Most of us who follow population increase note that it is the key factor contributing to the ongoing degradation of our planet. Put simply, there are too many human beings for the existing resources, given the rate those finite resources are being used. See also my earlier blog:
Meanwhile, the nine billion mark (likely by 2050) is seen as a kind of tipping point to vastly greater problems, and there is an increasing push to avoid hitting that marker....ever. A number of strategies have been put forward by groups such as Population Connection, including:
1. Assuring Universal Access to a Range of Safe and Effective Contraceptive Options for Both Sexes:
This goes without saying. So long as we're in the grip of the paradigm of accidental conception, no progress can be made. So long as we're hostage to ancient fossils in black robes, or old guys wearing mitres and dictating from their thrones, we are for the high jump. Basically we need procreation rates to fall below replacement level for at least the next 50 years.
2.Guarantee Education Through Secondary School for all Females.
Statistics have shown clearly that the more education girls have the more they will be motivated to postpone and minimize the frequency of childbearing. Education informs girls not only concerning healthy behavior (i.e. as regards avoiding unprotected sex) but also makes them aware of more life options. These allow them to explore choices beyond motherhood.
3. Teach Masturbation as a Primary Adolescent Sex Relief Option.
This was one of former Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders' primary goals before she was dumped for saying it. But she was correct. We will have excessive teen births and drains on the society until such time we ditch the meme that adolescent intercourse is A-ok and merits higher respect than self- stimulation. Kids - whether 14 or 19 - have no business having kids! Let them attend to various methods of sexual self-relief until such time they attain the maturity to be responsible and have the financial resources to be parents - rather than dumping their kids off as wards of the state. At the same time, we need to aggressively move to destroy the meme that masturbation is a shameful, furtive or disgusting activity. We also need to put any religions in their place for saying so!
4. Include Proper Birth Control as Part of Teen Sex Ed.
Still, no matter how much (3) is promoted you're going to have that segment that views self -relief as demeaning or bottom- feeder behavior. This, despite all efforts to re-educate them. For this hard core lot, and indeed for all teens, proper birth control methods need to be a part of practical sexual education. We can't leave them to dabble in chance outcomes, or tell them to just say 'No' or whatever bollocks the rightists prescribe .....which never work.
5. Put Prices on Environmental Costs, Impacts.
As I will show and argue for in the next blog, environmental resources comprise part of our overall wealth. If these are used indiscriminately, then their costs need to be commensurate with such reckless use or waste - to inhbit overuse. By implementing higher use costs (say for oil, water, or any resource) such pricing will tend to reduce fertility and birth rates as couples decide the cost of having an additional child is too high.
6. Adjust to Population Aging Rather Than Trying to Delay it Via Governmental Incentives.
Currently, our collective thinking is upside down or insane. We observe problems accompanying an aging populace, say too few workers to support those on Social Security, but prescribe higher population to solve them, e.g. encourage higher birth rates, invite more immigrants in, etc. Not realizing at some point those added people will expect the same benefits, and if you have a dwindling national bank account now, what will happen later?
We must understand that population aging is a short term demographic problem that will pass before the end of the century with effects far less significant and long lasting than ongoing population growth- a point all policy makers need to understand better. At the same time, we need to relentlessly combat specious arguments and memes to support higher populations such as advocated by Ben Wattenberg in his book, 'The Birth Dearth'.
7. Convince Leaders to End Population Growth Through the Exercise of Human Rights & Development.
Speaking out on the importance of ending population growth worldwide will be easier if leaders acquaint themselves with how the population field has evolved over the past few decades.
We need to try to implement these strategies as soon as possible and not be distracted. Time is not on our side!