Rich Folks Can't Fix it Alone

| 7/24/2008 3:11:40 PM


If all the residents of North America and Western Europe cut their per-capita energy consumption in half over the next 20 years (not likely) and the rest of the world held per-capita consumption steady at their current, frugal levels (also not likely), total energy consumption will remain the same. A 50-percent reduction in the developed world will not be sufficient to outweigh population increases in the developing world, even if the increasingly affluent residents of developing countries don’t increase their energy consumption.

Someone’s going to object to my evidence. Maybe it will take 75 years to reach 10 billion population. Maybe the planet can accommodate 12 billion frugal human beings. The rate of population growth is not the issue. Any growth at all creates the same ultimate dilemma. Sure, we might figure out ways of accommodating 10 or 15 or 20 billion people in a crowded world. But why would we want to?

If ultimately we must control our population, why not plan for a rich, healthy planet?

What if we decided, by mutual consensus, that a stable worldwide population of 4 billion people is our goal? Could we then live on a planet with clean air and water, plenty of food for everyone and the environmental resilience necessary for us to prosper through the inevitable environmental fluctuations – the next ice age, for instance? Could we restore habitats now teetering on the brink of destruction?

Couldn’t we create a sustainable healthy planet just because we decided to?

12/8/2008 9:02:51 PM

If we can reach consensus and avoid the "tragedy of the commons". "The rich can't do it alone" title points to other issues beside population. I'd some it up by saying "more! more! more! give me more!" Once we have or population where we want it. people will still invent to consume and gather as much to themselves as possible, we then come to the point of having to control our consumption. Since we have more comforts and entertainment then we need or will use, we should be now controlling our consumption. But not leaving the other unnoticed. We also need to campain for a stable, sustainable world population.

9/18/2008 9:04:23 AM

Well, with you and me and Salix, Stormie, that only leaves another 6.6 billion - oops, 6.7 billion - people to go, right? :-)

9/15/2008 11:45:37 AM

I think Salix has put his cursor on the crux of the matter. We could certainly do this "by mutual consensus". But if all the people of the earth could reach mutual consensus, we wouldn't have to deal with the kind of wars that keep popping up all over the globe. If everyone were as concerned about the planet and the rest of its occupants as they were about themselves, we wouldn't have greedy dictators. (Or even inconsiderate neighbors, for that matter.) As long as there are religions who believe it is not only their right, but their duty, to populate in the name of God, and as long as the now trained-to-be helpless know we won't take as good care of them if they don't have another baby (as Salix worded more succinctly), population is going to increase. You do have my mutual consensus, for what it's worth.....

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