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Re: E-M:/ population as an environmental issue

Enviro-Mich message from Larry Nooden <ldnum@umich.edu>

There are some glimmers of hope on family planning (no thanks to the US administrations which have mostly interfered). Indonesia has kept its staggering population from rising with less draconian measures (but very strong social pressures) than China. Even Mexico, which has been out of control, is beginning to realize the necessity and is making progress. There are too many others living in total denial, even though they can see that their population increases are wiping out their economic and educational gains. Usually, all these people devastate their environment trying to eke out a living and still slip behind.

Often, it is argued that empowering women will solve the problem, and there is truth in that; however, these women are trapped in a struggle to take care of their large families.

You can not imagine what life is like under these conditions unless you experience it firsthand off the tourist track. This is the world's, and inevitably Michigan's biggest environmental challenge.

Enabling/facilitating denial in countries with population problems is not a humanitarian act. Emigration/transmigration will not solve the problems either, and they could contribute to the larger problem in multiple ways. Several countries alone could send enough people to the US to double our population with little effect back home. The population problems must be solved at home with noncoercive outside assistance.

One major factor that I see is dismissal of those who are concerned about human population problems as inhumane or racially prejudiced, especially if they express themselves with hard edges. This impedes problem solving.

Judging from the emerging data on the world's carrying capacity relative to the human population, we will eventually need to find humane ways to reduce the world's human population (not just redistribute the resources we have). The denial (and discrediting of scientists) here is even greater than that of global warming, and I think that problem is now evident to most observers. This is the legacy we will leave our children.

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