Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Incoherent Policies

While visiting in Australia three headlines caught my eye. They were reported as completely independent issues; one did not affect the other. The first stated that the baby bonuses of $5000 per child, which were started in 2004, are working: there has been a measurable increase in births. The second reported that the water supply for Adelaide and the surrounding region of South Australia was in crisis and unless drastic action is taken serious water shortages will start soon. The third stated that immigration, after holding steady for decades, would be cut by 14 percent (from 135,000 to 115,000) to help protect Australian workers in this recession.
Australia is a large country with a low population (about 20 million). Nevertheless, population should be a national issue that is addressed in a coherent and integrated manner. These newspaper reports clearly show that this is not the case. The baby-bonus and immigration policies are in direct conflict with each other. For the Adelaide water shortage, it is not even recognized that the large and growing population contributes to the problem. All the blame is placed on the drought and non of the proposed solutions suggests curbing population growth.
I am not picking on Australia for most nations are in the same boat. For example, the US southwest, notably Phoenix and Las Vegas, are suffering similar troubles as Adelaide. With human population approaching seven billion, the globe is experiencing severe shortages in many resources including fisheries, oil and gas, water and more. I won’t even touch on global warming.
It is time to recognize that human population is a serious, if not the most serious, problem the world faces. National and international policies are needed to address this issue. These policies must be coherent and integrated with all the relevant issues.


SESALMONY@aol.com said...

Given its present leviathan scale and the fully anticipated rate of unbridled industrial expansion, globalization of the humankind's political economy could soon become unsustainable on a planet with the size, composition and frangible environs of Earth. At some point in space-time.... perhaps sooner rather than later.... if we keep doing precisely what we are doing now by over-consuming Earth’s limited resources, overproducing unnecessary stuff worldwide, and overpopulating our planetary home, then the children could be confronted of some sort of unimaginable threat: the collapse of civilization, the likes of which only Ozymandias has witnessed. It is difficult for me to see how the human family moves forward to assure a good enough future for our children and coming generations if many people with clear vision, coherent minds, ethical sensibility and a capacity for intellectual honesty and moral courage do not become more vocal and clamorous now. By so doing, the deafening silence enjoined upon many too many "talking heads" in the mainstream media by an astonishingly small group of super-rich, ideologically-driven 'benefactors' and their cronies... all with too much wealth, power and undeserved status... most assuredly will be overcome.

Only our silence now regarding the chance of human over-consumption, overproduction and overpopulation activities overspreading the surface of Earth and becoming patently unsustainable can defeat the family of humanity, I believe. Silence is an actual enemy to be most feared now because of the clear and present danger elective mutism presents to future human wellbeing and environmental health.

Perhaps a day will come when our children might ask us three questions, "What did you know; when did you know it; and on what date did you begin speaking out loudly, clearly and often to save humanity, life as we know it, and the environs of the planet we are blessed to inhabit?" For a moment imagine a child presenting you with these questions. Please consider what you as a responsible elder will say to the young one.

richardglover said...

“We desperately need to find workable solutions”

Workable solutions are by definition those that work. That people are willing to work. That people feel good about making them work.
I became interested in the Chinese One Child Policy when I married a Chinese woman some six years ago and have read what I can find on the subject which is very little but still very enthralling. One thing is clear, the policy, ultimately, needed the acceptance of the mass of population for it to be workable. China is vast and absorbs criticism of her policies without reply, which I feel is a great shame. For surely the rest of us would benefit from social studies connected with this matter.
With a country as populous as China we can only wait and see.

However, why not pick on Australia? They are not shy intellectually and they could make stand. They could set a sustainable population size for their country and develop economic policies to suit a zero growth in population size whilst maintaining growth in quality of life. And we need a start no matter how slow.
But a stand by just one country that was showing the rest of the world that they for one accepted that there is a world overpopulation problem and were not waiting others to lead would be a significant start.
The economic bubble has burst ahead of the ecological bubble but our leaders do not see a connection.
So yes, lets pick on Australia and get them to lead the way.
regards Richard

Kosmonavtka said...

I live in Melbourne, Australia, and both State and Federal Governments remain wilfully blind to the consequences of our population growth, as they are obsessed with economic growth. Melbourne is becoming increasingly unliveable under the strain of the thousands of people coming here (transport chaos, water restrictions, etc.) and I dread to contemplate what the future will be like here with continuing growth.