Thursday, November 3, 2011

7 Billion People

7 Billion People

Congrats breeders! You've done it - and a lot of times none the less. We are hitting a peak at the human species and we've reached 7 billion fucking people on this unlucky planet.
Welcome baby seven billion: we've room on Earth for you
The modern Malthusians' lament at overpopulation is a mask for misanthropy. It's sustainable if the rich world consumes less

On one day – one minute – in the next month, the world's 7 billionth human resident will be born. The United Nations is marking the occasion on the last day of October with what it describes it as an "opportunity" to promote "7 billion actions" for environmental sustainability and women's education, estimating that the world's population will top out at 9 or 10 billion mid-century before declining as economic development matures in countries with higher birth rates.

They appear to be right. Worldwide, fertility rates in countries such as Mexico and Bangladesh have fallen vastly in a single generation – thanks, in large part, to what the economist Amartya Sen terms "development as freedom". Yet Thomas Malthus, who at the turn of the 19th century predicted that population growth would inevitably lead to famine, still has his fans among those inclined to believe that humans mean little but bad news.

In Britain Population Matters, the Green party and the naturalist David Attenborough are united in agreeing that the UK population is too big and needs to be "encouraged" to bring about the conditions for its managed decline. Rather than place their focus on the waste and overconsumption endemic to rich nations such as ours, their solution to environmental pressure is to make sure there are fewer of us around in the future to mess things up.

Around the world, policies to promote family planning only work when people of child-bearing age are able to factor in the prospect of stability and choice in other areas of their lives. We have found ways of making it possible to sustain ourselves at a time when the world population has increased exponentially. What prevents the world being fed equitably and healthily is the fact that rich-world governments can't bear the thought of doing two unpopular things.

First, they won't encourage individuals to reduce their own consumption; and second, they won't facilitate moving that consumption away from petrol, meat, imported fruit and other adoptive "necessities" of the world middle class. Stuffed and Starved, the incisive 2008 book by Raj Patel, shows the symbiosis between obesity in rich nations and undernourishment in poor ones, caused by the hogging of food markets by those best placed to profit from them.

Let it be known that I support making birth control accessible to the third world, but only out of concern for the well-being of the woman and her right to control her own body. I personally find concerns about population control in the third world to be somewhat creepy to say the least. The goal should be sustainable development since that goes hand in hand with people having less kids anyway. So it's less to have to deal with when it's already being taken care of.

But in saying that, I have to hate environmentalists to some degree because they are largely racist Malthusians who often literally will say that they are going to have kids (plural) but don't think Mexicans, Chinese or Indians should because we need to protect the planet. They're the ecological equivalent of "fuck you, got mine" conservative. And you know you get taught Malthus in an environmental degree, it's pretty disgusting. They seem to instill the attitude that middle class whites who garden and bike places but otherwise participate in modern living are no impact, while some dirt poor farmer working for some landlord in India just to feed himself is destroying mother earth.

Maybe it should be required that every white first worlder needs to spend six months to a year in the third world just seeing how the other side lives.

Then there's the option to adopt kids. It is literally the least you can do as an otherwise worthless bougie by adopting a kid and not making a new one. And I realize that adopting can be difficult if you haven't raised a kid before, but you should attempt to go that route before you just crank out a self-image child because you feel your genes are so god damn impressive and need to be replicated.

I mean, there's nothing inherently wrong with having kids. I enjoy the fact that humans exist, if not always in their current relations. But I imagine a child's life would otherwise be pretty hard if they've been put up for adoption. But adoption isn't as much about creating/not creating more people as it is taking care of the ones we already have first and in the here and now.

The big problem with adoption is that besides the huge difference between supply of unwanted children and the demand of parents-to-be, seems to be that adoption leaves kids in the system for a long fucking time and parents who want the full rainbow of raising a child from drooling organism to adult. So those who have learned their first word already are pretty much in the unwanted list.

Then we get into the issue where we start to question how sustainable all this growth really is. There was an economist on NPR who was talking about how people cannot possibly eat less meat per capita because of "consumer preferences." Basically it boils down to neoclassical economic having the worst eschatology of any religion.

It gets to the point where people just don't want to change their lifestyles to meet the demand of the masses. Didn't Spock himself say that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few? I recall most American clueless families saying that they were worried about Muslims coming to the U.S. and outbreeding "us" and taking over the government.

Oh, and please. Let's just drop this whole notion that we're going to go to another planet and colonize it. Stopping and going in space is a pure pazaak, Good luck landing on something and leaving any sort of increased mass that you would need for mining.

Just look at how much energy it takes to get a handful of people and some food and air to reach escape velocity and to a tiny space station that we no longer deem it fit to go to. Besides that, we're struggling to produce viable agriculture in arid regions of the earth. Gee, why don't we go try this and hope that it'll work better billions of miles away with no air!.

Though I probably shouldn't skip the biggest issue with this 7 billion article. It's that they can't narrow down the birth of the seven billionth person like this. Population statistics aren't accurate enough. I've encountered cases where people in certain places are not formally registered until several years after their birth. Assuming the records are exactly accurate to begin with anyway and you'll see that this is pretty much impossible. Basically this story is a huge lie.

Hell, even in this first world I know I don't count in the census because I choose NOT to take part of it and be counted.

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