Thank goodness we are seeing smart pieces shooting holes in Jonathan Last’s recent baby bust scares. John Seager, President of Population Connection, does just that in a recent post on sustainablog.org. What does he think of Last’s contention that if we don’t get birthrates back up we’re in for a “spiral toward doom?” Seager characterizes it as the “perfect articulation of Ponzi demography
Ponzi demography meaning the idea that we need never-ending population growth to support the people already here.”
I agree with Seager that Last is right when he says there is a growing number of older people in the U.S., and “we will need to make adjustments in order to have a healthy economy in the coming years. But running out of people? That’s crazy talk. The United States population is expected to pass 400 million by 2051. That’s 85 million more people who will need good jobs, sufficient space, clean water and energy.”
He asks, “..what would happen if the world population – including in the United States – just kept growing to feed the Ponzi scheme?”
The answer takes us to what some population experts say we continue to be in denial about-the issue of resources. Here are some main resource issues areas Seager lays out why that we can’t “hide under their pro-growth rug:”
Water Resource Scarcities: One in three people around the world are already being affected by water scarcity, and that number will only grow along with our global population.
Food production will have to raise 70 percent to feed 9.3 billion people in 2050.
Wildlife Habitat Loss: The fact is we lose and will continue to lose creatures and plants as a result of taking over land to grow food, extract minerals and build more roads, houses, shopping malls, and the list goes on.
In recently talking with David Paxson, President of World Population Balance, about some of the demographic trends, he goes to the issue of resource depletion as well. In response to baby bust scares, he thinks that what is not talked about is how society is blind to the resource consequences of not just an increasing population, but overpopulation, and we need to start using that word again, because that is what it is.
Are we concerned enough about the continued gobbling up of resources and how more people will only perpetuate that? Are we really in tune with facts like – we lost 75 million acres of land to erosion and sprawl last year? And we’re on track to lose the same amount this year?
Paxson claims that “in our hubris,” we still think there’s plenty of land..but the data, the facts, are overwhelming to the contrary.
Rather than perpetuate the ponzi, we need to wake up to the psychology of denial on resource scarcity.
The answers lie in speaking truths, like Seager and Paxson do. One of the bravest is Madeline Weld, President of the Population Institute of Canada. You want your socks knocked off, read her bold thoughts on “deconstructing the dangerous dogma of denial” when it comes to population issues.
Why do you think there is denial about the role population plays in many of the world’s problems?