Sunday, March 8, 2009

Will Human Numbers Ever Decrease?

Concerned scientists such as Paul Ehrlich argue that the ever-increasing human population is looting the planet. Most economists and politicians refuse to accept this. Often they respond that population growth is slowing and is actually decreasing in some countries, notably western Europe, and is slowing in most developed nations. In a few more decades human population will peak and then slowly decline, they claim.
Recent evidence from Australia indicates that this slow down in population growth rate may be temporary. In 2005, Australian treasurer Peter Costello made his famous plea, "Have one (child) for mum, one for dad, and one for the country." In 2004, to encourage fecundity he offered a $3000 bonus for every new baby. Recent data shows that Australia’s strategy has worked. The birth rate, which had been in a rut for years, rose in 2005 and again in 2006. The baby-bonus cost for the two years was $1.7 billion, resulting in 37,000 extra babies. The province of Quebec, Russia and other jurisdictions are offering similar incentives.
It’s too early to tell, but it appears that projections for human population growth will likely be at the high end of United Nations predictions. After all, Australia and others don’t seem to care about peak oil, fisheries depletion, water shortages and global warming. Instead they’re paying big bucks to keep the population, that is, the economy, expanding. Is there any hope?

1 comment: said...

Of course human numbers can be decreased, but reducing those numbers would require a level of cooperation and sharing among members of the human family that is hard to even imagine in times like these in which political convenience, economic expediency, human greed and elective mutism are predominant, motivating characteristics of many too many leaders.

Steven Earl Salmony
AWAREness Campaign on the Human Population,
established 2001