Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Save The Planet, One Baby At A Time

The Telegraph had an interesting analysis of the US economy vs the world economy the other day. It's basically a pep talk, or perhaps a warning to the rest of the world; the gist of which is that while the US economy is showing signs of slowing and the dollar continues to fall in value, the US is still and will continue to be the world's economic leader.

Which is all very well and good, but something else altogether jumped out at me. Read this:
"At the end of the day, the US remains the only major power still producing babies a rate high enough to survive through the 21st century as a dynamic society."
Babies? You mean, we need people? For thirty odd years, and perhaps longer, we have been taught that the world had too many people. I remember sitting in an Environmental Science class in college and having a class discussion on the overpopulation problem. Not surprisingly, much of the problem was blamed on religious people, specifically Mormons. Apparently, big families were dooming the planet. We had an entire section devoted to this crisis, and what must be done about it.

Problem is, they got it wrong. Hard to believe, I know.

According to the UN, the developed world is facing an underpopulation crisis. Seems all those "too many people" lessons in college really hit home and we all stopped having babies. Japan's running out of people, Europe's running out too, and Russia recently had a "Conception Day" designed to remind people to, you know, reproduce when they have sex.

A major part of the Telegraph's reasoning for US economic optimism is based on the underpopulation crisis:
"China's workforce will peak in 2015. The country will then tip over into the steepest demographic decline ever recorded. It will be old before it becomes rich, doomed to second-tier status.

Japan began to shrink in 2005. Russia will shrivel to 104m by 2050, on UN data. Germany, Italy and Spain are all going grey, succumbing to that status quo outlook that comes with age. Their economies may even start to contract. Yes, birth rates can rise, but only by cultural revolution, and with long lags."
It sure would have been nice to have had this data handy in that class discussion a fews years back. As one of the few "Big Family" Mormons in the group, I could have been hailed as a planet saving hero.


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Keeley said...

It's astonishing to me how things change.
Global cooling to global warming
Global overpopulation to global underpopulation
butter is bad for you and now it's good for you
meat is bad and now it's good
DON'T eat eggs whatever you do!....and now make sure you get at least one a day

It's all nuts. I think the Amish have it right - live a simple life full of Christlike love and let the rest worry about itself.

I'm dying to know what the deleted comment said. Probably something icky about those hideous Mormons/Catholics with their gazillions of kids. =D

Cameron said...

Nothing so sinister as that. Had it been, I probably would have left it up. It was just spam. My first one in fact.

But it is remarkable how things change so much. The thing is, the overreaction to all these "problems" more often than not leave us with even greater messes.

Ashlee said...

Well, better get cracking on those babies! And our family wasn't was "normal". There were only four of us. Grandma had eight. Thats big. ;0)

RealFruitBeverage said...

One aspect the gets ignored in all this is that immigration plays a vital part in the US being a dynamic country in the sense talked about. Yes it is influx of people that keeps our population stable. That and getting it on.

Ritsumei said...

I'm in - I'd be happy to save the planet with another baby! Of course, I'm another of those "Big Family" Mormons too...

Anonymous said...

What? Why, upon reading that article, would you conclude that it's time to have more babies? Overpopulation is considered a GLOBAL issue because of the way it impacts the world at large. Looking at indivdual areas doesn't paint the collective picture.
If you're simply seeking to maintain your country's place as a wealthy world superpower and ensure that there's a workforce supporting you when you retire, then all you have to do is figure out how to import more of the world's current population into your country... not necessarily raise the population of the world at large!
Over 3000 children died today in Africa due only to malaria. One dies about every 30 seconds. That means about 40 died while you ate your lunch and 960 more of those children will die tonight while you sleep. When is the last time someone on your block had malaria? What are the chances that, if you had adopted one of those children, it would be still be alive and malaria-free?
It's tempting to have a me-me-me attitude and only care for things I've labeled as MY dog, MY house, MY city, MY country... but that requires the least of what you'd call Christ-Like Love. Transform your viewpoint into a global one that concerns "us" instead of "me" and you'll be better equipped to address issues like overpopulation rationally.

Keeley said...

Just to pull out one thing that the anonymous poster (for goodness sakes if you're going to have that strong of an opinion, at least have the guts to put your name behind it!) I have often thought of adoption. However, adoption is so horrendously expensive that there is no way we could EVER afford it.

I would love to visit anonymous' website and see the children s/he has adopted.

Cameron said...


How bout we just help prevent malaria in Africa? Of course, if we're so worried about overpopulation, why would we want to?