watermelon*, sorry green, movement is no fan of humanity – and the progress we have made since we first figured out how to rub two sticks together to make fire – should come as no surprise to anyone. Indeed one of their catechisms is that the sheer number of us (rapidly approaching 7 billion) means that we are looking at a Malthusian nightmare in the not too distant future.
For those who need the history lesson, Thomas Malthus was a British scholar who proposed the theory that continual population growth would eventually result in a situation whereby humanity would not be able to feed itself.
Needless to say such a situation has yet to present itself and mankind has so far managed to make supply keep up with demand** but that hasn’t stopped people continuing to insist that it will come to pass as the population surges towards an estimated 9 billion by 2050.
Like Malthus he believes we should stop breeding in the UK because the projected figure of 70 million people on this island come 2020 is too many. I know it maybe a typical complaint to say that we are all full up but the UK does not have a particularly high population density, weighing in at 53rd all told which is behind a number of smaller European countries and an awful lot of Asian ones. The UKs problem is that our infrastructure (dating back to the Victorian Era in places) needs a major overhaul, not just lots of tinkering around the edges.
Returning to the subject, Packham suggests that a slower population growth be achieved by the use of tax breaks to those who elect to go childless or settle for only one. If he is advocating that people should pay only for the services that they consume (rather than fixed percentages based on income) then I’m right behind him. Seems a much fairer way of collecting money wouldn’t you say? He isn’t of course, in much the same way as he made no mention of reducing, let alone scraping, Child Benefit which is paid to all those who breed. Or was until yesterday – now it is restricted to those not in the upper tax brackets.
No, Chris is more concerned about the other species with which we share this planet:
Fact is, we all eat food, breathe air and require space, and the more of us there are, the less of those commodities there are for other people and, of course, for the animals.”
And of course doing his best for the environment:
If I didn’t recycle and shop locally, I couldn’t see the point of being human.
Laudable aims but not being able to see the point of being human if he didn’t do those things? Oh please, do the achievements of the human race mean nothing to you? Is everything you buy locally sourced locally? No out of season fruit and vegetables? Nothing imported from other countries? None of which would be possible without the accomplishments humanity has made since that first stick rubbing moment.
What Chris seems to forget is that nothing slows a birth rate more than industrialisation. As we get healthier, better educated and live longer we no longer need to produce large families in order to ensure that some of the children make it to adulthood. With birth rates in the developed world already dropping below replenishment levels the majority of the population increase in this country is going to be coming through immigration and the children of these first generation immigrants.
If Chris really wants to slow the rate of population increase then can I suggest he devotes his efforts to ensuring that Africa starts industrialising? With China and India are already moving in the right direction, it just needs that basket case of a continent to play catch up.
All in all it wouldn’t surprise me if Chris were a fully paid up member of the The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement. Which is fine by me as it just means more for the rest of us and our descendants.
** Anyone who mentions Ethiopia here will be up against the wall soon after Bono and Geldof. Clear?