Children are bad for sustainability

Discussion in 'News from around the damp planet' started by sun burn, Jan 2, 2011.

  1. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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  2. springtide

    springtide Junior Member

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    Another bad thought is that if a lot of third world countries are into large families and we did find a cure for world hunger and poverty and they all bought tractors, scooters and cars and better housing, air conditioning, etc - our planet would not survive. I know its wrong for me/us to deny them these things from nice countries with roads, schools, stable (ish) political system etc. But given the magic wand would you give it to them if you knew it would kill the planet?
     
  3. DonHansford

    DonHansford Junior Member

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    Keep in mind that a lot of those countries with higher birth rates, also have much higher mortality rates.
    The idea in many of these places is to have a sufficient number of kids, so that the survivors will be able to look after you in your dotage.

    Us Westerners don't need to do that - we have retirement villages! :doh:
     
  4. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    springtide, if you watch the video in the second link, you will see that family size decreases as wealth increases. But still the world population is growing. And they are all buying motorbikes anyway and more are buying cars than ever before, and more are buying tractors. They are buying more of everything because they are getting richer. I have seen it firsthand in india and vietnam. I know its happening in china. Its happening basically everywhere. But its not them who caused these problems. Its us, the rich countries. And its not about us giving it to them. They are working for it. The developing countries have to be quicker on the uptake for making improvements in their methods of production so that they don't make such a mess as our countries did. And although there has been some resentment of the need to operate under more stringent polluting guidelines, i notice that china and india appear to be trying to do it anyway. They recognise that its essential. Of course things happen slowly and they will make a mess anyway. The thing is that growth of population and consumption across the world is on the increase. Nothing is going to stop developing countries from trying to catch up until they've caught up. But the middle class in say india is certainly not hurrying to curb their consumption as they go ahead and have fewer children. They've just got wealth, they don't want to have to spend it wisely.

    If i had a magic wand, i do other things with it.
     
  5. springtide

    springtide Junior Member

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    I understand the more money = more ways to spend it, this requires more time therefore fewer childeren (i sorta said this at #15).I do not consider India or China to be third world countries though. China has put the boot in its population problem but commissions a new coal fired power plant every 2 weeks - India on the other hand is out of control with its growth and seems to be learning abour consumption faster than we did - Mumbai is starting to look like Venice beach CA. By third world I was meaning poorer parts of asia and africa. The only "2nd" world country that i can see having luck with planning, sustainable food production, health, etc at the moment is Cuba.
     
  6. Taras

    Taras Junior Member

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    I think we should remember one of the basic principals of permaculture - sustainable future for ALL the living spices on earth ( i would add to that the so called dead or not living nature because with out minerals and gases for example there would not be any living nature). So we should really consider of switching from the level were we think in patterns of arithmetical profit 1+1+1+1+1... or 1-1-1-1-1... and try to form truly HOLISTIC approach to any problems. Just like in nature there is nothing that you can eliminate the only thing you could do is to transform. So just be reasonable and instead of living in a cave and struggling against your own nature of socialization, mating and having children make sure that you will do everything possible to bring them in a better world.
     
  7. ShadowWalker

    ShadowWalker Junior Member

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    Who do you want to be the licensers? Who decides who breeds?

    Seeing the mess we're in, there's no one in a position of authority that I'd want to make that decision. :think:

    As for limiting the population growth of third world countries, good luck with that. The OD'd world as Mollison so appropriately calls it, isn't much of an example to follow. It's nothing more than the pot calling the kettle black. (And from what I've read, China hasn't done very well with it's one child policy either.)

    Two problems: overpopulation and over-consumption. And they both begin with "agriculture". The population grows with the increase in food originally provided by agriculture, then you need to have more children to grow more food.

    These problems are self-correcting as "agriculture" is failing around the world. The food that is grown is increasingly less nutritious and there is less of it as fields can no long grow anything. Less food = less people.

    We're reaching limits to growth.
     
  8. hawkypork

    hawkypork Junior Member

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    It seems this if you scratch a permaculturalist you unearth a misanthrope. The article apparently says if you have a western child you will increase your carbon footprint. Well no shit! Perhaps I need to write an article with the thesis that if you kill (and compost) yourself you carbon footprint will decrease.
     
  9. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    I know this is hard to believe, but there are many people out there who haven't thought about these things. I don't see how it's misanthropic to point out to them that their reproductive choices affect the planet.
     
  10. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    "As for limiting the population growth of third world countries, good luck with that."

    This article is not about limiting population growth of developing countries. Its about wealthy people having fewer children. Its wealthy people like us whose kids are doing the damage to the environment mostly, not the developing countries poor. All that is spelt out in teh first video i think.

    If you watch the second video you will see that the population of developing countries will increase less sharply also as they get richer. But frankly it can't happen fast enough. and thats' part of the problem. There seems to be a major lag. He also argues population growth is about getting richer and its certainly not about agriculture. Its about health and child mortality. As he says, poor people used to have many kids because so few of them lived to adulthood. Nowadays many live to adulthood so they try to have less. Also families where both parents work will also have fewer children because mother's dont' have time to take care of so many kids anymore. Kids are no longer needed to work on the farm when you get wealthjer. The kids are not relied upon to take care of the old parents. And so on and so forth. Unfortunately, as families get richer, they start to consume a lot more. And I am not talking just about food.


    I do agree with you that the problems are overpopulation and over consumption. Its a pity that neither of those links deal with the combination but only either one.
     
  11. springtide

    springtide Junior Member

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    This also brings in the topic of England where there is no baby bonus so the avearge couple have 1.7 childeren - to keep the population on the slight increase they now bring in 250,000 immigrants each year and 50,000 odd illegal ones. And voilia it is now considered offensive to fly the English Flag in England - makes me think about turning bogan.
     
  12. Taras

    Taras Junior Member

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    EVERY choice you make affect the planet. I think there are no bad or good choices there are only ones that are made considering the affect they will have and not. So before you go preaching to the third world what they have to do, stop exploiting them and try to be self efficient, after YOU can do it only then you can HELP others do it. The more you think you know the less possibility you have to learn something new.
     
  13. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Taras it would be helpful if you said who you are replying to. Shouting YOU at a 3 page thread makes it confusing as to what points you are addressing.
     
  14. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    Pebble, I really don't believe that YOU is shouting. This is an overused and misused analogy. It is obvious that people use capitals for emphasis. It really is only a problem when people type their whole paragraph in capitals because then it is difficult to read.

    But yes, it would be helpful if Taras indicated who she was referring to. Certainly noone here is PREACHING to the third world. So perhaps she should read the thread properly.

    Hawkypork what you take to be obvious, doesn't seem to be discussed by anyone. And frankly i doubt whether anyone thought about it either before electing to have kids. I think i am a bit misanthropic. I don't rate the human species that highly. Although i know if any other species were as intelligent as humans, we'd see all the same problems. As i heard a astronomist say on tele the other day, its intelligence that brings ultimate self-destruction. It is intelligence that has improved human health to the level that population has gotten out of control. People have been able to live longer only because of improvements in medicine such as penicillin and vaccines, anaesthetics and so on. More people surviving to breeding age means more offspring. More people living to old age means greater numbers of people. No shit! What's the antidote to this explosion in human population. Strictly speaking, its greater wealth (as argued above, the wealthier people get the less children they have). But that causes another problem, over consumption and exploitation of natural resources which lands us in pretty much the same spot of bother. What's the antidote to that? It seems to be sustainable practices of manufacture, agriculture and consumption. Certainly if things were made to last, that would help a lot but that's bad for business so it doesn't look like that's going to happen. Somewhere i read that its production that increases wealth. People, countries will simply not stop and say - "we've got enough, let alone we've got more than enough, so let's stop here. "

    It seems to me that humans discern a problem and then seek to find a solution when the problem can't be ignored. There is essential lag between the problem and the implementation of a solution. Often the solution creates more and sometimes worse problems. Any measure that anyone can take to tackle the problem has to be worth trying, especially if it isn't going to create further problems. Having fewer children even is perceived to cause problems (aging populations, hence the perceived need for immigration).
     
  15. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    It was the lecture in the post as much as the capitals sb ;-)
     
  16. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    ok no worries.
     
  17. Taras

    Taras Junior Member

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    "Taras it would be helpful if you said who you are replying to. Shouting YOU at a 3 page thread makes it confusing as to what points you are addressing." By you i mean everyone who is siting and wondering what should be done for the population growth or the polution problem or any problem of humanity in the third world or not. And by You I mean first of all me and those who i can do something with. I admit that looking into this problems is a bit disappointing but as one Nazi said when he was in Stalingrad writing to his wife a letter: "It is true that I have only the blame of one out of seventy millions of the disaster that i witness, but I will have to pay for the hole seventy millions responsibility" So I think that the blame is the same for me with no children and no car as to the peasant in Cambodia with 7 children or to the owners of shell industries. By the way I am Ukrainian called Taras after the kozak Taras Bulba so it's he not she.

    Both warders and prisoners are equally captive in the society in which we live B.Mollison
     
  18. Taras

    Taras Junior Member

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    "I don't rate the human species that highly. Although i know if any other species were as intelligent as humans, we'd see all the same problems. As i heard a astronomist say on tele the other day, its intelligence that brings ultimate self-destruction"
    With all the respect to your opinion
    I believe that love to other humans or spices or nature can exist only out of surplus so if someone doesn't love himself or his fellow humans it will be difficult for him to really love nature as well. The intelligence is not the only thing that can guide the curse of humanity there is also intuition and wisdom. I'm sorry if my post sounded as a lecture, I don't know you or what your everyday life is so how can i lecture, Its just my opinions i am expressing here. I just don't see the point of this discussion, what is the output? If everyone agrees on this forum on not having children than it will become a forum of a dieing culture not a permanent one.
     
  19. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    I think overpopulation is one of the central problems for our species. And I'm not talking about the developing world I'm talking about everywhere. In my own country, how do we know how many people the land here can sustain? Few people talk about this, even in permie/transition town/power down circles. It's scarey, because if we are already too many people, then some of us at some point are going to die because of that.

    What I've seen on this thread is some people reacting against the idea that children are a negative for the planet. I disagree because it's not that there's anything wrong with individual children, but there is something definitely wrong with the idea that we can reproduce without thought for the consequences. Most people I know look at having children in terms of their own economics, not the well being of the planet. I can also make a case for people having children of course - we need to raise a generation that can do better in sustainability terms than we are doing. But I'm just sad that it's still so hard for us to have a conversation about something as essential as population.

    From what I remember about the original article, it was pointing out to the western middle classes that population is a problem and it was putting that in a way that they could understand (probably carbon footprints, I can't remember the details).


    As for critiquing the 'third world', there is no doubt that India and China achieving western standards of living for most of their populations is a scarey thing in sustainability or even survival terms. Whether we in the west have any moral ground on which to comment on that, I'm not so sure.
     
  20. Taras

    Taras Junior Member

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    In my opinion the greatest problem of our species is that we have become completely de touched from our environment. In nature populations increase or decrease by the state of the integrations in the hole system, whether we have to think, decide or (as here) talk our way out of the unbalance. The problem is that this just does not work. Every country that has that kind of problem try to solve it in one way or another forgetting that overpopulation, pollution, hunger, water deficiency, erosion and all the problems of our society are simptoms. Unsustainable, unwise management of resources has become our psychological pattern. Sustainability through collaboration of persons, groups, communities, ethnic groups, species is the solution to the problem as well as to the simptoms.
     

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