According to a group called The Advocacy for Anti-Procreation, today is the International Anti-Procreation Day. Of course, it’s also the World Day to Combat Desertification, and this has been observed since 1995 and is recognized by the UN, so it’d normally take precedence over an event that somebody who created a Facebook page came up with last year. However, I can’t currently think of any other attempts to create international events meant to even celebrate the childfree, much less openly and directly combat natalism, so I will mark the day by at least writing another post on the topic of overpopulation.
Interestingly, it was recently announced that birth rates here in Romania have fallen to the lowest values seen after World War II, which can count as good news, especially since we’re talking about a country with one of the lowest, if not the lowest, fertility in Europe already. Of course, the numbers are still appallingly high compared to what would be needed and things look even worse when you pay attention to the details, such as the fact that a good three quarters of the roughly 15% population drop seen over the past 25 years is due to immigration, that many of those who immigrate end up having children in their new home countries and therefore still contribute to the global overpopulation problem, or that the remaining quarter is due in part to the wrong reasons, such as lower life expectancy and higher mortality than in more developed countries. However, although this is currently happening too slowly to be relevant, I have to take note of the fact that things are at least getting slightly better instead of worse.
Of course, the vast majority, including the authorities, don’t see it that way, and I just read a call to restart the national in vitro fertilization program, because “thanks” to it “350 children were brought into this world at a cost of only one million Euros”… Which is, of course, like saying that air pollution levels have dropped and therefore a program to expand coal power plants should be restarted because it can relatively cheaply generate more electricity, regardless of the fact that pollution is still way too high and we’re already producing more electricity than we need, the problem being to find export contracts for the surplus. But the fact that all but a tiny minority of people think with their gonads is nothing new, so the question is how can those of us who are actually capable and willing to put reason above the most basic instincts win this war, because that’s what it is, and give ourselves and all other species we share this planet with a real chance.
Returning to the global issue, I can only state once again that bringing the human population back down to a sustainable level is absolutely necessary if we are to have a chance to solve almost any of the environmental problems that plague this planet or the social problems that plague mankind. Of course, that alone is far from sufficient and many other measures need to be taken, but most of those measures can only be truly efficient after the world will no longer be overpopulated, as under the current circumstances they merely delay the inevitable at the cost of efforts and resources that could be better used either for real development or for fixing the damage already caused. In other words, until we’ll solve this problem we’ll just keep buying time at an ever increasing cost, and the worst part is that, while humans may perhaps continue to afford doing so for centuries to come, most of the species we share this planet with don’t have that luxury.
And while I’m restating the obvious, it should be clear to everyone that reducing population by killing people or by allowing them to unnecessarily die when they do not specifically wish for this to happen is to be avoided, while the option of moving most humans to other planets won’t exist in the foreseeable future, so the only solution we’re left with is greatly reducing the number of births by any means necessary, perhaps to the minimum needed to avoid a genetic bottleneck, until the population will drop to a sustainable level once again. Then, while we’re doing that, we should also bring evolution back into the game by selecting those few who’d still be allowed to have children according to resistance to disease and extraordinary talents and abilities that are truly worthy of being passed on, and of course also according to a slew of other criteria meant to preserve diversity as much as possible, because unless we do both of these things at once we’ll almost certainly dig ourselves into a deep hole.
As for that sustainable level I keep mentioning, it’s not seven billion, and it most definitely isn’t nine or ten or the even higher numbers studies currently say will be reached. What it actually is depends on lifestyle choices, consumption patterns, the amount of freedom allowed, the existing environmental damage and the number of people dedicating their lives to fixing it, so it’s impossible to give a clear value. I saw numbers as high as 18 billion, but only assuming a low standard of living and exploiting nearly every nook and cranny with no care for the other species, or as low as 100 million, assuming maintaining a reasonable environmental footprint while allowing for a particularly high standard of living and an equally high amount of freedom to choose one’s lifestyle and consumption patterns, with no new developments aimed to mitigate the negative consequences of such choices.
Still, several more serious studies that I remember seeing, which attempted to take multiple factors into account, arrived at values often ranging between one and one and a half billion, so at the moment we may assume that to be a reasonable range, with perhaps two billion as an upper limit made possible by future technological breakthroughs, if we aim for a decent standard of living for all humans while also giving the other species a fighting chance. As such, and also considering the current numbers and the methods I advocate, my personal target would be to reach three billion by the end of the century, with the rest of the reduction taking place in the 2100s.
But this was only meant to be a brief post and, either way, I’m not saying anything new, so I’ll now leave you to celebrate the International Anti-Procreation Day by doing things that won’t result in another human being brought into this world, most preferably including doing your best to ensure that others won’t worsen the overpopulation problem either. Sex is obviously allowed, and I’ll say even encouraged, but unless you or your partner, or both, are sterilized or definitely sterile, do make sure you’ll take all the necessary precautions!