Let’s Talk About Sex

Baby boomers used to have sit-ins. Now Baby-boomer bloggers have bullshit-ins.

Today, all the world’s bloggers are being nagged to spend the day blogging about the environment. Since we in The Crowd are all about ruminating and fulminating about communications, I’ll oblige with this topic: “What environmental topic is most ignored by the news media?”

My nomination: Population control.

Whatever you think about the issue, you have to admit controlling population can control nearly every environmental problem there is. A smaller world population would produce less pollution and use less energy and other natural resources. Worldwide population is projected by the United Nations to increase by about 40% between now and the time I’ll be enjoying strained peas in a nursing home. It that happens it won’t be enough that we all are dutifully driving hybrids, recycling our milk jugs, screwing in twirly light bulbs, and attending environmental concerts. The planet will be in deeper doo-doo than it is today.

While all this procreating is happening, when was the last time you saw coverage of the issue?

By the way, don’t you dare accuse me of promoting forced abortion, infanticide, one child mandates, same sex marriage, sterilization or anything of the sort. Those practices are abhorrent, and we should be doing more to stop them. I’m simply promoting 1) a more vigorous worldwide discussion about the personal and planetary benefits of smaller families and 2) providing birth control products and education to all who lack it and want it.

I am the youngest of a family of eight, so it’s a good thing this debate wasn’t raging in the early 1960s. I also am the father of three, so I’m being even more hypocritical than usual.

But all I’m saying is this: Oceans of ink are being dedicated to debating environmental tactics that, while noble, are relatively inconsequential. At the same time, we are almost entirely ignoring a debate about a tactic that, if successfully implemented, at least would make a decent dent in our most pressing problems.

Whether you agree or disagree about whether we should be doing more to control the world’s population, shouldn’t we at least be having a more vigorous public debate about it?

– Loveland

8 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About Sex

  1. Kelly Groehler says:

    There have been numerous arguments made that environmental issues are not, nor should be viewed, as independent of social issues. Yes, a single person can independently reduce his-her own carbon footprint, but the social implications of moving mass populations to such behavior need to be considered.

    Individual responsibility is a good call to action. But it also means we need to let people take responsibility for their own lives, actions, and decisions…

    …which gets to your call for a vigrorous debate on population control. There are far too many efforts out there thwarting an individual’s choice – be it government, religion, sexism, or all of the above.

    Perhaps environmental causes will bring about more progressive thought, and less oppression. But I don’t see it yet.

  2. Mitch says:

    Bill McKibben wrote about this almost 10 years ago, with his 1998 book “Maybe One: A Personal and Environmental Argument for Single-child Families.” Even the statistics about population and the environment from then are troubling, and it has only gotten worse. If it is going to be left up to individuals to make their own choices about family size, they deserve to hear all sides of it – and for me, the most convincing arguments point toward having zero or one child.

  3. Becky says:

    I have a lot to say on this topic, but I’ll leave it at this: The major wrench in this argument is that the biggest population-control country (China) on the planet has also been ranked as one of the most polluted. Chicken-and-egg question? Maybe. But worth contemplating.

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