Regardless of the environmental and health challenge we face today, whether it’s global climate change, solid waste, or toxic releases, the root cause can reasonably be traced back to one thing: a growing human population with unsustainable wants and needs.
The human population on Earth hit 7 billion 2 years ago, and we’ve been adding about a billion new mouths to feed every 12-14 years. Demographers suggest that we’re heading for anywhere from 10 to 15 billion, and as more global citizens require things like cars, refrigerators and clothing, the demands placed on our natural resources simply outpace the regenerative capability of those resources.
Still, there are pundits who have their heads in the sand and are calling for more births, higher birthrates, and less attention to global consequences. Several right-wing journalists have written op-eds in the New York Times calling for greater baby-making (see here and here, where David Brooks laments the fact that there are only 41% of Americans who think that having children is the key to a successful marriage and that there are now more American houses with dogs than with children).
It’s a very thinly veiled racism that motivates these “opinions”, make no mistake. In addition, high birth rate is by no means correlated with a strong economy, in fact quite the opposite. Birth rates in Zimbabwe and Sudan are extremely high, and those countries are in a world of hurt economically and socially as a result.
Population Connection, a nonprofit organization dedicated to education about stabilizing populations and improving the economy through smart growth, is hosting a live event today.
The agenda is as follows.
John Seager, President of Population Connection
Population Aging: A Necessary Feature of a Sustainable World
The Global Demographic/Fiscal Transition and Its Alarming Prospects for Low-Wage Workers
American Demographics and American Business
Keynote Address: Demographic Perspectives on U.S. Economic Prospects
Supply Shock: Economic Growth at the Crossroads and the Steady State Solution
Pathways to a Healthy Economy—Voices from the National Dialogue
Janet Mancini Billson