In the past; before humans overpopulated the earth; before we altered this planets climate; before we topped the list of the planet’s Most Wanted; before we became earth’s worst serial killer; before we made many species of animal and plant life go extinct; before we caused masses of birds to die and fish to go belly up; before humanity decided that it was the only living thing that mattered on earth; before humanity decided that even humanity is disposable in lieu of money: before all of these things, maybe it made sense for humanity to be non-monogamous.
Whether we look at the evolutionary standpoint or the biblical standpoint, both dictate that humanity reproduce and do so kind of aggressively. I can’t say that I agree with either stance. Evolutionarily speaking it seems like the idea is that all of life fights for existence. Biblically speaking supposedly humanity is under mandate since Noah to “be fruitful and multiply” as well as to “rule over all the creatures”.
Either way I see problems. Why would an omniscient God know the problems that our existence creates on earth, or by some accounts, Lucifer/Satan causes through us, and still mandate that we be fruitful and multiply. Also, with evolution if there is no deity, no meaning, and entropy rules how does it come about that, with how astronomical the odds are for one instance of life to form that, we have practically an entire planet of individual life-forms that need other life-forms to exist and somehow most life simultaneously fights other life to be preeminent? In other words, what sense does it make for two things to need each other for existence, but instead of seeking balance with each other they fight to destroy each other?
There should be no question that humanity needs other life-forms. Whether we talk about plants as food sources or oxygen producers and water purifiers. Whether we talk about animals as pollinators, or beasts of burden, or sources of food. We can’t even live without any other humans whether as infant, child, or adult. Sadly, humanity has yet to show that as a whole we are not willing to do what it takes to coexist with each other, much less any other life forms.
If we look at the evolutionary standpoint; the fight for existence; the desire for dominance or we look at the biblical standpoint to be fruitful and multiply, there must come a change. In my lifetime alone we’ve added over 3 billion people on earth by most estimates, which is basically doubling the population. There are concerns of our carbon footprint and our contribution to climate change, of bees which pollinate and allow us to grow food (concern which has lessened in recent years); concerns of fish as food sources, as well as sea creatures as part of the ecosystems need for life, concern for rainforests and plant life and vegetation in general, and many other concerns. These concerns can be said to be tied to both the continuing growth of our population as well as the abuse and misuse of natural resources.
I infer or take from all of these things that humanity could find more balance with nature if our population was decreased and stabilized amongst other things. I must make it clear here, that what I propose is not forceful or in any way meant to connect with genocide.
Population growth has a seemingly hidden effect on many aspects of our lives, because it appears that if people are taking it into account that they are absolutely not vocal about it. Population growth effects unemployment, available housing, food consumption, consumerism, wear and tear on infrastructure, natural resource consumption, crime rates, prison rates, and probably a whole host of other areas. For instance, we have raising inequality, fewer people than ever amassing more money than the majority of people in the United States (especially), but that extends to the world as well. Part of that inequality is achieved by automation and globalization. Another way inequality is achieved is by raising the standards for employment, such as requiring degrees, but also by raising the price and exclusivity of degrees which contributes to unskilled and underemployed workers who are frustrated without a living wage. With the population more rapidly growing this inequality will only be worse. More people will need a piece of the pie but the size of the pie cannot continue growing with the need. In the last 30 years if the size of the pie (meaning things like jobs, money, resources, and production) hadn’t increased but the population still effectively doubled, then one might think that it was angering how the vast majority of the population had to get by with half of what we used to get. Problem is, if you think double the amount of people sharing the same amount of pie is the only problem, it’s not. What would have compounded this problem is that simultaneously inequality rose as well and some say dramatically.
There are many things that can be done to slow population growth and help balance out the planet, but again these should not be dictated, forced, or coerced. People should first and foremost not be made to feel attacked if they choose to be childless. People should not be discouraged from monogamy, serial-monogamy, or whatever you want to call it. The LGBT+ community should not be fought against or denigrated. The existence of the asexual community should not be disbelieved and they should be allowed to live their lifestyle. Demisexuals or those who don’t operate in the idea that sexuality is just a reaction to the physical should also not be made to feel less than or ridiculed. Adoption and foster care may help if it was encouraged more. Prophylactics should continue to be encouraged, not just for STI’s but also for unwanted or unplanned pregnancies. Personal choices for self-euthanasia and suicide should not be condemned and discriminated against or criminalized. Planning should be done not just for pregnancy but for the child’s life in general such as food, healthcare, schooling etc. More emphasis and assistance psychologically should be made available for the total wellbeing of us all which should assist in decreasing the use of sex as distraction or self-medication.
There are many facets that can help slow the rate of population growth without murder, war, and genocide. The idea of population control as a personal and individual choice should be embraced and welcomed as one of the modes of life people can choose.
I think the idea of population control has suffered from two main things. First, I think it has been primarily connected with genocide, war, murder, and abortion which is why at multiple points I’ve made mention of the separateness of these ideas. Second, it should also be recognized that governmental mandates are not necessary either. All that is needed in governmental assistance is help in normalizing some of these lifestyles and choices or decriminalizing some of these lifestyles and choices.
As with anything in life, this is not a math equation. There is no guarantee that these things will control population growth, because again, I believe these should be choices people have not mandates. If there is nothing else that we can do, we can take a look at the science we have already and acknowledge there is a problem that requires that we start dialing something back.
p.s. – It seems I’ve written about this topic before. Not as much depth or detail, as my thoughts were not as advanced as they are now after mulling these thoughts over for years. You can find the previous blog post here.