Is "population down" the opposite of "population up?"

Each year humankind increases, the waste it puts into the environment, the fish it consumes, the forests it cuts down, and the natural habitat it converts to human needs. Each year humankind forces more species into extinction. More people find themselves with less wellbeing relative to the year before. Each year more of them are willing to fight rather than accept their loses.

Some that experience the losses, blame their leaders. they believe it just bad management. choose better leaders and the problems go away.

Others blame their problems on a growing population. If we just stopped population growth, if everyone limited themselves to two children per family, these problems would go away.

However, these are false beliefs. The problems of over utilizing the globe's renewable resources and natural recycling systems will not diminish with better management or even the constant population that would result from two child per family behaviors.

Given the propensity of people to increase their personal footprint, a constant population would not prevent increases in humankind's footprint and thus these problems.

Does this mean no behavior exists that can take them away? Consider that if most of these problems result from the pooled footprints of all global inhabitants, then behaviors that reduce the total footprint reduces the problems. For any "mean-individual-footprint" there exists a smaller number of individuals that could acquire their needs and at the same time reduce the human footprint. Also for any annual increase in the "mean-individual-footprint," there is a further decrease in population that could reduce humankind's footprint and these problems.

While almost everyone believes that a rising population has the power to create these problems, rapidly decreasing population, fails to register on almost anyone as a tool to reduce or eliminate them. Parents fail to understand that to rid the world of these problems requires every family to have at most one child.

One child per family behaviors do endanger a culture's survival. Yes, and maybe it is time for each of us to choose between, adhering to (some aspects) of our culture, and resolving these problems. If you have not noticed most cultures and most of these problems have an unhealthy symbiotic relationship.

One child per family behaviors also run counter to biological survival. However, more than at any time in the past, the human population exceeds the numbers required to ensure a graceful viability. Continued progress in the arts, science, and technology requires only a small fraction of the globe's current six billion residents. In developed countries food and energy are supplied by only several percent of the population. The maintenance of infrastructures (not its great expansion) requires just a few more.

In a future population, twenty percent could provide the acquisition, manufacture, and delivery of everyone's material needs. Less than ten percent would be youth in training. Ten percent would be teachers. Ten percent would be health care or old age providers. This releases more than fifty percent to work advancing the arts, sciences, and technology.

How far our numbers could retreat before our species becomes vulnerable to being too few is open to debate. Certainly, if 5 out every 6 people disappeared tomorrow, the remaining billion could maintain the best aspects of what's human.

How fast the global population needs to fall to manage the problems caused by zero sum games and the exhaustion of natural reservoirs, be they sources or sinks, is open to debate. However, two centuries of one child per family behaviors are probably required. After the global population reaches 100 hundred million, 1/60th of the current level, a review of our problems could determine if humankind needs more population decreases.

Is "population down" the opposite of "population up?" The answer is yes! The problems created by population increases can be eliminated by rapid and continuous population decreases.


Jack Alpert (Bio)     mail to:      position papers

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