Population and Pollution–Choices or Panic?

Surely you have noted the recent news articles about the connection between population and the envoirnmental concerns.  Some group of, no doubt, really smart people concluded that it is us that are the problem.  Each one of us adds to the pollution issue and each of us uses up tons of carbon during our life span.   Well, they could have asked Pogo and saved themselves lots of time and effort.  You recall that he declared decades ago that he had met the enemy and it was us.   Well, we are carbon based creatures since we are literally made of the stuff and everything we use and need has some place on the carbon chain.   We can’t exist without carbon and utilizing it for not only our power but for our food and clothing and even those Ipods that need carbon in their manufactoring process.  The elites  grandly concluded that the sure way to reduce carbon emissions would be to reduce world population and world population growth.

I have said for a long time that their analysis is correct.  It is merely logical and factual.  No matter what we do with carbon emission controls or any other envoirnmental program it will be spitting into the wind if the population continues at its current growth levels.  The European population has reached a point of sustainability or even declining growth over the last few decades.  From Italy to Sweden and Britain to Poland the trend is there to see.  The numbers have quit rising. Many demographers claim that they aren’t having enough babies to maintain their current population numbers and that total population will decline steadily over the next few decades.  Sadly, the areas of the world that will produce the most carbon pollution and population growth are in the places that will not accede to any envoirnmental restrictions and their populations are expected to explode by mid century to swell our total numbers to over 9 billion.   China, India, Brazil and the countries of Africa and Latin America are not making any real progress in this regard except for China.  You are surely familar with their program of limiting families to one child.  They do impose steep penalties for  violations and require sterilization in some cases.  Their population is stabilizing at the moment but will it last?  Will they change the rules as their people prosper more in the coming decades?  How will they support an huge, aging population with fewer young people to work?

Of course there have been predictions before that we would over populate ourselves into complete  oblivion.  I do think there is sense in that concern.  There has to be some limit to how many people Mother Earth can sustain at even primitive levels of existence.  I have no clue what that number is.  Can we support 29 billion?  49 billion?   There is a number, we just don’t know it.  We have to take these projections and predictions with extreme caution.  During the ’60’s and ’70’s there were many predictions of impending doom for the entire world.  Some of those elite thinkers predicted mass starvation of huge swaths of the planet and that pollution of the earth and seas would kill us anyway if the starvation didn’t.  Lots of those folks believed we had already reached a tipping point with DDT and PCB’s, etc. and would all die of cancer or malformations.  Look it up, you can find lots of those predictions from that era.  Rachel Carson got the most publicity with these predictions but she was joined by many others.  Well, here we are.  No one, even in the poorest countries starves because there is a lack of food.  Some have starvation issues like in Darfur, but in every case it is due to politics and conflicts that disrupt the transportation of food, not the lack of it.   At the moment we produce enough food for every one and then some.

To make it even  more confusing there are some demographers who actually believe the entire world will soon go into an overall decline in population growth.  They believe that population will decrease over the coming decades.  First it will be in Europe and the US but it will spread to BRIC and all the Third World.  That is another interesting scenario.  It offers reall posers for the economists of the future.  Except for the Black Plague and the world wars we don’t have an historical template for that kind of event.  We don’t know what will happen to the economies of the world if that reduction were to occur.    We can’t go back and compare it to anything else.  The Black Plague made labor more dear and did cause changes in the feudal system because  labor was dearer than before.  Some good came out of it but also lots of harm.  There were fewer customers for everything.  The labor was mostly for agricultural needs.  The world wars were only a temporary dip in growth.  In spite of the enormous number of deaths they were still quite small compared to the total population of the West.  

I don’t know about you, but I won’t be here to see how it all plays out.  If you are under 40 though you need to give this issue serious thought.  You can be assured that others will be giving it thought.  There will controversies over allegations of racism, there will be pointed disputes about encouraging abortion and many other contentious issues.  I have no doubt you will work it out some how.  If we don’t do it ourselves then Mother Nature will do it for us.  She will get the final vote on the matter.  Man proposes and God disposes.

First we took tax payer money to pay some, but not all, delinquent mortgages.  You had to pay for your neighbor’s profligacy.  Now we are taking taxpayer money to buy cars from Government owned companies that will need subsidies for as far as the eye can see.  If they are truly interested in stimulating the economy then it should be for all industries and business sectors not just the union favorites of the politicians.  Heck, just let us all have a voucher to spend on anything.  It could not be saved or invested.  It only had value if you spent it.  Why not rob from all of us and give to all of us at one time.  Is this a great country or what?  www.olcranky.wordpress.com


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Filed under business, Culture, Economics, Environment, Global Warming, government, Mother Nature, Politics

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