Actually, the world might run out of people


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❝ You know the story. Despite technologies, regulations, and policies to make humanity less of a strain on the earth, people just won’t stop reproducing. By 2050 there will be 9 billion carbon-burning, plastic-polluting, calorie-consuming people on the planet. By 2100, that number will balloon to 11 billion, pushing society into a Soylent Green scenario…

But what if they’re wrong? Not like, off by a rounding error, but like totally, completely goofed?

❝ That’s the conclusion Canadian journalist John Ibbitson and political scientist Darrell Bricker come to in their newest book, Empty Planet, due out February 5th. After painstakingly breaking down the numbers for themselves, the pair arrived at a drastically different prediction for the future of the human species. “In roughly three decades, the global population will begin to decline,” they write. “Once that decline begins, it will never end.

I only disagree with the last sentence. Just as – over time – even people ignorant enough to vote for someone like our Fake President will come to understand the economics of birth control. You can afford a better life by not trying to create and support an excess population. That translates from simply staying comfortably alive to how you order your life and living into any number of additional qualities of time spent doing what you’d like to be doing instead of just treading water to afford basic necessities for your family.

Women in particular can order their own lives and lifestyle beyond biblical rules and backwards politicians. Mostly men. All of that inevitably continues to change over time.

While there are many factors outside birth and death helping these decisions along, I believe they will also constrain the potential for our species dying off. We’re just as likely to come up with alternatives to gestation as evolved within our species. We are bright enough – with sufficient education – to redirect our lives’ path beyond the scope of evolution.

4 thoughts on “Actually, the world might run out of people

    • End times™️ says:

      The world’s insects are hurtling down the path to extinction, threatening a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”, according to the first global scientific review. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/feb/10/plummeting-insect-numbers-threaten-collapse-of-nature More than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered, the analysis found. The rate of extinction is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds and reptiles. The total mass of insects is falling by a precipitous 2.5% a year, according to the best data available, suggesting they could vanish within a century.
      The planet is at the start of a sixth mass extinction in its history, with huge losses already reported in larger animals that are easier to study. But insects are by far the most varied and abundant animals, outweighing humanity by 17 times. They are “essential” for the proper functioning of all ecosystems, the researchers say, as food for other creatures, pollinators and recyclers of nutrients.
      The analysis, published in the journal Biological Conservation, says intensive agriculture is the main driver of the declines, particularly the heavy use of pesticides. Urbanisation and climate change are also significant factors. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0006320718313636
      “If insect species losses cannot be halted, this will have catastrophic consequences for both the planet’s ecosystems and for the survival of mankind,” said Francisco Sánchez-Bayo, at the University of Sydney, Australia, who wrote the review with Kris Wyckhuys at the China Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing.

  1. August Jensen says:

    I agree with your analysis about disagreeing with the last sentence. Writing off humans so easily seems foolish, we have an amazing tenacity to continually adapt and overcome challenges.

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