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Securing Sustainable Conservation, Population and Economic Reform

Securing sustainable conservation, population and economic reform. It’s time for us to visualize the future we desire. To get there, we’ll have to tackle these three significant issues together.

| December 2008/January 2009

  • Learn how sustainable conservation, population and economic reform will help to provide for us in the future.
    Learn how sustainable conservation, population and economic reform will help to provide for us in the future.
    Photo by Brian Welch

  • Learn how sustainable conservation, population and economic reform will help to provide for us in the future.

To build a better future, we need new economic systems securing sustainable conservation, population and economic reform, these systems must reward human innovation without requiring human expansion.

Securing Sustainable Conservation, Population and Economic Reform

It’s time for us to start visualizing the future we desire. What would a sustainable world look like, and how do we get there? One way to think about it is to consider that we have three tall mountains to climb.

Conservation is the first — if smallest — mountain. We need to forestall the effects of global warming as much as possible. Right now, we’re on the lower slopes of this first mountain.

The next climb will be longer and steeper — population control is perfectly unavoidable. We must choose to stabilize human population, or we’ll make more of a mess of our habitat and then nature will exert the control we abdicated.

To slow our rapid population growth won’t require Draconian measures. Consider what would happen if the international moral consensus were that each human being should reproduce himself or herself once — two children per couple? That’s all it would take for populations to begin slowly shrinking. It’s a simplistic solution, but the ultimate solutions are often the simplest. We’ll have to negotiate some difficult routes through political conflicts to reach the top of this mountain.

That leaves the third and tallest mountain, economic reform. As our economies are now structured, we depend on population growth to support economic growth. Imagine a world in which demand for all the fundamental human necessities — food, shelter, etc. — were shrinking every year. To sustain our population at lower, healthier levels, we’ll have to invent a human economy that can maintain prosperity without growth. To do that, we’ll need brand new economic tools.

Geoffrey Stone
8/7/2009 11:10:15 AM

I am interested in readng about an economic system that provides prosperity without growth. Can you direct me to resources on this subject? The the economic "Think Tanks" addressing this? If so, where have they published on this subject?

6/19/2009 7:14:39 AM

Those who balk at the idea of population control, claiming that it's not how many that live but the way they live that's adversely affecting our world is either overly optimistic or downright foolish. By sheer mathematics alone the Earth cannot sustain an infinite number of people. Say, just for example, we have a field that can produce a hundred ears of corn per day--no more, no less, and this field of corn is the only source of food for the village of one hundred people it serves. The field cannot be expanded without tearing into the local forest. So then each person gets one ear of corn per day. But if even just one person were added to the mix, that means some people will have to share their corn rations. Now everyone is a little hungrier. Add ten people and more people will have to share more corn. Sooner or later, the people will either starve to death, be forced to genetically modify the corn, be forced to cut down habitat, or be forced to overharvest wild resources, because how else will they find enough food to feed the burgeoning population? It's not about caring for the land; the land is giving all it can. And then where will they find homes for all these people? By either tearing down more habitat, or by depleting a large portion of resources in building taller, stronger houses. You can care for the earth as meticulously as you want, but there's still only so much it has to give! Then, don't forget the social aspects which are inevitable in such a situation--crime, disease, child death, and more. And for those of you who could scoff at such a "ridiculous example", take a look around you--it's happening every day in underdeveloped countries around the world; countries where population control is either unheard of or seen as abhorrent. Don't get me wrong; I don't use the word mathematics to imply that I am coldhearted. As a pagan I too highly value the sanctity of life--but not just human life; all life. It&#

Keeping It Real
4/1/2009 9:26:21 PM

Many people suggest population control as though it's such an easy thing with great results. Think about the reality of implementing that sort of law globally with full compliance: You have two children--now what? Either you or your partner has to get sterilized? You're 'mandated' to use birth control or else what? You go to jail or have to pay a fine? What if you/your partner accidentally get pregnant? You're 'required' to have an abortion? What happens if you want and have three children? Do you go to jail? Do you get fined -- how heavily? Does the third child get taken away? What if you live in the third world and you don't have access to abortion or birth control easily? The baby is born and you're required to kill it? Or you get fined? And if you can't pay the fine? Your house is taken away? You have to go to jail? With each scenario, in order to implement it effectively and in full compliance, there would be an abundance of control measures, laws, regulations, and steps required that doesn't sound all happy and free to me. In fact it sounds like regulations that might be dictated under a fascist or communist rule. If you believe in the idea that we supposedly live in 'the land of the free', those types of regulations sound anything but that.

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