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Nature_and_Environment.14

Population Growth

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{Nature_and_Environment.14.3}: Richard Witty {gisland2} Sat, 13 Mar 2004 20:36:14 CST (42 lines)

The big issue is with "rules". Your solutions all
incorporated "rules" to accomplish the ends.

Historically, other solutions have been effective. They complement
each other.

One is education and improvement of the social status of women. By
education I don't mean specific fertility education, although I'm
sure that MANY women would seek that. Education empowers, in many
respects. We in the west have virtually no concept of the status and
experience of women in many areas. It is very very suppressed.

The second is improvement in living standards and pre and post natal
health. Although in the first generation, improvements in early
childhood survival increase populations, it is temporary. Once
families realize that it is not necessary or desirable to have 10
pregnancies to realize 4 healthy working children, they won't
emphasize child-bearing as much. It won't be as much of a need.

These two characteristics have reduced the desired birthrate in all
countries in Western Europe, without force.

Norms die more slowly, but they do. Reason is more practical.
Consider the birthrate in Italy. The current average family size is
MUCH smaller than a generation ago.


I'm not sure if its a certainty that population will inevitably
overstep the carrying capacity of the planet. Certainly, population
living the way we do now will harm it.

But, I don't think 10 billion of a single species by itself
overstresses the earth itself, if that species is innocuous. We are
not the most populous species on the planet, and we may not even
exert the largest impact. I think we do exert the longest impact.
(When ants or insects decimate a locale's vegetation, it grows back.
A deforested and paved jungle doesn't.)

I think there might ultimately be lifeways in which humans don't
overstep. Maybe 15 generations hence we'll shift. Like many of the
eastern Indian tribes genuinely shifted from perpetual war and excess
to peace and sufficiency.

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