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Eight Billion

As of today, the world population has officially reached eight billion. Of course, the exact date of reaching such a threshold can’t really be determined, so it’s picked somewhat arbitrarily, but slight variations won’t make much of a difference, and in fact the milestones themselves aren’t that relevant in the first place… Though one thing that is relevant is that, despite the estimates stating that population growth would at least start to slow down by now, this billion continued the trend, yet again being the fastest one. And it may also shock some to realize that there are hundreds of thousands of people who are alive today and were born in a world of less than two billion.
But I have said pretty much everything that can be said about it many times, and if at seven billion I repeated the main ideas, I won’t do it yet again now. However, since that post only tackled the problem of consumption and environmental impact per capita somewhat indirectly, I will say that, while the only thing that still puts off even more horrifying environmental and humanitarian catastrophes is that the large majority of the population still lives in appalling conditions and those are also the ones who tend to contribute the most to the current growth, the fact that people, not to mention so many of them, live in such conditions at all, considering humanity’s current level of development, is utterly unforgivable.
So, yes, a relatively small section of the population has an oversized environmental impact and that’s unforgivable for environmental reasons, but many, many times more have a small one only because of their unforgivably poor standard of living, and that’s unforgivable for humanitarian reasons. And, just like I’d very much prefer to lower the population by banning births instead of increasing mortality in any way, I’d also very much prefer to reduce humanity’s total environmental footprint by reducing the population, admittedly starting with those who are better off, while greatly improving the standard of living and freedom of choice of the many, than by keeping them down while also trying to drag those who are somewhat better off down as well, only in order to allow the population to continue to increase, or even remain at such utterly unsustainable levels.
And no, a person’s environmental footprint can’t be fairly reduced to a level that would be sustainable if all of the current population would have it while still maintaining a good standard of living and a high freedom of choice. Yes, there are behavior, consumption and lifestyle patterns, many of them terribly common in the developed world, and some of them not only there, since they’re mostly driven by this capitalist system that current human society is founded on, that are inherently wrong, harmful, damaging, and need to go away, but many others are only a problem because of the numbers, and restricting all of those potential choices only in order to allow the population to grow, and more exactly only in order to not restrict and, at this point, set a lengthy complete moratorium on a single behavior, having children, is in no way fair or tolerable.


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