This assignment is aligned with course objectives #2, 3, 4, and 7. Human populations and environmental conservation seem to be in opposition. To increase space for more people, we infringe on space for animals and plants. To find enough food for more people, we take out the predators that would compete with us for prey animals (be it huntable animals or livestock). For example, the removal of predators wound up increasing the populations of white-tailed deer, which increased the deer tick population and so now we have Lyme disease that debilitates people. To grow enough food, we clear-cut forests in favor of limited use agriculture, taking out the very species that might one day save our lives, such as the Madagascar periwinkle that treats leukemia, or tamoxifen from a yew that treats breast cancer (my mother has finished her 5 years of tamoxifen, by the way, and is now declared "cured" of breast cancer). I believe you all now have an excellent understanding of the concept of carrying capacity, and that we will one day, perhaps soon, reach the carrying capacity for humans on this planet.
Let's address how you would recommend we solve it: human population growth control. There are countries, such as Russia and Japan, that are concerned about their decreasing populations. Russia has a Conception Day, and prizes are given to fertile couples. Germany is now concerned there aren't enough young working people to take care of the older community. There are countries like India and China that are concerned about their increasing populations. You read in your text their two methods of managing that growth, education and forced sterilization, respectively. The Phillipines government has recently defied Catholic church teachings by offering free birth control to the poor, recognizing that family planning is the primary path out of poverty.
Here are a few Web sites to jump start your thinking:
- My favorite “you have GOT to be kidding me!” family who has 19 children as of this posting, and now the eldest children have started producing their own. Hopefully you’ve kept track of the news, as their Web site was taken down after the eldest son was shamed by his early child molestation activities. However, they do still have a blog up and running: http://www.duggarfamilyblog.com/
- Watch the US and world populations grow: http://www.census.gov/popclock/
- Population Connection: http://www.populationconnection.org/
- Negative Population Growth: http://www.npg.org/l
- A student based his Environment in the News on this article; a thoughtful consideration of the topic, particularly for those who believe “oh, it’ll all work out on its own”: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-walker/the-rise-and-fall-again_b_3518063.html
- Our current “old age pension” program, Social Security, depends on lots of current young workers. I tried to find support for what I had heard for years (I am one of the Baby Boomers and you guys will be keeping me in adult diapers and denture cream!), but I kept finding myth busting instead, such as http://www.marketwatch.com/story/five-reasons-population-boom-biggest
- Before you suggest mandatory sterilization for people who cannot financially support their children, please read this article, sterilizing the poor
- And before you blame the women for all the population growth, check out this news article I read about a man who has father 30 children with 11 different women and is now whining because child supports takes half his check: Man who fathered 30 kids says he needs a break.pdf (Give ME a break!)
Now let's bring it home. The questions:
(1) Do you think the United States should institute some sort of population growth control? Why or why not?
(2) Follow through with the idea and share your opinion of what would work to decrease birth rates in this country, or what else should be done to increase birth rates. For example, should additional children be taxed or tax-exempt? Should there be any sort of cash reward for sterilization (this has actually been done by local governments to decrease unwanted children by, say, drug addicts)? Should women such as the woman in Iowa (sextuplets, two of whom remain disabled 18 years later http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/03/mccaughey-septuplets-grown-up-at-17_n_6257400.html) or the woman in California (octuplets http://gazettereview.com/2015/07/what-happened-to-octomom-nadya-suleman-new-updates-available/) be rewarded for having > 6 children at a time with diapers, baby food, college educations, new house, new van, washing machines, etc.? Please "think globally, act locally" - the entire planet is affected by individual choices.
Go to Discussion #1 in Blackboard to post your thoughts and reply to your fellow students.