Sunday, December 15, 2013

Why Population Control is the "Wrong" Answer?

So I stumbled upon this site that calls itself an "ecosocialist journal, expressing the viewpoint of environmental Marxism." (Um, what?) The Green Left. (Uhhh...) I might agree with some things they say if I could be bothered to be interested in what they are saying. (Eh...) The article that caught my eye was all concerned with population control and why it was the WRONG answer for climate change. Amused, I had to read it. I'm all up in the whole climate change thing. Now, I get to tear it apart point by point. This will take a few entries.

They say population control measures would actually hinder the movement.

Oh, DO, go on, say I, leaning forward with an eager expression, chin in my hands. This ought to be GREAT. Please... do tell.

Their first point in the article by Simon Butler is that population does not cause climate change. No, of course it in itself does not. The author's view in this is that reducing the population is focusing on one symptom of a bad system instead of dealing with the root cause.
"People are not pollution. Blaming too many people for driving climate change is like blaming too many trees for causing bushfires."
Um.... hmm. I'm not entirely sure why this makes sense to Mr. Butler. Sure, sure, I kind of see what he's saying (not really). There is a failing in this. You do not have a brush fire where there is no brush, and where there are not humans, there is not pollution. A smaller number of people using less energy burning fewer fossil fuels WOULD result in less pollution. So, no. BUZZ!!! Wrong!
"The real cause of climate change is an economy locked into burning fossil fuels for energy and unsustainable agriculture. Unless we transform the economy and our society along sustainable lines as rapidly as possible, we have no hope of securing an inhabitable planet, regardless of population levels."
Um... yeah. I don't disagree with that. But Mr. Butler is not convincing me at all that population can keep growing unchecked. It's like he's trying to tie something in for the heck of it rather than for good reason and argument. His population would have to be a very nearly perfect one that uses very little energy. Since that is not likely to happen, I still advocate population reduction along with his transformed society. A growing population will always require more and more and more, and therefore also needs to change. 
"Population-based arguments fail to admit that population levels will impact on the environment in a very different way in a zero-emissions economy. Making the shift to renewable energy – not reduction in human population – is really the most urgent task we face."
Again, I don't disagree - we need to make the shift to renewable energy. But I maintain a reduction in human population is completely necessary. I am failing to understand what his utopian world of 9 billion people looks like in a zero-emissions economy. How are we feeding all these people? Are they still using computers, driving cars, using air conditioning or heating their homes, or all they all walking around gardening and living in caves? I don't see that happening. I'd love for him to explain it to me. Maybe... just maybe... in getting to that zero-emissions economy he seems to think we can have, we put the brakes on a little and give the planet a change to catch its breath? 
More to come next time. His logic takes a lot of digesting. Trust me. A LOT. 
I realize this is just one man's opinion in one article, but this is the kind of thinking I face all the time. Population is the last thing people want to discuss. That time is gone, that luxury is one we no longer have. It's getting to be too late.  

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