Thursday, March 31, 2016

Oh the Humanity!!!

Building an effective millennium vision for the planet must contend with the elephants in the room, the currently enormous and increasing population of humans.

H. Sapiens Population Spiral?
Human overpopulation is so close to us that it is often simply dismissed out of hand.  Certainly there are issues of reproductive freedom, eco-societal pyramids and human sacredness to consider, nevertheless a reduction of the worldwide footprint that billions of people create is absolutely critical to the planning of a balanced, long-term world system.

As discussed in Earth 3.1: A Planetary Upgrade, how we value the human individual and community relative to the rest of the planet's occupants and landscape is in need of adjustment.  Thought experiments that might value a single human child more than an entire species on the brink of extinction are inherently biased, if only because we humans will judge irrationally due to our evolutionary and cultural empathy toward one of our own.  Importantly, a simplistic case like this that considers people who are currently living, sidesteps the real issue, which is planning for future populations.  Reducing the human population effectively and gradually over upcoming centuries will leap over such maddening ethical quandaries landing in a space where we can create mindful and heartfelt planetary solutions.

To be sure, there are hurdles to overcome even if we are able to reforge the fundamental ethic of human value. Proscribing limited human reproduction seems tyrannical when the eugenic plans of 20th Century Germany and China cited.  Removing individual and local community agency was the ethical flaw in those plans. A milder social engineering design that engages human agency is the likeliest path to a human population solution.

Solutions that include secular sex and relationship education are the key to reducing human numbers to a manageable amount; civilization must continue its journey culturally beyond its instinctive evolutionary and mythical impetuses.  A human society that progresses will distribute widely effective contraception from contraceptive drugs and condoms to sperm valves and virtual sex alternatives. Implementing a variety of solutions not only will reduce undesired human pregnancies in the short term and human population in the long term.

When Growth Becomes Grotesque
One of the toughest problems we'll need to solve will be transitioning to a sustainable socio-economic system that can thrive in an era of reduced human population.  The pyramid style economics currently practiced which focuses on growing consumer base, per-capita consumption and chieftain style profit models will eventually fall if the value of resources, life and environment are honestly included in cost.  The wealthier castes and their nation states will cling to the old system, at least until an educated, democratized globe succeeds in adjusting those inherent values.

In the long term, the planet can support a substantial number of humans to pursue our unique cultural experiences, inclusive of a mindful exploration of the Universe.  But if we want our world to include healthy populations of other species, beautiful biomes for them to thrive in, and a sustainable planetary environment in aggregate, then human population reduction must be integral to our vision.


  1. Isn't this why NASA is working so hard to get us the Mars?

    1. IMHO, NASA's mission should be exploration of the Universe and the technologies to accomplish said exploration. Eyeing up Mars as the second planetary home for humankind could be part of that ongoing mission. Still, a long term global vision should involve maintaining our wonderful planet to remain wonderful condition!


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