Forum Replies Created
June 24, 2015 at 8:36 am #15123
Absolutely not. It is fundamentally impossible to have some health right and also allow people to have as many babies as they want. Averaging more than 2 babies in a finite space such as Earth, kills.
The groups of people suffering starvation related child mortality is exactly what must happen when we average too many babies and our numbers are at the limit. (The limit can be increased, thus being at the limit, does not mean there is a static population number).
Our scientists, including leading population scientists like Paul Ehrlich, don’t understand this fact of nature, and therefore it is not possible to say that the science of public health is advanced enough for universal health.
October 16, 2014 at 3:13 pm #11145
Your question is a good one. I’ve tried to get population scientists, like Ehrlich, to change but this hasn’t gone anywhere. Population scientists, like the Ehrlichs and the contributors to MAHB, consistently talk about consumption and population. They never mention how many children one can have.
They never mention that the world wide average number of children is causing child mortality. The global average number of children, causes the horrible child mortality rates we see in third world countries.
They never mention that because we do not know how to keep our numbers alive without consuming resources faster than they renew, we must average less than 2.
They never teach that if you have zero or one, you are bringing the population down. If you have 2, you are attempting to keep it stable. If you have more than 2, you are attempting to grow our numbers.
So, in answer to your question. I don’t think it matters where you start, if you are going to trot out the same useless messaging that population scientists are feeding us.
I am trying to get some population experts to comprehend a set of facts before worrying about the general public, and I don’t think it matters where they are located.
August 17, 2014 at 7:43 am #10009
First we need we to understand and teach the fundamentals of population so that everyone can know the cost of averaging too many offspring.
We must know the following:
1) Our numbers are at, and have always been at the limit, where births are causing child mortality. Like all species, adult humans average too many babies and that excess forces child mortality to rise to ensure the population does not grow faster than nature can accommodate.
2) We are unable to keep our numbers alive without destroying the resources necessary to achieve that feat. This tells us we must average less than 2 children until it is not necessary to consume resources faster than they renew in order to keep our numbers alive.
3) Averaging too many children is a worse evil than infanticide. (Note, this is not my opinion, it is an objective fact. see stopattwo.org/explain )
4) If your descendants average more than 2 children, they will overpopulate the planet even if everyone else has no children.
June 1, 2014 at 2:49 pm #8871
You did not analyze the issue properly. I agree we should not waste time talking about the future, and certainly not about some infinite future. I have no intention of making any predictions about the future. Paul Ehrlich made that dreadful mistake and lost a bunch of credibility.
I agree that maybe we could improve our social scientific information, but that is irrelevant when we are failing to handle the simpler logic/mathematic information properly as you are on this topic.
Reproduction attempts to achieve infinite population at an exponential rate. This planet is finite. Humans have been around for a very long time relative how fast we reproduce. There are over 40 million people that are averaging more than 6 children right now. If we assume an appalling child mortality rate of 1/3, then those 40 million are doubling their numbers every generation. The simple math says that a population of 2, yes just 2, will turn into 4 billion in about 800 years. Shift that into the past. Why weren’t human numbers 4 billion 1000 years ago, or 4 billion 10000 years ago, or 100,000 years ago?
Was it because those people limited the number of children they averaged? Or was it because the finite planet simply killed when those numbers got too large? Is there some mechanism in nature that magically throttles fertility so nature does not have to kill to stop or slow our numbers from growing?
You are correct when you say “We can´t end social problems like poverty, unemployment or prisons by opinions”. I don’t pretend to have solutions for poverty, unemployment or prisons, however, the last two are exacerbated or caused by poverty, and poverty is caused by over breeding. Too many people competing for a finite production of resources creates poverty. It makes no sense to attempt to solve poverty without doing something to stop us from making babies at a rate that causes poverty.
Science, and this includes Paul Ehrlich, have done a dreadful job at understanding and disseminating the fundamentals of population and reproduction related concepts. We must each know that we must limit the number of babies each has.
May 29, 2014 at 9:41 am #8833
Vantte Kentta, you are making the mistake that almost everyone else is making, including Paul Ehrlich. These consumption type solutions simply do not add up. It is impossible to keep humans alive with zero consumption. When we average more than 2 children, we are attempting to have infinite humans alive at one time.
This attempt, has been happening since humans first walked the Earth, and that attempt has always been kept in check by the finite nature of the environment via premature death. Only if we control our fertility can we stop that attempted growth in our numbers and ensure that nature is not killing as a consequence of our over breeding.
Not one of your examples are sustainable. The solar bottle of light is nothing more than a lens. That bottle, along with all the other products required in the video, required oil to make. The solar road cannot be built without burning fossil fuels. I have a Nissan Leaf, an all electric zero emission car! It is not remotely zero emission. It was not built without burning fossil fuels. It cannot be repaired without burning fossil fuels, and I cannot drive it without burning fossil fuels. Your whole argument is based on an assumption that each of these are sustainable, that all the other thousands of cool ideas are also sustainable, then extrapolating that up to the whole world scale. Those assumptions are ridiculous, that extrapolation is ridiculous, and using that dreadful logic as the foundation for the conclusion that the real problem is a “catastrophic lack of information analyzing capabilities” is ridiculous.
A fine example of the lack of information analyzing capabilities lies right here on MAHB and in your comments. No amount of conservation, or new technology, will enable infinite humans to be alive at one time, and uncontrolled fertility attempts infinite humans. Analyze that.
May 29, 2014 at 8:08 am #8831
I am sorry Vanette Kentta, but we do not know how to keep 7+ billion humans alive at one time without consuming resources faster than they renew. We must burn oil, coal, and uranium or billions will die. We use these to plant, fertilize, harvest, process, ship and preserve food. Maybe we will figure out how to keep 7 billion alive without burning fossil fuels. Maybe not. Nobody knows.
There are no green products today. None. Every single product requires human input and every human requires some portion of the destruction of non-renewables to stay alive, because there are simply too many humans. Imagine if you lived totally “green”. You have a plot of land where all your food is grown. You use only animal labor fed from your land. Now scale this to the other 7 billion. Ooops, there is not enough land. If we do not burn oil, uranium, and drain the Ogallala acquifer, we cannot produce the same quantity of food per acre.
The morality is clear and we must teach it to everyone. We are acting in a manner today that to the best of our knowledge will cause premature death. The action I am referring to is the act of averaging too many babies. We are attempting to grow our numbers in spite of the fact that we cannot keep our current numbers alive without consuming resources faster than they renew.
I have no problem with the goal of figuring out how to make 100% sustainable products, but it is dreadfully poor logic to assume this can be accomplished with our current numbers.
May 28, 2014 at 7:05 pm #8819
“Sustainability is doing (all) the things we do today, in ways such that we (including future generations) can continue to do them tomorrow, and into the future.”
Every article and every posting on the MAHB beats around the bush. Not one actually states what must be done. The statement above is another example. It is correct, yet it does not tell the reader that we must control our fertility. We must limit births.
Consider a stable environment such that the population cannot grow, and the people are not using any resources faster than they renew. The population cannot grow, because it is at the limit of how many can be sustained. First, notice that this meets the definition of sustainable. Second, notice that this describes the bulk of human history. Third, notice that we will certainly return to this state, regardless of how we behave, because it is fundamentally impossible to consume resources faster than they renew forever.
But most importantly, notice that if the people average say 3 babies, then 1/3 of all children must die. If they average 2.5 children, then 1/5 die. How many babies we average, determines the child mortality rate. So, sustainability must include the concept of not ATTEMPTING growth that cannot happen.
If the environment is expanding, for example, because we are pumping more oil out of the ground, or we discover a more efficient crop variety, then the population can grow. That expansion cannot happen forever, but more importantly it is poor science to assume that that expansion stayed ahead of our attempted population growth. In other words, we have been, and are still cramming new humans into the environment faster than we are able to expand the environment, and that means that births are killing.
We must understand this and teach it to everyone.
May 28, 2014 at 5:48 pm #8787
What natural goods are really necessary for our survival? <- This does not matter.
What is effectively utilized by our society and the cultures around us? <- This does not matter.
What is being wasted on a day-to-day basis? <- This does not matter.
When is it a good time to do something? <- Now.
What material can we substitute with this that is cheaper, has a more dense availability, and is less harmful to the environment? <- this does not matter.
We must be able to answer these questions. <- No, these questions don’t matter.
We must learn when to say “NO!” <- Yes, we must say no to unrestricted birth rates, or rather we must say “Yes” to birth restrictions.
No amount of more efficient natural goods, or waste reduction, or cheaper materials can possibly create enough sustenance for the attempted exponential population growth that we humans have always attempted.
We must teach everyone that unrestrained fertility is a murderous thing to allow on a finite sized planet. We must teach everyone that we have been, and are, and always will be, at the population limit unless we restrict births. We must teach everyone that the population limit is not some high number, but is the situation where births are arriving faster than the environment can accommodate them and that causes other children to die. We must explain that a rising population does not indicate that we are not at the limit, it just means that we are increasing the limit. (Maybe this can be taught by using an analogy: Imagine a bucket of water. I pour water in at a rate that is proportional to how much water is in the bucket. It increases exponentially and then spills over the top. I can put holes in the sides and bottom to represent old age and accidental death, and water flowing over the sides is death caused by too many births. I can raise the sides of the bucket, and yet at the same time, water will be pouring over the sides. This is what has always been happening on Earth, the bucket, with humans, the water.)
We must also teach that today we do not know how to keep our current 7+ billion population alive without consuming resources faster than they renew. We must teach that this means that we have a moral obligation to average less than 2 babies until we are capable of keeping our numbers alive without destroying future generation’s ability to do the same. In other words, it is morally reprehensible to attempt saddle future generations with population numbers that we do not know how to keep alive without destroying the resources necessary to do that.
February 6, 2014 at 7:30 pm #7521
The solution denial here is with population scientists. If you have a hose running full blast spraying water all over the place and flinging the hose around at high speed, it makes no sense to demand more towels to clean up the mess. It makes no sense to attempt to grab the whipping end of the hose either. Shut off the faucet first. Then we can discuss cleaning up the mess.
In this analogy, carbon emissions are one mess that is pointless to clean up until the source of the problem is dealt with. Demographers have this concept of “desired family size”. The notion is that we need to ensure everyone has access to birth control so that they can achieve their desired family size. Population scientists recognize the problem with exceeding the desired family size. However, why do we have the idiotic notion that somehow billions of individuals achieving their desired family size will result in a manageable population size? Why are population scientists sanguine about the fact that desired family size never includes the impact of another birth on everyone else? Why are population scientists effectively mute on the horrible ignorance on population issues?
When I was 10 or so, I told my mother that I wanted a family just like hers; 2 boys and 2 girls. She said “hold on there, if you have more than 2 you are increasing the population”. I said “but my children will die someday and that will reduce the increase I created”. She responded by asking what happens if they have children. I remember my brain working through that and realizing that the population will explode towards infinity. I realized that it was morally wrong to have more than 2. I had no problem at age 10 recognizing that if we all have 3 children, we will explode our numbers, and if we all cannot do it, then it is wrong for me to do it. I also intuitively recognized that everyone has to know this. In 15 minutes of conversation my desired family size went from a totally unsustainable 4 to a sustainable 2.
40 years later I am stunned, shocked, and appalled that nothing has happened since then to ensure everyone gets that simple education. Unfortunately it took me another 30 years to realize a second important fact. We humans are already way way overpopulated. After reading Jared Diamond’s book “Collapse” I was thinking about how the Easter Islander’s had been chopping down trees to build boats to capture enough food to feed their population. When the trees were all gone, and the last of the boats were rotten, the food supply dramatically dropped. A huge percent starved to death. I was thinking that if only the Easter Islanders had figured out what the Tikopeans had figured out (see the book), they wouldn’t have allowed their numbers to rise past what can be kept alive using only renewable means. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. We are doing the same right now. Fossil fuels, uranium, draining the Ogallala acquifer and several other acts of destruction are totally necessary to keep 7+ billion humans alive at one time. If my mother had pointed that out to me, my desired family size would have dropped to 1 or 0. It was just as obvious in the early 1970s, when she taught me about the magic number 2, that our numbers were way way over what can be sustained as it is today.
What is not obvious is why this is not obvious. Why aren’t population scientists teaching this? Here’s a fine example of the demented thinking on this topic. Taken from Joel Cohen’s book “How many can the Earth sustain”. “Gever et al. (1986) … simply because we are using certain resources faster than they are replenished does not necessarily mean that we are exceeding our carrying capacity and have doomed ourselves to a population collapse”. What a ridiculous justification to not specify the necessary action to avoid such a calamity! This is like a corporate accountant saying we do not have a debt because we will pay it off. Every self respecting corporate accountant states the current facts and does not attempt to predict the future and use that prediction to alter the report of the current situation. Population scientists go even farther along that ridiculous logic path. They take the past, extrapolate that into the future and use that to alter the statement of today’s situation. We found new energy sources in the past, so we will find them in the future, therefore we aren’t blatantly overpopulated today. OMG, just shoot me.
This brings me back to Carbon Dioxide. Yes, we have a huge problem because we are dumping CO2 into the atmosphere. But, a much much worse problem is that we are destroying those resources. We must have those resources to make 7 billion meals per day. Maybe what trips up population scientists such that this is not blatantly obvious is that fossil fuels are not required to make food. We can make say 500 million meals per day without burning fossil fuels. This has been achieved. But we have never made more than say 1 billion meals without burning fossil fuels. We have to recognize that fossil fuels are like stores of food. We are eating the stores of food. We cannot keep our numbers alive without eating that store. Here we are chewing through the stores of food on our ship at sea, and this article is whining about the empty cans that are littering the deck of the ship. How about recognizing the loss of future meals! How about recognizing our moral obligation to reduce the number of mouths in the future? Why aren’t scientists demanding that these facts be taught? Why aren’t population scientists going nuts over this educational omission?
One reason I chose a water hose spraying madly above, is to have a violent whip. Grabbing that end is pointless. The whip is controlled at the base and that control drives the end at exponential rate. The response above On behalf of Michael Mielke talks about reducing consumption. This is like trying to reduce the whip action by grabbing the end. The base, the number of children we average, is the only rational place to focus our control.
What is going on here? What are population experts thinking? Why can’t population experts comprehend that if we must drain fossil fuel reserves to keep our numbers alive, then we must reduce our numbers? Why can’t population experts comprehend the next logical conclusion; that if we must reduce our numbers, then everyone, yes EVERYONE must know this? Somehow population experts cannot make the obvious leap that these facts must be known by every child so that every child grows up knowing that 1 is the maximum desired family size (until we no longer need to destroy resources faster than they renew to keep our numbers alive.)
The problem is not with politicians or corporate executives. The problem is not widespread ignorance of the facts of climate change. The problem is near universal ignorance of the simple concept I learned 40 years ago and the other simple concept I learned 10 years ago. The problem is entirely on the shoulders of population experts for failing to demand that these concepts be taught in every school in the world. Of course politicians are doing nothing about climate change. We need to burn the stuff to keep our numbers alive. Of course politicians are doing nothing about reducing our numbers, they are just as ignorant as the rest of the population. Population scientists need to start teaching.
February 2, 2014 at 3:52 pm #7481
One clarification of my last post:
The bucket wall height represents the capacity of the environment. We have raised that capacity throughout the history of humans. When we use farming techniques we have a higher population capacity than when we use hunting/gathering. If we have refrigeration, modern packaging, trucking and fertilizers, we have an even higher capacity. There is no reason to believe we have ever managed to raise the walls of the bucket fast enough to prevent the overflow that must happen when water is poured in too fast. That includes the past 150 or so years when we have seen exponential growth in our numbers.
When the environment is stable, it is trivial for the birth rate and the death rate to be perfectly in sync, just like it is trivial to maintain a set water level in a bucket that has holes in it. Just pour water in faster than it drains out the holes. That’s exactly what is happening and has been happening throughout human history. The theory of evolution demands that every species produces an excess of babies. Ehrlich is incorrect that no society has achieved that perfect balance, because the Tikopeans did it. He is generally correct to say that societies do not achieve this, but this is only because there are multiple societies in every environment that are competing for the resources. If any society had learned what the Tikopeans figured out, they would have been muscled out of existence by their neighbors. The Tikopeans had their own island with one society on it.
November 19, 2014 at 8:58 am #12461
I suggest you read my posts on this topic. The fact that births arriving in the world so frequently that they are causing child mortality should have some effect on what you think is moral. These facts need to be known. If a large percent of the population comprehends these concepts, the morality should be different from what it is now, which should have profound effects how your 9 options are perceived.
Regarding your #7 “future generations’ survival is at risk”, the fact of the matter is that the births are causing death right now. This is not some future possibility.
I don’t understand #3.
October 15, 2014 at 9:18 am #11083
I don’t see why the 4 concepts above are not just the thing you are looking for. These 4 concepts are not understood by either population scientists or the general public.
For example, as far as I can tell the Ehrlichs have never said that births are killing, which is what #1 above says. The Ehrlich message is effectively “if our population keeps growing the environment will be degraded.” Their words are putting the problem into the future, and failing to state that premature death will be the result of our actions. Worse is that they do not identify the action, averaging too many babies. In effect, their words speak to nobody.
I am identifying facts that are unknown, but you asked for myths. I don’t know why the Ehrlichs do not know those facts, but I will speculate. Maybe it is because they have the belief, or myth, like Malthus had, that people do regulate their births and that somehow magically this ensured that the population limit has not been hit yet.
Myth #1: Malthus described the process where the poor consciously or unconsciously reduce their fertility in their struggle to stay alive. The myth is that this sort of individual fertility reduction magically adds up across the whole population such that the population is not attempting to drive our numbers to the limit.
Myth #2: When the population hits the limit, there will be famine wars and vice that will limit the growth the ugly way. This myth was started by Malthus. The myth is that the effects of too much population growth will be obvious.
Myth #1 and #2 are two sides of the same coin. If you believe that the population has not hit the limit, then you have to invent some mechanism that ensures we do not average too many babies. Of course you believe that humans are different from other species in that we can control our fertility, but if you want to believe that this individual control adds up to some overall good, then you have to believe that we are not at the limit now and therefore the symptoms we see today are not enough starvation, conflict, and vice.
July 25, 2014 at 10:33 am #9685
CK, I will try to clarify the replacement rate issues.
You are correct to state that we should assume a rate slightly above 2 per woman everywhere. It is trivial to find researchers that should know better arguing the opposite. They will state that because some country has a higher death rate, they have a higher replacement rate. They assume that deaths are not caused by the birth rate when they make this sort of statement.
Note that it seems like you are assuming that births are not killing today because you said “ultimately need to rise”. This statement suggests you are assuming that deaths are not happening today as a result of too high of a fertility rate. I don’t really understand what you mean by “short-term replacement rate”. I also don’t know what “neo-Malthusian equilibrium” means. Your following sentences seem to be describing ways that births will cause deaths and maybe that is what you mean by “neo-Malthusian equilibrium”.
Just to be clear on my position. Birth are causing deaths today. We have never controlled our fertility such that it is rational to conclude that zero child mortality can be attributed to the birth rate. The symptoms of that are obvious with millions of children starving every year. If I understand “Malthusian equilibrium” correctly, I think it is safe to say that we are at that equilibrium right now. One reason we don’t know this is hinted by your statements. We seem to expect some arbitrary higher amount of misery than the child mortality we see today. Malthus said “famine” which is an arbitrary amount of starvation. He should have said “starvation”, which was present then and now. Specifically, he should have said groups suffering higher levels of child mortality that are not starvation caused by genetic incompetence (mental and physical retardation), are the symptoms we will find when we overbreed.
But, that understanding of replacement rate is still insufficient. We need a proper definition of replacement rate that I will define as the “real replacement rate”. The “real replacement rate” is defined as the minimum average number of babies that adults should create to keep the population stable when the population is not overpopulated. “minimum” is included to ensure we are not causing some of the death by too high an average. But the point I am trying to bring up is in reference to “overpopulated”. Note that “overpopulated” must be understood correctly according to the definition, and that nobody seems to understand that very definition. The definition includes the concept of “indefinitely” which means that resources cannot be consumed faster than they renew in order to keep the species numbers alive. Or to flip this around, if we humans are consuming resources faster than they renew and those resources are required to maintain the population numbers, then we are overpopulated. Obviously we are way overpopulated. We have never created sufficient food for 7+billion humans without burning fossil fuels. The point I am making is that the minimum fertility rate we see today of slightly above 2 is achieved by burning fossil fuels, which is only short term. Maybe that is what you meant by a “short-term replacement rate”, if that is so, then you might convey that better by saying it is an “unsustainable replacement rate”, given that this thread is about sustainability. My point is that the replacement rate value that scientists routinely use is both circular because it does not factor out the child mortality caused by excess births, and it is not sustainable.
But note that since we humans have never controlled our fertility to ensure that births are not killing, we have no clue what that sustainable replacement rate might be. It might not be higher than the minimums we see today. In other words a human population on Earth that does not consume resources faster than they renew and does control their fertility might discover that their child mortality rate is no higher, and possibly better, than the child mortality rate we see in developed countries today.
- This reply was modified 5 years, 11 months ago by John Taves. Reason: Added the last paragraph
July 2, 2014 at 5:12 pm #9387
” This definition doesn’t mention population specifically, but a little reflection shows that the only systems that meet this definition of sustainable will be steady-state systems–zero population grown and zero increase in matter and energy throughput in their economies. ”
Unfortunately this is not good enough. This is basically 2 degrees removed from the facts that must be understood by everyone. The 3 degrees are: consumption, population, and how many babies you create.
Examples of consumption: “you must not burn oil.”, “we must strive for sustainable consumption, so drive an electric car”, “recycle your garbage”, etc…
Examples of population: “We need a stable population”, “a population that is growing is unsustainable”, “we have a population bomb”.
Examples of how many babies: “You must not have more than one baby”, “You must limit the number of babies your offspring create”.
If you can snap your fingers and stabilize consumption, and are so powerful you can make that sustainable consumption, then you will indeed stabilize the population. However, that will be achieved via premature death, unless we control our fertility. Similarly, if you snap your fingers and stabilize the population, then the child mortality rate will be perfectly determined by how many babies we average. If we average 3 babies, then 1/3 of children will die.
If on the other hand, we comprehend that we must control our fertility, then we can limit our births to 1 per adult and simply wait until we are no longer consuming resources faster than they renew. Controlling our fertility can ensure that we are not killing children as a consequence of making babies too fast.
Failure to control our fertility ensure we will continue to kill children as a consequence of making babies too fast, and therefore there’s not much point to worrying about consuming in some “sustainable” manner, because the consequence of unsustainable consumption is simply premature death.
In short, any discussion of sustainability that does not directly discuss the fact that we must all know the limits to how many babies we can create, is a useless discussion.
May 30, 2014 at 2:44 pm #8845
All your arguments are based on extrapolation, and that includes Hans Rosling’s points too. Extrapolation is nothing more than saying X happened in the past, therefore it will happen in the future. This is a poor basis for drawing conclusions about the future.
Keep in mind I have absolutely no objection to any of the cool concepts you are pushing. Please explore them and make them happen. However, you and everyone else needs to stop overlooking the death that is happening right now as a consequence of our uncontrolled breeding. (Just to make it clear what “uncontrolled breeding” means; China is controlling their breeding, no other country is).
Rosling’s arguments are nothing more than an extrapolation. He shows how fertility has dropped dramatically in the past and how that drop correlates to other factors. The techniques he is using, sampling and extrapolating, are not appropriate for the topic he is discussing. It is simply bad science to sample and extrapolate something (fertility rates) that are exponential by nature (the number of offspring depends on the number of people). However, it is probably futile to show the flaws in your’s and Rosling’s arguments. So, I will focus on the thing that is being overlooked here.
He does not compare or discuss whether the fertility rates he is tracking are below some level that matters. Not once does he, or any other population scientist, ever put a value judgment on a fertility number. They always say “low fertility”. They never say “low enough fertilty”, or “below the maximum tolerable”. They frequently compare to “replacement rate”, but the definition of “replacement rate” assumes that deaths are not caused by the fertility rate. Notice what this means; the definition that scientists use for “replacement rate” is circular! It depends on itself. If the fertility rate is higher, then the replacement rate, which tells us a fertility rate, will be higher. The only way their definition of “replacement rate” has value is by assuming that deaths are not being caused by too high of a fertility rate. That is a stunningly stupid assumption. Everyone assumes this. Let me be clear on this. Scientists are assuming it is not happening, which is a horrid mistake by itself, but worse they are not investigating whether that assumption is correct or not. That act of omission, is a second dreadful mistake.
I stated above “In other words, we have been, and are still cramming new humans into the environment faster than we are able to expand the environment, and that means that births are killing.”, and you have not even comprehended what this means. You, Rosling, Ehrlich, and every other population scientist have totally ignored this possibility.
There is no such thing as “uncontrollable population growth”. We are on a finite sized planet. So of course I agree “we are NOT dealing with a population of infinity!”. This cannot be emphasized enough. Paul Ehrlich is concerned about a rising population, but why?
“How to turn population growth in to zero or negative population growth”? Answer: we can do anything we damn well please. We will have zero or negative population growth regardless of our actions. It cannot rise forever on a finite planet, so why worry about it? Well we worry because it might get so high that it causes death, premature death. It might cause the worst possible deaths; child mortality.
How to do this as “fast/soon/efficiently as possible”? Answer: shut off the oil pumps. That would cause negative population growth real quick, but obviously it would cause the premature death we are trying to avoid.
You did not ask the question: “how do we ensure that the environment is not limiting or stopping or reducing our numbers via premature death”? You didn’t even notice the answer. That is the problem with Rosling’s thinking, your thinking, and every other population scientist’s thinking. The answer is that the environment was killing children during the whole of human history because we averaged too many babies, and the environment is killing children right now as a consequence of averaging too many babies. The environment will continue to kill if we continue to ignore this.
The “Malthusian catastrophe” concept is a bad interpretation of Malthus’ writings that were in turn a poor understanding of the concepts he was close to understanding. Malthus should have said that reproduction attempts exponential growth, and given that we are in a finite sized environment, nature is killing children proportional to how many babies adults are averaging to stop or slow that attempt. Malthus should have said that we have managed to increase the environment’s capacity with numerous cool discoveries. He should have said that these may or may not continue into the future, but there is no excuse to assume that we have ever managed to increase the environment’s capacity faster than our fertility has attempted to grow our numbers. He should have thought about how that death might be detected given the fact that nature does not care how death occurs just so long as it occurs at a frequency that is related to how many children we average.
Had he thought about that, he might have recognized that because we form groups that compete economically against other groups within the same environment, then logically we’d expect some groups to suffer the death disproportionately to others. If he had done a bit of simple modeling about what must happen at the limit (see At The Limit), he would have understood that over breeding kills children and only children. He would have understood that we pointlessly sacrifice adult life expectancy to keep specific children alive. He might have put these two facts together and realized that the symptoms of over breeding, groups with horrid child mortality rates and dreadful adult life expectancy, are obviously present.
Had he published that, we probably would not have the current “malthusian catastrophe” concept which is simply a death rate that is high enough that forces us to accept that deaths are being caused by the existence of too many people, and that too many people is in turn caused by uncontrolled fertility. We need to comprehend that the malthusian catastrophe has been happening and is happening, but it is a lower death rate than you, and Malthus, and Ehrlich were expecting to see.