Saturday, December 02, 2017

Population is Number One Priority

When I read that headline I thought, "Great! Finally people are recognizing that the overflowing human population is destroying our finite planet."

Of course, when I read further I discovered that the number one priority was actually population growth (according to a Saskatchewan politician). The city of Saskatoon is no better, hell bent on raising its population. Why can't we focus on "better" instead of "more" and "bigger"?

I should have known better. Our civilization is based on the impossible dream of never ending growth. It amounts to the biggest pyramid scheme ever. And we know what happens to pyramid schemes, in the end they inevitably collapse.

Even most environmentalist are afraid to raise the subject of limiting or, god forbid, reducing the population. Some people will try to argue that it's not population that is the problem, it's consumption. I've never quite figured how that helps. So we can keep growing the population (for a little longer) if more of us (or preferably "them") live in poverty. But isn't the average standard of living also rising? It seems to me that convincing people to lower their standard of living is even harder than convincing them to have less children.

One of the sad statistics I came across recently was that people that describe themselves as "environmentally friendly" have higher rates of consumption - because they tend to be people with a higher standard of living. Economists may be happy to hear that higher income means higher consumption, but it's not helping the planet. Of course, economists don't care about the planet, it's an "externality". Would they think the same if it was their house they were burning down? Oh, I forgot, it is their house they're burning down.

Even sadder, I'm guilty of it just like everyone else. I buy too many cameras and computers. I travel too much. I try, but it's hard to escape the culture you're embedded in.

It's one thing if humans destroy themselves, but unfortunately, we're doing our best to drag the whole planetary ecosystem down with us.

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