Adelaide was voted Australia’s most livable city, with Sydney getting the most negative votes. Population growth has contributed to the latter, and Melbourne is not far behind in increasing unliveability. The surveyors were the Property Council of Australia, a body which has a vested interest in promoting growth. Adelaide has a comparatively small population – a major factor in its livability – but if the PCA has its way (one representative on a TV news report was all but foaming at the prospect of the city’s growth), the city too will be ruined by inflated house prices, overdevelopment and lagging infrastructure.
“Baillieu Government releases land for two new Melbourne suburbs”, Herald-Sun, 23/1. This gets me foaming at the mouth in rage – the Liberal Government is continuing the reckless growth policy of its predecessors. More open land (and carbon sinks) around Melbourne will be smothered in housing estates, contributing to the environmental degradation of the region. It won’t result in lower house prices, not with investors and developers looking to make profits. It also further jeopardizes the city’s food security, with arable land disappearing under housing estates.
“Population 7 Billion”, National Geographic, January 2011. An overview of the world’s population numbers, but the article optimistically suggests that reducing consumption and good old “human ingenuity” will solve our problems rather than reducing growth.
But one can also draw a different conclusion—that fixating on population numbers is not the best way to confront the future. People packed into slums need help, but the problem that needs solving is poverty and lack of infrastructure, not overpopulation. Giving every woman access to family planning services is a good idea—“the one strategy that can make the biggest difference to women’s lives,” Chandra calls it. But the most aggressive population control program imaginable will not save Bangladesh from sea level rise, Rwanda from another genocide, or all of us from our enormous environmental problems.
But aggressive control certainly would help mitigate such disasters! Only a totalitarian world government could implement such a policy, though.
“No 11 - and yes, it was the milkman”, H-S, 21/1. If this isn’t a flagrant abuse of government-funded IVF, I don’t know what is! 11 children – plus 3 from a previous marriage (natural or IVF is not stated) – and she still wants more. Apparently she’s got nothing better to do than contribute to overpopulation. Educated women supposedly want smaller families – that is one of the benefits stated for family planning aid in developing countries – but Australia appears to be going backward in that regard. Whether the children are “wanted” or not is irrelevant – her having so many is selfish and irresponsible. Removing government benefits for having 3 or more children (i.e. the 3rd child onward would not receive benefits) would prove a big disincentive, as well as providing IVF funding only for a woman’s first child. No government seems to have the courage to do that, however.