Holistic local sustainability; food, water, energy, money, people

Population and The Future

I just Googled “what elon musk thinks about population growth” and got a series of links that:

  • – are short, shallow articles
  • – show how confused people are
  • – suggest Musk thinks population growth is too fast
  • – say Musk thinks it’s so fast it’ll crater before 2100
  • – say Musk is having another 5 children
  • – say Musk and Hawking say we need to colonise Mars and another planet within 40-100 years for our species to survive
  • – say Japan’s population decline and aging population is a big problem
  • – say technology needs to advance fast to save our species

But the best bit is some insightful common sense about our quality of life on Earth from Amazon’s CEO in The Observer:

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos argued for a slightly different approach at the Recode Conference earlier this month. “Let me assure you, this is the best planet. We need to protect it, and the way we will is by going out into space. You don’t want to live in a retrograde world where we have to freeze population growth,” he said. “Energy is limited here. In at least a few hundred years…all of our heavy industry will be moved off-planet. Earth will be zoned residential and light industrial. You shouldn’t be doing heavy energy on earth. We can build gigantic chip factories in space.”

Freezing population growth and living in a retrograde world are not synonymous. Being child-free or having small families can mean having a good quality of life, especially in an interconnected community where all the adults share the parenting. True, living within the population carrying capacity limits of Earth has its challenges, but these are too easily exaggerated.

Harvard Biologist Dr. E.O. Wilson outlined in a 2016 book a “Half-Earth” theory in that 50 percent of the planet should be set aside in conservation to save the Earth’s biodiversity, not just humans. “Now, this proposal doesn’t mean moving anybody out. It means creating something equivalent to the U.N.’s World Heritage sites that could be regarded as priceless assets of humanity,” said Wilson in a March 2016 interview, citing that interconnected wildlife corridors could be established to preserve the biodiversity currently suffering a mass extinction due to man. “Do no further harm to the rest of life. If we can agree on that, everything else will follow.”


Sadly, a search of wildlife corridor mapping of Australia suggests a patchwork of localised efforts and no national plan. The Commonwealth Department of Environment site shows “Indicator: LD-01 The proportion and area of native vegetation and changes” since European settlement.

September 12, 2017:

In response to The Guardian invitation for questions to panelists for a podcast discussion on population, I submitted:

Accepting, for a moment, that living sustainably is not enough and population growth needs attention in order to reverse climate change, would you agree that wealth inequality is a primary hindrance to addressing the problem? And if so, how can we disentangle the conflation of wealth redistribution as a solution with the idea that racial redistribution is a solution, where some races are winners in terms of their proportion of the global population and others are losers?

In my opinion, there is a tendency to see migration as a solution to overpopulation and wealth inequality, when little is done to actually redistribute wealth globally.

The Guardian subsequently invited me to participate for 10 minutes by phone in the podcast, UK time. More to come….

Update. Vicky Frost phoned me and recorded a conversation between us alone which, led by her questions, went straight to race. I began by emphasising the lack of action by Western countries to address inequality but ‘Population and Climate Change’ got forgotten. This is one of the reasons I haven’t supported The Guardian. They’re of a ‘leftist’ mold and don’t seem to be able to get out of it. When I spoke about ethnic preservation, she said she’d been in Sydney and thought it was very white. I was surprised. I’d just been there. Central Sydney is more like Hong Kong these days. She must be comparing it to London, I thought. I should have asked, ‘So what?’ My final comment was about double standards re cultural preservation and that seemed to be enough for her, end of interview.

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This entry was posted on July 14, 2017 by .
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