Bill Muehlenberg

Forget the Kids, We’re Gonna Save the Planet

We are often told that in order to save the planet, we must have fewer kids. Warnings about overpopulation and resources scarcity are being coupled with exhortations to go childless, or to have as few kids as possible. All sorts of people are making these claims – some more qualified than others.

Childless actress Cameron Diaz recently said that for environmental reasons we should ease up on having children: “We don’t need any more kids. We have plenty of people on this planet.” Population alarmist Paul Ehrlich recently made it quite clear about how immoral it is to have large families: “Ethically, having five children is the same as robbing a bank”.

In a recent issue of the journal Global Environmental Change, a team of statisticians from Oregon State University said that every time we have a child we contribute significantly to the carbon footprint and climate change.

One of the team members, Paul Murtaugh, explained things this way: "In discussions about climate change, we tend to focus on the carbon emissions of an individual over his or her lifetime. Those are important issues and it’s essential that they should be considered. But an added challenge facing us is continuing population growth and increasing global consumption of resources.”

He continued, "China and India right now are steadily increasing their carbon emissions and industrial development, and other developing nations may also continue to increase as they seek higher standards of living. Many people are unaware of the power of exponential population growth. Future growth amplifies the consequences of people’s reproductive choices today, the same way that compound interest amplifies a bank balance."

While he did not call for compulsory or coercive measures to see population numbers greatly reduced to save the planet, others have. Over the years various national governments have utilised policies which have involved compulsory sterilisation, abortions and other eugenics measures to weed out unwanted numbers. The US and the UN have poured billions of dollars into getting developing nations to cut their population sizes.

Many people have stirred the pot with strong no-children rhetoric. For example, in France several years ago Corinne Maier, a French psychotherapist, wrote a controversial book which is now being released in the English-speaking world. No Kids: 40 Good Reasons Not to Have Children was a strident call for adults to shun the idea of having or needing children.

Some of the authors are arguing for childlessness for purely selfish reasons: let’s have fun, and not be weighed down with pesky kids. But many play the environmental card, arguing that we must radically and urgently cut back population growth. But the problem is, these assumptions are simply unfounded.

Two recent videos are well worth watching in this regard. They demonstrate with loads of evidence that planet earth is not facing a population explosion, but a population implosion. They capably show how the population alarmists have been wrong big time, and our pressing problem now is a birth dearth.

In Demographic Winter (2008) and The Demographic Bomb (2009) a number of experts team up to try to set the record straight on current demographic trends. All around the world people are having fewer children. Some places, like Europe, are moving in very dangerous directions indeed.

The Replacement Fertility Rate is 2.13 children per woman over a lifetime. Any fewer children and population decline takes place. It can be offset by immigration, but that is far from a panacea. Consider the numbers. Women in Hong Kong are having just 0.9 children. In the Ukraine it is 1.1. Bulgaria’s rate is 1.2. Many nations are on 1.3, such as Russia, Greece, Italy, and Japan.

Singapore, Austria and Switzerland have 1.4, Portugal has .5, Belgium 1.65, the Netherland 1.66, Denmark 1.74. About the only Western nation holding steady is the US with 2.1. And that is mainly due to immigration, as is the case with the European nations.

Muslim immigrants have been the biggest group to move into Europe. In not many decades hence, numerous European cities will have Muslim majorities. In Amsterdam at the moment, the most common boy’s name is Muhammad.

Contrary to the population alarmists, from Malthus to Ehrlich, food production has not been a problem with our increased populations. Indeed, people are eating better today than ever before. Famine is not the big killer as predicted by some, but increasingly obesity is. According to WHO, the percentage of obese people in a population is the big worry: nearly 50 per cent in China; 55 per cent in Brazil,; and over 70 per cent in Great Britain.

Countries seeking to deal with the birth dearth by immigration are fooling themselves. Population levels are declining in Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Africa is the only continent to not yet witness rapid population decline.

These two videos document how radical population control measures of the West and the UN have been in large measure responsible for dwindling population rates. And the measures have not all been pretty, nor free of compulsion, be it China, with its one-child policy, or forced sterilisation programs in India.

The truth is, there is a population crisis. But it is not over-population that we should be worried about, but under-population. Yet the alarmists continue to spin their tunes, urging us to reduce the number of children we have, if not remain childless altogether.

Sometimes they simply recommend such directions. Sometimes coercion and government force are used to back this up. But either way, they need to think again. The birth dearth problem will only continue to worsen. It is time we stopped listening to the Chicken Littles of the world, and started listening to more sober voices. The two videos discussed here would be a good place to start.

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