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Re: Response to Greenpeace on population/frosty wooldridge

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  • aditmore@juno.com
    JT has a point about religious groups that overpopulate and pass on their overpopulationg values, though I think he overestimates the ability of parents to
    Message 1 of 10 , Jan 29, 2012
      JT has a point about religious groups that overpopulate and pass on their overpopulationg values, though I think he overestimates the ability of parents to pass on values and underestimates the ability of youth to hear reason for themselves from others, like us.          Also, this is where borders and immigration come in.  If the overpopulating groups are contained in certain, limited areas, they will make those areas hells on earth and thus set a very negative example for the rest of the world, like Somalia is today.  Zoning and land use planning may do a bit of that within nations, but far less effectively than national borders and with many very negative side effects.  Secession, the breaking up of nations into many city-states, all with immigration controls, may help in this regard.  I hear Cornwall is the latest to move in that direction.  Arizona and Alabama are moving toward subnational, sovereign immigration policies as well.  Unfortunately the latter is one of the worst for religious pronatalism and racial tribalism, though Arizona has real potential, and I may move there myself.  The city of Hazleton Pennsylvania tried that as well, but largely failed.
      On Wed, 25 Jan 2012 23:29:45 -0800 John Taves <john.taves@...> writes:
      See in red below.


      On Wed, Jan 25, 2012 at 7:40 PM, Jenny Goldie <jenny.goldie@...> wrote:
      Dear John
      You have to keep in mind the I=PAT equation. Even if we reduce global population down to one billion but resource use per capita increases ten fold on average, then we're worse off in sustainability terms.
      Your statement above is the same mistake that the SPA makes, and the same that I was trying to point out. The algorithm is NOT "we must get our numbers down to X". We do not need to figure out X. The algorithm that we must follow is: "We must get our numbers down to at least the point where we are no longer consuming the resources, that are essential to providing for our numbers, faster than they renew." You've got to really think that sentence through. It is flawless, and when you really comprehend what it means, you'll see that the I=PAT equation isn't really necessary. Furthermore, when some scientist attempts to calculate some number, they are missing a few concepts. First, they aren't really comprehending that sentence and what it means for the economy and technology that will be used. We have no clue how efficient or what technologies would be used. In addition, there's no way to get to that number today, so by the time we are near it, we'll have new technologies that will dramatically alter that estimate. If the goal is to use the estimate to light a fire under the audience's butt to the seriousness of this, it totally backfires. Anyone can challenge these estimates. No two scientists will arrive at the same numbers. When the audience hears a lack of agreement, and can't comprehend the data that went into it to judge it for themselves, they will throw the whole topic out the window. In contrast, most people can judge the sentence above. No data, and thus no scientist's opinion, is required to conclude our numbers must come down.
      You may not like the careful wording of the SPA policy (though it does need updating) but if you want to achieve anything politically, you can't express it in a way that instantly marginalises you with decision-makers. SPA has been operating for 24 years and I suppose you can say we've failed on a number of fronts in achieving our objectives, but we have been a voice of reason on this side of the debate for all that time and we are treated with respect by those people that matter. Every now and again you win someone over like Kelvin Thomson MP who moves our cause along much more than any of we mere mortals can.
      I agree with what you are saying if the organization's goals are limited to making some policy changes. I am saying that The Population Problem will not be solved by this. The SPA must continue as they have been doing, and their wording is fine. If they took on the education role that must be done, they would lose their source of income and be unable to deliver that education. Furthermore, you can see from their writing that they ultimately don't understand the issues properly.

      Generally speaking the SPA has a very similar outlook to what demographers are telling us. The problem is that demographers simply fail to comprehend a fundamental concept. If any group believes that having a lot of children is what their god wants, and that results in an average above two, and they successfully pass along that belief to the next generation to an average of more than two children, that belief will overpopulate the planet. When you comprehend what that means, several things become clear. One must prove that this belief cannot happen to have any reason to believe that current low fertility rates, that Australia for example are enjoying, will continue. It seems impossible to prove it cannot happen, thus demographers must find these groups and measure their growth. To do that, they cannot use their current techniques. Their current data sampling methods filter out beliefs that are passed from generation to generation. Even if there was some way for a scientist to discover a correlation that they were not looking for, this one would not pop out of the data because it was filtered out from the sampling.

      If you accept that these beliefs can happen, and what better way to explain the fact that the Americans are not enjoying the same low fertility rate even after factoring out recent immigrants as several of the other developed countries, then you'll realize it can only be combated with knowledge (Americans tend to be more religious than other developed countries). The simple knowledge that it is wrong to average more than two is the only way to eliminate that belief. The logic continues. If no group can exist with the belief that it is OK to average more than two, then doesn't everyone have to know that averaging more than two is wrong? The SPA is in no position to provide this education. What the SPA and a collection of other similar organizations are doing is not sufficient to put an end to deaths due to over breeding. 

      I sometimes think of setting up Negative Population Growth Australia (or equivalent) to provide a more radical point of view so SPA looks as though it's the soul of moderation, but we already have a 'reduce population growth' clause in our aims and objectives.  Perhaps we need to advertise that more. But as I said, not much point of radical population reduction if there is a concomitant rise in resource use. It's ecological sustainability we're after, after all.
      An additional mistake that the SPA and basically all population experts make is with that PAT formula. I agree the concept is sound. I have no problem with the fact that if the population drops by 1/10th and per capita consumption increases by 10, we've made no progress towards sustainability. But why would you assume that that's the end of the population drop? If we can average 1.5 children, why can't we average that as long as it takes to get our numbers down to where we are not consuming resources faster than they renew?

      I enjoyed reading your article. I thought it was excellent. However, throughout that article, and your subsequent emails, you have dodged a question. You have not answered how to get a birth rate that you are proposing we aim for.



      All the best,
      Jenny Goldie
      I read the SPA's objectives. Just like all other population/environment organizations, they are not equipped to solve the problem. They do not have the objective that reads something like: "ensure that every Aussie, knows their moral responsibilities regarding how many children they can make". Without that objective, the other objectives are just pissing in the wind.

      I skimmed http://www.population.org.au/sites/default/files/public/SPA_Population_Policy.pdf and found that it has the same disease that all population experts have. I don't mean to belittle the work. The people that wrote that put in countless hours and really thought it through. The problem is that they have simply failed to comprehend two simple facts that make the whole paper a big waste.

      1) All of the items talking about sustainability, such as soil depletion, oil consumption, etc, can be boiled down to one simple sentence. We must reduce our numbers to the point where we are no longer consuming resources, that are essential to providing for our numbers, faster than those resources renew. - The policy objective of the SPA "to determine what is an optimal population both nationally and internationally, that is, one that can be sustained in the long-term without degrading the natural resource base, noting that recent studies have shown that the Earth has already exceeded its regenerative capacity by 25 per cent, and" Is pointless. We don't need to determine this. Nobody can wave a wand and set our population number to what they determine. We know we must average less than 2 according that sentence above. Some future generation can debate whether their new lower population numbers are indeed being fed sustainably, they can report back to our long since deceased bodies what that population number happens to be at that time.

      2) If your descendants average more than two, they will overpopulate the planet. This fact of nature tells us two important things:
       a) It is immoral to do this.
       b) This concept must be known by everyone. Thus the 29 recommendations by the SPA to the government are all inadequate. Only 2 or 3 mentioned birth rates. (e.g. 22. ensure that sex education programs in Australia are adequately funded and that a wide variety of contraceptive measures are available and affordable to all who need them; 23. end pro-natalist policies including such initiatives as the baby bonus")


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