One thing I've noticed, we green bloggers love to talk about how we don't talk about population. Every few days it seems, there's a comment at No Impact Man about how we're ignoring the elephant or the 150 pound gorilla, or what have you, in the room: population. Sharon seems to have to deal with accusations on a fairly regular basis: how DARE she talk about the environment when she had the gall to have four children!! The general idea is, most green bloggers have kids, so people feel like they don't want to talk about population. And the green bloggers without kids don't want to sound self-righteous, so no one talks about it.
So, instead of ignoring this side of the debate, let's talk about it. I actually think Sharon has talked about population in the past, and has done a decent job, but maybe people feel like she has an agenda there. But I don't have kids, and it's possible, though I wouldn't say probable, that I might never have children. So I don't feel like I really have much of my own agenda to press here. I do have an opinion though. I mean, obviously.
But before I give you my views about population, I want to give everyone the chance to express their opinion. So here it is, folks. Do you think the growing population is a major environmental concern, and more specifically, do you think it is a concern with regards to global warming?
When you're answering this question, here are some other questions I'd like to throw out there. You don't have to answer them, though you can if you'd like. I obviously ask the questions with a point of view attached, so let's all understand that I'm not asking these questions from an entirely objective point of view:
- Does it make sense to treat population as a quantitative problem (number of people) versus a qualitative problem ( one of lifestyle?) If we had 6.5 billion people on the Earth living lives similarly to farmers in Ghana, would we have a global warming problem?
- Is it fait accompli that more people leads to degradation of renewable resources and/or increases in carbon emissions?
- Is disease Nature's way of "controlling" population? If so, is it fair to extrapolate from that that malaria and AIDS are Nature's way of "controlling" population, and that the Western Europe and the United States should not interfere with Nature?
- What are the solutions? Is China's one-child policy a solution?
- And more generally, where do we go from here? Given that we have population increases built-in, so to speak, what are the steps we can take?
I imagine that responses to this might get a little heated. Population maybe isn't talked about because it *is* personal. A good percentage of the people reading this will have children, and a good percentage of people reading this will not. So while I encourage debate, I do want to ask that people comment respectfully. I think in general the comments on this blog are incredibly civilized, and thoughtful, so I'm not too worried. I think we can have a good debate on this without resorting to personal attacks.