[I've been going over old posts, and decided this one deserved to be reposted. Mainly because I've come across a few updated numbers and have a couple of other ideas I felt like sharing.]
Spent some time surfing the net today, and decided to check up on a group of people I haven't thought much about since college; the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, or VHEMT(pronounced Vehement). When I first stumbled upon their home page a few years back, I was amused and took it for a joke, but in actuality they seem like intelligent, nice enough people. Maybe a little unbalanced, and they give off some of the same vibe that hardcore christian fundamentalists do, but they don't seem too bad, all in all. Certainly not as bad as christian fundamentalists. They just don't want humans around, and have banded together to find like minded people willing to vow never to breed. It's a cause I can relate to.
Now, that probably sounded callous, seeing as how I have a lovely three year old daughter, and just because I can relate doesn't mean I wish I had never had kids. Far from it, my daughter is the most important thing in the world to me, and the time I spend at home with her is always the highlight of my day. And I don't really want the human race to become extinct, I don't think that's going to solve anything any more than the path we're going on. That being said, I just want other people to stop having kids. Seriously, enough already.
This visit with the VHEMT prompted a trip over to the Census Bureau web site to satisfy some curiousity regarding population booms. According to the International Programs Center of the US Census Bureau, there's an estimated 6,506,534,698 people living today, with another 6 million being added each month(yes, that factors in mortality). Compare that to the figures for 1930 which figured the world population to be only 2 billion. That means that in 76 years, still within an average human lifetime, the human population has more than tripled. The global population doubled between 1968 and 1999, 38 years! In the entire 100 years previous(1830-1930) the population had only doubled, which means as more people are born, our rate of reproduction increases. Even though the global birthrate has been declining in recent years, more people are out there ready to have kids. You hear figures like that, and you begin to wonder if it's too late to turn around all the damage we've done to this planet. I don't want to hear any whining about not being able to prove global warming; of course we can! 6 and a half billion people in the world, and look at how much trash YOU alone throw out in one week.
This sort of information also makes me think twice about every medical breakthrough I hear about that purports to extend the human lifetime. Just what we need. More people. People want to ride without seatbelts? More power to them, their cleaning out the gene pool.
Now, I've never been one to believe that the world is going to end in one fiery ball of nuclear radiation. I may be proven wrong, but I think the changes will be more gradual than that, which only makes them more dangerous. If we're not being slapped in the face immediately with the repercussions of our actions, than we tend to forget about them. Which is why my daughter is going to be inheriting a world that I can't help but believe will be more difficult than mine. SO STOP HAVING KIDS! The reason I like the VHEMT, I think, is that all important V in the front. Voluntary. I don't condone mandatory birth control, or any of those dystopian ideas, instead I'd like everyone to think about it. I know everyone wants pride in continuing their genetic line, but really, whats the point? Just go ahead and adopt if you really want kids, their just going to rebel and become your opposite anyway.
Or imagine this: Currently the worldwide average for family size is just under three children.That means, using my basic algebra math skills, that for every 2 people getting together on earth we're getting 3 people added to the population. Factor in all the people who never have children, and the orphans that don't get counted, and we're still increasing at a geometric rate. If everyone voluntarily decided to have only 2 children, or, even better, only one, a lot of our overcrowding would disappear, and we'd be able to get a handle on all of our environmental concerns. But then of course we'd have a whole new can of worms concerning our global economy, which would have to adjust. It's an idealistic fantasy, something I'm not honestly considering, but it's a fantasy nonetheless.
And so, I support the VHEMT, and although I've already broken their one and only rule, I raise my voice with theirs: May we live long and die out!
Or at least slow down.