from Donna JonesPlease do not overlook traditional ways that human sexuality was dealt with. Populations remained stable at pre 1700 levels in large part due to such wisdom being applied.
The way traditional Orthodox Christian culture handled population goals was twofold:
First, Monasticism was encouraged. Monks and nuns do not marry and have no children. They devote their lives to God, to serving, teaching, healing, counseling, growing gardens, etc. No marriage = no progeny.
Secondly, a strict sexual ethic permits sex only in marriage. Fasting from marital relations is required twice a week and also for periods of up to 2 months, 4 times a year (the Christmas, Lent, St. Peter & Paul, and Dormition Fasts) It is hoped that a child or children will become monastics. While children are seen as a gift of God, human appetites are required to be controlled! Also, marriage without sex, in order to live a life dedicated to God, is also upheld as a good.
This method worked in Eastern Orthodox Christian cultures for 17 centuries; changes brought in by the western "enlightenment" (which was in many ways the opposite!) led to the breakdown of such God-given institutions. Traditional ways are still practiced today by many- one of my sons is a monastic.
Many non-Christian traditional cultures used similar methods and obtained similar results. Please do not bash religious views - they might help your efforts much more than hinder them. However, humans have always struggled with wanting what they want sexually - and present day culture encourages them to get what they want. Ethical principles are very seldom enough to restrain sexual appetites; it takes real love, of God, and of another person , and of oneself in the right way, to practice such restraint.
If you think about it, traditional cultures, including Christian ones, and certainly Orthodox ones, kept populations at a stable level for millenia.
Andrew DeasI could'nt agree more with the concept of population reduction to reduce the environmental stress on our planet and ensure it, and its eco systems, are here for future generations. Human beings being self serving types will not voluntarily start having less kids....there would have to be some incentive: suppose childless adults were offerred $5,000 (or the equivelant in whatever the country's currency is) to be permanantly sterilized and offered additional tax incentives to promote no kids???? Instead of sponsoring a starving child we could sponsor a couple to have no children?
Anton De La Campai personally think the cause of this website is a double-edged sword, it's evident to any living human with fully-functioning capabilities that the world is overcrowded... and after reading "The Cobra Event" i find the proposal for halving of population to be quite rational and very very harmless... i feel that either way people should voluntarily reduce reproduction, it would lessen demand on countless resources, as it would more than likely improve economic situations, seeing as how there would be less mouths to feed... i can't say i have any bright ideas for methods of going about any of this, but i suppose i just wanted to offer my praise and support of the theory --
Respect, Anton De La Campa
I personally think all of the voluntary dismantling concepts are doomed to failure. I also do not like some of the elitist ideas I have read in here, e.g. kill off the mentally ill first. Sounds way too Hitlerian for me.
If we are going to have a die-off, it needs to be as egalitarian as possible. My suggestion, ideally, would be to create a genetically engineered plague that would eliminate approximately 99.5% of humans on the planet. It should be painless if possible and allow for very rapid decomposition to avoid widespread contamination. As far as possible, it should be non-specific as concerning race, gender, geographic location, and physical or mental capacities.
What would remain would be approximately 30 million individuals world-wide. This should allow for a return to hunting and gathering if one chooses. As important as this would be for the ecosystem, it would be equally advantageous to the reestablishment of real community within the human race, and would allow for real freedoms lacking today because of constricting population densities.
Whether such a "designer plague" is or would become feasible is for someone in that field to determine. As someone with a history degree it is well beyond my venue.
from Paula C.
I think Hitler would be proud - or maybe you are proud of Hitler? He did quite a remarkable job - at least it was a start - oh, not big enough? Well, then America has gone and done a 'wonderful' job with her Abortuaries - more innocents have been destroyed here, and now we are exporting our dirty business. Read David Wilkerson's America's Last Call - soon and very soon it will be too late for you. No, I'm not predicting the end of the world, but there has always been consequences for actions - good or bad - and we are about to reap what we have sown.
I am pleading with you to repent. I can't imagine having to stand in the presence of the Lord of the Universe with the sin I was dragging around (yes, I used to agree with most of the stuff you "preach" - you are preaching because it is a belief system that your original presuppositions come from). The Lord Himself begs you in His Word:
"I call heaven and earth to witness against you that today I have set before you life or death, blessing or curse. Oh, that you would choose life; that you and your children might live! Choose to love the Lord your God and to obey Him and to cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days. You will then be able to live safely in the land the Lord promised your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
PS (I started this letter angry - I end in sorrow - please remember Jesus loves YOU - this is for real, not just some trite saying)
In answer to the above submission, the authors of the Dismantlement website HAVE NEVER advocated abortion as a remedy to over-population. Nor do we promote ethnic cleansing, gas chambers, selective euthanasia, or any Hitleresque 'final solution' of that ilk. The beauty of dismantlement over our 250 year time-span is that nobody gets killed, nobody gets hurt - we just collectively and voluntarily start having less children.
The sender of the above message quotes a religious passage saying: "Oh, that you would choose life; that you and your children might live!"
Well, that's exactly why we're advocating a one child per couple policy, so that the children of the future CAN live, and not starve to death in squalor, or be killed in sordid conflicts over insufficient water/oil/food resources.
We feel ANGER at this visitor's equation of ourselves with Hitler. And SORROW that here is yet one more person who cannot see that the human world faces levels of misery and death of unprecedented proportions if population growth is not controlled.
- for the Dismantlement website
From Chris Brink,
Let me start by letting you know where I'm coming from, and in doing so I'll probably explain my position inadvertently. I'm a Christian, conservative, and very logical person. I don't make rash decisions. Everything I believe is thought out to the umpteenth degree, and each belief of mine is in my opinion the only one that makes sense (otherwise I wouldn't hold it). In fact, that's part of my belief system - there's only one truth or answer for any given question.
Truth, reality, and life are not relative depending on person and/or situation. If they were, I'm sure I'd go mad trying to figure out why I'm so logical when it's logically impossible to be so. I believe overpopulation, as well as growth of population and therefore the "problem," is a reality. However, I differ from most people who take the time to think about it in that I don't think it is a problem.
Being a Christian, I believe that God has a plan for everything. I know that whatever happens was meant to be. An aside - some may construe that belief incorrectly and place me alongside certain others who say "nothing matters" (because I believe that God is in control). I do believe that everything "matters." I believe in a defined right and wrong. I believe that we shouldn't sit around and watch Evil happen because God meant it to be that way. I do believe God created Evil and Wrong to serve His purpose. However, we are called to uphold Right and Good, not sit by and watch it happen. In this way we are often His instruments.
Now, a bit earlier I referred to the "problem" of overpopulation. I don't believe that overpopulation is a problem. Now, if you define a problem as anything that's bad, then yes, overpopulation is, but for prudence's sake I will define a problem as a bad thing that we can and should try to overcome. Why don't I think we should try to overcome overpopulation? For several reasons. First and foremost, because defining it as a problem and trying to overcome it is trying to overcome the growth of human life, and human life (except for that of those judicially sentenced to death and those killed in conflicts such as wars) is something not to be overcome, but to be encouraged in all facets. The decreasing of life through human means is trying to harness nature, creation. It's like in Jurassic Park - nature (I would substitute the words Creation and God) will find a way.
This is my second point. God and his Creation cannot be overcome. Human life is not something for committees or governments to mete out as they see fit. These groups have only the right to take it away, as described above. As you may have guessed, I am opposed to contraceptives and abortion especially. Another side note - I am not an environmentalist, and I have no problem with hunting and foresting and the like, as long as it's constructive. Wanton destruction of nature is the wanton destruction of God's creations, and I don't like it. That's not to say that it's wrong as in evil, but I don't think people should do it. I think most (MOST) decisions regarding right and wrong and what is acceptable should be left to private citizens to determine for themselves. The government's job is to protect a population, not serve as its parents.
Back on track. What, then, is to become of us? We have a population growth that will, if allowed to continue on its present course, cause the end (or near thereof) of society as we know it. Another aside - I believe that the good of society is (or should) always be second to the good of individual humans. Man is obviously a social creature, granted, but the presumption that human life is not valuable in comparison to society is simply an inhuman one. Society is merely an aftershock of humanity. It's good, it's great, but it isn't the goal, merely the side effect. Society is only more valuable than human life in the minds of those who believe that we, humanity as a whole, can achieve total perfection through global attempts at it. I believe human nature to be sinful and corrupt, and therefore that "Nirvana" can never be achieved through mortal means simply because there will always be those who will attempt to use the system for their own selfish ends and in doing so destroy it. Even if these people are killed or otherwise eliminated, others will spring up to take their places - it's human nature. Even the leaders, the decision makers, and those who execute the decisions, will ultimately be corrupted by their power. Heaven on Earth through humanity is a daydream. I've gotten off on a side trail and it's time to return to the point. Society on its present course will end up self-destructing. BINGO - I just typed a magic sentence. Read it again. Society on its present course will end up self-destructing. There is a fail-safe built into humanity - the propensity to self-destruct and start over when the oven gets too hot. That's a notable side effect of wars and diseases - large-scale population decrease. It happens. Our nature is fail-safed to keep humanity alive by cutting its own appendages off when it takes up too much space. Why do I think this is just the only way? Like I said before, and like I said in the preceding sentence, it just is the only way. We can't kill innocent people who happen to burden society; their lives are worth more than the overall worth of the accomplishment of the group. We can't try to harness and overcome life - watch Jurassic Park again (I don't just think that's true because the movie says it is, by the way - the movie is just a good illustration of that particular point). Those are the only two so-called humane paths of action. If you can figure out another way, I'd absolutely love to hear it. But I'd bet that you can't (by they way, I'm a 15-year-old, so I love a heated debate). It's just the way things are. Grim? No! Honest? Yes! Life is not fair, live with it. But life is beautiful.
Port Mansfield, Texas
Population Reduction: Intro to my unrealistic plan
The problem is one of numbers, primarily too many people and their impact on the environment. Just stopping immigration, slowing population growth, preserving wilderness and lessening consumption will not solve the problem.
The solution to overpopulation is simple, but socially and politically unrealistic. We must plan how to greatly REDUCE human population in some manner before nature does it for us with an uncontrolled population crash. In nature's view it is just a matter of numbers and when the crash comes all humans will suffer, and being white or rich will not help.
Carrying capacity dictates that the human population will be reduced. I would rather humans plan this reduction than wait for ecological collapse leading to a population crash fit for a science fiction/horror story.
With 6 billion people growing to over 10 billion in a few decades it should be obvious that the societal and environmental problems we face, from local to international, will get much worse. In the competition for resources personal liberties will continue to erode. Our economy is dependent on imports and the exploitation of non-renewable resources which some say it will not continue much longer, especially the oil resources.
Yes, once we recognize that humans are the environmental problem there will be tough decisions to be made about how to reduce our population. I too realize how hard such decisions will be and I will try to explain my unrealistic plan further. Paraphrasing Garrett Hardin, "We need mutual coercion, mutually agreed on."
The top 10 premises of my population reduction plan on are:
1) there must be widespread recognition that there are already way too many humans and that something must be done to reduce our numbers to a size that will eliminate the pressures (exploitation & pollution) we put on nature;
2) the continued existence of so many human billions further degrades the environment, lessens future carrying capacity, and reduces our options to those that are even less appealing and more draconian;
3) there is no socially, politically or economically acceptable method to solve overpopulation in a timely manner therefore economic and religious world views will have to change their short-term, pro-natalist and anti-environmental outlooks;
4) it is better that a much smaller human population survive indefinitely with some reasonable level of technology and civilization rather than allowing human overshoot to destroy the environment and its capability to support a complex biodiversity by continuing this consumption and population binge we are now on;
5) that the plant and animal life of this planet are too important as components of that complex biodiversity to be considered as exploitable resources to support human overpopulation;
6) competition for resources (primarily water, food, and oil) will increase greatly as population grows as will wars and economic collapse likely become inevitable;
7) bioregional carrying capacity needs to be the determinant of local population size and it is better to strive for an optimum (lower) population which would allow nature a chance to heal from the degradation that has already occurred;
8) the value of an individual human life is negligible, or even an environmental liability, when there are already billions of us;
9) the sooner we aggressively reduce our population the less total human suffering there will be;
10) TIME is the critical factor because if we fail to plan and act to solve overpopulation quickly then we will take much of nature with us as we collapse.
IF the above was ever to come about then the really tough decisions about how big a reduction would be needed (maybe 85%) and in what time frame it could be achieved (??). Remember the problem is an excess of humans.
Once it is acknowledged that a reduction must take place, the planning of who would be eliminated first is easy -- those who are a burden to society: criminals, terminally ill, diseased, retarded, etc. From there you go to those who are a burden to the economy, those in environmentally degraded areas, and those many who will not be needed in the future "sustainable" society. When the goal is an 85% population reduction then it becomes tough to even identify who to save -- what skills, languages, cultural attributes, etc. Also to be decided is how best to preserve/benefit from/salvage the excess production of our consumptive economy. It becomes a remaking of human civilization and maybe a chance to avoid or eliminate the many mistakes that evolved into our cultures.
Who decides is not near as important as taking action. The actions taken will be many and varied but all leading to reducing our population quickly. Ethics and morality will have to value the environment over human interests in order to assure a future allowing the long-term survival of humans.
Likely a general acceptance of the premises above will only happen on the downslide of civilization after the collapse has begun. Hence, I am very pessimistic about the medium-term future and anticipate that things will get very bad even within my lifetime. (I'm 44.)
Planning must also include how to preserve a desired level of technology and how the new civilization would function at a bio-regional, self-supporting scale. Kirkpatrick Sale's book "Human Scale" gives some guidelines.
Unfortunately, few people seem willing to discuss solving the overpopulation problem through increasing the death rate. It seems to be a taboo that even Garrett Hardin is reluctant to deal with. But it seems obvious to me when considering the factors of expected population growth trends, optimal carrying capacity, resource depletion, and the rate of environmental degradation.
"If they don't understand the severity of the problem, they won't understand the severity of the solution. Overpopulation must be dealt with."
Find out more about population discussion lists at http://www.kzpg.com/Lib/Links/Listservs/index.html
Littleton CO, USA
Nice website - it's a good start!
I would like to note that you quoted US population doubling in 100 years. That is by far the most optimistic scenario. From the US Census Bureau at http://www.census.gov/population/projections/nation/npaltsrs.txt, current population is 272 million. Year 2050 middle, low, and high projections are 394 million, 283 million, and 519 million. The Census Bureau is undercounting mass immigration, both in legal and illegal categories, thus the high projection is more likely than the low or middle projection. 519 million is nearly double the current population.
No formal projections have been made past 2050 that I am aware of, but in all, I would say 100 years doubling time is way off the mark.
In any case, good work on your website! Are you subscribed to KZPG-talk?
Population and Sustainability:
More submissions on population...
I just visited your DO website. Although I applaud your efforts to address the problem, I feel that you have chosen the most idiotic and ignorant letters to publish on your population submissions area. I hope this is not a reflection on the creators of dismantle.
For anyone interested in the population problem, I would first strongly suggest getting some history and projections of the subject by visiting the United Nations website area at http://www.popin.org/pop1998/4.htm.
As a concerned scientist involved in natural resources, I am reminded every day of the impacts of humanity on this planet. However, I have yet to meet someone who does not care about the situation. I have of course met many who have uninformed opinions, but they all share a common concern over the quality of life for themselves and their children. Human beings are not stupid (although many are ignorant and have a tragically underdeveloped capacity for critical thinking). Given the proper information and desire find a solution, there is no problem within the natural physical laws that we cannot solve.
My recommendations? Well, I would begin with a program with the scale of the small pox irradiation program conducted by the UN. Instead of inoculating people, I would suggest that every person on the planet be given a 3 or 4 page report (in the native language, on waterproof paper) concerning the world population problem, the numbers throughout history, and the numbers projected in the future. For the illiterate, a local volunteer network would be needed to present the information at local meeting places and from house to house as necessary. Information is the most powerful tool in motivating a population.
This kind of effort is already happening to a small and uncoordinated degree. It must be made a hot topic, and it must be reinforced over and over again. Every 5 or ten-years, another report should be sent out to give a sense of progress and make even the most out of the way persons feel that they are a meaningful part of the process. The amount of paper that this would require would be insignificant compared to the paper used for junk mail in the United States alone.
Of course more radical ideas (such as suggested by others) could work if the entire population of the planet could be made (or forced) to adopt them. But in the end, they would fail due to obvious reasons.
I am optimistic that the population problem can be solved voluntarily. I am however deeply concerned that it may be (only temporarily) solved by more tragic means. Although the cold war is over, the possibility of a nuclear exchange may begin to increase once again as more of the now underdeveloped nations acquire nuclear weapons and modern delivery systems. Although biological weapons are alarming, they will never be a very selective weapon, and thus a non-option of any political power seeking to eliminate a rival while leaving their own population intact.
Advances in biology will be the big story of the twenty-first century. The impacts of biotechnology on population are huge. Within the next hundred years or so, cancer will be eliminated. Live span will also continue to increase, but will probably not extend life much beyond 120 years or so. These two factors will not have that much influence on the world population until the next step in biotechnology takes place. Sometime in the next century or two, the technology will be reached to make all living members of the human race, as well as all their children, immortal. It will become possible to stop aging at any stage and probably revert those who are aged to any physical state that they desire. This has obvious implications for any plans to stabilize world population, and may be the ultimate motivating force behind such an effort.