  47. #47 Martin R
    February 21, 2009

    Erwin, Erwin, Erwin, you’re thinking only in patrilineages. Your kids are equally part of their mom’s lineage.

  48. #48 Erwin
    February 21, 2009

    Uh, numbers come from my mom’s family (the one with the dead sister) and my father’s (quote ‘my parents come from families of 5 each’).

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