Children are bad for sustainability

Discussion in 'News from around the damp planet' started by sun burn, Jan 2, 2011.

  1. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    I don't disagree with you Taras. However even if this year all of humanity remembered they are part of the natural world and adopted sustainable ways of living, we still have a very large logistical problem - that the human population is reproducing exponentially at a rate that will very soon cause collapse. If we all remembered our environment, maybe we would be moved to stop reproducing in this way and would collectively find a way of continuing the species whilst decreasing the population, but I think the kind of change you are talking about is incredibly complex and we just don't have the time.

    Besides, maybe talking about the problems of population in relation to land/nature is a way of changing our collective broken psychology ;-)
     
  2. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    This is a forum. This type of discussion is very common on forums. It can shake people's thinking up. Who knows what effect it may have. If you find a discussion boring or pointless, don't read it or participate. I know sometimes these sorts of discussions can seem pointless, but its only by sharing opinions, ideas, knowledge, experiences that things change.

    I really like your longish post a few back pebble. You said it all very well and clearly.

    Also tara, i know sometimes people just talk and talk and don't actually do anything. It is important to act ultimately. Talking for the sake of talking is just wasting time. I talk a lot here. I talk and waste my own time but i also talk here as a means of rest and recreation as well using this place as a source of information and learning that i can put into practice. Participating on this forum has already changed not only my thinking but the way i do things. When i started out wanting to start a permaculture garden, I was really only thinking of how to produce food for myself, how to use this land most productively, how to improve my personal income and to provide some sort of valuable meaning to life through gardening. I did not come here looking for ways to improve society or reduce my impact on the planet, or to encourage others to live or garden more sustainably. Before i came here i was burning a lot of garden waste. This forum has persuaded me to use the much maligned humble messy palm frond that causes such a mess here. I know that in myriad ways, I am changing the way i do things and I am also having an impact on the thinking and hopefully the practices of other people too as i share a lot of what i do on other forums such as facebook and photoblog with friends and strangers who do not yet do permaculture or who do not think so much about sustainable living.
     
  3. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    That's an awesome journey sun burn. I agree that conversations like this can be useful, making us think, and connecting those of us who spend time here in ways that wouldn't happen if we just talked about permaculture design.
     
  4. springtide

    springtide Junior Member

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    You could also take this argument and use it in regard to the third world - they cannot produce enough food therefore they starve until the population drops, it's natures way of correcting the balance. - When we as westerners pour chemicals into our food to get it to last longer and be disease resistant we will possibly be poisoned by these chemicals (i'll throw in war, peak oil, etc too), then we will run into sickness/disease/starvation - as natures way of correcting.
    Not a nice way of looking at the world but i think there is some logic.
     
  5. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    Springtide, that's all very well but i think its full of fallacies. People in the developing world can produce enough food for themselves. War interferes and so does drought. India no longer has famines at all. It has stockpiles of food. That in itself is a problem. The problem in india is that poor people cannot afford the food. My best indian friend told me the other day that she thought civil war was coming over the price of food. If she's saying that, then its probably a topic in the news. She told me onions are now US$1 a kilo. This is an enormous sum for indians when you think that many earn less than $1 a day and that the minimum wage is $2 a day ( about 80 rupees). It puts the cost of our onions (at about $3 per kilo) into stark perspective. It wasn't long ago, she told me that onions were 15 rupees a kilo. 15 rupees is about 35 cents.

    In AFrica its mostly the effects of war that causes starvation, so that when a drought comes things are worse than otherwise.

    The problems of many countrires that lead to starvation are not fundamentally agricultural. They are political.

    As to chemicals being poured into the food in the west. I am sure it does happen but if you've been watching the e numbers program lately you will see that a lot of these e numbers are not chemical at all but are natural components of foods eg lecithin. I am still against them because they reduce the quality of the food experience in many cases and merely serve to make more profit for producers while the consumer gets cheaper longer lasting food that tastes like shit. (not literally).
     
  6. Taras

    Taras Junior Member

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  7. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    Good article but as i said in my comment below the article, the greatest need for change is not amongst the rich - though because of the hypocrisy it would be a good idea to make them wear some public guilt and be forced to address their consumption using somewhat draconian measures, its the masses of average people in the west and the up and coming middle classes in other developing countries who need to temper their consumption.
     
  8. purecajn

    purecajn Junior Member

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    with the power of the Internet it should be pretty easy to shame them on a global level into submission 1 at a time.
     
  9. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    I haven't got time to read Monbiot's article (although I generally have a good deal of time for his ideas), but on this I disagree:

    For me I don't have to look at global population. I only have to look at where I live and try and figure out how much land would sustain the local population if we were to live sustainably in a post peak oil world. At the moment much of our food and goods come from overseas. We also export alot of food. We do incredibly stupid things like grow world class merino wool, send it to China to be processed and manufactured into clothes and then ship it back to NZ to sell to locals. Because of that who can actually quantify how much land is needed to feed, shelter and clothe ourselves here? In the end the population argument isn't about China or India or anywhere but where we live. How many people here know, even in broad terms, how much land is needed to keep the current population of your area (let along the growth over the next hundred years)?
     
  10. Taras

    Taras Junior Member

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    . Well I think you really should think this over. The rich are responsible for the situation we are facing today in the first place. Who is rich and were their wealth is really coming from? Are not they who are consuming more than the planet is able to produce to sustain them? Are not they that 3 percent that owns 90 percent of worlds wealth? Are not they who in the name of progress and profit destroy our environment, enslave nations, bring war to those who dose not need their system. They have proved that there is no shame fore them as the only thing that drives them is greed. But if someone who owns a lot of land or has a lot of money would change than the affect of his actions would change the lives of thousands. We can be as creative as we can be destructive. The main goal for educating people over the world ( not only in the third countries ) should be independence through sustainability, because we don't really need them and the system that enslaves us. The only chance they have in using people is when we are afraid. When you know that you can take care of yourself you are invisible!
     
  11. Taras

    Taras Junior Member

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    As long as you are in this system you are doomed to be a slave, rich or not you are responsible for not living sustainably. EVERYONE needs to change. Besides we have no other options.
     
  12. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    I didn't know that it was only 3% of the worlds people who owned 90% of the worlds wealth. Where did you get that figure? I struggle to accept that statistic.

    Anyway my statement that you quoted was based on the notion that majority of consumption across the globe is not done by those 3% of rich people but by the majority of westerners. The middle class right across the world and also the working classes in western countries. Working class people in Australia can earn $100 000 per year. That's a lot of money to spend even if 50% of it ends up going to government, who spend it for them anyway. Either way most of that money is being spent each year.

    The argument is the same as that about taxes. Most tax is collected from middle income earners not the rich. Put aside your cynicism, but that is because the majority of people are middle income earners.

    I am not saying that the rich shouldn't be made to moderate their consumption. Far from it. I am just saying the urgent need lies where the most damage is done and i would think it is not with the rich alone.
     
  13. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    G'day Taras

    Welcome to the PRI Forum.

    While I generally agree with the core of your statements, especially with regards to education being the key, I too - all too often - have seen figures such as the following being bandied about (usually by populist media hacks), and likewise wonder where they originate from:

    For those that have in interest in global wealth disparity, the UNU have been working on a huge study for over 5-years now, and this is where I source most of my primary data on the subject:

    UNU-WIDER - Personal Assets from a Global Perspective

    Cheerio, Markos
     
  14. Taras

    Taras Junior Member

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    I usually get such comments on my point of view. That is not my intention to be cynical or disappointed. I just emphasize on the fact that acting in small groups or even alone if there is such need can make the difference. In opposite to some comments above I see people with a great hope because the damage done by humanity can only be undone by them. Just like in nature a plant can grow to it's full potention and interact in an ecosystem, a person or group of people can unfold it's potention with no boundaries. As for the facts i really don't think there is need for gathering more facts of the affects on nature, it is time to act. I don't see why each person shouldn't take its place in an ecosystem. We are part of the planet, its resources does not belong to us, we are just managing them, we should be grateful and wise about them not greedy. The equilibrium will be restored in one way or another it is our choice which way will it be.
     
  15. Taras

    Taras Junior Member

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    By the way ecodarhmammama a grate site
     
  16. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Do you accept that there is a finite number of people that it's possible for the planet to sustain without greatly damaging other species and ecosystems?

    Would you mind saying what part of the world you live in?
     
  17. milifestyle

    milifestyle New Member

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    I don't think its a strict matter of the number of kids a family has... its whether that family has the resources and abilities to raise that family without adding pressure on the natural systems of the world...

    Raising those kids, regardless of the number of them and instilling permacultural beliefs and practices within that family unit will enable sustainability to be a default of the process...
     
  18. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    milifestyle, by resources and abilities, do you mean specifically permaculture principles and practices? I must say if so, i jumped to the wrong conclusion. Anyway, i would agree with you if that is the case but its a pipe dream. Or at least, its not going to happen for a very long time unless there is a sudden and massive shift to take up of permaculture by the population across the board. I cannot see any sign of this happening as yet.

    So, in light of that, until that massive shift happens, it does come down to the number of kids in a family. A western or well off family that is.
     
  19. milifestyle

    milifestyle New Member

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    That's true form a collective perspective, but if I own 20 acres of land designed for sustainability and I estimate I can support 5 to 10 kids without impeding on the social system, that should be an individual choice... to say - children are bad for sustainability - is to put a cap on everyone...

    On the other hand, someone who has kids, one after the other simply to gain access to more welfare funding are creating a new generation of of future adults that will pull on resources, energy and a lifestyle as if they were in endless supply - directly the opposite of what a permaculture family or collective of families would focus on...
     
  20. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    Ah so you are alluding to people who have kids and rely on welfare to support them. As i understand it, this is not a major problem. Not many people actually do this. But i was also going to say, its all very well to bring your 10 kids up according to permaculture principles but there's no certainty that they will folllow those principles and live the life you have trained them for. Kids grow up to have thoughts an ideas of their own. You cannot guarantee or predict what they will do their lives. So i'd be inclined to take the cautious approach and stick to a couple.

    Also how does having kids "you can't afford" translate into being a problem for sustainability. This is not even about sustainability. The government will pay for them that's all. Its got nothing to do with the environment. Its just a bugbear of certain members of the community, like you for instance.
     

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