“On the technical side there is no limit to population,” said a scholar after talking about solving world hunger. “We just need more efficient systems, and for the rich to eat less.” This may be true, BUT the greater question (in my opinion) is: Do we want more people living “simply” in a crowded place, or less people living lives of luxury?

“The population of the poor isn’t the problem,” so the idealists (like I used to be) say… “We actually need less white people.”

Given the ecological footprint of the one billion in rich industrialised countries compared to the six billion in non-industrial countries, this statement speaks some truth. But I’m not so sure that decreasing the population of white people will solve our ecological predicament.

I realise the basic solution is suggested to be the connection between income, education and birthrates. The more money people have, the more educated people get, the less children women want… and this will (somehow magically) stop the population at around 10 billion… but will it?

Just because a majority of white people have chosen to have less children as they get richer, largely because we have fallen for consumerist ideals and the economic slave system that supports this, does not mean that people in other cultures are going to respond to wealth in the same way. I’m not an anthropologist but it seems rather presumptuous to think we can understand people of other cultures, and predict how these people will react to education and money.

In the last two hundred years we have allowed one billion people to be become almost seven billion, and almost six of those billion have not been educated or had money. What will they do when they are educated or have money? In China as they get more money, they build more, buy more cars and have more children, not less of them.

“Human rights are meaningless without ecological rights,” said another one of the speakers. This seems to be getting closer to the real issue. Surely there are limits??? EVENTUALLY, when the planet has 5 billion, or 50 billion, there’s going to have to be some sort of population controls implemented – so why not be proactive and do it NOW, before there are even more ridiculous numbers of us?

How? I don’t know… I guess through some kind of recognition of collective responsibility and gaining momentum in a collective desire to make the world the place we want it to be. Should that involve some legalities that compromise individualistic human rights? In my opinion, yes. I think the future of life-on-earth as a whole is more important than us as individual humans having a right to choose the number of children we are going to have.

What do you think?

What’s more important: quality of life, or quantity of lives?