I was saying that I was apparently going to have a comment published in this week’s The Upside weekly report on The Guardian, sent in response to the one about the new population estimates. Well, that did happen, but what showed up in today’s report was less than half of it, not even the entire first paragraph, quite clearly only quoted for shock value, what was removed even from that paragraph allowing readers to get the impression that I might advocate killing people to reduce the population. And even leaving aside how much and exactly what was removed, the simple fact that something was surprised and disappointed me, after spending quite a long time struggling to fit something in 250 words, which I remembered to be the strongly recommended limit. And what they kept from it made it into one of the shortest published comments, while one of the others was actually a little bit longer than the complete message I had sent.
So, just to make sure that it shows up somewhere, I’ll add the complete comment in this post, along with a screenshot of the e-mails, just to make it clear that I didn’t make any edits now. The full comment sent was this:
“A drastic population reduction is the main necessary condition to even have a chance to solve the world’s major environmental and social problems. So it’d be great if it would fall, but what this estimate presents would be far too little, far too late. The only way to offer everyone a decent standard of living and a large amount of freedom in all other aspects of life, continue to improve health and lifespan and reduce mortality, and also, eventually, have a healthy ecosystem, is to not only fully embrace and encourage far fewer births but, considering how bad things are, even find ways to completely stop births for a time.
Yes, consumption is another major problem, and some behaviors and products need to be phased out or outright banned because they’re damaging in and of themselves, but many others are harmful because of our numbers and the situation would be much worse if the large majority wouldn’t live in poverty, deprived of options they should be as entitled to as those better off. Therefore, it may be said that the immediate necessity is slashing birth rates, even to zero, for the better off, while for the poor it will become necessary as the standard of living improves. And the end of growth and different age structure requiring replacing this economic system that causes so much environmental destruction and human suffering with, preferably, a postcapitalist, post-work, mostly automated, resource-based one guaranteeing goods and services as fundamental rights is only another benefit.”
As you can see, they removed “continue to improve health and lifespan and reduce mortality” from that first paragraph and quoted only the rest of it, completely ignoring the second paragraph. And I’d say that both that removed bit and the entire second paragraph make points that go against what is typically believed of those fighting for population reduction, while what was quoted is likely to just produce the typical outraged reaction. And there was also that last part, about changing the economic system, added in response to what that recent study listed as the major concern, making it clear that, from my point of view, there are only benefits when it comes to that, so it’s something that’d have clearly fit what The Upside should be all about, yet it was also cut… But what’s done is done, I guess…