Sunday, February 10, 2008

Your Opinion Matters

I would like to invite each of you to post your opinion on whether you regard population as an environmental problem and if so what would be your policy of choice to confront that challenge. (There will be mana from heaven for those that respond :-))


Tommy Evans said...

I believe population is an environmental problem. As the population increases, the demands on the environment and enivronmental services are increased as well. I believe a solution would be to create an organization that would regulate the amount of children allowed to be concieved. Similar to trade and cap permits I believe everyone should be entitled to one blank birth certificate when they are born (that cannot apply to themselves). That birth certificate can be used on a child when he or she has one. If someone does not have a birth certificate given they should not be allowed to have access to any public or government benefits and should not be allowed to have a job.

Daniel Abberton said...

I also agree that population is an environmental problem maybe even the biggest one we have. If we look at global warming, deforestation, acid rain or any other environmental problem we can see that this is all due to us doing something on a large global scale. If we had half the amount of people on this earth and yet still lived the lifestyles we live I would say that global warming wouldn't be such a problem because we would have half the amount of green house gases emitted. There would be less deforestation and other environmental degradation problems because we wouldn't need as much wood, coal, food, and so on. Yet we are still faced with this problem. In the United States I don't believe that we can take away ones right to have children because it would infringe on our basic rights. Yet I do believe that for the population problem to be solved we need government action not laws but maybe incentives which would encourage people to have less children. Also these days at least in America it seems that people are having less children just due to the cost of living and of course college tuition. And in other countries such as developing countires I also think government needs to take action to truly get a hold on the problem. For this to work I think each country needs to have different ways about approching it. There isn't one universal way to deal with it becuase each country is different and has different values. But then again this is a global problem.

Tali Kozak said...

Population is an environmental problem (for such reasons as mentioned by Tommy and Daniel), and much more. The damaging effects of overpopulation are projected upon both the environment and the resulting degradation to the well-being of humans who live on earth. (Considering it is anthropocentric individuals who contemplate such questions, humans are inevitably necessary to consider). I can't help but think that the more dominating and more affluent cultures have a greater responsibility to manage policy elsewhere in order to counter the effects of overpopulation. Elsewhere? What I mean is that while implementing such "incentives" or "cap and trade permits" are really an immediate way to nip the problem in the bud- isn't it exactly this instantaneous attitude to achieve gratification that lead to these problems in the first place? There is absolutely something a bit unsettling in the idea of taking "away ones right to have children" as Daniel said, "because it would infringe on our basic rights". While it's true that the developing countries are those with greater increasing populations, a large part of why they can't keep their head above water and meet basic needs is because the powerful, affluent countries drown them in injustice through globalization (etc, etc, etc). Given this (FACT), I'll say that controlling the population by allowing for each individual to only have one child is not the only way to go. Rather, we need to focus more on promoting education, women's empowerment, and you know- stop being such damn egocentric consumers and pay closer attention to future global repercussions. Exponential population growth should lead not first to the intricate modification of basic/natural rights, but to the flourishing of liberty.

katie said...

saying that population is an environmental problem is merely an understatement; i believe that all environmental problems stem from the overpopulation of the human species.

from deforestation, air pollution, global warming, vacuuming of the worlds ocean, urbanization, global warming.. the list is endless - it all stems from the human population and the increasing resource demand.

i also agree with tali's policy of choice to confront the challenge of overpopulation - education, woman empowerment, and so on. demographics are a major factor to the global ecological crisis. there is a distinct margin between the "haves" and "have nots" and developed and developing countries. eliminating poverty would create a world in which greed no longer exists, everyones basic needs would be satisfied. once wealth is evenly distributed there will be a balance between people and the standard of living, and in turn- the reproduction rate will be low.

how far is society willing to go in order to control and stabilize human growth? not far. most people, such as daniel said, say that limiting the amount of children a woman can have is an infringement on our rights. what rights are we going to have when there is no room to move or no air to breath?

population must be limited. the blank birth certificate concept or two "coupons" per woman may sound disturbing at first, but in the end it may be the only way to stabilize the exponentially growing human population.

keith behringer said...

Like Katie said, almost every single environmental problem can be followed back to over-population. It is impossible to disagree with this viewpoint.
My policy to confront this problem would involve a few different steps.
-Better education and social standing for women in developing countries. It has been proven by numerous studies that women who have the opportunity to have an education and a career will have less children.
-A cap and trade system similiar to what Tommy mentioned. If you want to have more children, you have to realize that you will be responsible for the use of more resources. Thus, there should be a price comparable to the impact, which would probably make an extra child expensive enough to deter most potential childen.
-Better distribution of contraceptives in developing countries. While the cap and trade system would work well in most developed countries, most developing countries lack the infrastructure to enforce such a rule. With this in mind, most of these people would not care about having an extra child. So better contraceptives in these areas could help curb the population growth where regulations would fail.

Natasha T said...

I agree with my peers, population is definitely an environmental problem. I feel Katie's suggestion that overpopulation of the human species is the greatest environmental problem (because it is at the root of all other environmental problems)is very accurate.
First, I can't stress enough, the importance of education in dealing with overpopulation. Education increases awareness of environmental degradation, and influences responsible decision making, independence, and the desire to a live happy, healthy life. Learning institution around the world should require all students to take courses focused on environmental education. Incorporating environmental education in the core-curriculum emphasizes the importance of environmental consciousness, and simultaneously, forces student not only to learn, but also create solutions to environmental problems.
Furthermore, I feel that in order to control overpopulation, a limit on breeding should be enforced. I understand that such an action is rather extreme; however, the earth is currently unable to replenish itself at the current rate of consumption, and it will be impossible to support the 12 billion people expected to populate the earth by 2025. As the saying goes, desperate times call for desperate measures!

Lorendra said...

Indeed, I believe that population is truly an environmental problem. It may not be solely to blame for the state of the environment but it is undisputed the grave impact that population has had on the earth thus far.
The booming populations of much of the world has resulted in severe pollution of rivers, streams and the seas as agricultural practices result in eutrophication, the washing aways of precious top soils and the loss of many habitats and ecosystems. Over fishing has led to the depletion of fish populations, mass breeding of livestock results in air pollution, further water pollution and strains on agriculture sectors as animals compete with us for food, further increasing pollution.
In the name of making the world much more habitable, much more accommodating and hospitable to our human needs we cut down, burn, emit tonnes of hazardous gases, chemicals and toxins into our skies, waters and on land.
Many developed nations that boast smaller populations are the cause of these dilemmas, however, their high levels of development, pressure developing nations to attempt to attain such standards and as a result they attempt to employ the same methods used by wealthier nations, better able to dispose of their waste.
However, larger, poorer populations mean, cheaper labour,more lenient laws that allow for ready dumping and environmental rape in the name of progress and inherent loss of culture and communion with the earth.
In speaking about rights it is mentioned that the right to reproduce is one that is inalienable and should not be infringed upon, however, it is that selfsame infringing that is necessary to get results.
Rights as postulated by Chapman are man made and tailored to the whims of man, as such, we ammend them and create loopholes as befits us. In such regards, the policy I would implement would be one akin to that instituted in China. With incentives being given to couples maintaining a limit of reproduction and enforcing family planning with great fervency. Birth controls, abstinence and curbed child births would undoubtedly see results.

Tigerguardian said...

I also agree that the ever growing population is responsible for the environmental crisis. Land is disappearing into endless home developments and strip malls. Wildlife is being pushed to the limits. Pollution and the use of growth hormones and chemicals to increase food sources is another issued created by the ever increasing population. I feel there should be a two child minimum per household. Allowing two children would hopefully keep people from aborting or destroying a child because it is female. Financial incentives need to be given to families that abide by the two child household. ( tax break or assistance with education) For those that have more than two children- a tax should be imposed due to increased consumption. There should also be a limit on home size. This should be determined by the size of property. A larger property lot will allow for a larger home on the condition that the rest of the land is not developed or re-zoned. Smaller land lots should have homes that correspond to the amount of land as opposed to the huge mcmansions that take up and entire property lot and sit practically on top of the home next to it. For every tree cut down- two need to be planted. Education on living with wildlife especially predators should be taught in schools and in communities.

For developing countries, education on birth control, conservation, living with wildlife needs to be integrated. Help for the poor such as medical clinics, education and financial opportunites are needed.

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Rebecca said...

In speaking with a friend I mentioned as part of the conversation: I believe a large part of our answer to environmental issues would be to limit population growth. Well, I might have known there would be a stunned reaction that turned to downright argumentativeness. Her first comment was that would be unethical. I asked how? Then the whole idea of controlling certain factions in society and the question of Hitler's arian race was brough up.
One thing I notice is: people want a solution to the problem, and most admit there is one, but,no one wants it to be them to do something about it.
AS my friend said: "it is the right of humans to be fruitful and multiply, we will just have to find other ways."
But, I don't believe there is any other way, I believe it will take a complete turn around, and in that paradigm shift there must be a change of opinions and beliefs.
Where will we put the children? And, what kind of lifestyle will they truly have?
Questions we must all ask ourselves as we plan our families, maybe we should plan on consciously not being part of the problem, but of the solution.
It is perhaps an ethical and religious question to limit our citizens right to have children. But, is it also our responsibility to see to it that the children already here have a chance to live out their lives in harmony with nature? Perhaps we should make the quality of life greater for the worlds citizenry now and limit additional stress on an already overpopulated, stressed out ecosystem.
After all, we are part of nature and as such we should act accordingly.
A part of that would be responsible pet ownership, teaching our children about limited population growth and why?
The key here as in all things, education.

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