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Save the Planet: Have Fewer Kids





ocalhoun
http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20090803/sc_livescience/savetheplanethavefewerkids
(A study by the Oregon State University)
Quote:
For people who are looking for ways to reduce their "carbon footprint," here's one radical idea that could have a big long-term impact, some scientists say: Have fewer kids.


Quote:

the carbon legacy and greenhouse gas impact of an extra child is almost 20 times more important than some of the other environment-friendly practices people might employ during their entire lives - things like driving a high mileage car, recycling, or using energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs.

Quote:

"In discussions about climate change, we tend to focus on the carbon emissions of an individual over his or her lifetime," said study team member Paul Murtaugh. "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."

Reproductive choices haven't gained as much attention in the consideration of human impact to the Earth, Murtaugh said. When an individual produces a child - and that child potentially produces more descendants in the future - the effect on the environment can be many times the impact produced by a person during their lifetime.

Quote:

Under current conditions in the United States, for instance, each child ultimately adds about 9,441 metric tons of carbon dioxide to the carbon legacy of an average parent - about 5.7 times the lifetime emissions for which, on average, a person is responsible.

The impact doesn't only come through increased emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases - larger populations also generate more waste and tax water supplies.

Quote:

The impact of having children differs between countries. While some developing nations have much higher populations and rates of population growth than the United States, their overall impact on the global carbon equation is often reduced by shorter life spans and less consumption. The long-term impact of a child born to a family in China is less than one-fifth the impact of a child born in the United States, the study found.

However, as the developing world increases both its population and consumption levels, this equation may even out.

Quote:

"Many people are unaware of the power of exponential population growth," Murtaugh said. "Future growth amplifies the consequences of people's reproductive choices today, the same way that compound interest amplifies a bank balance."


Again, I'm feeling very vindicated.

For a long time, I've argued that global warming is just a symptom of the real problem: overpopulation. Hopefully more people will 'go green' by taking this advice.
Afaceinthematrix
Hey, I've been saying this for years (since I was about 16). It looks like people are finally starting to agree with me (and apparently you). Although I do not see many people taking this advice because sex is fun, birth control isn't, and too many people are against abortion.
ocalhoun
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
Although I do not see many people taking this advice because sex is fun, birth control isn't,

Trading in your Hummer for a Prius isn't fun either, but plenty of people are doing that in the name of going green.
Afaceinthematrix
ocalhoun wrote:
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
Although I do not see many people taking this advice because sex is fun, birth control isn't,

Trading in your Hummer for a Prius isn't fun either, but plenty of people are doing that in the name of going green.


I actually disagree. I do not enjoy driving trucks and SUVs. I much prefer driving nice, small cars like Civics. I do actually like many fuel efficient cars (but I do not like the Prius because I find it difficult to see out the back window).
deanhills
Awesome advice Ocalhoun. I can't understand why this is not the highest priority on the world's problem solving list. From all points of view. I find it totally ironic that so much needs to be done for starving and suffering children all over the world, justifying the existence of the UNHCR, yet so very little of checking overpopulation resulting in children that cannot be cared for. Just does not make any sense! Brick wall
ocalhoun
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
Although I do not see many people taking this advice because sex is fun, birth control isn't,

Trading in your Hummer for a Prius isn't fun either, but plenty of people are doing that in the name of going green.


I actually disagree. I do not enjoy driving trucks and SUVs. I much prefer driving nice, small cars like Civics. I do actually like many fuel efficient cars (but I do not like the Prius because I find it difficult to see out the back window).

Rolling Eyes Well, if you bought a Hummer in the first place, it's probably because you enjoy having it...
That was just an example.
Nameless
Who pays for these studies? Really. Having fewer children would help the environment? NO **** SCIENTISTS.

And there was much epic facepalming.
fx-trading-education
The study is intersting but I am not sure it is not mixing a bit the analysis.

Because it looks a bit that the have taken the emissions per country, divided it by the number of people and then say the consumption for 1 person is "this value". So that's why we will have different value per people and per country.

But I think that if there would be less people the consumption per person will increase in a way that anyway with time the global consumption increases.
Of course the size of population has an influence (if there is nobody, there is no production anymore) but I don't think that the link is so direct that the study would suggest otherwise the countries with the highest population would have the highest consumption and it is far to be the case.
The most economicaly advanced countries have relatively less population than some poorer countries. Often countries less populated will offer better education and jobs and then have better production capacities, then polluting more. Maybe it is like 20% of the population creates 80% of the pollution. Having less children in the highly productive countries will in my opinion do two things:
- require more foreign workers in order to keep the production force
- increase the average pollution per person.
coolclay
This fact has been known for as long as people have been concerned about the environment. Obviously when you have a exponentially increasing population on a finite planet with very finite resources problems will arise. Any person who knows the least bit about ecology knows this.
deanhills
coolclay wrote:
This fact has been known for as long as people have been concerned about the environment. Obviously when you have a exponentially increasing population on a finite planet with very finite resources problems will arise. Any person who knows the least bit about ecology knows this.
Absolutely agreed. For example, in countries in Africa when people need wood for fire, they knock down trees. If they need food they kill animals, not only for their meat, but to sell parts of the animals and animal skins for money. The more population, the more knocking down of trees and killing animals, resulting in deforestation, like the Amazon as well, and that having an affect on inability to filter polution. So with greater population on one hand we are getting more polution, and on the other we are decreasing the plants and trees responsible for filtering the polution.
ocalhoun
Nameless wrote:
Who pays for these studies? Really. Having fewer children would help the environment? NO **** SCIENTISTS.


Sometimes you have to get people with more credibility saying it... Hopefully those who ignore the obvious might have their eyes opened by a scientific study.
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
Nameless wrote:
Who pays for these studies? Really. Having fewer children would help the environment? NO **** SCIENTISTS.


Sometimes you have to get people with more credibility saying it... Hopefully those who ignore the obvious might have their eyes opened by a scientific study.
I am almost certain if they can start with people of the catholic persuasion and make a very good case that that would be a good start. Religion seems to play a great role for encouraging people to have large families.
coolclay
Religion has played a very large part I feel as well, and also the belief that the more kids you have the better your elder years will be. Which is partly true, but selfish nonetheless.
icecool
deanhills wrote:
Absolutely agreed. For example, in countries in Africa when people need wood for fire, they knock down trees. If they need food they kill animals, not only for their meat, but to sell parts of the animals and animal skins for money. The more population, the more knocking down of trees and killing animals, resulting in deforestation, like the Amazon as well, and that having an affect on inability to filter polution. So with greater population on one hand we are getting more polution, and on the other we are decreasing the plants and trees responsible for filtering the polution.


Tahst all a bit simplistic and totally misleading.
The maazon rainforest depletion was not causd by people cutting trees for firewood - there are just not enough people living there to do that. It was caused by the industrialised countries "need" for wood for industrial purposes - and to crease pastures to increase cheap meet production.
Most of the forests in Africa have gone the same way for the same reasons. Yes, we do cut down trees for wood for cooking - we have no laternative. The industrialised nations however either generate electricity or use oil, gas or ohter means which on a global scale far outstrip emmissions to the wood we burn here.
I don't think its such a bad idea to calculate emmissions per capita - it does show how much the industrialised nations DAMAGE the environment to maintain a totally unsustainable lifestyle. WE here in Africa are still trying to achieve that very fundamental goal in life for MOST of our people - basic NEEDS for a basic life.
Industrialised nations take food and shelter for granted. Full stop. But to keep economies going they have to grow so you have to increases your WANTS all the time and its the wants that add to the needs in a massive and damaging way. I don't know your personal circumstandces or your lifestyle but if you honetly look around your direct environment and separate the things you need and the things you want i bet the second pile is much bigger - and you may even wonder why and where did i get THAT bit of gear?

Cheers
icecool
coolclay wrote:
Religion has played a very large part I feel as well, and also the belief that the more kids you have the better your elder years will be. Which is partly true, but selfish nonetheless.


There was a thread not that long ago with that subject.

In most developing countries there is no social welfare system in place to take care of the elderly or sick - if you dont have family you perish. Also high child death rates play a big role. The only way to survive in old age or times of dire need for a large part of the global population is still to have lost of kids and an extended family to take care of each other.
What bothers me really is that this attitude is still prevalent in wide parts of the owrld wich have social service systems. Having kids is considered a "right". I feel its a privilege and should be treated as such - with respect and responsibility. Too many kids are being born either unwanted, unloved or uneducated at home or in schools. That is the really sad aspect of breeding without thought.
harismushtaq
I beleive that the problem has started as we have interfered the natural eco system. Population is not a big problem as the earth has energy to sustain many more. Even if population does not grow, just by the go green buzz, we are not going to help reduce global warming or other environmantal issues.

There should be small cities than large, in fact huge cities. Factories, automobiles and other sources of emission should be reduced. All nuclear activities should be stopped. Use of hazardous fertilizers, CFC products should be quitted. In short, every way we are introducing carbon in the system that was not a natural source should be removed. Humans are always a natural source of carbon and I beleive earth can handle them.

This is however a human feeling and I have not done any study over that. Just a note.
Jinx
I'm happy to say I'm doing my part to hold off the Malthusian catastrophe. At 34 years old I have not yet added to the human population, and I have no plans for doing so.

If I can ever get to a point where I'm stable financially then I might adopt a child, but I won't be having any of my own.



Edit:
Off topic, but - What the heck am I doing wrong??? I can't seem to get links to work right - have I goofed up the syntax somehow?

Edit again:
Thanks Ocalhoun, I fixed it Smile
Jinx
harismushtaq wrote:
I beleive that the problem has started as we have interfered the natural eco system. Population is not a big problem as the earth has energy to sustain many more. Even if population does not grow, just by the go green buzz, we are not going to help reduce global warming or other environmantal issues.

There should be small cities than large, in fact huge cities. Factories, automobiles and other sources of emission should be reduced. All nuclear activities should be stopped. Use of hazardous fertilizers, CFC products should be quitted. In short, every way we are introducing carbon in the system that was not a natural source should be removed. Humans are always a natural source of carbon and I beleive earth can handle them.

This is however a human feeling and I have not done any study over that. Just a note.


The problem with that is that without artificial fertilizers and tractors, factories and extensive distribution networks we can't sustain the population we have now.

If we were to try to go back to horse and buggy days with mule drawn plows people would starve.

Think about it - for the most part your average city dweller keeps about three days worth of food in their kitchen (why buy more when you can stop at the corner market any time you want?), and city grocery stores don't keep much in the back store room any more - their shelves would be empty about three days after they stopped getting deliveries thanks to our just-in-time economy (today three days is all you need to get produce from field to shelves).
So, you suddenly remove combustion engines from the equation. It now takes a huge amount of manpower to get the harvest in without tractors and combines. It takes days to transport, process and package what used to be handled in one day thanks to semi trucks and powered processing plants, then it takes weeks to haul the stuff across the country from the produce fields of California to the grocery shelves of New York - by which time the few surviving New Yorkers will have either fled, starved to death, or turned to cannibalism.

Ok so I'm exaggerating a little (or maybe not...) but without the machinery of modern life we couldn't support the huge population centers we have today, and there really isn't enough room for every person alive today to have their own little farm.
deanhills
This reminds me of the history of my computers. Every now and then I have to completely clean up the hard drive and reboot it. So maybe the world has become like that. For all the "intelligence" we have gathered, everything seems to be in chaos, and collectively we are not taking care of ourselves. We've in overdrive, and the environment is suffering as a consequence. Very soon it is going to "freeze up" on us. Either we have to clean it up now, or the environment will do it for us. Smile
ocalhoun
Jinx wrote:

Off topic, but - What the heck am I doing wrong??? I can't seem to get links to work right - have I goofed up the syntax somehow?

You shouldn't put any " marks in the first url tag.
deanhills
Jinx wrote:
Ok so I'm exaggerating a little (or maybe not...) but without the machinery of modern life we couldn't support the huge population centers we have today, and there really isn't enough room for every person alive today to have their own little farm.
Guess we're back to the survival of the fittest, and the fittest have more than a little farm! This is probably why we could never be at peace with one another. In order to survive, we have to be selfish. And when we are selfish, there are people who do not survive. The world population numbers are going to get greater and greater, especially amongst people who cannot look after themselves with very tragic consequences.

Refer UN report:
Quote:
According to the 2008 Revision of the official United Nations population estimates and projections, the world population is projected to reach 7 billion early in 2012, up from the current 6.8 billion, and surpass 9 billion people by 2050 (figure 1).

Most of the additional 2.3 billion people will enlarge the population of developing countries, which is projected to rise from 5.6 billion in 2009 to 7.9 billion in 2050, and will be distributed among the population aged 15-59 (1.2 billion) and 60 or over (1.1 billion) because the number of children under age 15 in developing countries will decrease.

In contrast, the population of the more developed regions is expected to change minimally, passing from 1.23 billion to 1.28 billion, and would have declined to 1.15 billion were it not for the projected net migration from developing to developed countries, which is projected to average 2.4 million persons annually from 2009 to 2050
.


Source: http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/wpp2008/wpp2008_highlights.pdf
Following are an interesting Graph and two Tables from the report:




Jinx
So, according to these charts it seems like the UN expects population growth to slow over the next 40 years, which, with better education in developing countries, does seem likely, but still, 9 billion is a lot of people.

It's almost half-again what we have now. Like a classroom going from 30 students to 45. At the same time our oil resources are declining:


[img] http://www.oilposter.org/images/xtralargeposter2.gif [/img]

[url=http://www.oilposter.org/posterlarge.html]
(Click here to see the image larger)
[/url]

I know this image is hard to make out, but it basically shows that in 2050 our levels of oil production will be about equal to where we were in the mid 1960's, and will continue to go down from there.

We might be able to handle 9 billion people, but what will our standard of living be? Will we have to ration food? Will staples like rice and corn become too expensive? Will be be able to move away from oil in time so that we can move food and goods to where they are needed to feed and clothe this many people?



Quote:
The graph shows a similar population crash; in this case of reindeer on two islands in the Bering Sea. Why the population on St. Paul Island went through so much more severe a boom-and-bust cycle than that on St. George Island is unknown.

Many rodent populations (e.g., lemmings in the Arctic) go through such boom-and-bust cycles.

http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/P/Populations2.html
deanhills
Jinx wrote:
So, according to these charts it seems like the UN expects population growth to slow over the next 40 years, which, with better education in developing countries, does seem likely, but still, 9 billion is a lot of people.
I thought it said it was increasing, and that most of the increases were coming from the undeveloped countries and that some of their growth in population was offset by great numbers emigrating to the developed countries, latter of which have negative growth rates.

Jinx wrote:
It's almost half-again what we have now. Like a classroom going from 30 students to 45. At the same time our oil resources are declining:


[img] http://www.oilposter.org/images/xtralargeposter2.gif [/img]

[url=http://www.oilposter.org/posterlarge.html]
(Click here to see the image larger)
[/url]

I know this image is hard to make out, but it basically shows that in 2050 our levels of oil production will be about equal to where we were in the mid 1960's, and will continue to go down from there.

We might be able to handle 9 billion people, but what will our standard of living be? Will we have to ration food? Will staples like rice and corn become too expensive? Will be be able to move away from oil in time so that we can move food and goods to where they are needed to feed and clothe this many people?
I'm not so sure how accurate the stats are, as possibly there is quite a bit of oil not accounted for. Also, talk like this could also be beneficial to keep the oil price up. But yes, there is a shortage, people probably need to look for alternatives energy sources.
Jinx
deanhills wrote:

I thought it said it was increasing, and that most of the increases were coming from the undeveloped countries and that some of their growth in population was offset by great numbers emigrating to the developed countries, latter of which have negative growth rates.


I read it as: the population is still increasing, but the rate of growth is slowing.
deanhills
Jinx wrote:
deanhills wrote:

I thought it said it was increasing, and that most of the increases were coming from the undeveloped countries and that some of their growth in population was offset by great numbers emigrating to the developed countries, latter of which have negative growth rates.


I read it as: the population is still increasing, but the rate of growth is slowing.
Right, in overall, the population is increasing. The rate of growth is decreasing in the developed countries but the total rate of grwoth is increasing, due to the population growth in the developing countries, who are also a great source of immigration for the developing countries, who would otherwise have shown a negative population growth. United States in particular has been responsible for taking in quite a large number of immigrants.
harismushtaq
As I pointed out earlier, we should half small centers for life. In olden days, people used to find a place and then grow a small population there where there was water and fertile land. Both people and thier animals will live happily there and all basic human needs will fulfill. We can always have a doctor in this small population which will handle most of the health care needs. If these human beings do not interfare this natural eco system, the land will remain fertile and the water source will remain alive and life will keep going on until the population of this small town grows too much and then few people can migrate to start a new small city.

So one step to go green is to start living like this. How about it ?
deanhills
harismushtaq wrote:
As I pointed out earlier, we should half small centers for life. In olden days, people used to find a place and then grow a small population there where there was water and fertile land. Both people and thier animals will live happily there and all basic human needs will fulfill. We can always have a doctor in this small population which will handle most of the health care needs. If these human beings do not interfare this natural eco system, the land will remain fertile and the water source will remain alive and life will keep going on until the population of this small town grows too much and then few people can migrate to start a new small city.

So one step to go green is to start living like this. How about it ?
I like the idea. Is there still places like that that we can move to? Maybe South America? How about India, do you have places that are stil available for new communities to settle in?
ocalhoun
harismushtaq wrote:
As I pointed out earlier, we should half small centers for life. In olden days, people used to find a place and then grow a small population there where there was water and fertile land. Both people and thier animals will live happily there and all basic human needs will fulfill. We can always have a doctor in this small population which will handle most of the health care needs. If these human beings do not interfare this natural eco system, the land will remain fertile and the water source will remain alive and life will keep going on until the population of this small town grows too much and then few people can migrate to start a new small city.

So one step to go green is to start living like this. How about it ?

That's the flaw in the plan... It's exactly what has happened, but we've run out of frontiers to settle. There are no more areas of 'fertile land' empty and available, certainly not enough for 6 billion people! The only way we can possibly feed that many is the added efficiency of large-scale agriculture.
deanhills
We probably need a global solution, that can only come about when all countries cooperate for the good of the whole world in the first place, and their own countries in the second place. I just can't see it happening. It will probably take a huge ecological disaster for countries to rally to one common global cause as a first priority above their own individual priorities.
Vardin
ocalhoun wrote:

Again, I'm feeling very vindicated.

For a long time, I've argued that global warming is just a symptom of the real problem: overpopulation. Hopefully more people will 'go green' by taking this advice.



It is funny you say that I have thought that for many years. I myself don't want children...not in the world as it is today.
I think its irresponsible to raise a child in this world. 50 years ago I would have wanted children...a better time where things like this still happened but we still had a moral compos.


I believe in God and since I was 10 years old I KNEW in my heart that something major was going to happen in my lifetime I didn't know what but I could feel it.
12 years later the things that are happening today makes me honestly believe that God's return is close at hand.

I think within the next 2 years I will be proven correct or just be laughed at for being wrong.
Afaceinthematrix
Vardin wrote:
I think its irresponsible to raise a child in this world. 50 years ago I would have wanted children...a better time where things like this still happened but we still had a moral compos.


I believe in God and since I was 10 years old I KNEW in my heart that something major was going to happen in my lifetime I didn't know what but I could feel it.
12 years later the things that are happening today makes me honestly believe that God's return is close at hand.

I think within the next 2 years I will be proven correct or just be laughed at for being wrong.


You seem to have a theme among your posts that we're just completely immoral and terrible today but we weren't in the past. That's interesting. I wasn't around in the 60's but I do know a little history. As a matter of fact, I just watched a program on the history channel recently about the sexual revolution of '69... That was 40 years ago and people were just as horny as we are today. The next show was on Woodstock. That seemed like an amazing event. I wish I could have been there... But I wasn't. However, I have gone to metal shows and music festivals in my era... And let me tell you, an Ozzfest does not seem too different from Woodstock... Actually, an Ozzfest seems MORE moral than Woodstock because at Woodstock, there was an abundance of heroin (based on what I've heard). At an Ozzfest, you mostly have marijuana, which is far less dangerous than heroin.
Bikerman
Well, I WAS around in the 60s (although I was only a kid). Things were not so different.

The idea that this is evidence of the imminent coming of Christ is not something I wish to comment on in this forum - other than to point out that a simple Google search will reveal hosts of deluded people who thought the same over history.
Arthur3009
hahahahahahhaha, this can be truth!
deanhills
I don't see a problem with overpopulation in the developed countries of the world, if there is a problem in the developed countries it is possibly our inability to take better care of our children. For me the overpopulation problem is more with the countries with lower levels of education and which are less developed. They are also a large drain on resources, resulting in innocent children being born who cannot be looked after even for their basic needs such as food and water. Sort of a perpetual cycle of misery and inadequacy that feeds on itself. As well as puts an enormous strain on world resources. If there are any remedies possible, focus has to be on that, which I know would be an enormous challenge and not easy to achieve as some of it is happening in war zones which are very difficult and dangerous to penetrate, or have cultural taboos that are difficult to counter. Still, there has to be something more that can be done about this. Education probably being on top of the list.
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