Lately, the population of this country has remained essentially the same. America grew at less than 1%, which we know from US Census report data.
It caused a lot of crying, moaning, and gnashing of teeth for those who think perpetual great growth is good. This does not include Southeast Asian countries, and in particular China and India.
China recognized that eternal growth was harmful and passed a law that limited couples to one child. It didn’t work very well and recently this edict was reversed. The photos from India show a population that is at the limit. Malnutrition and starvation are the results of unlimited growth.
There are certain advantages to increasing our population. There will be more people shopping at big box stores. Real estate people who sell condos to retirees will thrive. More children would mean more care for the elderly.
But, the advantages of perpetual growth are outweighed by the disadvantages. Not only countered, but annihilated.
More people means fewer open spaces, fewer wildlife, and fewer places to hike and walk. This means more cars and trucks on the highways; more skyscrapers; more skyscrapers. Remember this skyscraper in Surfside, Florida, where building codes were ignored or didn’t quite catch up to reality.
Inspections revealed problems, but they were virtually ignored – until the building collapsed.
As usual, a few are enjoying it and the rest of us are crammed into ever smaller living spaces.
As for the claim that more children mean more care for the elderly, that is simply not true. No one is saying that people shouldn’t procreate. It just means that couples should only have two children, which essentially duplicates each other. More than two and the population will increase.
Already, several wild creatures have disappeared, never to be seen again. Many more are threatened. Most of this extinction (real and threatened) is due to the presumption that we are superior to other predators, that herding cows or sheep is an economic advantage, and therefore ranchers justify shooting anything that has a impact on the herd.
For example, the wolf population was nearly wiped out in the United States. It returns thanks to the efforts of repopulation and protection. But even so, the wolf is only allowed to live in national protected areas. If the wolf leaves this protected area, say Yellowstone, it is considered a threat to domesticated species and can be shot.
More people also means more food is needed, and more cows and sheep fill that need. Anything that negatively affects this need is considered a threat that must be eradicated. It doesn’t matter if that threat is wolves, bears or prairie dogs.
Currently, there are very few family farmers and increasingly industrial/factory farms, also known as confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs). California’s Central Valley, where most of our fruits and vegetables come from, is threatened by global warming. Global warming is a direct result of too many people burning too many fossil fuels.
There are enough people on this planet. Maybe already too much.
Ken Midkiff, former director of the Sierra Club Clean Water campaign, is now chairman of the city’s Environment and Energy Commission and sits on the board of the Great Rivers Environmental Law Center.