Are we procreating our way to disaster?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by uberamd, Aug 3, 2009.

  1. uberamd macrumors 68030

    uberamd

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    #1
    I think about overpopulation a lot. And I mean a lot. I think about how many more people would likely be walking around on the earth if it weren't for war and violence. While I think war is a bad thing, I do at times view it as a form of population thinning. Is this wrong?

    Also I see couples who are having way too many kids. Like the mom that has 18 kids and a TV show. What the h*** is up with that? When are we going to reach a point where there are too many people all over the world? When does (or should) other governments draw the line and set limits on child birth like China has? Will this ever become necessary world wide? I like kids just as much as the next person, but I also don't want to see all of the land in the US (where I live, insert your country in place of it) used up leaving no forests, farm land, and other unpopulated places to visit and explore. Am I alone on this?
     
  2. LizKat macrumors 68040

    LizKat

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    #2
    Last thing I remember reading about this was that population decline is expected by mid-century in about three quarters of the world.
     
  3. Sdashiki macrumors 68040

    Sdashiki

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    #3
    Im reading the early 1960's Time Life Nature Book Library...im on the book "Plants" right now.

    And its funny to read alot of the things they "dont understand yet" or just plain dont know. Hell, the book on Space talks about GOING to the moon, because they hadnt yet.

    Anyway, it talks about the Earths population being 3 Billion. And that we are setting ourselves up for famine unless we figure out better, more efficient and cheaper agriculture.

    Granted, we HAVE done that. Food is cheaper, wider spread, and certainly productive. However, what about if we double the population again? And again?

    40yrs to more than double the population so far...and its a logarithmic scale!


    So, yes, we ARE f***ing ourselves to death here on Earth. :rolleyes:
     
  4. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

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  5. iBlue macrumors Core

    iBlue

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    #5
    I understand where you are coming from but I don't think it's really the government's place to decide. I do think the world is hugely overpopulated (duh) and I wish people would exercise some restraint with procreation and not have so damn many kids. It's only a wish though, a futile one at that. I try not to let it bother me because it's one of many things we can't do a lot about. I reserve my more ineffectual complaining for the appalling british weather. :p
     
  6. LizKat macrumors 68040

    LizKat

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    #6
    No we are not eff'g ourselves to death. Or if we are, we are using effective birth control methods. Population increase rates are about half what they were in the 1960s. It is below replacement values in much of Europe already.
     
  7. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #7
    That's true, and birth rates have indeed decreased for every country in the world since 1960, but they are still well above replacement rates in most countries. Population growth rates:

    Mexico: 1.14%
    Indonesia: 1.18%
    Brazil: 1.23%
    India: 1.48%
    Pakistan 2.00%
    Bangladesh: 2.02%
    Nigeria: 2.03%
    Afghanistan: 2.63%
    Uganda: 3.6%

    167 countries have a population growth rate higher than 0%, including China, India, USA, Brazil, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Bangladesh.

    24 countries have a population growth rate lower than 0%, including Japan, Russia, and Germany.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_population_growth_rate

    While Europe is definitely slowing down, the world is still expected to reach about 9 billion people by 2050.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:World_population_(UN).svg
     
  8. Wotan31 macrumors 6502

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    #8
    Most of Europe and Japan are in population *decline*. It's really bad in Japan; if they don't start making some more babies, the Japanese will be extinct within 100 years.

    There are certain places that are experiencing a huge population boom with couples regularly having 5+ kids. Several Arab nations, and India come to mind.

    The US has problems to deal with, but population ain't one of them. We're one of the least population-dense nations in the world. You're barking up the wrong tree.
     
  9. pelicanflip macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    I don't think population growth itself is what might ruin our resources.

    I believe it to be the method of consumption and utilization of resources that will eventually degenerate the Earth.

    For example, in the US alone, for every person, they generate about 760 kg or 1675 lbs of waste per year.

    There are roughly 304,000,000 people in the US alone. That's 231,040,000,000 kg or 509,200,000,000 lbs of waste in one year. For the US.


    That is just ridiclous. Half a trillion lbs of waste? That's mind blowing.
     
  10. iBlue macrumors Core

    iBlue

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    #10
    Sick thought, isn't it? I always think of this watching shows where they are digging up earth and showing past events thousands to millions of years ago. I wonder if the buried human legacy will be all the rubbish and waste we can't seem to help ourselves with. Our overconsumption (in a multitude of ways) is simply disgusting.
     
  11. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #11
    Source? That sounds like some remarkably bad math. There is no way the Japanese will be extinct due to a -.14% growth rate in 100 years. 10,000 maybe. In 100 years, there will still be 87% as many Japanese as there are today at the current growth rate. 1,000 years still 25%.
     
  12. Peterkro macrumors 68020

    Peterkro

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    #12
    It seems to me bringing more children into the world while we can't look after those already here may not be the brightest idea.
     
  13. Wotan31 macrumors 6502

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    #13
    LOL good catch, that is some embarrassingly bad math! :eek: Don't remember my original source, but here's one that says a 30% population decline by 2050.
     
  14. bbotte macrumors 65816

    bbotte

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    #14
    My daughter is the most fullfilling part of my life, why I waited so long to get her is beyond me. Sucks that it's drilled into you these days that kids are such a tie down. Now that I have one, I think the opposite.
     
  15. uberamd thread starter macrumors 68030

    uberamd

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    #15
    I personally don't see kids as a tie down (however I don't have my own yet). But what about the mothers who have 10 kids, or even 18 kids. How can that possibly not be a tie down? Imagine if you had 18 daughters. To me, that would be a disaster.
     
  16. bbotte macrumors 65816

    bbotte

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    #16
    All I can say is, "Stupid is as stupid does."

    Seriously how many people do you actually know (friends with) that have more than 5 kids? It's rare, at least in america as a whole.....
     
  17. LizKat macrumors 68040

    LizKat

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    #17
    Yeah... not everyone actually associates what may turn out to be a reproductive act :confused: with intent to reproduce. No surprise there, even in this day and age.

    And, in the less developed countries where the birth rate is still higher, there is often a cultural legacy angle, where it was understood since ancient times that not all your children are going to survive and so you have more to help out on the farm. I remember an old cemetery up near Starksboro, Vermont where you can find seventeen gravestones for a family, and some thirteen of them were for very young children.

    The problem now in countries with over-replacement rates, even as those rates drop, is that there's more migration to urban areas and less need for "help with the farm." The "help" that was already there for the farm is now contributing to urban pressures, but efforts to increase production on the little farm plots to feed that "help" has long been jeopardizing the ground water supply.

    The governments get it that birth control needs to be on the agenda (arguably on some other country's agenda?) but it can still be a hard sell, and why would it not be. Before the crunch of famine, or the lack of housing and jobs in urban areas, then even in some hard times, one's children were one's riches, and the barren were to be pitied. It can take generations of education and demonstration of positive difference for old ways that don't work any more to be set aside.

    There seems also, and I don't know how significant it is, a local societal pressure to reproduce substantially above replacement rates among certain sects of Christian, Jewish and Muslim faith. I could get really irritated if I think about it, so I try not to pursue the little glimpses I encounter now and then in news pieces. I am not one who has signed onto the idea that "religion poisons everything" since I think the clerics have saved literacy itself in a falling catch on the warning track a few times. But, having extra babies to combat the extra babies of someone else's religion, if that's the idea, strikes me as child abuse.

    {weird flashback to days of singing "Onward Christian Soldiers" :eek: at age five during trips to Grandma's house in the summer...surely we were not singing about going forth and procreating back then, but I guess we were celebrating the Crusades in nursery school, so I sure hope that hymn has been excised from the books... wondering if I was in the equivalent of a madrassa... glad I escaped at age 12 or 13}

    Anyway, proactively trying to get people to change their minds about having extra kids is hard. There's a lot of suspicion, usually, a sort of yeah well you go first and then we'll see. What's interesting is that as a country advances, the birth rate does sometimes drop precipitously. People see advantages to having fewer or no children. For me it's hard to have a lot of faith in extrapolation of current rates. Global business practices are changing everything a lot faster than I would have anticipated. Why should birth rate shifts be an exception.
     
  18. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

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    Portland, OR
    #18
    My wife and I have two kids, a boy and a girl. We're thinking that we'll likely have one more.

    My parents had 6 (of which I'm the oldest), my wife's parents had 7 (of which she's the youngest) their first child died about an hour after birth.

    My aunt has 10 kids, and they are all well adjusted productive adults today, most of them have found ways to make a very nice life and living for themselves on the southern California Coast. They're not the kind of people you'd imagine having 10 kids, because I know you have a stereotype in your mind about people who have lots of kids, they're all very cool people.

    My whole point is that everyone has different goals with regard to raising children. I don't want more than 3, my parents wanted 6, my aunt wanted 10! Who cares?

    You have to remember that the lady with 18 children is an outlier. For every couple with 18 children there's got to be at least 18 couples out there in the world who don't plan to have any children. It's not like it's the people who have obscene amounts of children are the norm, here or anywhere.

    I suppose that I should forget about having that 3rd child, don't want to do anything more than replacement for my wife and I do I?

    I'll tell you one thing, the day the government tries to tell me how many children I can have, is the day I give them a big middle finger and do it anyway.

    SLC
     
  19. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #19
    I agree that the government shouldn't be in the job of telling you how many children you can have, but it is the government's job to try to regulate the incentives so that people have fewer or more children--whichever is better for society.

    While it's true that a mother with 18 children is an outlier everywhere, in several countries women have an average of 8 live births. That's simply way too high, especially since it tends to go hand-in-hand with higher maternal and infant mortality. Far better, I'm sure most of us would agree, is having fewer children, a higher percentage of whom live to adulthood, and fewer maternal deaths.
     
  20. uberamd thread starter macrumors 68030

    uberamd

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    #20
    Yeah I agree with you there. While the mother of 18 is an outlier, its still a strange situation. She is so proud of the fact that she has 18 kids. She talks about having more. How can anyone afford to clothe, and feed 18 kids properly? How can you give each child adequate attention? College? (18 kids * $20,000 a year) * 4 = $1,440,000 if they all go to college. Wow.

    I just think that giving someone like that the TV spotlight airing a show about it isn't right. Lets give fewer kids a higher quality of life than many kids a lower quality of life. My thoughts anyway.
     
  21. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #21
    Japan is currently still one of the most over-populated places on earth, so that they are reducing their population doesn't surprise me at all.
     
  22. chstr macrumors 6502a

    chstr

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    #22
    in a word.... YES. the earth will heal herself, don't worry. something is coming
     
  23. uberamd thread starter macrumors 68030

    uberamd

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    #23
    You sound like the people who stand at my college bus hub and hand out fliers.
     
  24. LizKat macrumors 68040

    LizKat

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    #24
    LOL, like "Repent, for the Resurfacing is at hand?"

    Actually there are some scholars in Minnesota who are trying to contest the theory that Venus was catastrophically resurfaced one afternoon a long, long time ago. They're saying that that the differences between heights of various plateaus on Venus indicate that a lava flow covering over 80% of Venus did not occur.

    I do sometimes wonder if we should keep on hydrocracking for natural gas. One of these days we might leverage some tectonic plate shift by accident and find way more fuel more than we bargained for :cool:

    In the meantime I think we're still stuck with birth control as the best way to keep population numbers manageable...
     
  25. Shivetya macrumors 65816

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    #25
    This bogeyman comes up every decade like clock work.

    In other words, certain groups benefit from introducing the scare of running out of food or too many people. The simple fact is, there is so much space not being used for people or food that this planet can easily support many times the people it has.

    The sad truth is we let so many die that don't have too.
     

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