February 1, 2009

"The Optimum Population Trust... says each baby born in Britain will... burn carbon roughly equivalent to 2½ acres of old-growth oak woodland...."

Why old-growth oak woodland? Why specify your absolute favorite form of vegetation in comparison to a completely generic baby? We're just talking about carbon emissions over the course of a lifetime. Why not weigh one largish cornfield against the entire lifetime of love and service of somebody's adorable grandma?
Jonathon Porritt, who chairs the government’s Sustainable Development Commission, says curbing population growth through contraception and abortion must be at the heart of policies to fight global warming....

“I am unapologetic about asking people to connect up their own responsibility for their total environmental footprint and how they decide to procreate and how many children they think are appropriate,” Porritt said.
Actively promoting abortion as a matter of fundamental morality?
Porritt, who has two children, intends to persuade environmental pressure groups to make population a focus of campaigning.

“Many organisations think it is not part of their business. My mission with the Friends of the Earth and the Greenpeaces of this world is to say: ‘You are betraying the interests of your members by refusing to address population issues and you are doing it for the wrong reasons because you think it is too controversial,” he said.

Porritt, a former chairman of the Green party, says the government must improve family planning, even if it means shifting money from curing illness to increasing contraception and abortion.
Yeah, why cure illnesses? Let them loose to off more people with carbon footprints. True, it's not as good as abortion, where you avoid the entire life of an old-growth forest killer. But a couple of middle-age disease deaths is the equivalent of an abortion, and these things add up. Just think of the immense progress in population control we could get with a major flu epidemic or bold new plague.
"We still have one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancies in Europe and we still have relatively high levels of pregnancies going to birth, often among women who are not convinced they want to become mothers."
High levels of pregnancies going to birth.... In the U.S., anyone at all mainstream has the decency to say they support abortion rights but that doesn't mean they are pro-abortion. This story is from the U.K., where, apparently, the political — the moral — discourse is different.[NOTE: The "anyone at all mainstream" sentence was not meant to apply to those who oppose abortion rights, and I did not anticipate that it would confuse some readers. My point is simply that in the United States, those who support abortion rights know they need to speak in terms of freedom of choice and not to affirmatively promote abortion.]

And one more thing. Why are we supposed to care about carbon footprints? Because of global warming? But why do we care about global warming? Because it will hurt people. If we see people as the problem, then there's nothing to care about anymore.

ADDED: There is a glaring error in this post! EDH, in the comments, prompted me: "higher atmospheric CO2 levels would help plant life." The new babies aren't harming the old-growth forest at all. They are feeding it! Tree lovers should appreciate the infusion of CO2. Now, supposing it's true and things do warm up. Won't the plants be happy? Antarctica could be re-forested.

115 comments:

some said...

Global warming has mindshare, and so every remotely related concern tries to make the connection.

I agree it's silly, but then so is the opposite position, that higher population always makes the world a better place.

New York said...

But why do we care about global warming? Because it will hurt people. If we see people as the problem, then there's nothing to care about anymore.

You are mistaken.

They care about GW because it harms Gaia.... or rather disrespects Gaia or relates to her in an unaesthetic mannner.

joated said...

"Why are we supposed to care about carbon footprints? Because of global warming? But why do we care about global warming? Because it will hurt people. If we see people as the problem, then there's nothing to care about anymore."

Certainly seems to be a case of circular (il)logic.

some said...

We care about GW because it harms future generations. Greater population now harms future populations as well. It degrades their quality of life (be reducing environmental services).

Come on, don't root for "Idocracy World" ... where everyone has a big screen tv and a nice cup of 'lectroyltes, and that's about it.

Richard Fagin said...

We're supposed to care about global warming because it hurts Mother Earth (Gaia, if you prefer), not because it hurts people.

If they weren't threatining all of human civilzation, these people would be funny. They have no concept of geologic time or of the processes that are believed to take place on the Earth's surface. A commenter yesterday said that nature will eventually cover up all trace of our civilzation was in fact correct. Considering that in a few million years, give or take, San Francisco is likely be where Juneau, Alaska is today, and half the Gulf of Mexico will be filled up with sediments from North America, and that some of today's plains will be oceans, it's really hard to worry about a degree or two or a few old trees.

The trees won't be there in the future any more than we will be.

Once you understand the scale of the forces that shape the Earth's surface, you can understand that humankind's long term effects on the planet are hardly measurable.

There is no compromise with these people on human activity that doesn't needlessly destroy, or lay waste to current resources, but at the same time allows civilzation to advance. They are religious fanatics and the faster everyone else recognizes this, the better off we'll all be. They're the Taliban wearing vines and leaves instead of turbans

ddh said...

"But why do we care about global warming? Because it will hurt people. If we see people as the problem, then there's nothing to care about anymore."

Because global warming will harm the cuddly-wuddly sea kittens, who are Gaia's most innocent creations--unless you consider old-growth oak trees.

some said...

Simple question Fagin: Do you care if your great grandchildren ever taste wild salmon?

It's true, in gelogic time (was that satire?) some other species will replace us and them, but this isn't about that.

This is about us choosing our quality of life over that of our children just a few generations removed.

Bob said...

They love the Earth more than they love their fellow humans, and usually want a personal exemption for themselves.

If you love the earth that much, commit suicide.

vet66 said...

The muslim ummah could care less about GW. If Porritt has his way, the west will fade into insignificance as the populations of third world countries overcome the liberal west.

China learned the hard way about what happens when you limit births in their culture. You lose voters and you lose support groups for the generation being replaced.

I think oak is being used because it represents the density of the brains infecting those that dream up these feel-good philosophies of boogey-men and existential threats. I remember the old fables of "Chicken Little" and "Henny Penny" that taught the reader the lesson of avoiding hysterics and doom-sayers.

It must be grant qualification time...

traditionalguy said...

"you can never do enough to justify your miseable existence, therefor sacrifice yourself to us", Thus Spake every historically powerful religious priesthood. The new World Rulers will use the priestly sacrifice system of Climate Regulation( the air itself) axpecting that the religious propensity of men will get them 51%+1 votes to declare their new regime. Jimmy Carter will gladly help them out.False Guilt trips like this one, comparing your worth to Monumental Trees, will hammer the world like tribal drum beats until no one thinks for himself and a new Lord of the Flies arises. All they have left to do to succeed at this Revolution is to isolate, demonise and render silent the Judeo- Christian tradition of Righteousness by faith.

Skyler said...

These people are unadulterated evil.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

I don't know that I have ever tasted wild salmon.

bearing said...

In the U.S., anyone at all mainstream has the decency to say they support abortion rights but that doesn't mean they are pro-abortion. T

Hey, come on Ann, there are enough abortion opponents in this country that "anyone at all mainstream" might say they support abortion rights or might say they don't.

Bob said...

Laura(southernxyl) said...

I don't know that I have ever tasted wild salmon.


I've heard it tastes like chicken.

some said...

I got to go to Alaska this past summer, with my nephew. I didn't catch a salmon, but he did. I caught some halibut, and we went on a bear hunt.

It was great. It was what Southern California was like before we caught and killed everything (tiny scraps remain).

Many of you above choose to see the rest of it go away, while blaming the worry on your bogeymen, the enviros.

Hunters and fishers are divided. Some seem happy just to get theirs while they can. Others found Trout Unlimited, or Ducks Unlimited, to try to keep it around. I think I'm on their side. I love nature (including eating it!), but I don't want to be the last generation that does so.

john said...

Porritt, a former chairman of the Green party, says he will kill both his children as a matter of doing his fair share and showing "just what can be done when we put our minds to the task". "Everybody needs to sacrifice a little here and there, and I am not about to put my family's petty interests above those of the planet".

He also said that he and his wife had discussed merely amputating the childrens legs, thus technically eliminating their carbon footprints, however "we decided to go whole hog here, and the wife and kids are really excited about it. Our youngest planned on making this his science project for middle school, however, timing may be an issue given what's at stake."

chuckR said...

Old-growth oak woodland? Wasn't that lumbered off to produce the pre-steel Royal Navy? Don't you need more than 150-200 years to produce old growth? But I'll bet those not so old growth trees do have fuzzy bunnies and kittehs in them.

If the Trust members feel so strongly, the UK has many short piers - they can take a long walk off them. No time like the present to limit the old carbon footprint. I wish some of these folks had the courage of their convictions.

LarsPorsena said...

Old-growth oak, Bah.
My kids burn mahagony.

EDH said...

True, higher atmospheric CO2 levels would help plant life. And beside its supposed effects on humans, global warming is pretty much a wash amongst the fauna.

In P.C. terms, it would seem the 1960s chant "burn baby, burn" is finally anti-social.

What's the new chant, spurn baby, spurn ?

Pogo said...

The Global Warmers are just another death cult, seeking purification through death, mostly yours.

We've seen their kind before, under many different guises. Death cults are always seductive to the rootless, and terribly dangerous.

john said...

some -

In your Malthusian fantasy, did polar bears frolic among the ice flows in the LA River?

Jason (the commenter) said...

Porritt, who has two children, intends to persuade environmental pressure groups to make population a focus of campaigning.

From the article:

The fertility rate for women born outside Britain is estimated to be 2.5, compared with 1.7 for those born here.

Porritt isn't an environmentalist, he's a racist. He's even had more than the average number of kids. I bet one of them is named Hitler.

some said...

John, the last grizzly was shot in my local hills (about 5 miles from where I work) just over 100 years ago.

Sofa King said...

Through centuries of scourges and disasters, brought about by your code of morality, you have cried that your code had been broken, that the scourges were punishment for breaking it, that men were too weak and too selfish to spill all the blood it required. You damned men, you damned existence, you damned this earth, but never dared to question your code. Your victims took the blame and struggled on, with your curses as reward for their martyrdom - while you went on crying that your code was noble, but human nature was not good enough to practice it. And no one rose to ask the question: Good? - by what standard?

I refuse to accept as guilt the fact of my own existence.

John Lynch said...

Malthus strikes again.

I'm tired of these people who want to sacrifice the next generation to the doomsday fad of the moment.

Overpopulation is bunk, running out of resources is bunk, and global warming is bunk.

Unfortunately, people who want to control our lives in the name of some mythical emergency are very real.

some said...

So, is everybody asking contraceptionists to off themselves willing to do the opposite, and move to India? China?

You accuse whatsisname of being a racist, but it seems to me you have a very insular view of what your world is.

Or, are you also open borders types? Ready to let the Indians and Chinese rush in?

Freeman Hunt said...

So for the six kids we want, that's 15 acres. Wow, only 15 acres for 6 people?! And that's supposed to put us off having more people around? Seems like an excellent trade.

some said...

That really is a great bottom line - Ann, if you really think you'd be happier in a US with a billion people, you can have it. Just open the border for a year.

bearing said...

some, you mean to ask for real?

I'm sure a proponent of increased immigration. I wouldn't call myself "open borders" because I think we should have a legal process that works, but it should be one that allows for generous immigration from all nations, of people who want to become Americans.

I really can't figure out why opposition to draconian population control measures is supposed to make me a racist. Is it that you can't imagine the logical process that gets me there, unless I have some ulterior motive?

some said...

Freeman, since our comments got interspersed, I'll note that I don't really blame individuals for big-family choices .... I just hope not everybody does it. Hopefully there is room for both city singletons and country families in the world. Hopefully.

(Ann, the CO2 and trees thing was studied extensively in the 90's, the results were not encouraging.)

Skyler said...

some wrote: John, the last grizzly was shot in my local hills (about 5 miles from where I work) just over 100 years ago.

And it's a good thing too. Grizzlies are vicious, they don't have fear and they kill people. Grizzlies and people cannot live together.

I remember a few decades ago when I lived in SoCal, some idiots wanted to bring grizzlies back to the Los Angeles mountains. Fortunately, even in California such lunacy is not accepted.

It is the definition of evil to prefer animals to live at the expense of people.

some said...

bearing, I admire your consistency, but dollars to donuts, I bet most anti-contraceptionists don't share it.

Pogo said...

" I'll note that I don't really blame individuals for big-family choices"

That's mighty white of you.

some said...

You should see the housing tracts out in Wasilla, Sykler. They have arguments now in the suburbs growing around Anchorage, between the bear killers and non (black bears there).

Yes, we can grow the suburbs to every nook and cranny, and kill every species that is dangerous. Is that really the world you want to leave?

rhhardin said...

the Friends of the Earth and the Greenpeaces

The plural he wants is Friends of the Earths.

jdeeripper said...

Ed Begley Jr. has THREE carbon producing monsters.

That's right, Mr. Recycled Toilet paper using, Prius driving, Sandal wearing, solar powered, bike riding, compost loving, alfalfa noshing, blond Frankenstein has contributed THREE of these biochemical monstrosities to the world.

Yet I have produced NO children and therefore kept my carbon contribution to a minimum.

Ed Begley Jr can go fuck himself. If he had it would be a better world.

john said...

some -

A billion people in a year? Where in S CA will they drive?

I don't think you are getting much argument here on destruction of species habitat, however, when you travel to Alaska to go fishing and hunting, you are relying on the infrastructure and population of that state to provide you with the airport, car rental, hotel, clean sheets, grilled salmon, beer, bullets, hooks and worms, someone to clean your catch and Fed Ex it frozen to your home, and all the amenities you and your party needed to have the best vacation you ever had. Then you wag your tongue about how the state along with Sarah Palin's backyard is going to shit with all the sprawl, then fly back to LA. Of all places. Sheesh.

john said...

There I said it - Sarah Palin. Let's go to 200 comments before Super Bowl!

(Nothing personal some, I make the same complaints when I go on vacation.)

chuckR said...

Some, I agree that there isn't perpetual abundance of desirable animals and plants. We wiped out the passenger pigeon a century ago. We are on course to do that with both tuna and swordfish - although maybe not to total extinction. On the other hand, one of the ecological success stories is the reforestation of New England. Nothing noble about it - just that a century and more ago, it became obvious that it was more profitable to farm mid-West dirt than to farm New England rocks. Consequently, here in Rhode Island, with 1.2m people in 900 sq miles, we have a some black bears, fisher cats, coyotes, bobcats and more damn deer than we've had in centuries. Humans aren't the only adaptable species.

MadisonMan said...

Professor, if the Earth warms enough that Antarctica can be reforested, Earth'll be pretty much an oven elsewhere.

john said...

some -

OT, but when you were up there in Wassila oould you see Russia?

Ann Althouse said...

"Professor, if the Earth warms enough that Antarctica can be reforested, Earth'll be pretty much an oven elsewhere."

But this is about the plants. How hot must it be before the plants have a problem?

Pal2Pal said...

anyone at all mainstream has the decency to say they support abortion rights

Whoa! I consider myself both mainstream and decent and I do not support abortion and consider it to be straight out murder. What's more, I think less of anyone who has succumbed to what I consider to be moral weakness and narcissism to have an elective abortion. I don't try to foist my opinion on others, but that doesn't change how deeply I hold that opinion, but then I don't live in "mainstream" (uh huh) Madison. Perhaps the standards are different there.

If this jerk wants to reduce his carbon imprint, I suggest he start with offing himself and save the planet from the breeding of anymore of his arrogant narcissistic idiocy.

Meade said...

I don't care about the stupid trees and plants. If it all leads to a planet with fewer Skylers and Earth Firsters and more hospitable to cockroaches, I'll be satisfied.

Let human evolution start over with a clean slate, if fate will have it. We had our run and it produced mixed results.

I myself will go quietly into that good night happy and content, knowing we left a safer and more prosperous world for blogging cockroaches.

The mistake we humans made was in squandering our intellects, resources, energy, and science on things like liposuction, socialism, veganism, and stupid religions like Islam and Global Warmingism. All when we should have been building spaceships to take us away to colonize new worlds.

We blew it and now the bill will soon be due.

Meade said...

And by 'will soon be due,' I mean relatively soon --

like in 500,000 years.

russellandduenes said...

This is just eugenics under a new guise, pure and simple. People like Porritt hate anyone who doesn't think like them and global warming provides nice moral cover for their hairbrained notiongs.

bearing said...

some, why make bets like that?

Sit down with some real people and find out what they really think.

The temptation to create strawmen and have satisfying arguments with them in your head, arguments where you're always going to come out the winner because you can imagine all kinds of inconsistencies in your interlocutors, is very strong. I have succumbed to it myself.

But really, I think you'll find that many people who really are "anti-contraceptionists" are so because of a real belief in the dignity of the human person. Logically, this belief is incompatible with racism.

Is everybody logical? No. Are you going to find believers in the dignity of the human person who are also racists, or who hold political opinions that you think are contradicted by the same beliefs they claim to hold? Probably. The thing to do, should you encounter such a person, is not to mock them as hypocrites but rather try to show how their true and good moral belief in human dignity ought to lead them to a different political position.

I have some experience with this, as I'm both anti-abortion and anti-death penalty. Me, I think the motives that cause people to be anti-death-penalty also ought to move them to be anti-abortion. But it's going to do me no good to just call them hypocrites; I'd rather encourage the impulse towards mercy and protection, and gently suggest that the impulse ought be even more expansive, to cover people yet unborn.

Michael McNeil said...

Extending ChuckR's remarks, as the New York Times reported a couple days ago, more than fifty acres of new rain forest are growing up for every acre now being cut down.

As far as “wild salmon” and tuna et al. are concerned, it's quite likely that in a few decades we'll be plucking wild salmon, tuna, and even beefsteaks as fruit off of (genetically engineered) trees.

Oligonicella said...

Notice how some is spouting things without cite. Typical and for a reason. The data does not support.

Try this one, some. I like salmon. I eat farmed salmon leaving wild ones alone. Makes me morally superior to your stance, eh?

Trees growing at the poles does not mean an oven elsewhere. Could easily mean more violent weather to move the heat around.

Those who want the death of humanity to 'save' the world have it backwards. Higher tech saves the world by reducing the need to impact it and generating the ability to survive as families with fewer members. Trying to kill humanity will simply put us back down the ladder of improvement and restart the cycle, not end it.

But then, their stated goals are not their real ones.

paul a'barge said...

Fighting global warming with abortion?

Whoa Nellie!

What's next? Eugenics? Oh wait .... Planned Parenthood ....

Heather said...

Going off to watch Idiocracy.

Heather said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
some said...

I used to eat the farmed salmon, but sadly the data has turned. Salmon farmers used too much antibiotics and feed them too densely. So much so that the state of Maine had to ban salmon farming to protect their environment.

I wish that wasn't true, that fish farming just "worked" but there it is.

(On bearing's comment I guess we can just ask you all. How many who promote big US families also call for an open border with Mexico? For a new Ellis Island to accept as many Chinese as will fit in a container ship?)

Bill said...

some: Simple question Fagin: Do you care if your great grandchildren ever taste wild salmon?

Presumably if our great-grandchildren want a piece of 'wild salmon', they'll order it from the food replicator, like everything else.

Skyler said...

"some's" false dichotomy: Yes, we can grow the suburbs to every nook and cranny, and kill every species that is dangerous. Is that really the world you want to leave?

If dangerous animals try to live where I choose to live, then yes, I see nothing wrong with that.

Mountain lions look very beautiful until they're eating your child or your wife.

Given the choice, the lion will lose my vote every time.

Ann Althouse said...

My "anyone decent" remark was intended to refer only to abortion supporters. I can see now that it could be misread but it was pretty clear in context. I'll add a front page correction if two more readers tell me it confused them.

Gahrie said...

The biggest problem facing Europe today is already a declining birth rate. Europe is slowly being assimilated by the medieval Muslim world while the modern Western world slowly withers. In nearly every European nation, European birth rates are below replacement levels while (largely Muslim) non-European, (non-assimilated) birth rates are soaring.

Read Mark Steyn.

reader_iam said...

Althouse: FWIW, I read that sentence as you meant it because I'm used to your writing, familiar with your views and know what you're referring to, but I did "stutter" for a second to make that adjustment ... in pretty much the exact way I do when I'm editing (for pay) something which I then "flag" for the following author query: "Are you confident everyone will read this as you intend it be understood?"

Again, FWIW. I'd change it, myself.

reader_iam said...

Yeah, yeah, I know I'm enigmatic, opaque, oblique, whatever all the time in comments--but, for me, it's a functionally different sort of thing and, regardless, Althouse brought it up--I wouldn't have offered my two cents on it otherwise.

chuck b. said...

Oh, that says "OPTIMUM population trust". I read it as opium. I'm like, "Yes, yes, when are we getting to the opium?"

Simon said...

If Porrit's suggestion is adopted, I propose that we burn three acres of old-growth oak woodland for every child aborted as a result. Preferably in a pile, underneath Porrit. What a ghastly little human being he is.

If people advocate murder to deal with global warming, they should have the common decency to make themselves their first victim.

Skyler said...

I, too, think that your decency comment is rather bizarre and it's hard to get the meaning out of it that you say is intended.

PatCA said...

According to the last generation of ZPGers we were all supposed to be dead of famine by 1989, so I suspect this guy has a political rather than practical motive.

As I told a childless (for ZPG reasons) person, it only works if everyone does it. The giant sucking sound of immigration is due to the population vacuum in developed countries and the oveflow from third world countries.

Maybe this guy should hook up with "Condoms for All" Pelosi and "Abortions for the World" Obama. Is he angling for a White House Czar position or something?

Steve Dillard said...

Ann-

That sentence confused me as well. I think it can be read either way, so some clarification would be helpful.

Simon said...

John Lynch said...
"I'm tired of these people who want to sacrifice the next generation to the doomsday fad of the moment."

Indeed. “I am unapologetic about asking people to connect up their own responsibility for their total Jewish footprint and how they decide to procreate and how many children they think are appropriate,” Porridge would have said seventy years ago.

Meade said...

I got what she meant and I take a back seat to no one when it comes to opacity.

But I'm not sure I agree. I think a decent argument could be made that there exists a fair number of decent "pro choice" mainstreamers who are in fact "pro abortion" about unwanted embryos which have not yet developed a neural spark and become "brain alive" at around 20 weeks of gestation.

Richard Fagin said...

A simple answer to your simple question, Some, is I do not advocate will-nilly destruction of species, habitat or resources. On the other hand, Optimum Population Trust, Earth First!, PETA and many other so-called "environmentalists" have as an ultimate goal the end of human technological civilization. These people equate human impact on the Earth with evil.

And no, reference to geologic time was not intended to be flip. We've gone throuh ice ages and back in only a couple of tens of thousands of years. We will go through another planetary magnetic field reversal in only a few thousand to a few hundred thousand years. What are you and the rest of life on Earth going do when there is no Earth magnetic field for a thousand years or so to block the solar wind (a steady stream of charged atomic particles? Are you even aware that this will happen?

The fact that you set up a straw man choice indicates that you do not understand what the point was.

Michael McNeil said...

Mountain lions look very beautiful until they're eating your child or your wife.
Given the choice, the lion will lose my vote every time.


This is a slur against mountain lions. While large carnivores such as grizzly (brown) bears and polar bears, along with big cats like tigers and lions, are known to track, kill, and eat human beings, such behavior is exceedingly rare for the North American mountain lion (aka puma, cougar, panther, etc.) -- tens of thousands of whom have lived in close proximity to human towns, suburbs, and farms for at least a hundred years. Despite this, not only are the big cats rarely even seen, but they attack people extremely seldom.

Encyclopaedia Britannica put it thus in its article on pumas: “As there are few authentic reports of attacks on people, it is not considered a particularly dangerous animal.”

Similarly, Wikipedia's article on cougars states:

“Between 1890 and 1990, in North America there were 53 reported and confirmed attacks on humans, resulting in 48 nonfatal injuries and 10 deaths of humans (the total is greater than 53 because some attacks had more than one victim). By 2004, the count had climbed to 88 attacks and 20 deaths.

“Within North America, the distribution of attacks is not uniform. The heavily populated state of California has seen a dozen attacks since 1986 (after just three from 1890 to 1985), including three fatalities. Lightly populated New Mexico reported an attack in 2008, the first there since 1974.”

Once again, this minuscule toll occurred despite tens of thousands of such big cats (second only to the jaguar in size on the American continents) living in close proximity to people.

Clearly, even when a (sane) mountain lion is starving, it still refrains from attacking people. Obviously only an extremely insane cat, very divergent from the mountain lion norm, ever stoops to attacking a human being.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

I will admit to having skimmed over the "mainstream" statement upon originally reading the post, but after it was brought to my attention I did find it somewhat dismaying.

I thought it was more of the "everyone who's cool agrees with me" argument, whereby if it's pointed out that X disagrees it can then be argued that X isn't cool. You know, all the cool scientists have signed onto global warming, and so forth.

Not to mention, that like others who have commented, I think I am decent and not do not deviate from the mainstream to any great extent, and I don't support abortion rights, unless by "rights" one means the right to terminate a pregnancy prior to viability if this is necessary to save the mother's life.

(One might, of course, reasonably argue that the sign of a thoughtful person is that he or she deviates from the mainstream at some point; but this argument probably should not serve as an excuse for eccentricity for its own sake.)

Howard said...

Richard and Olig are correct. There is big scary nature waiting to eat our lunches and we cannot do nothing about it except adapt. Wealth automatically reduces birthrates, improves the environment and improves adaptability. The sustainable lifestyle touted by the neurotic greens is, in fact unsustainable.

That is not to say some is wrong. Habitat and species depredation are real problems quite unrelated to the AGW hysteria.

Skyler: does the whole anal retentive wimp gig pay dividends? I like our mountain lions, they keep folks like you off the good hiking trails.

reader_iam said...

Let's hear it for eccentricity for its own sake, I say!

Skyler said...

McNeil, that was a great example of really strange logic. Mountain lions aren't dangerous and yet you recite scores of times where they've attacked people, including dozens of deaths. I'm not sure what your point is. Seems to me that you've demostrated quite clearly that mountain lions are dangerous killers.

Howard, hiding behind his computer, says rude things that he would never say to my face. I'll bet if a mountain lion tries to eat him, he wouldn't think it so beautiful anymore while its jaws are clamping down on his throat. If a mountain lion attacks him, and he has the means to defend himself and yet refuses to do so because it's so pretty, then I would say that he's not the one to be calling others wimps.

Michael McNeil said...

McNeil, that was a great example of really strange logic. Mountain lions aren't dangerous and yet you recite scores of times where they've attacked people, including dozens of deaths. I'm not sure what your point is. Seems to me that you've demostrated quite clearly that mountain lions are dangerous killers.

It's not strange logic at all. Ten deaths between 1890 and 1990 (a century of time) across a country with the size and population of the United States — given the fact that tens of thousands of these cats roam not far from millions of people — is not at all a large toll. Please think!

For comparison, in just the year 1994 almost 2,000 people — mainly children — died in swimming pools in this country.

Cedarford said...

Jonathon Porritt, who chairs the government’s Sustainable Development Commission,

.........Is probably dead silent about high Muslim and African breeding rates in the UK and elsewhere..and is only calling on Westerners to achieve the "optimum" 2 kids/family rate.

*************
Vet66 - China learned the hard way about what happens when you limit births in their culture. You lose voters and you lose support groups for the generation being replaced.

China is staying with the one child policy. It proudly announced that 390 of 500 women given license for a new child after the Sichuan Earthquake were pregnant again. But with 300 million underemployed or unemployed Chinese despite them destroying much of the worlds manufacturing jobs due to globalism - they feel that they have no choice but to get China to a new, lower stable population to survive as a prosperous culture.
While China recognizes it's elederly care problem, they are making it a social responsibility of the family - a new family will take in the old, feed them and wipe their butts 'till they die. Not making it a state function like in the US where we are taught our obligations to aged parents basically end at 18 and it is society's job instead to give them all the welfare and money for services they need.

The China model is actually more stable than the US one, which economists believe will come crashing down in insolvency faster than even the European welfare state.

With 300 million people, up from only 160 million 60 years ago and on schedule to see another 120 million in under 50 years and whites to become a minority race by 2042...with gridlock everywhere, stagnant wages, permanently unemployed, water shortages already a fact of life in 8 states, and 42 trillion in unfunded liabilities to the aged coming due - we fret about the stability of the Han?

With an Arab welfare momma with 6 kids getting what looks to be free fertility treatments and the free obstretric care of 46 staff for her "blessed new babies" - in a State now bankrupted by too many parasites............Single woman, 14 kids (so far) and white and Asian taxpayers on the hook for her lifetime needs?

We honestly think our Religious Right and lauding high breeder woman example to the world of "the more babies the better"....is honestly a better long term strategy than the sustainable growth strategy and increasingly putting elderly support on families that other advanced nations are using?

Remember that in 2050, the US - mainly due to unchecked immigration and high breeding minorities - will reach what China had in 1900 - 420 million people, with a high probability of American loss in standard of living, quality of life, and average wage as we move into the future unless we seriously address what sort of America we want for the future and not shut our minds to what will happen. What will happen if we go blind into that future and think slogans like "Rights and Maximum Freedom!! for all Freedom Lovers!!!" "Open Borders for All Freedom Lovers who want in to America!! - with society covering the costs of all individual failures, immigrants with no job skills, and excesses (like breeding past the ability to support your own spawn).

****************
John Lynch - Overpopulation is bunk, running out of resources is bunk, and global warming is bunk.

I have my beefs about excessive Leftist ideology and proposed measures about global warming and blaming the West for collapsing 3rd World ecosystems. But next to ill-educated conservatives denying that there is any truth to the growing danger of resource constraints, destruction of ecosystems with future mass extinction events likely, and regions collapsing from overpopulation - they look like fucking geniuses.

bearing said...

We honestly think our Religious Right and lauding high breeder woman example to the world of "the more babies the better"....is honestly a better long term strategy than the sustainable growth strategy and increasingly putting elderly support on families that other advanced nations are using?

See what I mean about straw men?

Fred4Pres said...

Well there was lots of sacrificing of adults and children in the good old days of pre Roman Britannia when the Druid priests were running the show, and it specifically involved oak trees mistletoe and other plant references, so I would not consider this comment just a coincidence. Remember leftists would speak of right wing code speak? Well this is left wing ecothiest nutter speak.

I think I recall an old story about a guy who almost sacrificed his son, but was spared doing so. I wonder what that was about?

Laura(southernxyl) said...

"I'll bet if a mountain lion tries to eat him, he wouldn't think it so beautiful anymore while its jaws are clamping down on his throat."

I am reminded of Whathisname in Jurassic Park (the movie), admiringly saying "Clever girl" to the raptor right before she eats him.

John Lynch said...

There's been hundreds of years of predictions that growing population and resource use will kill us all.

Still hasn't happened, and I'm not ignorant for pointing it out. These Malthusian arguments never take into account innovation, new technology, or the inaccuracy of previous predictions. How many wrong predictions until the people who keep buying them are the ignorant ones?

Again, overpopulation is bunk, running out of resources is bunk, and global warming is bunk.

Club of Rome. Look it up. See how it worked out. According to the world's best and brightest, we ran out of oil 10-15 years ago. And we're out of food. And livings standards collapsed. Hmm.

And I'm not a conservative.

commenter said...

It may be bunk to you...

Still, it is kinda sad that we all just can't go skinny dip or drink from a mountain stream anymore without second thoughts. I've been to Denver and smelled the river running through town. I've warned my grandkids not to drink it. I know technology will always pull us through anyway. We now have sewers and sewage treatment plants and clean tap water.

If i had to, I'd swim through shit. I would survive. i'd do it once, but not twice. Thirty years ago without all the outcry would you do an open water swim in Lake Erie?

jeff said...

"But next to ill-educated conservatives denying that there is any truth to the growing danger of resource constraints, destruction of ecosystems with future mass extinction events likely, and regions collapsing from overpopulation - they look like fucking geniuses."

Yes, cederford. You and Paul R. Ehrlich are the geniuses. Best thing about predicting this nonsense is you can never be proved wrong. "oh, I didnt mean NOW, I meant 20 years from now". 20 years later you have some other excuse. Or you're hysterical about global cooling.

On a unrelated note, I see you managed to forget to slam the Jews in your last post. Not feeling well today?

jeff said...

"Still, it is kinda sad that we all just can't go skinny dip or drink from a mountain stream anymore without second thoughts."

You couldn't do that 30 years ago either. Compare the level of pollution in those streams with the level today.

Synova said...

Some...

The "problem" of over-population is that in developed countries there isn't a problem. The US population is growing but the birth rate isn't much higher than replacement, and I don't know that it would even reach replacement if we didn't count first or second generation immigrants. I haven't looked *lately*. Europe, barring immigrant fertility is in negatives and might be in negatives even with it.

The thing to do is to promote economic development and people limit their family size on their own. We KNOW this.

If someone wants to combat urban sprawl, that would be an effort I could get behind. Design urban areas to be child-friendly and zoning such that work and stores and housing aren't required to be so far apart.

Synova said...

I can't remember if we had one or two Mountain Lion attacks and deaths in New Mexico last year. Googling I find reports of a man killed but I was certain there was an incident right in my "back yard" where a lion attacked and killed a mountain biker... but I can't find it.

There was also a bear on the freeway this fall and hanging around the middle and elementary schools so that they had lock-downs. The police shot the bear.

The problem wasn't people, but that we had significant fires at the beginning of the summer that burned for weeks.

jdeeripper said...

Cedarford said............Is probably dead silent about high Muslim and African breeding rates in the UK and elsewhere..and is only calling on Westerners to achieve the "optimum" 2 kids/family rate.

France gave an award to a group of women a few years ago because each had many children and were therefore creating a future for France.

ALL the women were Muslims!

I have my beefs about excessive Leftist ideology and proposed measures about global warming and blaming the West for collapsing 3rd World ecosystems. But next to ill-educated conservatives denying that there is any truth to the growing danger of resource constraints, destruction of ecosystems with future mass extinction events likely, and regions collapsing from overpopulation - they look like fucking geniuses.

So true. Sadly, many conservatives seem to pride themselves on their own brand of Realityphobia.

John Lynch said...Again, overpopulation is bunk, running out of resources is bunk, and global warming is bunk.

...And I'm not a conservative.


You're not a lot of things.

bearing said...

The thing to do is to promote economic development and people limit their family size on their own. We KNOW this.

Yes. The idea that helping people have smaller families will cause them to get wealthier and have a higher standard of living is perhaps* noble but puts the cart before the horse.

Look at the U. S., Canada, Western Europe. Does anyone reasonably argue that the economic powers here got successful because modern birth control and abortion allowed them to have smaller families? Isn't it pretty clear that economic prosperity preceded the smaller family?

People desire to pass on their legacy to their children. They'll have enough children to make sure they'll safely be able to do so. Poverty endangers the family, and the danger is counteracted by the safety that's found in numbers.

Sometimes I wonder if the larger families that are getting more common among American conservatives (and I include myself among these for the purposes of discussion) aren't in part explained by a feeling that their values are endangered and having more kids will help fight that. Perhaps social danger, like economic danger, encourages people to reproduce more generously.

bearing said...

*Oops, forgot to add my footnote.

"Perhaps" because I do occasionally wonder if the attempt to make people in developing nations stop reproducing quickly is so that the rest of us can feel more comfortable about how many resources we ourselves are consuming.

Palladian said...

I knew a thread about eugenics and population reduction and elimination would attract a Cedarford comment. Call it a hunch.

blake said...

...California has seen a dozen attacks since 1986 (after just three from 1890 to 1985)...

There's the key bit of data. After averaging 3 attacks a century, we now see (what would be) sixty attacks a century.

Beast in the Garden, anyone?

blake said...

I called this, by the way, about two years ago, Althouse regulars may recall.

I knew that AGW was on the way out and I also knew the environmentalists would need to bring something to the fore as the warming thing lost (heh) steam.

Overpopulation is great because it's so easy to sell to an urban population. (Look at all the people!) This is the same thing that makes "deforestation" and other environmental impact stuff easy to sell: The people who need to buy into it are in places where the effect of man is hugely exaggerated.

Combine that with a lack of understanding about how big things are and how old things are, and you have a pretty easy pitch.

Michael McNeil said...

… California has seen a dozen attacks since 1986 (after just three from 1890 to 1985) …

There's the key bit of data. After averaging 3 attacks a century, we now see (what would be) sixty attacks a century.


Sixty attacks in a century is still almost nothing for a country this size. However, I didn't say that the cats should be coddled. What they and we both need is for them to keep a strong fear of humans in place. Nor are mountain lions at all endangered, so I'd propose that the cats be legally opened up to regular hunting (if they're not already) — which ought to do the trick — but without any attempt being made to eradicate them from anywhere in the country. Cougars' record in avoiding attacks on humans is good enough (i.e., extremely good) that they don't deserve that. And certainly they don't deserve folks being scared to death of them.

chuckR said...

Synova said - If someone wants to combat urban sprawl, that would be an effort I could get behind. Design urban areas to be child-friendly and zoning such that work and stores and housing aren't required to be so far apart.

Nope, that isn't going to do it. After years of living in a city, I got tired of futilely voting for reform candidates and getting government that was expensive, inefficient and mostly outright corrupt and criminal. Lit out for the territories, which strangely enough look like a fairly rural suburb. It takes a lot of work to overcome the natural advantages of city living and our political class has demonstrated this is the one task they are up to.

Michael McNeil said...

Erratum: country this size → state this size (California).

Note that I live in California, in an area where the cats roam, and often camp out in other such areas.

John Lynch said...

I'm not denying that pollution exists. Look around you. We need cleaner air and water for ourselves and everything else on the planet. That's legitimate. Pollution empirically exists, and we can fix it. I'm an environmentalist in that sense. There's value in the world around us beyond what we can use it for. Cleaner air and water regulation is a good idea. Regulations on a gas that doesn't seem to do very much isn't going to help, when we could use the money elsewhere to greater good.

Trying to scare us all (again) with doomsday resource scenarios is not legitimate. It never seems to happen.

Global warming is just another narrative about how we're all doomed if we don't change our ways, and how we need to give the government more power to force us to be virtuous. Shouldn't that be a clue right there?

It amazes me that when I make pretty narrow statements about the validity of certain ideas that people assume that I am ignorant, conservative, or hate the environment. I said nothing of the sort.

Global warming has nothing to do with the environment, because it isn't true. Overpopulation doesn't exist in the sense that we have too many people to support. We're doing it, and we'll continue to do it (the world population is 3x what it was 100 years ago, and we eat better now than we did then). More people isn't necessarily all that bad, if we live in cities and farm less land. That's exactly what's happening.

Resources are a function of technology, so as long as we keep innovating they become cheaper and more plentiful.

I don't understand how centuries of data showing that Malthus was wrong just can't convince people that we're going to run out soon.

John Lynch said...

Hell, Karl Marx wrote a paper attacking Malthus.

When did the Left stop believing in Progress and solving problems through technology? Why is it all about punishing ourselves and valuing sacrifice over results?

It's almost Victorian.

Anorak said...

S-Mother nature - Gaia is all for abortion

http://www.anorak.co.uk/media/201439.html

blake said...

Cougars' record in avoiding attacks on humans is good enough (i.e., extremely good) that they don't deserve that.

It's good because, until recently, they were shot on sight.

Any animal will avoid humans if the policy is shoot on sight. (Or they will soon be extinct.)

Joe said...

Shouldn't this same crowd be supporting the Iraq war then? And the Rwandan genocide? And whatever you want to call what's happening in Sudan?

Synova said...

On bearing's comment I guess we can just ask you all. How many who promote big US families also call for an open border with Mexico? For a new Ellis Island to accept as many Chinese as will fit in a container ship?

I'm an equal opportunity promoter of large families. I also realize that it's more a matter of supporting the idea than promoting it. When it comes right down to it few people in developed countries want a large family. They just don't.

I'm pro-immigration, even though I'd prefer it be legal. I don't understand how immigration is an issue other than to point out that new immigrants to developed nations have more children. If someone is worried about the World Population, then advising those who have lived in developed nations for generations to not have children is misdirected and pointless.

A person almost has to come to the conclusion that people living in developed countries are hectored over it because they are subject to induced guilt and those in developing and third world countries are not.

Not that I advocate pushing either birth control or abortion in those countries. Besides being racist, in my mind, to work that hard to reduce the birth rate of non-caucasians, there is no evidence that it works.

What we know works... and I do repeat myself... what WORKS to reduce fertility is not birth control or infanticide, it is economic development. Economic development results in better education and more opportunities for women. The labor that can be provided by children is replaced by labor that requires education and training. Things change and fertility rates drop.

We know what to do... it just doesn't fit with preferred belief systems.

Skyler said...

On bearing's comment I guess we can just ask you all. How many who promote big US families also call for an open border with Mexico? For a new Ellis Island to accept as many Chinese as will fit in a container ship?

I have no opinion on family size because it's a matter that is no one's business, but if people want big families, hooray for them.

I'm all for allowing absolutely anyone who is not a murderer or thief or other common criminal to come to our wonderful country. I'm also against every from of socialism that twisted minds can devise.

I see no need for an Ellis Island. Our country's strength is not measured by culture or language, it is measured by freedom. If we all spoke Mandarin or Tagoloc, that's okay, so long as we were free to do so or not.

blake said...

Our country's strength is not measured by culture or language, it is measured by freedom.

You don't suppose that freedom and culture are connected in any way, then?

Eric said...

This is funny. The people most likely to be reached by his message are educated white people. They already aren't breeding at anything like replacement rates anywhere in Western Europe or North America.

Convincing just the Greens and Save Teh Earth people not to have kids won't change the population curves one iota. Other cultures will be happy to take up the slack.

Skyler said...

You don't suppose that freedom and culture are connected in any way, then?

Depends on what you mean by culture. If by culture you mean a tradition of freedom, classical liberal ideology, and capitalism, then yes they're connected.

If you mean an appreciation for rock and roll or hamburgers, then no.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

Bearing said:

"... I do occasionally wonder if the attempt to make people in developing nations stop reproducing quickly is so that the rest of us can feel more comfortable about how many resources we ourselves are consuming."

That is probably part of it. There's a school of thought that we ought not to worry about the Chinese and Indians polluting but just go on and do Kyoto unilaterally, b/c we had our fun doing what we wanted without considering the effects, and now it's their turn.

I think part of it, though, is that we would like to think that every human being has the right to at least some minimal quality of life. You certainly hear people saying that they do, and that if they don't, it's the responsibility of those of us who have more material wealth to raise them to it. If I take it upon myself to share what I have so that your children have at least that minimal quality of life, then the more children you have, the more I must share and the less I have for myself. So I might suggest that you limit your childbearing to those children you can provide for, to my standards.

Never mind that you may never have asked me to take all that on. You may think that the life you provide for your kids, while not up to my standards, is just fine.

blake said...

Depends on what you mean by culture.

I mean an understanding and appreciation of how America came to be free.

Synova said...

I mean an understanding and appreciation of how America came to be free.

I don't see immigration as a threat to that. More likely whoever decides how to teach our children is a threat to understanding how America became free (can't offend Native Americans by suggesting that pilgrims and immigrants had a good idea or noble cause). That, and needing to promote capitalism as oppressive.

blake said...

Sure, Synova.

But immigrants bring their own unAmerican issues, if they come in hordes large enough to make a significant political block.

Aztlan anyone?

Cedarford said...

John Lynch - (the world population is 3x what it was 100 years ago, and we eat better now than we did then).

No, it is over 5X greater than in 1900.

Global warming has nothing to do with the environment, because it isn't true.

The debate, John, is not whether or not global warming is true. It is. The two debates are about:
1. Whether or not the warming is man-made (AGW), if so how much, and what level of countering we must agree to across the planet.
2. What is to be done with the people in overpopulated lands now perched on lands immediately threatened by global warming and drought - the largest being 250 million on the Bengal Plain only 1 foot to 6 feet above present sea level, with 60 million at risk in mid-Africa, and add another 400 at risk in other places.
With overpopulated lands and others bordered off into nation-states - it is not like people are free to move to other overpopulated lands or demand that 200 million refugees from the 3rd World show up at America wanting in.

Trying to scare us all (again) with doomsday resource scenarios is not legitimate. It never seems to happen.

No one is trying to "scare" those that deny anything in the future will mar their fat dumb, and happy lives. Just pointing out for the open-minded that resource and overpopulations issues have collapsed other nations and civilizations in the past.

Resources are a function of technology, so as long as we keep innovating they become cheaper and more plentiful.

That is Club For Growth nonsense. Natural Resources are not uniformly a function of "innovative technology". In many instances, no amount of "exciting new technology" has made land, ground water, energy, metal, wood resources cheaper OR more plentiful.

Nor does "exciting miracle technology" even pan out in making certain big budget services items like a quality university education, cost of fielding a quality soldier, or most healthcare "cheaper and more plentiful".

Skyler said...

Cedar, you missed the debate about whether the earth is warming or not.

Jamie said...

Anyone mainstream has the decency to support abortion rights? Give me a break.

There are plenty of decent people--me, for instance--who find abortion to be a barbaric practice, not a civil right.

Kirk Parker said...

Laura(southernxyl), please don't bring up that that nasty movie that's chock full of bigotry against computer nerds. :-)

Cedarford said...

Skyler said...
Cedar, you missed the debate about whether the earth is warming or not.


I'm pretty much in agreement with NOAA's methodology, which shows increases in mean ocean temperature since 1861, with temporary small cooling periods associated with volcanic eruptions.

The ocean temperature is the most important measure of whether or not the Earth is heating up or cooling down - due to the large specific heat capacity and thermal diffusion processes involved. Heat storage or release capacity that dominates all other factors in assessing if we are in a heating or cooling era.

Next is the ice covered portions of land, because of the latent heat of fusion and liquification of water. Indications that on net, we are losing more ice than we are gaining, globally, is reflected in steadily rising sea levels since 1861.

Apocryphal tales of 115 Deg inferno temps in Australia this month or some person noting it suuuree is cooold in them thar parts of Minnesota are pretty irrelevant to the calculations of whether or not the Earth is heating up or cooling down.

Non-ice covered landmass, excepting open sources of water on land, plus all the heat capacity of the atmosphere only amount to 2-3%% of net temperature retention or release. But aerosols in the Atmosphere are of major importance in influencing how solar energy reaches the Earth or how much is radiated out.

http://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/reference/bibliography/2005/td0501.pdf

The data is pretty solid that the Earth is warming up. And the only real questions are:

1. How much GW is AGW.
2. How much responsibility we have, nation by nation, to mitigate it IF the AGW component is significant and will get worse.
3. Human overpopulation has driven 100s of millions of people to settle marginal lands exceptionally vulnerable to temperature variations. While lands they could have once fled to in other human eras have been closed off by Borders and those old alternative lands being settled.
Given that, if "we" caused it, then we could see hundreds of millions demanded to be allowed into prosperous, less overcrowded lands. If it is just GW, and not AGW, then our "moral duty" to take in 700 milion people, 3/4ths Muslim BTW - is not as compelling - but the options could be pretty bad

1. Move 500-600 million "Freedom Lovers!!!" from alien cultures to developed nations with no present overpopulation problem and "room to spare" - but risk collapse of your own civilization.
2. Let them die. Defend against those seeking to get in and those that want mass global shifts in human population with military force.
3. Support those displaced people in lands that are unsustainable with surplus food and supplies from advanced nations....limit their breeding by coercive measures until the population shrinks to sustainable numbers.

Paul said...

"Hell, Karl Marx wrote a paper attacking Malthus.

When did the Left stop believing in Progress and solving problems through technology? Why is it all about punishing ourselves and valuing sacrifice over results?"

Marxists always promised an increased standard of living for the general population once "greed" and "profits" were eliminated.

When it became apparent after the collapse of the soviet Union that Marxism-Socialism did just the opposite it was necessary to provide a new rationale for socialism.

Radical environmentalism, which posits that we must accept a LOWER standard of living for our own survival, is the left's new gospel and is the perfect strategy for turning socialism's failure to produce wealth into a virtue.

It is no coincidence that AGW became an issue shortly after the collapse of the Eastern Bloc.

Revenant said...

each baby born in Britain will... burn carbon roughly equivalent to 2½ acres of old-growth oak woodland....

I like children better than trees.

Methadras said...

When will this bullshit and it's socioeconomic/sociopolitical impact on us end?

Laura(southernxyl) said...

"Kirk Parker said...
Laura(southernxyl), please don't bring up that that nasty movie that's chock full of bigotry against computer nerds. :-)"

Are you talking about Nedry or Lex?

: )

This is one of the many thousands of movies than which the book was quite a bit better, not least because the characters weren't so much caricature.