I haven’t been posting due to depression and despair at the seeming pointlessness of trying to do anything to combat overpopulation – growth-addicted governments just don’t want to know, and the majority of humans think it doesn’t apply to them. I keep repeating the same opinions, but does it do any good?
“Footscray’s future as ‘St Kilda of the west’ ”, Herald-Sun, 24/8. The usual clueless enthusiasm about the growth of suburbs and how this supposedly makes them “happening places”. There is also this nightmarish prediction:
Ms. Sanderson, who heads VicUrban, the State Government’s sustainable urban development agency, told the Herald-Sun that in a few decades Melbourne could house seven million people, which would effectively make Werribee the “heart of the west”.
Cr. Clarke said that the western suburbs would feature prominently as planners looked as far ahead as the time when Melbourne might be home to 10 million people.
10 million people?! She can’t be serious? What the fuck (sorry, I have to swear, I am so incensed) is wrong with these idiots? Melbourne will be a living hell. Where will the water come from to supply such huge numbers? I despair for the future of the city I have lived in all my life. Things are bad enough now with overdevelopment and overcrowding. Melbourne is already ruined, and, when in the future I look back in anger, I will know exactly who to blame.
She also repeats the usual meaningless bullshit about “cultural diversity” and ends with:
“House prices have gone up 22 per cent in one quarter. We are so under-priced here,” Cr. Clarke said.
Nice for greedy investors, but not for those who just want a house to live in – or who pay council rates based on house values.
Equally incensing articles from The Age: “Western fringe gears up for housing boom”, 25/8; “Housing estate pushes urban sprawl limit”, 29/8. It’s a great time for greedy developers but not for the enviroment.
“We’ve got native grasses on the volcanic planes and they’ve been seriously affected by the rapid expansion to the west,” Dr. McPhail said. “We’ve also got to be very careful that we don’t take too much of those farmlands to the west of the city, simply because, as the world population goes towards 9 billion, food production is going to become increasingly important.”
“Young Britons give birth to huge population boom”, The Age, 29/8. No good news for the U.K. either with its already-huge population growing inexorably.
Roma Chappell, an ONS statistician, said: “For the first time in a decade, natural change exceeded net migration as the main driver of population change. “That’s actually quite exciting because it’s the highest fertility rate we have seen in the UK for some time. You have to go all the way back to 1973 to find a time when the fertility rate went higher.’’
“Exciting”? Lady, you should be concerned, not happy!
“Is population growth a Ponzi scheme?”, CSMonitor.com, 17/8. A thankfully more sensible article saying that an ageing but stable population is not necessarily a bad thing – it is ultimately more manageable than a growing population.
Changing the subject a little: one snarky phrase I sometimes see expressed in debates about population growth is along the lines of, “If you want to reduce the population, why don’t you start by killing yourself, then?” My response: “Only if you go first! Also, I am not reproducing and so adding to growth.”
A roundup of some collected letters since I last wrote:
Forget terrorism. What about water?
Labor MP Kelvin Thomson has suggested that we should reduce immigration because each new migrant might be a terrorist. That’s probably a bit of a long shot, but there are some other dead certainties that are much better reasons for reducing migration.
How about that we haven’t got enough water, or that our cities are sprawling unsustainably into farmland that used to grow food, or that our native wildlife is declining because of the increasing human impact, or that our roads are already overcrowded, or that we don’t like high density suburbia, or that our greenhouse footprint continues to grow as our population increases?
The probability of a new migrant being a terrorist is remote, but the probability that they will add to all these existing problems is a sure bet.
– Graham Parton, Stanley
On idiot councils unnecessarily felling trees in the regions affected by bushfires on “Black Saturday” in February this year (there are quite a lot of tree-haters), 15/8:
Many Kinglake and Flowerdale residents are distraught by the unnecessary removal of trees. Under the pretext of safety, trees along many roads are being cut down, including live, large, hollow-bearing trees that are essential for many native species. It will take at least 100 years to replace them.
Recently everything was felled along the Number One Creek, even the tree ferns!
Some residents are being deceived into believing that clearing blocks of all trees will reduce maximum fire risk and that they will not need to build houses to the highest safety standard. Removing trees means less water, higher temperatures, no habitat for animals, no shade, more pollution and erosion, and has devastating psychological effects.
Trees with shoots along Bald Spur Road, where many people died, offered some hope for the future. But they were all cut down. Our trauma is being compounded to satisfy someone’s intent to take revenge on trees. It seems tree-haters have more rights than people who care about nature and the future.
– Hania Lada, Kinglake
Time for a debate on population growth
Efforts to curtail greenhouse gases will prove futile if the increasing world population is not tackled. Australia’s annual population growth rate of 2 per cent means the population will double in 35 years. Regardless of assurances by politicians and big business, we have insufficient resources to support our quality of life and twice the number of people.
Why aren’t we having a debate about population? Governments will not take a lead because they and big business understand that the easiest way to stimulate economies is to stimulate demand via population growth – cynical short-term strategies.
Governments and business appear to be prepared to allow “natural limits” to halt population growth. But this term is really a euphemism for myriad negative influences on growth – food and water shortages, disease, war, economic hardship, environmental degradation and so on.
The sooner the world takes responsible action on population growth, the lesser will be the impacts of “natural limits”.
– Nicholas Howe, Malvern
When is enough?
My son accidentally Googled Windows “20000” in his search for a software patch. Just for fun we then tried to work out what our house might be worth in 18,000 years, allowing for annual growth of a modest 1 per cent. At this rate, doubling occurs every 70 years. Initially, this seemed uninteresting, but to get to my son’s search date required a whopping 257 doublings. The calculator had packed it in by now so we settled on five doublings (350 years from now): our house in the suburbs would exceed $16 million, a loaf of bread would push $100 and there would be more than 200 billion people on the planet.
One has to wonder at what point “sustained” growth must slow or stop. So here’s a few questions. What will “economic recovery” mean, long-term? How many years can we demand more and more? Do we have even a single doubling left up our collective sleeve? What does “double-digit growth” in China imply? Is there enough to go around? How much is enough?
We’re told that “growth is good”. But it seems to my son and I, two average Joes, that infinite growth is impossible. Could we be seeing signs of “the great mathematical slowdown” today?
– Matthew Blain, Heathmont
Less would be more
Thornton McCamish has given us a truly insightful analysis of the state of social equity in Australia (“On the slide. Whatever happened to the classless society?”, 16/8). His remedy of “building a society we all want to live in” is equally admirable, but achieving equality needs to be seen as a part of the solution to an even bigger problem – the relentless war humanity is waging on the finite global environment.
The answer lies in replacing our dysfunctional, endless growth-based economy with a steady-state economy, one in which creativity and respect for all replaces the quest for material affluence and dominance.
– Geoff Mosley, Hurstbridge
The late Reverend Martin Luther King jnr. said, “Unlike the plagues of the Dark Ages…the modern plague of overpopulation is solvable with means we have discovered and with resources we possess.”
We’ve heard endless talk about sustainability. Population growth and growth in the rates of consumption of resources cannot be sustained. It’s dishonest to talk about saving the environment, conservation or climate change without stressing the fact that stopping population growth is a necessary condition for sustainability.
Our capitalist society worships growth. But growth at the cost of ecosystems and native species shows we humans are narcissistic and self-indulgent.
King said that alien visitors to our planet would observe that we spend “paltry sums for population planning, even though its spontaneous growth is an urgent threat to life on our planet”. He was a visionary before his time.
– Vivienne Ortega, Heidelberg Heights
On Jon Faine’s ABC talkback (27/8) Premier Brumby stated: “I have always supported population growth.” This statement highlights the total disconnect between the Brumby Government and reality.
The evidence for the impact of population growth worldwide on depletion of natural resources and climate change is overwhelming. And yet, here we have a government, that for some reason best known to themselves, believes that Victoria stands alone on this planet as being immune from the consequences of overpopulation.
Where is the leadership that will stand up to this insanity?
– Tony Jones, Healesville