Posts Tagged OPT

population control = birth control = sustainability ?

272 quotations on sustainable development, climate change, and sustainability in general on  (There were 267 on the 26th.)

Of these 272, 31 pertain directly to population growth. But the thing about this 11.4% that made them stick out so dramatically was the call by the Optimum Population Trust for each man, woman, or couple to have fewer children as a way to curb the toll we are exacting on our Earth’s natural resources.

Everything we manage to achieve for the natural environment is being wiped out by the nearly 80 million extra people each year who need to use up space and resources.

The most effective personal climate change strategy is limiting the number of children one has. The most effective national and global climate change strategy is limiting the size of the population. Population limitation should therefore be seen as the most cost-effective carbon offsetting strategy available to individuals and nations– Population-Based Climate Strategy, Optimum Population Trust, May 2007

Ahhh yes, population control, but with an interesting spin.

To rip the phrasing of Jonathon Porritt, the essence of OPT’s campaign: Do your bit for addressing climate change by having fewer children – or even no children.

Let me be clear that Mr. Porritt expressed a “love” for the OPT campaign. I am making no assumptions as to the thoughts, world views, or underlying meanings that motivate his affinity. But consider that same campaign from a young couple’s perspective. Or as I am not married, from that of a young woman who hopes to one day marry and have her own family.

Is it humane to ask me to not have any children at all? Is it humane to ask me to have only one child? Forget about fairness, I’m talking about humanity. And what are the arguments you would use to convince me of such?  The ones that have already been made?

Instead of controlling the environment for the benefit of the population, perhaps we should control the population to ensure the survival of our environment.  Sir David Attenborough

It is environmental illiteracy and a complete lack of forward thinking to ignore the need to halt and then reverse population growth in the context of climate change, congestion, unaffordable housing, and resource depletion. – unattributable (2007)

…we owe it to the rest of the planet to stabilise our own population. Producing lots of extra Brits…is a selfish strategy both economically and environmentally. Not only will it increase overcrowding and congestion [it will] put huge extra strain on resources and…intensify our impact on the Earth’s ecosystems. – David Nicholson-Lord, research associate, Optimum Population Trust (2006)

Living in an orgy of unrestrained consumption and economic growth accompanied by population expansion that ignores the carrying capacity of local environments will lead to disaster. – unattributable

Each of these is limited to the impact on environmental resources, but does nothing to address my desire, what may even be my human need, for companionship, family, and love. What happens to me if I put these aside and “take one for the team”.

I don’t doubt that our Earth’s resources are rapidly deteriorating, but what’s the timeline? Will it cease to support my children during their lifetime? During their children’s lifetimes? And if I am passionately concerned about sustainability, could I not pass those values on to my children such that they continue the cause?

I ask all these questions, but what I really want to know is why those who speak about population control via birth rate control don’t couple their arguments with a pro-adoption campaign. Don’t tell me not to have children, but rather, tell me that we already have more children in this world than we care for. Share the story of those who need a home. And help me connect with a child who, just like me, needs family, companionship, and love.

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