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Carbon Footprint and Population

  • Environment

A comment on my post "Why I don't want kids" mentions the impact our daily activities have on this world. That reminds me of a conversation I ha with someone a while ago. A US TV show took a suburban family and calculated that if everyone in the world lived the way they do, they would need 12 planets to provide the resources required. This family was then sent to live with a group of extremely environmentally aware people. They had only installed their first solar-panel just after the family arrived.

After a week (or so) of living with them, it was calculated that to live the environmentally friendly way would require 1.8 planets to provide the resources required.

This made me think: if living as environmentally aware as possible requires 1.8 planets, then how are we ever going to address the current imbalance? Of course we could try to repair the planet at half the rate we're damaging it in order to bring that number down to just under 1 planet, but there's something more fundamental than that.

This planet wasn't designed to support 6.5 billion people. If the value of 1.8 above is correct, then this planet cannot naturally sustain more than 3.6 billion humans.

The numbers here are for illustrative purposes only. The quoted number of planets required to sustain a given style of living are based on information from a friend whose memory might or might not be reliable. The population this planet can support is dependent on many other factors, including other animal populations.


So, are you saying you don't want to have kids to save the planet? If that is the case, it is one of the most flawed greenie arguments and justifications I have ever heard.


Well, before I dive into the details of my conclusion... Wouldn't it make more sense to say; have kids who would become dictators and evil overlords of the planet and thus in tern "reduce" the bloated population number of the planet to an acceptable average?

On the other hand, we could follow your logic and stop breeding. Human extinction would certainly save the planet but how would we know that it has? We wouldn't be here to make sure…

What about having kids and educating them about the "greener" life style? That would be a nicer outcome in the long run, wouldn't it? They could educate others, and so on.

But before we start doing all this (*hangs head in shame for attempting this avenue of persuasion) perhaps we should conclusively and indisputably prove that undesired effect on the planet are in fact a product of human interaction with the environment and not the nature it self? You know, just some ground works before we start denying future generations their existence.

(I have more to say, very busy now).

To answer your first comment, not I'm not *not* having kids to save the planet. I'm not having kids because, as I mentioned in the first post: I'm just selfish, I want to keep my money and time to myself.

Now if I were to breed, then I certainly wouldn't want to create evil overlords. And as for forcing the human race to extinction - I'm trying to work out where I advocated that. I seem to remember mentioning something like halving the population so that it's able to survive in harmony with nature.

Finally, I don't think we really need to look into whether the human race is causing the undesired effects on the planet. It's pretty much been proven by the majority of scientists - almost unanimously by all truly independent studies.

To get you going, you might like to read Wikipedia's entries on the Temparature record of the past 1000 years, Global cooling and Temparture record, looking not only at the reports on the temperature change, but carbon emissions - major changes to the norm over a 1000+ year time span matches the start of the industrial era.

Of course this could be coincidence. I'm not an expert in this field, so I can only trust the findings of the experts whom I find trustworthy.

If I eat my twice my body weight in avocados when in Latin America, I can offset my travelling there. Tidy.

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