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Web Letter

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.

Franklin Lacy

Tampa, FL

Dec 18 2007 - 4:45pm

Web Letter

It is truly amazing how much trouble the flat-earth cabal has distinguishing the difference between climate and weather. To mix metaphors, it is nice to know that the ostriches will still be around for a while, even if they all live in the U.S.For those who understand the science, the precautionary principle or risk-benefit analysis, how about some steps to mitigate the effects of the American fascist/consumerist culture? The last time our country faced a significant enemy, we were not afraid to ration luxuries to defeat the axis powers. We could easily assign carbon values to every commodity and give legal residents monthly rations. This has the advantage of allowing people to choose how they want to use their carbon allotment as well as discouraging more coal burning in China (locally made crap would have a lower carbon value). Additionally, Mid-East oil would be of less value than domestic, and our few remaining small farmers may actually be able to make a living as their low-carbon produce would command a premium in the marketplace. Of course, such a quota system is not on the table since the rich and powerful would not be able to heat/cool their McMansions and drive to the beach/mountains in their Hummers

Brad Foster

Eugene, OR

Apr 10 2007 - 12:27am

Web Letter

I fully accept that there is global warming, but my question is that of relative cause. NASA and others point to parallel global warming on Mars, with some evidence for Jupiter and Saturn also.

If true, then the human contribution is relatively likely to be quite small. We need more data, not hysteria from either side.

I hope that The Nation will provide some balanced reporting on the unknowns.

John D. Froelich

Upper Darby, PA

Feb 14 2007 - 2:54pm

Web Letter

The best thing you can do about global warming is next time there is a candidate who clearly understands the issue, do not snub him for a guy who says there is no difference between the two major candidates.

Hot enough for you?

Michael Szanyi

Chicago, Illinois

Feb 14 2007 - 10:12am

Web Letter

It is amazing! The science is in, the science is solid, the consensus is that man is causing world climate change.

Ice caps are melting and sea levels are rising. If the Sultan of the Heat Mongers, Big Al, is to be believed the seas will rise twenty feet by 2050. Wellllll...that seems a bit much, so let’s call him an idiot and cut that in half. Still, this is really BAD. All that beach front property in Florida will be gone...

Well, we can’t stop it now, so here is my offer: I will buy any Florida beach front property for 10 percent of appraised tax value. I know: It is really stupid of me to do this, but then again it is my money.

So how about it out there? If you liberals are so convinced it is all over, then sell to me--might as well dump that beach front junk now because if you believe what you preach, it will all be under water anyhow. So: any takers? No? Thought so.

In fact I know so, because you do not believe the “science” of this claptrap either. This is a political movement, nothing more.

Leon Fink

Salem, Oregon

Feb 12 2007 - 9:32pm

Web Letter

Mark Hertsgaard's phrase, "Using unusually blunt language for a scientific document, the report describes global warming as 'unequivocal' and says it is 'very likely' caused by humans," identifies one of many reasons why logical and rational information rarely comes from global warming conspiritors or advocacy media.

The IPCC document that the hysterical mass media is drooling over is not a scientific document, merely a political synopsis of a report hoping to get published by May 2007. Its methodologies are suspect, the conclusion preordained and, thus, merely political posturing for limited funds from governmental organizations.

Jumping to conclusions that "the battle to prevent global warming has been lost" presupposes that mankind could do anything to prevent or impact the effects of solar fluctuation or complex interrelated systems such as ocean current and ozone.

Your record of predicting the weather and future climate events is no better (or worse) than many of these same scientists. In 2005, these scientists and you were atwitter over the pending 2006 mega-hurricane season; yet, only one hurricane (Ernesto, which became a tropical depression before hitting the US) struck our shores in 2006.

The movement of La Niña and El Niño currents were only recently understood in the context of global climate; yet, you're among those who advocate extreme economic penalties for American industry (which is shrinking) while ignoring the industrialization of China and India--all for a theory and suppositions that aren't proven, let alone agreed upon by the scientific community itself.

The global warming story only takes into account the last 150-170 years of climate data. How does this fit into the planet's history of climate fluctuation over the last 100 million years when man didn't leave a noticable footprint on Earth?

I cannot, nor will not, deny the Holocaust of WW2--it's a documented event in the human past. I will deny the cult of global warming, which pretends to understand today and claims to see into the future a hundred years hence when next month's weather is a mystery.

Brad Pierson

Westminster, CO

Feb 12 2007 - 6:23pm

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