Population Sustainability

The more I learn about sustainability* the more it's apparent that the common problem we face is ourselves. I know it's no groundbreaking discovery, but it seems imminent that the common denominator to fix all of our sustainability issues is to make our numbers more sustainable (aka population control).

Since this is a touchy subject and since people (generally) are not willing to consider this currently, I can only assume that our population will be naturally forced to a sustainable level within the next millennium. That's what happens when there are not enough resources to go around.

Thus, I see two options: 1) We can either be responsible and proactive by instituting population control; or 2) Try to tackle a multitude of problems, which even if all solved, will need to be continuously re-solved in perpetuity due to an ever-growing population. My point is that it's a fact of nature that if the resources are available, humans will proliferate to meet them. So we will be playing a constant game of catch-up while the net value of our resources aren't replenished fast enough.

Let the ethical debate begin. For the record, I don't see how allowing a shortened, suffering life is more ethical than not allowing a life in the first place. At the same time, it's an easy call for me since I'm grandfathered in.

*Environment (water, climate, biodiversity), Health (disease, famine), Social Change (urban living), Political (conflict), Energy


pablo said...

From the way I understand it, sustainability problems seemed to root around the time humans invented agriculture. Agriculture then led to manufacturing and a currency system. Population growth leads to increased agriculture and technology demands. Currency inflation then compounds the problem (currency growth because of more people leads to more larger production to sustain the individuals).

I think another solution, to combat the root cause of population growth, is to either eliminate or seriously reduce these new technologies, relative to nature. Too radical?

Rossco said...

Yes, it's argued that agriculture let to the ability to have a surplus, and thus, power imbalance and free time. Power imbalance led to heirarchy and the class system, while free time led to technology advancements.

Here's a good essay on the subject: http://www.mnforsustain.org/food_ag_worst_mistake_diamond_j.htm

There are pros though: humanity, the arts, exploration.