“Sir Bob Geldof calls for women to have fewer children”, The National (UAE), 16/3. The musician and activist made these remarks during a visit to the United Arab Emirates, but the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, rejected this suggestion:
“It’s not entirely clear to me that the way to succeed is to stop having children,” said Sheikh Nahyan, also at the forum. “They are the future.”
He said it would be better to focus on food production and consumption, as well as energy, water, pollution, deforestation, biodiversity, urbanisation and disease.
Sheikh Nahyan also quoted the UN as saying “we should not ask whether we are too many, but what can we do to make the world better”.
A foolish and short-sighted response. The Middle East generally has a large and growing population of young people, many of whom are impoverished, and even some of those educated have little in the way of job opportunities. This has been one unpublicized motivation behind the “Arab Spring” – venting anger and frustration at their situation.
Like China, Middle Eastern countries are facing a “perfect storm” of rising populations and dwindling resources, and are scouring the world to alleviate this, mainly by buying up farmland in countries such as Australia and Africa, something which understandably meets with resentment from many citizens there. Something has to give.
But Geldof called on the UAE to accept the harsh reality now and avoid disastrous consequences later.
“They either find a cultural way to make this acceptable or they’re going to have an anthropogenic critical event,” he said.
Global consumption is also expected to increase by 1,600 per cent in the next 90 years.
“I think the tipping point has been reached,” Geldof said. “There can’t be more people on the Earth than we can feed.”
They can’t say that they haven’t been warned.
Speaking of celebrities, “Cherryl Barassi on hoons, suicide pills and ratbags in sport”, H-S, 3/3. The wife of a well-known former Australian footballer had a few incisive things to say, including opinions on population growth. In the print article this was also included in a sidebar:
“Overpopulation and rabid consumerism are destroying our one and only beautiful little planet. Even the one-percenters who run the show can’t be happy in this climate of greed and denial. We are the ka-ching dynasty.
“How about we cancel public funding of the IVF program, and any other breeding incentives, and make it easier to adopt around the world?
“I’m tired of hearing about rights, the right to have 12 children, 12 cars and 12 televisions in one household. I’d like to hear more about responsibility.”