Let’s face it…there are a lot of people on this earth and there are not enough natural resources available for every person to have an equal lifestyle. If everyone around the globe lived like an average American, we would require multiple earths to sustain them all. But why should people in countries like Africa and India have any “less” than Americans do? Aren’t they entitled to lead a comfortable life like the rest of us? They are…and therein lies the problem – we all cannot live like that; it’s impossible.
When India introduced that very cheap $2,500 Tata Car, the rest of the world was incensed that all Indians were going to own cars now and what it would do in terms of pollution and global warming. They were furious about it! Of course, they were mad as they got in their own big cars and drove to Wal-mart, but still…they were mad because the Indians were going to make global warming worse. But shouldn’t they have cars that work and are safe like we do? Of course! If we can have them, so can everyone else. But a lot of people don’t think that way – they want their lifestyle preserved and other’s lifestyles hindered in order to keep their own and it’s just not fair.
So what do we do about it? Do we not allow certain countries and peoples to have access to automobiles? That is certainly not right. Do we not allow countries and peoples access to electricity and cellphones and water? That is not right. So what can we do?
A reader of The Good Human emailed me a while back asking about population control as a means to curbing global warming. I have given it a lot of thought and have come up with a few opinions on the matter, some of which you may agree with and some of which you may not; either way, it’s just my opinion. I do not think we can institute population control throughout the entire world – it’s just not feasible and it’s not a rational way of handling the issue. Believe me, if our government tried to do something like this, they would only target third world countries while avoiding the issue here at home. And no matter that the people in those countries barely have running water, electricity or food, they are still people who should not be told what to do by some foreign nation. No one on earth should have the right to tell another someone if they can or cannot have children. Sure, our population growth has been HUGE in the last couple of decades…but who is to tell who that they have to limit the number of children they can have? It’s a natural human right to be able to have children, and not only would it never be accepted by the general population, but it would also have serious consequences down the line. Any time you try to control the natural order of things you cause problems.
That being said, something has to be done about how we are all affecting the earth. But it is going to take a worldwide movement of people all agreeing on one thing – we are in for some crappy times, and this is what we are going to do about it. Countries like Iceland and Finland and Norway are working hard at reducing their dependence on any kind of fossil fuels while investing heavily in solar, wind and geothermal energy. What are we doing here in the United States? Trying to turn corn into gasoline (so we can keep our gas guzzlers in a time of no oil) and digging for oil in tar sands in Canada – which takes more energy to dig up than we get back in return. It’s quite silly. The Europeans are investing huge dollar amounts in high speed train service across all their countries. What are we doing here? Cutting funding for Amtrak and other public transportation programs.
I don’t think we need population control as a means to slow global warming for two main reasons – One, I think it is too late to try to do it even if we could and two, it’s not anyone’s right other than my own to decide how many children I have. But there are things that the entire world can work on together, by spending money on REAL alternative energies that emit no pollution (solar, wind) instead of spending $12 billion a month on a war in Iraq. We always have money for war, right? Well, fighting global warming is the ultimate war and the entire world could be at stake instead of a single country. Let’s start working towards a common goal with the entire world working together. Let’s join the rest of the world in signing the Kyoto Treaty. (Yes, we are the only major country not to sign this important legislation) Let’s actually spend money on things that benefit everyone and not just a select few.
I know it all sounds hokey…but really, what have we got to lose by trying? Nothing. What do we have to lose by not trying? Oh, just possibly the earth. No biggie, right? And if we are wrong and there is no problem at all with global warming? Well, at least we cleaned up the water, we have better public transportation, we have less landfills filled with toxic sludge, we have cars that emit less pollution, we have healthier citizens…it really is a win-win either way.
photo by katmere