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ETpro's avatar

[NSFW] How do we limit births to avoid disaster due to resource depletion, pollution and destruction of nature?

Asked by ETpro (34208 points ) January 17th, 2014

When I was born, there were about 2.2 billion people here on Earth. I’m about to turn 70, and in the 7 decades I’ve been here, Earth’s population has grown by more than 3 times the amount in grew in the first 200,000 years of modern humanity inhabiting this planet. The UN predicts Earth’s population will hit 8 billion in another 15 years, 9 billion in 2050, and 10 billion by 2100.

Still, the leaders of many religions and denominations, always ravenous for a larger flock to pour more money into their offering plates, are exhorting their faithful to make babies as fast as they can pop them out. But we are running up against resource, pollution and habitat destruction limits now far faster than technology can solve those problems. We have to start limiting births. China’s one child per couple approach was as disastrous a failure as it was a barbaric policy. How can we maintain population at what it is now or even decrease it a bit over time? How do we limit births when medical science progresses to the point where, barring accidents or murders, humans begin to approach living forever? If celibacy isn’t an acceptable answer what do you prefer we do?

If you’d like to propose solutions that are SFW, click here

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28 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

Destroy all humans.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t think we can “limit” births, but we can work towards having a society that encourages people to self limit the amount of children they want. Very few women want to have baby after baby, pregnant practically their entire fertile life. Having easy access to information and birth control methods is one start. We would also have to fix social security, so that it is not so dependent on younger people paying for older people. The country/state encourages births, it’s not just religious leaders. We give tax breaks for children and maternity leave (varies by country. Maybe we should take away the tax breaks?

I don’t think religion is the biggest factor, especially not in the US, maybe in the world it is more of a problem. Sure the Muslim extremists want every woman to have a ton of babies, but that is a small percentage probably of the Muslim population. And, yes, the Catholics promote havng a big family, but most Catholics who live in industrialized nations don’t follow that, although I certainly still know Catholics who are having 4 or more children. The Orthodox Jews do it as well, but they are a mini mini small group. But, people will ignore their religion when it comes to this topic most of the time, if the culture and society around them makes it undesirable to have so many children.

There is still tons of land and resources around the world, if we utilized it better. maybe we should focus on world peace, poverty, and education and the biproduct will probably be fewer births.

JimTurner's avatar

It’s a slippery slope when talking about worldwide population control or even population reduction because it has the potential to open the gates of genocide.

There’s even an ugly side to sterilization that hints of extinction, racism and barbaric methods. In most instances it is usually the uneducated poor who are manipulated to be a part of these experiments.

I believe the earth itself will retaliate to overpopulation and will react to what we are doing to it.

Because of our lack and concern for our planet we may experience more natural disasters, less drinkable water and even something as serious as the Black Plague that could wipe out millions of people at one time.

zenvelo's avatar

Take a Malthusian approach, Stop fighting influenza, cholera. typhoid, plague.

janbb's avatar

Why would there be a NSFW and a SFW version of this question when the answer in both cases is education and contraception?

ETpro's avatar

Just for the record, here’s some info showing that the challenge is there and growing. Oceanographer, explorer, author, and lecturer Sylvia Earle warns in this short
YouTube Video”:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6SPuCV77as that our oceans are dying due to polution, and that if they die we die. Looking at Global Warming, this disturbing report on the recent increase in the rate of greenhouse gas emissions tells us we aren’t yet even moving in the right direction. In fact, it says we’re heading the wrong way toward driving toward an environmental train-wreck, and we’ve got our foot jammed down on the accelerator. good for this quarter’s profits. Meanwhile, Earth’s primordial forests, the natural CO2 scrubber for our atmosphere, are being clear cut at an ever increasing rate.

@ragingloli Yes, leave the Earth to tentacle monsters.

@JLeslie Cogent thoughts. But as to religion, Muslims in general teach the blessings of many children, The fastest growing faction of their faith is what we would call the extremists, and even ones that self identify as moderates believe in the suppression of .women, the perfection of the Koran, the establishment of Sharia Law and a world-wide Islamic caliphate. Muslim terrorist aren’t a tiny, isolated bunch of kooks who are misinformed about their religion. They are doing exactly what the Koran tells them to do. The “Islam is a Religion of Peace” mantra our leaders keep preaching is BS. Islam’s mainstream teachings are every bit as violent as the Christian God of the Old Testament is.

There are 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, and while not all obey Rome, the greedy church continues to preach having babies galore. The same goes for Mormons and Evangelical Christians. So even if the rest of humanity gets the message, nearly 3 billion people are wearing religious blinders that make them shut the truth out.

@JimTurner I simply don’t buy that. Yes, eugenics was once practiced, but there are plenty of ways to encourage population control that have nothing remotely to do with forced sterilization, genocide or the like. And what’s the shinning alternative? Planetary pollution that ends up killing most of the human race and perhaps brings on a nuclear confrontation to finish the job? Hell of a Hobson’s choice is you ask me.

@zenvelo A grim way to do it, but it would work. I was thinking encouraging non-traditional marriages and sexual practices that don’t result in pregnancy except when pregnancy is the goal would be a bit more fun than dying of cholera. But hey, everybody is welcome to select the way that works for them.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

We should just summon Cthulhu to consume all of the trolls.

JimTurner's avatar

@ETpro You don’t believe that genocide is not still going on in Africa? You do not realize how many birth control clinics are in the poorest inner cities? Do you even know the history of Margaret Sanger and why she was arrested and her ties to the Klu Klux Klan. Do you not realize how many young kids are sent off to war to be blown to smithereens? And all you care about is the planet? You’re always talking about save the planet. The planet has lasted for millions of years what you’re really afraid of is yourself not lasting.

JLeslie's avatar

@JimTurner Genocide in Africa has nothing to do with this question. Margaret Sanger, even if she was a racist, she has nothing to do with what planned parenthood is today, and the right wing trying to say that we are targeting minorities for abortions to reduce their numbers and their race as some sort of eugenic plot is completely ludicrous. Look around at the countries and communities that are the most prosperous and stable. Those countries allow women to control their fertility and how many children they can have. Young kids sent to war and blown to smithereens? How does that fit your argument? Muslims are birthing babies and commiting suicide/homocide, but what does that have to do with wanting to control the population in the way @ETpro is getting at? Wanting people to only have the amount of children they can support so they can be healthy and happy, not only support financially, but also resources available to them for shelter, food and water, is to help not harm people and society. A poor black girl who avoids having a baby at 16 has a better shot at being prosperous and being able to have a solid family in the future. I would argue the evangelicals (not all of them, just the ones doing it) constantly going on about some sort of subversive movement to abort all the black babies are actually trying to keep the African American community down with religion and misinformation. It is a failed effort to try to woo black religious Americans to the Republican party.

@ETpro There are organizations in third world countries trying to counteract the Catholic message. Places like Haiti and others there are people trying to educated the population about birth control and provide it.

Darth_Algar's avatar

The problem is that nations such as ours, which have much lower birth rates as it is, are the ones consuming all of the resources. Perhaps the question we should be asking isn’t “how do we limit their births?” but rather “how do we limit our consumption?”.

rojo's avatar

Education has a positive impact. In addition to knowing the consequences of your actions it seems that the more educated a population is the smaller the family size.

But sooner or later, if we do not self limit, nature will take care of it for us. Kind of like the climate change thing, eventually you will reach a tipping point.

JLeslie's avatar

@Darth_Algar Are you calling us fat?

Darth_Algar's avatar

@JLeslie

Consumption of food resources is only one part of the problem.

JLeslie's avatar

I was just being tongue and cheek. I should have put a tilde.

I don’t know if I agree that we being huge consumers is the main problem. If we eat less and use less goods in general is it really going to help the poor and starving in Rawanda or India?

Darth_Algar's avatar

Maybe not, but that’s not the crux of the issue. The issue is dwindling resources.

josie's avatar

It is, in my opinion, a peculiar irony that people who have the experience of life (particularly those who have a reasonably decent life), will occasionally propose the possibility of limiting it’s distribution.
By the way, the eugenics movement of which Margaret Sanger was a part and is political history behind the current abortion debate, was all about being selective about who got to walk barefoot on a sunny day and who stayed in oblivion.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@josie Does a person have ownership of their body or not?

bolwerk's avatar

Encouraging dwelling in large cities. Not only are they more environmentally sustainable in other ways, but they actually reduce birth rates precipitously.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Public education that promotes contraception, small families (zero population growth) and resource conservation must be part of the solution.

josie's avatar

@Darth_Algar
What’s your point. Are you saying because we do or do not own our body’s we can or cannot decide what the population of the earth is permitted to be?

I am sure you trying to make some point. It may be too subtle for the likes of me.

One thing though…One way to know if you own something is if you can sell it. Can you sell your kidneys, or your corneas? No? So who owns them? If not you, then who?

Darth_Algar's avatar

My assumption is that your post was referencing abortion as you mentioned abortion in it. As far as I’m concerned you can sell your body or anything in it all you want. Somethings may not be medically advisable, but I would not begrudge you the right to do so. Now answer my question – does a person have ownership of their own body or not?

ETpro's avatar

Criminey, folks! This is the NSFW version. The Greeks had one answer to flawless birth control 2,500 years ago. I’d have thought somebody would have mentioned that, or any of the blizzard of other non-procreative sex acts that let couples still get their ya-yas without risk of pregnancy.

josie's avatar

@ETpro

I may have missed the point…

josie's avatar

@Darth_Algar

The answer is apparently “sort of” no. Prostitution is illegal in many places and the law prevents you from selling your organs on the open market. Looks to me like the glorious State claims ownership over you body in a lot of circumstances.

The abortion comment was a reference to the fact that the abortion issue became serious in the US, not because of women’s freedom, but rather to make legal the practice of limiting the births of undesirables. Margaret Sanger liked the idea of culling the herd. People seem to forget that.

If you want my position on abortion it is all over this site in previous answers, alongside my position on capital punishment, USA’s militaristic foreign policy, and other hot political issues.

Bill1939's avatar

@josie, I think that laws concerning the distribution of one’s body parts govern the market place more than the individual. If a medical necessity required that I have an organ replaced, I would want to have reason to believe that this organ is safe. In theory, Law is supposed to provide this surety.

The megalomaniacal ‘Man’ would control every aspect of one’s life, every aspect of everything. The imposition of puritanical morality through law has a long history. We have not freed ourselves from institutionalized servility yet, but we are chipping away many of its major components.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@josie

I’m well aware of what the law states. I was asking for your personal opinion. I figured that would be obvious, my mistake evidently.

Margaret Sanger actually opposed abortion. Her stance was contraception, not abortion. Furthermore she is entirely irrelevant to the present debate.

Bill1939's avatar

Sexual activity will decrease when an individual’s time and interest are otherwise occupied. Sex is inexpensive (initially), easy (except logistics) to do (with experience) and fun—and so boredom begets babies. There was a time when population made the difference between a country being subservient to another or not, but the time for empire building, whether by nations or corporations, has ended. Unfortunately, not the practice.

Raising children should be a vocation, not an accident. A couple should have the ability to choose to conceive or adopt and have the means. One would focus primarily upon rearing the child and the other securing resources to maintain the family. Sexual activities for pleasure instead of reproduction, however, should be equally legitimate; practices that minimize the risk of disease or fertilization are desirable. If an egg becomes fertilized, but a child not desired, whether or not to carry to term is solely the egg bearer’s responsibility.

josie's avatar

@Darth_Algar

Sanger was a eugenicist. Take that as you will.
What’s the debate?

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