Stop Having Babies to Save the Planet

July 26, 2008 | By

It’s a controversial message that isn’t going to win many votes. But the truth is, human population growth and overcrowding are the cause of many of today’s problems.population.jpg

The solution is simple – stop having babies. The world’s human population should be decreased, gradually, by encouraging people to abstain from parenthood. Remaining childless should be encouraged with significant incentives. Reduced tax rates for middle-aged childless couples and individuals would be a start.

There is only so much space and so much resource that the earth can provide. We are already in a situation where it would be impossible to raise the standard of living of every person in developing countries, including China and India, to the standard enjoyed by people in the west. There simply isn’t enough resource to go round.

A well known experiment was once conducted in which mice were kept in an enclosed space and provided with plenty of food and water. Their numbers increased and they quickly became overcrowded. Their food and water levels were maintained to keep them alive but the overcrowding resulted in males fighting over females, or over nothing at all, homosexual activity increased, eating of the young became commonplace and mental issues were observed wherein mice would perform repeated pointless actions. Does any of this sound familiar?

Every day we hear stories of increasingly extreme violence, we are surrounded by people suffering from mental health issues of one sort or another and everybody and their dog appears to be gay these days.

It’s about time that people woke up to the fact that the state of the planet and the state of society is largely down to over-crowding. The equation is simple. Fewer people would mean more space and less demand upon the planets limited resources.

Instead of encouraging parenthood it should be actively discouraged. People who manage to resist the strong biological drive towards becoming a parent should be rewarded for their strength and children should be educated towards leading a life without offspring. These are tough times and tough measures are required if the human race is to survive.

Filed in: Education

Comments (87)

  1. Jason

    Why can’t we ask people to have fewer children? If we made the over population problem we can un-make it. After all we are supposed to be intelligent mammals.

  2. AJ

    Someone tell the POPE Please.
    He tells millions of his followers to produce more and more offspring so they(their church) gets more money from these poor suckers.

  3. nighshade

    Increasing the standard of living for 3rd world countries is not the answer either. UK used to be covered in a dense forest but we chopped it down for farmland. This is now happening in Brazil and Indonesia to their rainforests to the determent of the entire environment.

    You do not have to be rich to have a happy standard of living. Many poor local communities are happy as they are and no don’t want industrialisation damaging their lives.

    Arab communties/nations (where most live in poverty) that encourage 5+ children are compounding the overpopulation problem.

  4. Peter Wilcot

    Please please please – stop freaking having children if you cannot afford them. If you can’t pay for your kids without leaning on your government for food, healthcare etc. – DONT HAVE THEM. This seems so obvious but you can walk into any Walmart and see that clearly people don’t get it. I went in there the other day and I couldn’t even get down most of the isles. Shopping carts overflowing with Hispanic children. I’m talking 6-7 per mother. I ended up in line behind two families who both purchases all their stuff with food vouchers yet had a giant wad of cash that they used to buy beer with. How stupid is that. They will suck this country dry. We’re already bankrupt. Oh, I forgot the best part. The lady in front who bought the two cases of beer with her stack of hundreds was pregnant and she already had six kids with her. Awesome….

  5. Herbert Lex Shallcross III

    Europeans calling out for population control is just genetic suicide. Advanced civilizations won’t just go away if the people who built and control them abandon them through failure to reproduce. Other people, generally people who have not limited the size of their families will just move in and take them over. In most of Europe this process is well underway.
    Population control in places where population is out of control now might be useful, but it would look a lot like Margaret Sanger’s attempts to use birth control to eliminate “racially inferior” people”

  6. down wit it

    I think they need to shift the benfits that the people who have kids to people who don’t That would help reduce it, i’m 31, single and don’t have kids. So i get tired of hearing how these people who have three kids barely pay into the fed tax but gets back 5 times more when income tax time comes around. Its bullcrap, I also think if you have one kid and you don’t have a job at the time you should get your damn tubes cut. I’m one for freedom of choice on what you want to do with your life, but when it starts to impact everybody then its time to take action to save our Country and world from going down the poop shoot. laters

  7. it is true that our planet is over populated. And population control really calls out now adays. Thanks for sharing this post.

  8. Gargor

    In America, the solution is simple: no more government aid. No welfare, no food stamps, etc. Such aid just begs people to have more kids to get a larger check. Besides, your child should be your responsibility, not mine or anybody else’s. Cut out the aid, and people won’t WANT to have kids because they’ll just be an unaffordable expense. Also, illegal immigrants wouldn’t flock to this country for that free money anymore. This solution would also fix America’s economy.

    Next, make suicide legal and even build euthanasia clinics for people who are old and tired of living and people who just aren’t able to be happy in their lives. Charge a small fee for the service and help the economy that much more.

    Next, use the death penalty more. Start executing for lesser crimes like rape and armed robbery. This would not only help with the population problem, it would also give potential criminals second thoughts about committing their crimes. It would also help with the problem of overcrowded prisons. A person sentenced to death should be executed the very next day, not ten years later after we’ve paid to feed and house them all that time. Besides, the appeals system is broken anyway.

    These are just a few simple things we can do in America. As far as the rest of the world, there will be plenty of wars and natural disasters to help them with their overpopulation problems. Most of the problem areas are populated with ignorant breeders who don’t give a damn about the rest of the planet or its future. Unfortunately ignorance will always be a part of the human race.

  9. rowan

    The simple fact is if we do not choose to reduce our population to a sustainable level, then the natural forces of our planet will contain us by force at it will be cruel and ugly.
    For me the choice is simple, the gentle, planable, manageable voluntary lowering of population allows us to do it with dignity.
    A failure to accept this choice means we as a species choose to, at some time in the future, force our progeny into the situation where starvation, war and disease will kill them off in horrific cataclysmic circumstances.
    If you were one of those progeny wouldn’t you wish that your forbears had decided to control themselves for the sake of the children who do follow?

  10. Giuseppe

    Wouldn’t homosexuality benefit this abstinence from reproduction?
    You had me for a second.

  11. Chris

    Love your reference to OCD with “repeated pointless actions.” Currently, people that have kids are rewarded with government subsidies, while thoughtful people that are considerate enough not to shoot their DNA indiscriminately are punished.

    Vegetarians, vegans, and people without children should be given encouragement with huge tax breaks.

  12. janet

    I don’t agree with anything after the 3rd paragraph. And were not as crowded as the mice were in that study. But I do agree with people not having babies, I myself suffer from mental illness and i refuse to pass that on to a future child. I also not interested in children, and neither is my partner.

  13. Kirby

    Thank you for having the guts to say it. This might sound communist but as the comedy: “idiocracy” tried to illustrate it is also economics. I don’t think we can humanely force people to have one child BUT we can encourage smaller families with tax breaks for smaller families.
    NOW, many homosexual couples are conceiving. I think no matter what your orientation, there should be an income level. The poorest people have the most children leading us right into the crapper. Where is all the birth control that was around in the eighties.?

    Also, You can stop eating meat. Wind farms consume a lot of land but if you shut down every chicken farm, there would be room. It requires much more land and water to grow crops to eat hamburger than it does to just eat the grass yourself plus vegetables are renewable without having to pro-create. The saddest thing is: the people that we need to stop the most are not smart enough to find nor read this article.

    People can’t help it.. It’s a human need to leave your legacy behind but if we could get over that ridiculous notion.. the world would be better off

  14. Josh

    Well, one fact is clear. You are definitely a Malthusian, however, your argument is not well supported. First, the environment in which the mice were under examination was controlled, therefore, does not relate directly to the earth. Secondly, the Malthusian dilemma–which is exponential population growth and only multiplicative production growth–has never been proven.

    More important issues? 1) Clean Water, 2) Poverty and Hunger (neither of which are a caused by the inability to produce enough for normal subsistence levels but rather our greed and overindulgence)

  15. The Nurse

    Shame really… obviously you’re right but The Nurse thinks it’d be great if more people stopped dropping sprogs and did something more interesting instead. Children are so BORING!!!

  16. You can’t really ask people to stop having children, or only have one or two. People will have a whole heap just to be defiant. I don’t think the problem is the number of people on the planet, it’s the number of people who are too lazy or ignorant to treat the earth with more care. It should be a bigger part of education.

  17. are you having a laugh, no one in this world is gonna stop having children to save the planet, no-one will stop driving a car to save the planet so why wud they stop having babies, seriously helloooooooooooooo.

  18. Jeanette

    The problem for our species in the future is surely going to be the reverse effects of natural selection.

    The cream of our species; the intelligent, the compassionate, the educated among us, the self aware individuals who have the intellectual capacity to recognise the need to respect the other species on the planet and have a comprehension of the devastating effects we humans have on our environment, are having less and less children.

    Leaving instead, the dead-legs of society, those who haven’t the capacity or resources to feed their family, to decide out of sheer ignorance or boredom to breed like rabbits.
    Instead of humanities decent genes being passed on to subsequent generations allowing the human race to evolve and improve as should do, the genes of the ignorant and stupid are passed on in their place.

    The future looks regressive for the human race and decidedly gloomy for everything and everywhere it comes into contact with.

  19. Annabelle2020

    Yes think this is good for all of us humans stop having many kids!

    If only the world can find a solution to sterilize every woman with two kids that would be a good idea…

  20. Anna2020

    If there is a petition to sign for stopping, preventing or control child birth in Africa.
    Sure, I will be the first to sign!
    Because this malnourished Africans kids all over the place, is getting out of control.

  21. Nicole

    I agree with the article. On the other hand I am surprised to see the reaction of some religiously-challenged people. If there really is a God, he should have been smarter and not created a destructive species à la “homo – haha – sapiens”. Complete dissapearance of the human race probably would be the best thing that ever happened to this planet.

  22. Mark Hubbard

    I think we need to control the growth of the human population because this IS having a toll on the earth’s resources. We shouldn’t stop breeding but make sure the growth rate is less than the death rate. It should be made financially preferable not to have kids which will not completely stop people having children; but keep things in check. Large families should become a thing of the past – in today’s climate this is simply greedy. It’s all well getting emotional about the notion, but we need to wake up & smell the coffee; to deal with a problem that does exist. Whilst the problem maybe greater in less developed countries than in the West, social resources over here are under considerable strain to provide for the population, and more & more of natures green belt is destroyed to house them. A world with alot less people would be a much better place. Currently we are no better than locusts and anyway increase the population further if you must; but realise that war & disease ( plus crime in the West) will simply cull the excess – I know that’s harsh but that’s the way it goes. So let’s deal with the problem & make the world a better place!!

  23. I have been an advocate of ZPG since the 70′s. Now, according to NPR this morning there is a 50/50 chance we will have another recession, double dip, they call it. What was most interesting is the commentator said, even if jobs increase by half as much as they did last year, the economy will not survive because it can’t keep up with the growth of the population!!! What does that tell you???

  24. Chief Surgeon

    You make a good point. Voluntary Euthenasia clinics might be the answer.

  25. Chief Surgeon

    You are right – we don’t believe in any form of God!

  26. Kayla

    Okay, what the heck? This is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard. Whoever wrote this and/or agrees with this must not believe or trust in God. First of all, I’m pretty sure God isn’t stupid and isn’t going to make a planet that will eventually overpopulate so much that people will have to stop having babies. Second of all, when the world ends will not be our decision and there will be nothing we can do about it. God will be the one to decide when it ends. So if you’re a Christian, then it would make no sense why you would be dumb enough to believe this. It’s like everybody just thinks God is stupid or something.

  27. Sabina

    YOU PEOPLE MAKE ME SICK!!! really?! dont have babies?! what if somone said that to your mother before you were born? where would you be? we have PLENTY of room for kids dont worry. I think we have bigger problems to deal with in this world…

  28. Overpopulation is a serious issues that will face our planet in the upcoming decades. The only way to really help control the issue is to promote awareness of the problem throughout the world especially in underdeveloped countries.

  29. The main problem in the west is not too many children being born, but people living too long. And we continue to research ways that people can live longer, so people can sit inactively in a chair unable to move for 40 years before they die.

    I don’t think it’s right to stop people from having children. Contraception and education needs to be improved in some of the poorer parts of the world.

  30. William Busuttil

    Stop child birth now… for twenty years. Then todays babies can start breeding again. Take a global look at this planet, and not just a glance at your little world. Everything that mankind touches gets ruined. Just look back through history. England was a land lush with forests that spanned the whole country, then man decided to breed livestock to feed his offspring. “Let’s clear a few acres of forest and grow grass.” Now that it’s all but gone, we plant a handful of seedlings and pat ourselves on the back. We wiped out all the beautiful “Dangerous” wildlife because our children were at risk. Like the Wolf, Bear, Lynx, Wild Boar and God knows how many more beautiful creatures we’re guilty of murdering. What gives us the right to destroy life because it’s in our way. Isn’t all life precious? We’re supposed to be the most intellegent animal on the planet. Shouldn’t we be the caretakers and not the destroyers? Stop child birth now and todays children can start again in twenty years, and maybe they’ll get it right this time….

  31. Jeanette

    In response to comment 46 by “John”- …Kettle, Black? – You idiot, what do you think y0u were using to write your comment? – slate and chalk? (Thought not genius!)
    -Interesting you seem to think no one else has an understanding of what they are talking about, and such are not fit to pass judgement, however, you are much further informed aren’t you? (I think not!)

    - Ignorant! (and more than a bit naive).

  32. Tiffany

    “ChildFREE” not “childLESS” :)

  33. The problem is in many third word countries where it is common for parent to have a large amount of children.I like your site. There are many information in this site. I am waiting for your new updating. Thanks for sharing.

  34. The mice experiment is interesting, but I don’t think we’re on the verge of eating each other, and I don’t belive mental issues and homosexuality are anything to do with overcrowding. Mental issues seem far more common in the west than overcrowded areas of Asia. And human’s have always fought with each other.

    I think the issue is one of providing education and contraception to ecourage sensible family planning. Encouraging people to have no children in some places won’t be a solution if the population keeps increasing in other areas of the world. Many (especially in Africa) would choose to have smaller families if the had better sex education and more access to contraception.

  35. Whew! What an article and what comments we have right here! You have a point there, but not having babies at all is a no-no for me.. We still have another way of saving the world.. and a lot of options too! 1 baby in every family is enough or 2 perhaps but zero? Uhm well, not practical. Soon, we will die and its a fact so let’s not suffer our next generation to extinct (well, not really extinct but only few). Manpower is also the source of our living, unless robots would take charge someday (hope not). But anyway, i still gained some idea from your article. Thanks. :)

  36. Wallace

    @24 ThinkingMind wrote:
    “So I agree with Chief Surgeon. We should every one of us consider having no children or at the most one child.”

    I too agree with Chief Surgeon, however, having no child would be better.

    I would not want my child to have the burden of supporting an aging population.

    I would not want my child to live in an overpopulated environment.

    I would not want my child to experience famine.

  37. Ted

    I completely agree with the view that human population reduction is essential… However, the Chief Surgeon of the Sussex Amateur Brain Surgery Club is a real life Walter Mitty if he thinks that the government (which is the natural enemy of our ideology) would ever give reduced tax rates to childless middle aged couples, or individuals who choose not to procreate. Decreases in birth rate will naturally harm any nation’s long term economic prosperity (doubly so in Britain where the poorest are also needed to reproduce in order to provide volunteers for the army); so looking to politicians to endorse our argument is clearly pointless.

    Seeking to popularlize childlessness and singlehood – through Christianity and popular culture, would appear (to me at any rate) to be the only way of saving our planet and with it, our souls. Christianity is different from all other religions because it teaches that FAITH is what sustains mankind – not procreation!

  38. I am first time commenting and I must recognize that this post Rocks . Keep it up !

  39. i think stop having babies are not make sense, instead of having babies in early age couples should try or must plan there child or we can say that do family planning and give birth to maximum two child. and i agree with some of the points but some of them are not possible. good job keep doing

  40. Herb Shallcross

    As usual, the point is being missed. People who enjoy prosperity generally control the size of their families. Prosperous nations are also the most productive. Prosperous nations are always the first to use pollution controls. Really practical alternative energy sources will be developed in rich nations because that is where the need is greatest. Poor people who hardly use any electric power will get a new head gasket for their old diesel generator rather than invest in the research and development to come up with something new.
    Poverty is poisonous to human dignity. Proposing that people become poorer to help the environment is just stupid. Economic growth is vital, but it is not the only answer.
    The worst examples of environmental degradation occur in countries with large, poor populations exploited by totalitarian governments. The People’s Republic of China is very prosperous, but her people are not, and her people have little control over the PRC’s economic and environmental decisions. The PRC has the largest carbon footprint of any nation in the world, and some of the most destructive environmental policies. Her people, on the other hand are becoming educated, and as Tienamin Square showed, economic security leads to the desire for political freedom. India effectively is an oligarchy, with a vast, poor, largely unrepresented population. Only different in degree from Western Europe in the 19th century. The growth of the middle class, however, is a very hopeful sign. If India continues it’s economic growth, they will eventually free most of their people from poverty and ignorance.
    Representative government, which allows populations to recognise and pursue their own best interest is the solution. People who control their governments tend to have more responsible governments.

  41. Janice

    I agree, stop having babies! I think 2-3 is fine, it’s hard work but still manageable.

    Young girls should take this into consideration and not have any children until you are older than 25. Kids are hard work, they cost a lot of money and you have to take care of them(not just give them to your family to look after) properly.

    I have 1 child and I am not having anymore, if you want a kid so bad, get a good job then adopt one! Don’t rely on government handouts or your family, like most of the useless mothers out there.

  42. John

    Look at all you well off geniuses who have all the answers sitting in front of your expensive computers in your comfy chairs talking about the simle fix to the world population growth. How dare you pass judgement on situations you really do not understand. Population growth does not cause poverty. Population growth is a result of poverty. Leave the comfort of your own home for a minute and try to imagine what your life would be like if you lived in utter desperation. Every day you struggle to survive on the meager living you make from agriculture. A large multinational corportaion offers to buy your crops next year if you agree to only grow one crop, bananas for example, and in an attempt to, say, pay for a well for water in your village, you agree. If you have a gaurantee of business, why not? When the harvest comes, you realize that you and your small family do not have enough people to harvest all of the crop. So you hire all your friends to come help, with the promise that you will pay them once the corporation buys all of the crop. The corporation finally comes back to your country and looks at your crop of bananas. Because you couldn’t find the money to pay for fertalizers and chemicals, your crops are not the same beautiful specimens of fruit we in the United States have come to expect in our stores. They are still perfectly healthy and edible, but their skin has more blemishes than is acceptable. The corporation won’t buy your crop, rather, they return to a different farmer they promised and buy their crop because that farmer had the money to make their crop look nice. So now you are in debt to twenty-five people with a crop of bananas you cannot get rid of. The next year, when it come’s to harvest, you have learned your lesson. You have planted your fields with multiple crops. However, this year no one will help you with your crops because you have gained a reputation of not paying back those who worked for you. You realize that you need a larger family. The growth of population comes from poverty and desperation, not selfishness. And who is to say a want to love and create life is selfish? Further, the impoverished countries have no forms of support for the elderly. With a larger family, more of your children are going to survive. The infant mortality rate is so high that without a large family, parents will have no means of survival once they cannot provide for themselves anymore. They have no 401k’s, no Social Security, no benefits for the elderly. Their only means of support is their family. Therefore population grows, again, not from greed or selfishness, but from desperation and need.

    My final point, at commenter number 43′s comment, “More people means more cars, more electricity, more water used, more schools, more factories built that manufacture the hoards of entertainment items, necessary items, clothes, more animals killed, food products, medicines, housing, and every bouncing baby add up.” The population in the United States is not increasing per family. Wealthy families have fewer children than those in poverty. This is not a discussion of population growth in wealthy countries, this is a discussion of poverty and need.

    G

  43. MadCow

    I agree – STOP HAVING BABIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Our population is way out of control! Our Earth cannot continue to nourish if we keep on at this rate!

  44. Anomus

    There is no reason for incentives in developed countries Such as ones in Europe and North America. Their population growth have naturally balanced off to almost no growth, and in the united states it is actually decreasing, however due to an influx of immigrants its population is growing slightly. The problem is in many third word countries where it is common for parent to have a large amount of children. If you want to control population help develop their countries so the need for 20 children to help the family subsistence farm would become obsolete. The other common reason for having many children is the fact many die in child hood so again developing a country would decrease that need as well. This would stop population growth. If you start limiting how many children people have who should be allowed to reproduce. Smart people? Rich people? Politicians?

  45. The Commentor

    Population control is more than necessary. I see so many different points being made and the fact still remains, there’s is only so much room and only so many resources. Who ‘needs’ 4, 5, 6 kids? What happens when they are 40 and now have to deal with an even weaker planet. Now the parents that are too old to do anything but sit on their wrinkled butts just sit and ‘hope’ the next generation figures out a way to fix what they broke just because they wanted an ideal family life. I say that is mere selfishness. More people means more cars, more electricity, more water used, more schools, more factories built that manufacture the hoards of entertainment items, necessary items, clothes, more animals killed, food products, medicines, housing, and every bouncing baby add up. Now it’s necessary to make sure mommy and daddy don’t get pissy because the roads to the schools are unsafe and gangs are being seen around the homestead, so now more crap has to be done around the city to keep families happy and safe. More police officers means more training, uniforms, patrol cars, gas, and all of the wonderful resources just to keep the law enforcers able to enforce the law. Wow.. road construction means heavy machinery, detours, construction workers, the city officials ensuring our roadways are satisfactory. I can’t possibly name every resource used for road work and law enforcement, but you get the idea. I know these things are already necessary, but at some point the ‘stupid hat’ has to be set aside and people are going to have to realize we are screwing up the earth, not the insects, not our trees, it’s humans. People die every day be it accidental, a health issue, and even illegally, but at our birthing rate it’s still not evening out. I agree with 1, maybe 2 kids in a family, but more-so, if you cannot afford to have babies, just don’t. Find a hobby other than baby-making if you want to feel full-filled. People cause pollution. Animals, our weather, entire countries are being effected by this. Also, this needs to be a global cap on birthing, not just the poor, or China. If a country is good on their population, don’t screw it up and add to the problem. Seriously, if you think educating people on how to properly use our resources is the answer then you obviously aren’t seeing the big picture. Our planet is being sucked dry and just because people want serveral bundles of joy. Get a dog. P.S. Typo’s happen

  46. I don’t think the rate we are breeding at is the problem. Most people in civilized countries don’t have more than two kids anyway. I think the problem is that the populations are too centered. There are still plenty of vast empty spaces on the planet. We should focus on spreading out more..

  47. Suresh

    For perspective, look at our ancestors cultures from which economics and self centred greed ripped them. Sure they would’ve wanted basic betterment, but as developed nations with technology, I’m sure we’ve mastered our long term survival and necessities.

    Its about time we focused on respect, understanding, and the simple things in life for everyone rather than money and short sighted resource rape.

  48. Butternut!

    Lots of good points being made.

    Many consider it a human right to breed, but isn´t it a human right to provide a sustainable future, one where a beings have space to run, and grow food, and not just humans but animals and insects too!

    Yes Peter from Wholesale Manufacturer China, there is plenty of space arounbd the Uk, but wouldn´t it be a shame if those green fields and forests, now more like woods than the thick abundant acres they once were, wouldn´t it be a shame if they were demolished and in their place were housing estates. Not only would it be a shame for the wellbeing of our chidren, who already lack outside space to play in, but it would be a shame for the environment . (Actually lots of people living in the UK now would disagree, we are running out of space!)

    In response to those of you talking of population control, mother nature is finding her own way of controlling it, with lots of women unable to have children and more men than ever becoming sterile… but what do we humans do, we come up with ways for these infertile pèople to procreate, giving them IVF treatments and artificial insemination.

    There are problems to with our man made birth controls, the pill is polluting our waters and affecting our men and bour wildlife! Condoms are non biodegradable they have to be by there very nature.

    Something has to change, I think it is in educating the masses, yes it is the third world countries having 6 or 7 children, but it isn´t soley them, in England there are couples on the 11 or 12 child, in the USA the same, this is just greedy and irressponsible, they have no need to have that many to ensure they have an heir!

    In the Uk there is a tend that the uneducated, benefit relient are the people that have more than the average amount of children, this in itself is worrying… does this mean that in the future the UK population will be formed by uneducated lay abouts… (controversal i know, and i am sorry for stepping on toes!)

    We already have a problem with our aging population, we are living longer and that in itself is adding to the over population, because rather than dying at 70 years we are going on to live into our 80´s, 90´s and even 100´s, so governments will have to redistribrute money in order to compensate this. Or maybe life saving operations carried out in our later years should cease but that is a whole different argument.

    Stop infertility treatments, bring in a one/two child policy laws, educate everyone world wide about the effects of over population.

    It is a choice we can all make, the direction of this world lies in all of our hands!

  49. Daniel

    Great idea, however most 1st world countries already have population under control (just under 2 children per family). Its the less developed nations that are increasing the population because having more children means having more workers in the field, more “slave” labor, and more people to take care of you when you can no longer take care of yourself. Don’t get me wrong, i think people should stop having babies too, but that only helps in our own country. By helping people learn how how to be more sustainable and efficient in third world countries, the need for having many children will lessen while improving qualities of life.

    Also, i think the media should pull off all the tv shows we have here that feature huge families i.e. Jon and Kate plus 8, The Duggars, among others the flood the line up of a few channels. Sends the wrong message and ultimately it is the public that is having to pay to take care of these children.

  50. someone

    The idea of reducing our reproduction is a noble idea, however one problem that i see is how it will affect the population pyramid. We are dependant on having a strong working class of people roughly within the ages of 20-50, they not only support the country, but they support the retired class. (60+) A problem that we are facing today is that the baby boomer generation is growing old. They made up a large portion of the work force, but as they drift into retirement, the working class diminishes. if we start limiting our births, the old retired will eventually outnumber the working class and they will not be able to support everyone.

  51. I’m not sure this is workable although you make some good points. I found the mice comparison interesting.

    There’s plenty of space and resources, but the problem is it’s not in the places where it is needed. Even where I live (UK) there’s plenty of space around the country and we’re supposed to be over crowded.

  52. Brett

    It’s depressing how in my country (United Kingdom) having children is seen as a viable career option, and people such as myself who choose not to have children then have the tax burden off supporting other peoples children. Yes I understand we need a workforce to produce food, energy etc.. for when my generation become too old to work, it is a complicated dilemma, I still think it seems unfair though.

    Can’t feed ‘em, don’t breed ‘em.

  53. jay

    Incidents of homosexuality has increased in China because of the gender gap. Since there are many more males than females more men are turning to homosexuality. This would have been a far better example to follow the mouse study than saying everybody and their dog is turning gay. That language tends to turn people away from an otherwise persuasive argument.

  54. Ryan

    In my opinion, the best solution to this issue is to stress the education of social problems to the general population. This will enable us to to see the faults in ourselves which promote the prejudice of others. We will be able to be accepting of others and stop the wars/arguments/intolerance of religions/ethnicity’s/ideals. We can only survive through the unification of our species. Only then will we have the rational to develop communities that are conscience of our fragile ecosystems/world. When environmental sustainability is achieved population sustainability will subsequently be achieved.

  55. jerry

    Additionally, the proposed solution of having less children puts tremendous stress on any community that doesn’t have some way of eliminating their older generations. After two generations, with only one child from each pair of parents, there is 1 child who has to support 6 non-productive citizens (the four grandparents and the two parents). considering that older people tend to require more money due to increasingly failing health, this system is not very feasible.

  56. Truly our planet is over populated. And population control really calls out now adays. I think, like in China, the one child or two child policy should be implemented. Thanks for sharing this post.

  57. Gern

    The world is a finite system that will not support constant continued growth. In any such system equilibrium is reached or the system collapses. We’re quite capable of defeating the most common sources of population control (sickness disease etc.) yet are quite adept at killing each other off. We’re our own worst enemy, in several ways.
    Population control is the only way we’re going to find equilibrium. But I doubt the species will act on it in a timely enough fashion to avoid a lot of suffering- unless someone would get rich doing so. It makes me sad.

  58. calico

    Step #1 is for everyone to start eating lower on the food chain. Grain is so cheap to grow that we can afford to throw it to animals, and then everyone eats a big hunk of meat at every meal. Then we have massive dead-zones in the oceans and our wells end up tainted, due to fertilizer/pesticide overuse to keep feeding these millions of US farm animals. Entire fishery stocks are collapsing due to overfishing just to keep up with consumer demands. And we cry about greenhouse gasses, but 28% of US greenhouse gasses come from meat production [ruminating livestock] NOT our cars.

    Step #2 is to change the mentality concerning adoption and family planning. Nobody should be forced to have kids if they don’t want them. For example, let’s look at why the Pill is so expensive and inaccessible for the poorest Americans. Adoption never works because the birth mother can come back a year later and demand her child back, so nobody wants to adopt American kids. Our foster/adoption/orphan system is BROKEN. And when health insurance and tax credits PAY you to have a kid but don’t pay the $10,000-$50,000 in expenses to adopt one, of course people who want kids will just make one.

    I don’t think we’ll learn in time. Sadly I think it’s going to take a big famine to wake us up.

  59. David

    I don’t understand why this issue is not talked about more. It’s an obvious problem. The population is growing way too rapidly. We should at least limit the number of kids you are allowed to have, I don’t see anything cruel about that. No one should have more than 3 or 4 kids and something needs to be done about young teens becoming pregnant before they’re even 18. A girl in high school should not be pregnant. I’m sure the media, mainly MTV, is responsible for the demoralization leading to teen pregnancies.

  60. Nick

    Hey, I would say 2-3 kids for everyone is an ok number. Yes they’ll be some population growth, but there are still those with 0 or 1 kids. Also considering that not everyone lives to reproductive age…. Saving the planet is what we want, but lower consumption is a good solution. It’s true that if we we’re fewer we could have tons of stuff, but that takes away a certain cultural diversity that makes up the world.

    Also I totally agree that people should not live in places were there is no climate to support human life minus insane amounts of energy use. It’s a bit absurd, then again I live in Canada… However we have resources to explain are existence. What is there in Arizona besides rocks and hot days?

    I believe the homosexual behavior in mice was due to the fact that they had sexual urges and couldn’t get a female. It’s different from homosexual humans. I think the author wanted to convey that being confined brings out more primitive urges.

  61. I have to disagree with the correlations to homosexuality also. That being said, the solution is almost absurdly simple, and as a matter of fact they are already doing something similar in China.
    Every adult is allowed to have only 1 child. Since having 1 child requires 2 adults (a man & a woman), the net decrease in population is 50% per generation.
    As you can extrapolate from this, it becomes exponential. Example:
    Assume the adult population stands at 6 billion (unsure the actual number)
    After one generation, 3 billion children are born.
    2 generations, 1.5 billion children.
    3 generations, 750 million children.
    After the adults of the first generation begin to die, the population decreased dramatically from that point forward. After a mere 4 or so generations, the population of earth will drop to under 1 billion.

    Like I said, absurdly simple.

  62. David Wallace

    In nature, populations grow until food, predators, disease or other forces cause them to fall. People are supposed to be intelligent and should try to figure out how to control the number of people in each part of the world to provide a long term, high quality standard of living for all. It is time we use the brains that we tell ourselves make use different than the other animals.

  63. Although I agree that over-population is taking its toll on our planet, but I think the tone setting here is a bit too harsh. If everybody stops having babies, who is going to be there to build a better tomorrow? On the contrary, I believe a better option would be to control the level of population especially in third world and developing countries. These are the places that tend to have over-crowding problems. I fully agree with the notion of using renewable energy.

  64. ThinkingMind

    The author of this article is exactly right. If the problem is global warming and increasingly violent societies, the solution is to reduce the rate of growth of human populations. Making efficient use of energy through improved technology, as well as simply using less would help too.

    HOWEVER, the exponential growth of human population is the real inconvenient truth. Inconvenient, because having lots of babies is almost considered to be a sacred right amongst humans. If a woman gets pregnant with her seventh child the couple is congratulated!

    Growing anything indefinitely in a finite world is not really possible anyway. If anyone thinks we can continue to grow the human population the way we are now and deal with global warming, they are purely and simply dead wrong. It can be proven to be mathematically and therefore scientifically impossible If you are skeptical about this concept, watch this video by a professor of physics at the University of Colorado at Boulder (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-QA2rkpBSY ). It takes a while to watch, but if you have any understanding of mathematics at all, the truth of the impossibility of indefinite growth of human populations will become clear to you.

    The study Surgeon speaks of is also just as he says. Mice are mammals, and though small, have a lot in common with humans. This is why they are used for medical and behavioral research. If you gradually increase the crowding experienced by the mice, you will see a corresponding increase in aggressive and aberrant behavior due to increased stress. The same holds true for human populations. All over the world growing human populations are rubbing up against each other with violent consequences.

    Much of our problems are simply a numbers game. If there were only a million people on the earth, as once there was, we could get away with just about any destructive behavior. But multiply that one million by 6 million to get the 6 billion people now living and any foolish behavior that is considered normal by people will yield major damage to the earths natural resources. Take fishing for example. If thousands of people fished for a living, no problem. If hundreds of millions of people fish for a living, the oceans will soon be depleted, and fish populations will crash under the pressure of this human activity. Global warming is the same way. If a few million people used fossil fuels for energy, the environment could absorb that. If billions of people, many of them living extravagant first world lifestyles burn fossil fuels for energy, the sheer numbers can result in planet changing consequences such as rapidly warming temperatures worldwide.

    So I agree with Chief Surgeon. We should every one of us consider having no children or at the most one child, in addition to working hard to reduce our consumption of resources. These two tactics are the only ones that stand a chance to forestall nature from bringing down the hammer upon us for our failure to control our own unwise behaviors.

  65. I think having less babies would be a great idea, but its probably not going to happen, freedom and all that. I think a better way to deal with the problem is to learn better ways to reduce all kinds of waste in the civilized countries.

  66. If incentives are offered to have less children you will end up genetically engineering out good genes – wont you?
    Population is an issue – the solution will come from educating our children to make the best choices with the information to hand.
    The internet is brilliant and enables us to make decisions based on presented information. It is our choice to act on that information.
    Currently sustainable living seams to be the most sensible (and obvious) option to me and we should encourage our children to research and practice this.
    We should also lead by example… what are you doing?

  67. Over-population has a domino effect to food consumption, housing, education, benefits from the government, and as mentioned above, medications.
    People should be educated about “family planning” and the benefits that one can get it from it.
    I completely agree with this article. Keep up the good posts and opinion.

  68. Helena

    I am 11 years old and i think that taking children out of the world is ridiculous! All of us are so proud of being on Earth and if your not then well fool you! I cant imaging not being on this Earth, I love my family and friends and if you don’t, then I don’t know what you do in your past time!
    Imagine being told that you couldn’t have a child when all your life you have wanted one, someone to love and care for, and to be cared for back. To have that oppertunity taken away from you is cruel, down right CRUEL! If you want to think about taking children from the world then read the book called ‘The Declaration’ by Gemma Malley this will soon change you mind!

    Thank you for reading my comment.

  69. When it comes to having a baby it’s better not to conceive if the sole aim is to save the planet. At least, it would make the baby miserable.

  70. Nathaniel

    Elathen, the author was trying to make a point about the problems that will happen if we run out of resources. I disagree with the Chief Surgeon on if this relates to population size.

    However, what you are advocating with removing the “food” is making the same problems happen (just a little bit sooner) and thus isn’t a solution.

  71. Nathaniel

    The experiment is being used in a misleading way and is thus in accurate when compared to humans and the Earth.

    Reasons why humans and mice are different.

    1. Mice don’t build factories or large scale economies (this is a big thing to think about).

    2. Mice don’t use up food for fun-we use our cars (and their fuel) as well as many other resources for things we don’t need to survive.

    3. The Mice don’t produce pollution like to do with our cars, factories, and large scale economies. It is our pollution that does so much ecological harm (like global warming), this experiment ignores that very important issue.

    4. Pollution and resource use don’t relate to how many children you have. China is an example of a place where when people started having fewer children they started using more resources and polluting more. China has had more people than the USA for a long time, but it has only started to surpass the USA in pollution emitted (like CO2) years after it started a population control program to limit the number of children people have.

    5 (or maybe 4.1 as it relates to the last point). China has been having fewer and fewer children as each year passes, eventually this number will be lower than the number of people in China who die and thus China’s population will fall. However, as China has been having fewer children each year the amount of resources used and pollution generated has increased each year-having fewer children doesn’t save the planet.

  72. claire

    adopt a child if you must have kids.

  73. Elathen

    This violates every genetic imperative we have as a species. People will breed if they have the resources to do so. The problem is our artificial manipulation of food resources. If you want to decrease population slowly over time, slowly begin removing food from the “cage”.

  74. lesbox

    While I do agree the population is getting out of control. I don’t understand the rationality of you including homosexuality as part of your argument. Homosexuality is a natural form of population control.

  75. Kirke

    wannabeadesigirl, we already know how to create artificial rain, seeding clouds with silver compounds. People messed around with that in the last century and it doesn’t seem like a good solution. The fact is that there are too many people living in too many parts of the world, and by that I mean neither is sustainable. You mentioning an arid region with water resource issues such as Ethiopia is very appropriate because it’s the other piece of this problem. We have many other regions in the world, like Jordan and Israel as well as the southwest United States, where not many people at all should be living. People are only able to live in these places now because fossil fuels have allowed us the extra energy and questionable (i.e. possibly unsustainable) geomorphic engineering and water transport allow these areas to import or create sufficient fresh water supplies. Everything in this world is budgeted. As we continue to better understand our spending limits on resources, it is vital (literally) that we adjust our livelihoods to fit within those limits.

  76. Peter

    Wouldn’t rewarding those people who resist biological urges to reproduce simply select those individuals with stronger biological urges? This trait would be passed down to subsequent generations, populating the human race with individuals ruled (to an even greater extent than the present) by their hormones rather than reason.

  77. McCow

    Sterilize anyone with an IQ less than 140…………..

  78. You didn’t mention the most relevant biological fact of populations of any living species will increase to match its food supply. Man has been increasing his food supply ever since the use of totalitarian agriculture to answer the call of the inevitable increase in staarving when the population more than keeps up with the supply. The UN just decided to make the earth yield 50% more food which can only lead to 50% more people including 50% more starving people. If we learn to distribute food more efficiently by adopting a person garden responsibility instead of waiting for the silo to open without another square foot of wilderness being sacrificed for corn, soy, etc. the population would stabilize at that point and the evils of the growth industries would have no justification for mindless manufacture to keep up.

  79. Martin

    You are comparing apples and oranges. A child in a rich country does not equal a child in a poor country. For example, in their life time each of our two children (in Canada) will use more resources, produce more greenhouse gases and more pollution than a hundred children in Nepal will in their life time.

    So, to safe the planet it is more important to make our consumption in the rich countries more sustainable. China for example has reduced the number of children drastically, but their consumption increases faster than any other country. Of course, I think any human has the right to life comfortably. That’s why we have to find ways to live comfortably, without destroying the planet.

    So it’s about how we achieve that comfort rather than how many kids we have.

  80. gerwen

    A sort of echo to what Matt wrote above. People reading this are likely in countries where population growth is already at 0.
    The way to control population growth is to industrialize the 3rd world, and bring them up to our standard of living.

  81. Tom

    So being gay saves the world – yay! :D

  82. jayzee

    @wannabeadesigirl: You’re taking the point to an extreme. The author is not recommending we systematically reduce the human population to nothing. Do you have any clue how long it would take 6.5 billion people to reach a level even close to extinction? What we need is a combination of encouraging people to procreate less and a reality check as to what is a realistic lifestyle. We in the US consume roughly 25% of the worlds resource. That’s both obscene and embarrassing.

  83. stonyhill

    Insects outweigh humans by far, yet no one reasonably states that insects are using up all of our resources. Humans just need sustainable lifestyles. Start by eating lower on the food chain, from local sources, like your back yard.

  84. Interesting but not practicle. Even establishing a 1 child policy such as in India and China has not been effective. Like Matt wrote, the less developed countries depand on children and it will be difficult to “educate ” them to stop at one.

    Good point wannabeadesigirl, teaching people how to use the resources of the earth wisely would have a better and long term benefit instead of not reproducing at all. Moreover, better and effective use of the world’s limited is a must as the climate changes due to the green house effect and the depleteing ozone layer, indicate that actions must be taken NOW.

  85. Matt

    Awesome, but impossible. Most of the “developed” (rich) world already has less then 2 babies. It is the lesser educated (poor) parts of the world that still have tons of babies out of necessity or ignorance. In Africa people used to riot because of rumors that Polio vaccines were really sterilizing them. Unless you want to go China on the third world there is little hope for this solution, although I wish we could make it happen. How about limiting to just 1 as a side question? That would decrease but you stil would have people throwing the girls in the rivers…shit.

  86. wannabeadesigirl

    And then what do you do when the world population drops dramatically to the point that humans are on the verge of extinction? Who will be left to explain to the young children we have now, say the 3-5 year olds how to have babies when it’s time? Who’ll do the deliveries? Decrease the population ok, but when the population is decreased who will cause it to go BACK to a healthy level?

    Or you could teach people how to use the resources of the earth wisely. Lower the western worlds dependance on oil gobblers, if not oil completely. Figure out how to create artificial rain in drought ridden lands like Ethiopia. And most importantly of all teach people how to take care of each other. Smack the western world over the head for ignoring the plight of third world countries. Kick third world dictators out of power. Hell there are a million better options than decreasing population.

  87. Anthony

    I don’t think homosexuality has anything to do with our increasing population density, but despite that the rest of your points are correct.