In the past the major form of population control was famine, pestilence and warfare. Lands change hands through warfare to gain land for increasing populations of tribes because the existing lands that they controlled would not support the increasing populations. You see that in Africa today. People in Africa traditionally had many children because only a few would survive to adulthood because of disease and famine. Our doctors come there to fight disease. So that leaves famine and warfare for population control because they still have many children. It also encourages temporary solutions of Africans killing off the animals and cutting down the trees. Then there is nothing left but too many people.
Mathematically, zero population growth is one child per family, not two. This is because of the ever increasing life expectancy. In 1900 people lived to an average age of 45. Today it is 78. If every couple had two children in that period, that would be a population increase, not zero population growth. Don't get me wrong. I am for every family having as many children as they want without government interference. Biologically, a woman can have up to twenty-six children. The fact that she has fewer is an informed family choice. I do think they should teach the mathematical logic of zero population growth, as explained above, in high school civics class. It would not be preaching. It would be making correct information available to add to future families' informed choices. Then if they still want to have up to twenty-six children, God bless them.
One child per family would be somewhat less than zero population growth if there were no divorces. However with a 50 percent divorce rate there could be remarriages of a divorcee who had one child through the former union marrying a single person who had no children. The new marriage would possibly have a child; thereby raising the average (two children from one spouse and one child from the other spouse is an average of 1.5 children per spouse when one partner is divorced. Adding in the increase in life span over a generation mathematically amounts to zero population growth).
If people are concerned with greenhouse gases caused by carbon dioxide, the largest source of carbon dioxide comes from people. That is what we breathe out. Plants absorb carbon dioxide and emit oxygen. In addition, the greater the pressures of population, the more we demand natural resources and the industries that support them. For example, reducing automobile emissions or building new freeways is just a temporary solution. Chances are, soon after the new freeway is done or the emission controls are in place, the population will have grown to where it is just as bad as when we started. Ever-increasing population is like a pyramid scheme. It just cannot sustain itself, so we have famine, pestilence and warfare to fall back on. If we are able to delay these choices a bit, then we could all be pulling around oxygen tanks and wearing breathing masks. Given those choices, zero population growth seems to be the best overall solution. Not imposed. Voluntary. The size of the Earth is limited. The amount of natural resources is limited. Zero population growth should be with world wide cooperation.
Dec 18 2007 - 4:45pm