When the Heroes Win, Everybody Loses

| April 22, 2019 | Leave a Comment

Joao_opEd

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Author(s): João Abegão

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Human overpopulation is real; it’s serious and needs to be humanely handled by conscientious and thoughtful individuals. Thanos from the Avengers movies is neither one of those things. He recognized the problem but acted viciously on his “solution.” He phased out of existence 50% of all intelligent life on the Universe. What Thanos ended up doing right was starting a meaningful conversation, even though many have taken the opportunity to bury their heads deeper. 


If you are like me, you’re probably a fan of the successful and popular Marvel franchise that has spawned close to 20 movies leading to last year’s Avengers: Infinity War, which is being followed by its sequel, Avengers: Endgame. If you aren’t that big of an admirer, don’t worry because this piece isn’t an examination of either one of the movies, but of the interim that separated them and the discussions it originated.  

For many years Marvel had been held for questioning by fans as to why they couldn’t create an unforgettable and meaningful antagonist. That all went away when Thanos (pictured above) arrived at the scene and purposely said:

“Dread it, run from it, destiny arrives all the same.

And now it’s here. Or should I say, I am.”

Thanos befittingly delivered on this promise. He came bearing the ultimate villainous project of snuffing out of existence fifty percent of all living beings in the Universe, with a literal snap of his fingers. His ratiocination?

“This Universe is finite. Its resources finite. If life is left unchecked, life will cease to exist. It needs correction.”

Thanos is, of course, talking about overpopulation and how the exponential growth of a species (such as us humans) doubtlessly ends up outstripping available resources and inducing devastation.

I won’t argue here if human overpopulation is indeed an emergency in need of being addressed or just some misleading machination since I’ve already written extensively about it and the jury is unequivocally out on that one. It should also go without saying that the genocidal path taken by Thanos is excoriated and chastised by people who worry about human overpopulation and our impact on this Earth, so that’s it for our moral analysis.

What I will do instead is go over some of the publications that were brought about from Thanos’ resolve in the mainstream media, which have an overwhelming reach and influence when compared to the scholar and activist spheres. The majority of these editorials were inconceivably depreciative of the population issue, using the opportunity to disparage individuals such as Reverend Thomas Malthus and Professor Paul Ehrlich for raising awareness on the subject. Nonetheless, I still want to argue that – in spite of their attempts – this past year has been a favorable epoch in the contentious discussion of our numbers. Sadly, it might be coming to an end.

In a Yale Climate Connections piece, Michael Svodoba asserts that the more likely outcome is that the examinations over the environmental concerns raised by Thanos will, presumably, crumble to dust after the villain is taken care of. Svodoba argues that this means there is a limited time-window for the franchise to vindicate the cliché affinity of environmentalists with mass murder solutions. I also share his anxiety and take it a step further.

My guess is that the massive enthusiasm (e.g. Reddit’s Thanos did nothing wrong) surrounding the issue of overpopulation was made possible not just because Thanos was the ultimate ‘utilitarian’ (he reasoned that by halving the Universe’s intelligent life he would prevent their numbers from rising to unsustainable levels leading to an overshoot of their resources and creating calamity and the death of many more in the process. This notion of the means justify righteous ends appears to be quite appealing to people) but because the heroes lost. For an entire year, fans were left in this limbo wondering about the fate of their noble figures, which produced a barrage of scrutiny over Thanos’ motivations and a nuanced take on his character.        

For example, take this interview with Josh Brolin in The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Brolin is the voice behind our antagonist and speaks his mind about Thanos’ popularity:

 “People saw the movie, and they felt sympathetic towards him, they had a multitude of reactions to him, and it wasn’t just ‘he is the worst guy in the Universe.’”

Through the process of creating this character, he appears to have become conscious of the obstacles facing unlimited growth. Brolin explains Thanos’ convictions:

“His intention, if you think about it was, there is an overabundance of population, and there are limited resources. So what he is doing is actually right.”

Colbert intervenes and asks Brolin why didn’t Thanos just double the resources with a snap of his fingers? This was a recurring point in many other different publications. Thanos ought to have multiplied the available resources instead of resorting to mass genocide. Indubitably, genocide was an unacceptable option, but the alternative of doubling/tripling/quadrupling and so forth is defective just the same.  

If we recall the late physics professor Albert Bartlett’s thought experiment of bacteria in a bottle and exponential growth, we know how he entrusted us with the crucial understanding of steady growth of population on a finite environment. To demonstrate, the bacteria fill up the bottle at midnight, one minute before they are half-way there, prior two minutes they have occupied 25% and so on. Following that reasoning environmentalist David Suzuki addresses this point of the multiplication of resources regularly alluded to. Suzuki plainly identifies the problem. At one 00:01 the population would have doubled again and at 00:02 the quadrupling of resources would be exhausted. How long would Thanos have to keep this up?

 

On the positive side, one levelheaded publication arising from Infinity War is a YouTube video by content creator Joe Scott. As of the time of this writing, the video ‘The Population Explosion – Was Thanos Right?’ had amassed more than 140,000 views and above 1600 comments. In it, Joe Scott discusses population data, projections and the history without the need to ad hominem his way into this exchange of ideas.    

Likewise, a video by content creator Mr. Sinn looks at historical events, specifically the Black Death, and attempts to rationalize if halving a given population – as Thanos has done – would produce any beneficial results for those that would survive. Mr. Sinn goes on to explain the relationship between supply and demand that ensued this epidemic episode, unleashing an event of prosperity for the majority of the population. Relying on the work from Medieval Economics expert A.R. Bridbury, published on JSTOR in 1977, Mr. Sinn explains how the steep decline in population induced land, homes and food prices to substantially decrease. Simultaneously, wages went up as much as 40%, according to David Routt from the University of Richmond, whose research is also featured in the video (more on the aftermath of the Black Death here).

On the other hand, one sober piece by Steven L. Wilson in Pajiba did a ‘rigorous’ thought experiment of the scientific merit of Thanos’ Snap, and found it “atrociously considered from a scientific perspective that it is as unforgivable a policy as it was an ethical act.” In detail, Wilson asserts that population die-offs such as the one experienced in the 14th century Europe don’t halt population growth for long since in a mere eighty years the population attained its pre-plague level. This is exactly the point poignantly argued by Svoboda in Yale Climate Connections:

“If a society somehow managed to survive the shock, its population would likely again grow past the point of sustainability – unless it chose to manage its affairs differently.”

Phil Newell in Nexus Media correctly adds:

“Contraception and education offer a more sustainable solution than anything Thanos might suggest.”

Writing for Forbes, JV Chamary does outline the issue with a collected style while also introducing an ample range of topics such as the seeming difficulty in pointing out the discrepancy in fertility rates between the developed and developing world, out of fear of being interpreted as racism, or the concept of carrying capacity. Unfortunately, Chamary brushes-off concerns over limited resources as possibly “irrelevant” since humans can engineer and employ artificial means to sustain populations beyond the natural limits. Similarly, he correctly points out that the proportion of undernourished people has dwindled from 37% (between 1969-71) to 11% in (2017), but neglected to recognize that in terms of absolute numbers there was less of a discernible achievement to be celebrated (875 million in 1969-71 and 820.8 in 2017, with this number on the rise since 2014).

In reality, the United Nations highlighted in early April 2019 that population growth is having profound implications on some Sustainable Development Goals such as poverty, child marriage and people living in improvised slums. UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed summarized it as such:

“While the percentage of affected persons may be declining, their number is still rising. It is time for the world to show greater ambition and urgency around SDG implementation…”

Sadly, if we follow publication examples coming out of media platforms such as Forbes; Foundation for Economic Education; Mashable; Vice; Reason; The Federalist; Wall Street Journal; Medium; Zero Hedge it certainly isn’t looking like we are displaying this “greater ambition and urgency around SDG implementation” since most of these pieces belittle, discredit or oversimplify worries about human population. A telling example from the Vice piece mentioned above titled I Asked an Expert if Thanos is Right writes:

“I called up an economics researcher specializing in population issues. Let’s start off with a simple one: Are there too many people in the world right now?

– No.”

Instead of examining issues such as the societal and psychological burdens of overpopulation; the current overshoot of our global ecological footprint; or how the need to feed, clothe and provide dignified lives to each and every one of us is having profound environmental consequences, the authors and experts cited throughout the pieces prefer to deposit all hope on human ingenuity, regardless of their results:

– “The caloric output of current agriculture is more than enough to feed everyone, and most of the world is nowhere near maximum theoretical yields with even current technology.” (Vice)

– “And here’s the rub: more people means more ideas and more progress. So while there are environmental costs from having a larger population, there are also environmental gains. The bottom line is that it’s not more people that harm the environment, it’s overconsumption and pollution.” (Forbes)   

– “Always remember that more people doesn’t just mean more mouths to feed, it also means more minds to create and more hands to build.” (Foundation for Economic Education)

– “As it turned out, though, Malthus and his successors hadn’t reckoned with human ingenuity. Every time we think we’ve hit a wall in terms of food production, we come up with new technology and new efficiencies – just as we did in the so-called Green Revolution of intensive agriculture in the 1960s and 1970 that put paid to the “population bomb” problem.” (Mashable)

More examples of population thoughtlessness abound, but I’ll leave those for the more inquisitive readers. Fortunately, articles such as Is Thanos Right? by James O’Malley give a more detailed and refined take on the link between our growing numbers and the consumption which inevitably unravels. O’Malley was even considerate enough to interview Alistair Currie, Head of Campaigns and Communication at Population Matters to get to the bottom of this story. Alistair adverts to the criticalness of the situation but also concentrates on our best set of strategies to ameliorate some of the damage, such as providing modern family planning, good education, empowerment of girls and women and the challenge of pro-natalist views.   

In any event, I am delighted by the fictional artwork that the franchise has brought into existence, even though it is regrettable that this ‘Golden Age’ of renewed interest in human overpopulation might be coming to an end as soon as the heroes correct the narrative and reinstate the status quo of blissful ignorance. I for one would wish for this hiatus to last a while longer, as I am sure everyone would benefit from the rational deliberations arising from Thanos’ actions. 


João Abegão has a BS in Environmental Health, a Masters in Ecology and Environment and is currently applying for a doctoral program in “Sustainable Development and Climate Change” and plans to focus his studies on overpopulation. His interest in Human Overpopulation arose from literature like Life on the Brink – Environmentalists Confront Overpopulation and authors Jeffrey McKee, Dave Foreman, Eileen Crist, Albert Bartlett, Lester Brown, Alan Weisman, Karen Shragg, and many others whose contributions inspired João to write his own Human Overpopulation Atlas. João plans to continue researching, writing and advocating on human overpopulation and its many implications for the future.

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The views and opinions expressed through the MAHB Website are those of the contributing authors and do not necessarily reflect an official position of the MAHB. The MAHB aims to share a range of perspectives and welcomes the discussions that they prompt.
  • Arnold Byron

    My goal is to promote the idea of a global office that will be established by all of the nations acting together. I believe that an office at the global level is needed so that all of the nations can work together simultaneously to solve the various global crises that humanity is facing: overpopulation, global warming, probable atomic energy implosion, plastic degradation, and revitalizing nature. The global office that I envision will be limited to solving a limited number of problems like those shown above. I certainly do not want an autocratic form of governance at the global level so I have tried to include as many fail safe measures as possible.
    [1] To be valid the global office must grow out of the deliberations of respected institutions that are close to the people. These institutions are the educational institutions, because learning is at the core of humanity. This is why the path to establishing a global office that will serve all of humanity equally must begin at the colleges and universities, worldwide.
    [2] To act as one group the colleges and universities must form themselves into an association complete with a mission statement, officers, standing committees and everything else that an association needs to function. With modern communication an association should be able to formulate itself and then to begin functioning, even if the people on the committee live a world apart. Our colleges and universities have all the acumen needed to figure out how this can be done.
    [3] The first mission will be to engage the nations and convince the nations that the nations must agree to form an association of nations so that the nations will have a group, ratified by the nations, to create and provide governance to a global office. No single nation will be in charge. If the Association of Nations uses a one nation one vote rule whenever decisions are made, then the decisions will be arrived at democratically regardless that some nations may have autocratic rule.
    [4] In my writings I have suggested that the association of colleges and universities call on the most respected people in the world to aid in the process of convincing the nations. The politicians who happen to be in power at the time will need to be convinced. Having highly respected people from within each country jaw-boning the politicians may make the difference.
    [5] I also suggest that an association of nations could agree to have the association of colleges and universities become an advisory body for decisions that the association of nations make.
    [6] I envision a global office whose head is not one person who is elected but rather a committee of twelve who are elected: six from the science and engineering departments and six from the comparative religion and humanities departments of the colleges and universities. These committee members will be elected to overlapping terms of office so that new ideas can be forthcoming but also so that a continuation of purpose presides.
    [7] The global office will have to be located somewhere in the world. It will have two sub-offices. One sub-office will be like the group of highly respected people in #4 above. I also include, in this group, a raft of emissaries for each of these people so that there will be continual jaw-boning of global leaders of all stripes. The second sub-office will be a committee of twelve elected from the populace. The global office will write the criteria for the people elected to this sub-office. There will be three from a scientific, engineering background, three with a religious, humanities background, three from business and three from government. These positions will have time limits for reelection. The way the elections will be conducted is outlined in my writings titled, A Plan for the Nations. This sub-office will have hundreds or thousands of offices throughout the world doing the work of removing carbon from the atmosphere, ending the use of fossil fuel, administering rules for reducing the population, overseeing the dismantling of everything nuclear and cleaning up plastics from everywhere in the world.
    [8] The global office can be made into a non-threatening office. This will take a lot of money, but there is enough money in the world to make this happen. If people will not step up to do their part then humanity risks socio-economic collapse. If we do the right things, the right way, right now, we can avoid collapse. Here is a truism that I embrace. If everybody wants something to happen and if everybody works at making it happen, it will happen.

  • JohnTaves

    Joao, thanks for the article.

    I am curious what lesson you concluded from Bartlett and Suzuki?
    1) That with respect to humans in the environment, the beaker has not filled up yet but will suddenly?
    2) That beaker has always been full?

    • João Luís Abegão

      Thank you, John, for your interest.
      It would be incorrect to affirm that the beaker has always been full, as William R. Catton explains in his thesis (1982) of what carrying capacity is: “Human carrying capacity equals the maximum human equipped with a given assortment of technology and a given pattern of organization that a particular environment can support indefinitely – without causing damage to the habitat.” This means that the carrying capacity (the fullness of the beaker has been changing), nonetheless it is full now and has been for quite some time (depending on the metric used to ascertain a sustainable human population), but usually, we stand with a number between 1 and 2 billion humans. This is the worst part that I didn’t get to write in this piece because I didn’t want to upset readers not familiar with these issues. Even if Thanos got to use the Snap and eradicate half of humanity, the chances are that we would remain “unsustainable.” The only way that wouldn’t happen would be for his “random, dispassionate and fair to rich and poor alike” (https://youtu.be/cM-DoO84Sf4?t=70) “solution” to be biased and target the wealthy first and then all the rest.
      Either way, we are unsustainable now, and that is why I use the term overpopulation to drive home that message. We need that international commitment to lower fertility rates worldwide and reduce the population back to a sustainable level, probably way after our lifetimes.

      • JohnTaves

        “This means that the carrying capacity (the fullness of the beaker has been changing)”

        Or does it mean that the size of the beaker has been changing, and not necessarily the fullness? For example, if we use hunt/gather techniques, then the world cannot hold billions, right? But it might be full. If we discover farming, refrigeration, fertilizers, etc, then grows to be able to hold billions. But, it might be full the whole time, right?

        What happens when it is full?

        • João Luís Abegão

          Hunting is certainly not a solution. The carrying capacity for bushmeat hunting is about one individual per square kilometre last time I read about it. It would never be able to sustain our current population.

          I would agree with the analogy that the beaker has been changing size every time there is a technological revolution, for example in the increases of yields in agricultural output per area that resulted in sizable protection of the natural world. Nevertheless, it comes down to the Jevons Paradox, even though we achieved such gains it didn’t result in meaningful sustainability because the population kept on increasing and the gains in yields ended up not being sufficient to follow the growth of the population.

          The beaker is already full. Let us follow with the thought experiment and say we are overloading the beaker and slithering out of the container, colonising its surroundings. If we see that surrounding as an edible surface that is holding the beaker and below it a void, I would say we are consuming the foundation that is separating us from oblivion. Those are my two cents on that thought experiment.

          • JohnTaves

            “even though we achieved such gains it didn’t result in meaningful sustainability”
            1) what is “meaningful sustainability”? Define it.

            “because the population kept on increasing and the gains in yields ended up not being sufficient to follow the growth of the population.”
            2) if the gains in yields ended up not being sufficient, then people starved to death, right? The dead are not counted in the population, right? Or to put this another way, how is it possible for yields to fail to keep up with the growth of the population?

            If we are going to continue with the beaker analogy, I see no reason to invent some edible table and a void. If the bacteria is in the beaker, it is alive. If it is not in the beaker it is dead. I would also suggest we avoid “oblivion” since the meaning is not clear. If the individual bacteria flows over the top, it dies. OK? If that is the case, then what is the cause of that death?

            (I did not suggest that hunting was a solution. I used it to show the size of the beaker can change).

          • João Luís Abegão

            That much is true; if the people are alive, it means that the yields allowed for the populations to thrive and expand. We know that those advances provided the populations with enough subsistence to concede them to grow beyond what the carrying capacity would typically allow. However, the side-effects are evident to us now. Granting the possibility to allow populations to grow beyond what their environments permit has only been possible because it has been done at the expense of natural capital and we see it in the deterioration of living systems and the breaching of planetary boundaries.
            What I meant by ‘meaningful sustainability’ was relative to the land spared by the yields in agriculture (which is an important achievement to be celebrated) that were overthrown by needs of more passengers arriving in this world. If the consumer demand had been lower, we could have possibly called this ‘landing sparing phenomenon’ as meaninful in our aim of attaining sustainability. That is what I meant.
            Regards https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1893fb5f0e88f50a524080ac07d120209ff751bc40db7242d8a9118ad0142903.jpg

          • JohnTaves

            Why can’t we simplify what you are saying by saying that 2 different things can happen to grow the size of the beaker.
            1) discover more efficient methods of subsistence production — these increases are not temporary, unless we lose the knowledge
            2) consume resources, such as fossil fuels and uranium, faster than they renew — these are temporary. We cannot consume resources faster than they renew for long.

            Obviously, some are intertwined, for example, modern fertilizers are produced with a bunch of energy supplied by fossil fuels.

            Agreed? So, the beaker has certainly grown in size throughout human history. Most remarkably during the past few hundred years.

            Also, can you agree in the beaker analogy, we don’t need anything but the beaker. Individuals in the beaker, are alive. Those that overflow the top are dead.

            So, what happens when the beaker overflows? What causes it to overflow? Has it always been overflowing? If not, how is that possible?

          • João Luís Abegão

            I find absolutely no reason for disagreement in the two premises presented and your articulate description. We can undoubtedly say that the beaker has grown in size with tech advances and human ingenuity, but I think that we agree that we can’t expect to keep improving the beaker in size to accommodate more passengers without repercussions to the ‘surroundings’ of the beaker. The beaker is still growing inside of a finite environment we call the Earth. So I guess the beaker can only ‘overflow’ when it reaches its maximum capacity to keep on increasing in size. If it stops expanding, population size will stop growing. We need to add to it, that environmental degradation is already making pressure on the other side, so human ingenuity is attempting to increase the size of this vessel, but our impact on our living systems is making it lessen in size, making that threshold of carrying capacity of the beaker come closer.

          • JohnTaves

            I agree, of course the beaker’s maximum size is finite, because Earth is finite. Also note that the beaker size has the potential to shrink when the non-renewables become scarce.

            I agree that if the beaker stops growing, the population cannot grow.

            Why do you say that the beaker can only overflow when it reaches the maximum it can grow to? If the beaker grows at some rate that is less than the exponential rate that the population is attempting to grow at, then it will overflow, right? I say “attempt” because the population cannot exceed the size of the beaker.

            You are not going to argue that the beaker was increased in size at an exponential rate during human existence, right?

  • Arnold Byron

    I’m of an age when I remember Superman and Wonder Woman as superheroes. I It is interesting that this newbie, Thanos, came to us ready to conquer overpopulation. Had he done so he would be a special superhero. I do want to take umbrage with your title, When the Heroes Win, Everybody Loses.

    I have a group of people I want to introduced to everyone. I want these people to be our superheroes and I want them to win so that you and I and all of humanity can win. Who are these people? By whatever name you want to use – Regents, Trustees, or Directors, of the colleges and universities worldwide – these people are in a position to emerge as the superheroes of the overpopulation problem facing humanity. How can this be?

    Let us begin by accepting that humanity will not be able to solve the problems of overpopulation and global warming unless authority and coordination exist at a global level. Is it possible to have coordination at the global level? The nations can come together to work together if they have an organization to bring them together and hold them together. Witness the International Space Program. So, we must accept that humanity can solve our impending crises, by cooperation, if the nations can be convinced to cooperate.

    This really should be done by The United Nations; but The United Nations has had Climate Protocols for twenty-five years and the ppm of carbon and the number of people are both still on the increase. In addition, the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals that The United Nations assigned to the individual nations to reach by 2030 are lagging badly. Also, little gets done because rich and powerful nations have security council veto powers. Let me suggest that the nations can solve the existing crises but they will have to come up with some kind of a new authority to bring them together to work together to solve the existing crises. Where does one find such an authority?

    Let me suggest that the nations accept two global entities in the governance of the world. One of these will be The United nations. The other will be this new authority. Let me further suggest that the new authority will be a global office that will have been given the authority to make decisions and give orders that promote the solving of the several crises: overpopulation, global warming, plastics degradation, possible atomic energy implosion, interrupting the sixth extinction and the systematic return of natural habitat to nature. Let us accept that the nations can accomplish the above through the auspices of a global office provided the nations are willing to provide the protection, support and wherewithal that a global office will need. How can this be made to happen when it will be extremely difficult to get the nations to act together?

    Let us accept that it will be hard. We do have an example. The nations have been able to get together for The United Nations. They can do it again. Let me suggest that the nations join together as a second entity called The Association of Nations and agree that the association of nations will include all nations equally plus the United Nations with one vote each. How can we make this happen?

    Let us accept that it will be easier for colleges and universities to come together in mutual agreement than it will be for nations to come together. The colleges and universities are the key. Once the colleges and universities have joined together as an association, they will be a formidable force that will have the standing to convince the nations that they too must join in an association of their own. An Association of Colleges and Universities will be rife with intellect and creativity. An Association of Colleges and Universities could be the group that prepares all of the treaties, agreements, laws and rules that will be taken to the nations as the Association of Colleges and Universities work to convince the nations to join together as an Association of Nations. That will include everything that The Association of Nations will need to create and activate a global office. An association of colleges and universities will have an ongoing role as advisers to an association of nations.

    We must now accept that none of this will happen if the leaders of the colleges and universities do not take up the mantle and give their blessing to the formation of a, worldwide, association. This is why the Regents/Trustees/Directors of colleges and universities, worldwide, must be recognized as our modern superheroes.

    What I have outlined is part of a plan of my making that I call A Plan for the Nations. You will find more at the following links: https://www.ofpopulationandpollution.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/A-Plan-for-the-Nations.pdf —- https://mahb.stanford.edu/?s=A+Plan+for+the+Nations .

    • João Luís Abegão

      First of all, thank you for your feedback, Mr Byron.

      I do have to say that you challenged me to accept a whole range of premises and I found no particular disagreement between us in any of them. Although I’m somewhat more pessimistic than this piece would give away, I do share your views and concerns regarding global cooperation, implementation and inspection, as I’m sure nothing will be achieved without the global effort you eloquently speak off.

      Regarding the role of universities, there I would have to say that in my personal experience I’m not waiting for them to take that leap. I’m from Portugal, a country with one of the lowest fertility rates worldwide and one that has fortunately avoided the worst of the migration crisis. Invariably, this has led to a parochial and provincial take on population issues, with virtually no interest in these subjects in the general public or even worse in Academia. I was the first, as far as I can tell, to initiate this study and to my knowledge, there is no one else dedicating their expertise in Portugal to human overpopulation issues. This means that I had to endure a lot of resistance in my studies to the ideas that I ended up researching. The reason I wrote the Human Overpopulation Atlas and challenged the university to make a 500-page book into my Master thesis was to show students and professors alike that the status quo can be challenged and new ideas can enter the discussion. Universities surely have a significant role to play in this, but it has to come from individuals willing to take on these issues and inspire others to follow.

      Finally, I think I may need to stress that these “Heroes” are not the ones that I’m depositing my hopes on. I just wrote about them because there are hundreds of millions of people worldwide who complete worship them as idols and pay attention to their actions. They have the power to break the mould and get messages out there to a critical mass of individuals to make some significant changes. My only intention is to take advantage of the Zeitgeist and prevent others not so like-minded individuals from leading people astray and showing a wrong picture of what the human overpopulation movement advocates.

      I hope my reply addressed the points you raised Mr Byron.
      Kind regards.

      • Arnold Byron

        Thank you for your kind words. I am happy that you agree that we need a global office to coordinate the healing of humanity and the planet. Organizing a global office is the first and most important step that we need to take to solve the crises we face, And it needs to be done soon.

        The only global organization that is available to set as its goal the establishing of a global office are the colleges and universities, worldwide. It will be a herculean task to create an association of colleges and universities, with bylaws, officers and committees, but surly educators and other staff-members have the acumen to do so. It will only take a few people from different universities, armed with cell phones and other communication equipment to get the ball rolling. Students should be involved as well.

        Any university could be the place of beginning. I named the Boards’ of Regents as the heroes because with their permission things will go more easily. The educators and students who take on this effort will also become heroes. It is not my intention to advocate for activism by students or educators but I am afraid that if a fair and humane global office is not established, then there is no hope that we will reach the goals set by the IPCC.

        To you Mr. Abegao and to all blog readers: if you are affiliated with a college or university; or if you know someone who is, get the word out. Laying the groundwork for energizing the nations to create a global entity of some kind can only be done by our educational facilities. The people within the halls of academia ought to be the most poised to listen to this need and to act on it.

        Thank you, and
        Best Wishes

        • João Luís Abegão

          I do hope that movement is ignited and those real heroes become recognised for their valiant efforts. On my end, I intend to start my PhD in a few months and continue to study and write about human overpopulation. Hopefully, I can start some meaningful conversations and possibly bring others on board to join this issue and start something on a grander scale.
          Thank you for your words and your work Mr Byron.
          All the best.

        • JohnTaves

          Mr Byron, your goal of a new organization that will police the world has merit because of the exponential nature of reproduction.

          Abegao pointed out Bartlett and Suzuki’s beaker example to explain the power of the exponential. (note if you scroll up and see my comment, you’ll discover there are unanswered questions from the beaker example) However, there is another way to look at the exponential nature of reproduction. If your descendants average more than 2, they will overpopulate the planet even if everyone else on the planet stops having babies.

          Notice what this means. Let’s imagine if all countries become like the developed ones and have a TFR below 2. However, within many of these countries are groups of people that believe that their god wants them to have a lot of children. They average more than 2. Your organization must stop this. There cannot be any groups that successfully pass on their beliefs to an average of more than 2. If they exist, everyone else on the planet can have zero babies, but the end result is overpopulation.

          Mr Abegao, I have not read all of your overpopulation bible, but I have noticed in the article above and your comment to me above, that your arguments are essentially all subjective. Mr Byron’s goal is hopeless with subjective measures and arguments. Byron’s goal cannot be achieved without 100% agreement from say the scientific community. That agreement will not happen if the scientific community has nothing but subjective arguments.