What if society could calculate optimal population sizes in order to limit resource depletion and environmental degredation?
As any population grows within a given space, it eventually reaches what's called its carrying capacity. The carrying capacity reflects the maximum population of a species an environment can hold in order to sustain life. The factors that comprise carrying capacity differentiate from specie to specie dependent on the needs of the given species and the available resources within the specified environment. As the carrying capacity limit is neared or surpassed, the quality of life for the specified group of species will depreciate. The species that make up the given population may struggle to find food, water, and shelter; as well as, become more susceptible to diseases and violent act's amongst the population's community.
Now, this concept is most commonly aimed towards animals and microorganisms but the concept still very much applies towards humans. The issue with applying the concept towards humans is the inability to agree upon or properly define all variables that play a role in determining what the human population's carrying capacity may be. As the factors in a region's environment change, or the needs of humans, the output of the overall equation changes, thus changing the carrying capacity. There is an exact, highly detailed formula that conceptually exists for this issue; however, it has yet to be perfected.
In this proposal I will clarify why there is a need to create a universal study on population sizing and show the process and steps that can be taken in order to approach such an issue. Ideally, the main rationale behind this concept is to improve the quality and comfort of life for the inhabitants of any region, while decreasing the amount of suffering that is or is projected to occur due to current or potential environmental limitations. I will show that through the implementation of this concept that resource conservation, environmental protection, fiscal scaling, and social relations will become most favorable amongst the general population.
What actions do you propose?
I propose that in order to maintain and conserve optimum levels of environmental sustainability that population scaling is a need, and that by doing so it will properly preserve the life and comfort of all humans. To do so, the necessary actions that must be taken involve intensive research collaboration amongst all worldwide universities and governments, proper implementation of necessary policy brought on by the findings from all research at domestic and international levels, and then proper communication to the people of the region in need of change.
The pursuit of happiness is defined as a fundamental right mentioned in the Declaration of Independence to freely pursue joy and live life in a way that makes you happy, as long as you don't do anything illegal or violate the rights of others. This is a fundamental truth all Americans hold dear. Now, when one begins to affect others ability to pursue happiness to some extent, there becomes a problem. Having children is a privilege and is often mistaken as a right. Those who can properly support their children, teach their children, and provide a safe/loving home for their children should be the ones to have the ability to be parents. Children grow up to a be a product of how they are raised resulting in a favorable or unfavorable outcome for the members of society that must interact with them. In order to mold the future to increase favorable conditions for all, I suggest that all citizens that wish to have children meet a set of outlined standards in order to do so. The standards should be based off of the current income of the two parents, current living conditions, educational background, and parents' criminal background. Adhering to such guidelines will allow for the safety of the children, parents, and members of society, as well as, mitigate population sizes of areas with high crime rates and a lower standard of living.
In respect to setting parental standards, consider the potential stressors placed amongst a given population due to improper family sizing. Let's say Joe wishes to have 20 kids. If Joe wishes to have 20 kids it's considered to be okay just as long as he can provide for those kids. Whether Joe has money or not to provide for those kids doesn't necessarily correlate to Joe's ability to meet his children's needs. Most often Joe is the man that relies on society to help provide him water, food, shelter, healthcare, and extraneous other resources to help fulfill the needs of Joe and his family. This places a certain amount of stress on society to help Joe meet his needs. That stress may be negligible or burdensome depending on the population size and resources available.
Money is meant to represent the value of Joe's contribution to society and act as a measure of such stress; however, the value a currency depicts is based off of the country's current economic contribution and does not identify the country's future contribution. The stress is correlated to the population's size and the amount of resources available and the rates at which they are consumed and produced. When the size of the population outgrows a resource and the rate of consumption remains high and the replenishment level lessens, then a danger of losing that available resource puts the whole society at risk in some cases, which can cause the value of a national currency to go down and a universal currency (gold) to heighten. This can occur gradually or instantly. The rate at which a price falls or resource diminishes acts as a factor of stress to the population as well.
An unfavorable shift in currency for a nation can result in an increased level of suffering amongst the people. The movie The Big Short stated that in 2009 the Housing Crisis led to 8,000,000 people losing their jobs and 6,000,000 losing their homes (in the US). For every 1% unemployment goes up it is said approximately 40,000 people die. Ms. Amedeo illustrates how such suffering occurred during The Great Depression in her article How the Great Depression Affects You Today. She wrote:
" The Great Depression of 1929 devastated the U.S. economy. Banks failed, unemployment rose to 25%, and homelessness increased. The economy contracted, as its critical components fell. Housing prices plummeted 30%, and global trade collapsed by 60%, and prices fell 10%. It took 25 years for the stock market to recover. Wages for those who still had jobs fell 42%. Average family incomes dropped 40% from $2,300 in 1929 to " The Great Depression of 1929 devastated the U.S. economy. Banks failed, unemployment rose to 25%, and homelessness increased. The economy contracted, as its critical components fell. Housing prices plummeted 30%, and global trade collapsed by 60%, and prices fell 10%. It took 25 years for the stock market to recover. Wages for those who still had jobs fell 42%. Average family incomes dropped 40% from $2,300 in 1929 to $1,500 in 1933. That's like having income fall from $32,181 to $20,988 in 2016 dollars. As a result, the number of children sent to orphanages increased by 50 percent. Roughly 250,000 older children left home to find work. As countries' economies worsened, they erected trade barriers to protect local industries. In 1930, Congress passed the ,500 in 1933. That's like having income fall from $32,181 to $20,988 in 2016 dollars. As a result, the number of children sent to orphanages increased by 50 percent. Roughly 250,000 older children left home to find work. As countries' economies worsened, they erected trade barriers to protect local industries. In 1930, Congress passed the Smoot-Hawley tariffs, hoping to protect local jobs. Other countries retaliated. That created trading blocs based on national alliances and trade currencies. World trade plummeted 65% as measured in dollars and 25% in the total number of units. By 1939, it was still below its level in 1929. Here's world trade for the first five years of the depression."
· 1929: $5.3 billion
· 1930: $4.9 billion
· 1931: $3.3 billion
· 1932: $2.1 billion
· 1933: $1.8 billion
Suffering is an unnecessary evil that society often chooses to inflict upon itself for the mistakes it makes from time to time, when in reality, can be avoided more often than it currently is. Sir John Sulston, a fellow of the Royal Society and chairman of the report’s working group stated:
“The world now has a very clear choice. We can choose to address the twin issues of population and consumption. We can choose to rebalance the use of resources to a more egalitarian pattern of consumption, to reframe our economic values to truly reflect what our consumption means for our planet and to help individuals around the world to make informed and free reproductive choices. Or we can choose to do nothing and to drift into a downward vortex of economic, socio-political and environmental ills, leading to a more unequal and inhospitable future.”
Now looking back, is it fair to society that families like Joe's put the rest of society at potential risk sometimes? Is Joe to blame or the government to blame for not foreseeing how the size of such a family may create a burden to others? Children are considered an itemized deduction on taxes, meaning the more children an individual has, the more money they receive back from the government. If Joe has 20 kids, is it fair that others have to help Joe pay for his 20 kids? Taking such a deduction away could perhaps provide reinforcement to help decrease birth rates in a region. As the birth rate needs to increase, increase the deduction, but as it needs to decline, take away the deduction or even set a penalty.
Limiting such a tax deduction is a potential small solution to the problem, but a tool needs to be devised as well. I believe that by designing a universal index to measure the production and consumption rates of resources, the amount of available resources, the rate of growth and decline in a population, and certain key economic factors, that measuring optimal population sizes can be made easier. The Production of such an index will help prevent forms of suffering to occur and improve the current and future quality of life for all inhabitants of any region.
I truly believe that population control requires attention and that I have developed a fair, reasonable process to approaching the issue. It is our duty as humans to think today to plan for a better tomorrow, so ask the right questions, think of potential solutions to those questions, and then work collectively with others to ensure the resolution of any issues are indeed met.
Ultimately, I believe that by designing a universal index that such an issue can be easily diverted. This index can measure the production and consumption rates of resources, the amount of available resources, the rate of growth and decline in a population, and certain key economic factors. Producing such an index will help potentially prevent any form of suffering and improve the current and future quality of life for all inhabitants of any region. It is our duty as humans to think today to plan for a better tomorrow, so ask the right questions, think of potential solutions to those questions, and then work collectively with others to ensure the resolution of any issues are indeed met.
Who will take these actions?
There is a high level of complexity in understanding and agreeing upon what the actual optimal population sizes are from region to region. In order for the correct formula to be developed that generates the answer to such a question, and agreed upon by all, is to have the highest order of minds to collectively work on the issue. I propose that every university from every country creates a specific research project dedicated to mapping out the optimal population sizes of all micro and macro regions.The optimal population sizes will change as the variables change, so this issue will always require work and attention.
Universities are the key component to solving this issue because they eliminate most forms of bias (profit, election status, economical reshaping, etc.) and act as a guarantee of having the brightest minds the world has to offer to work on the project. As the universities work on the project and collaborate with one another, they will begin to share their findings locally and with government officials. Their findings will be communicated effectively to the latter and when their findings are communicated the government and the people of the communities will do their part to understand the importance behind the results and act in an affective corresponding manner.
The government will have the job of publicly sharing the findings and invoking proper domestic and foreign policy as necessary. This will be a tricky and tedious process because not everyone will agree with the results, or the results will affect the business and social aspect of the region in a negative manner creating a discourse for required change. This step in the process will be time consuming and sometimes ineffective, but it is an essential component to the required course of change when necessary.
Where will these actions be taken?
These actions will be taken by all cities, states, and countries. The results of the findings will address the region of study to either increase or decrease the human population growth rate in order to match the desired resource consumption levels, comfort to suffering ratio of the people, environmental degradation levels, and economic/fiscal scaling.
What are other key benefits?
The key benefits to taking the actions proposed will be to improve the overall quality of life from region to region. Having the understanding of what the optimal population size looks like will allow for:
- Rates of starvation to lessen.
- Consumption of resources to depreciate, allowing for resources to last longer and ultimately be more available throughout time.
- Environmental Degradation to ultimately lessen or completely reverse itself, depending on the specific type occurring.
- Imperialism can be prevented. As the population size grows from country to country, there will end up being wars to either sustain a specific number of people, collect available resources, or create economic opportunity to meet the demands of the country's population.
- No longer will there be a risk to have the acceleration of technological growth to meet the demands of the growing society. Instead, the optimal population of the region will change accordingly with the technological progress.
What are the proposal’s costs?
The costs of the proposal are dependent on two factors, the agreed upon process of development and initiation of the project and then the economic results created if and when policy is invoked to create change. Any information I provide on the costs can not be proven definitive and is nothing more than mere speculation of what they may be and why.
Costs starting with the university are determinant on how they wish to approach the project. Being a former university researcher, I understand that universities provide so many tools to the students and professors that help mitigate costs in certain aspects of a study. Depending on how the research team approaches the problem will determine the necessary costs. Definitive costs for this project will be in relation to travel for conferences, software use, and potentially case study development. Universities provide research grants and are sponsored by companies, so if funds are needed the students and professors can always seek out a grant or partner with a company to retrieve the funds they may deem necessary.
The costs that will be seen at the government level are in relation to how they communicate the idea to the public, spend government time developing policy on the issue, government grants to universities which help fund the project and domestic and foreign travel necessary to communicate and share ideas/policy on the issue.
The micro impacts will differ from place to place, so offering any form of concept of what might be just can not be done. Approaching the concept of costs from a macro level
- All of the necessary data will be gathered and compiled into an accurate model and form to display amongst all when expressing the idea. The compilation and theoretical testing will be a continuous lifetime study, but having a basis created amongst the top minds from university to university can be done within a year's time.
- After the collaboration between universities they'll take their findings through the governmental chain where the information will be communicated and further questioned and tested before policy is invoked domestically and internationally. The implementation of policy can take years to occur.
- As the government goes over the findings, they will communicate the studies amongst the general public through various public relation campaigns. People will show opposition and support, but the government must fully rely on the science at hand found by the research and reiterate that the findings relate to evidence and factual proof, so opinions and desires have no place in such a topic. Communicating the findings in an effective manner will be done throughout the course of time. As it becomes mainstream, the need to advertise it will lessen as the general public's knowledge increases.
- Policy will be implemented domestically as necessary and when done, the affects will be studied and added to the studies by the universities to determine the affect policy has played on the anticipated results that were claimed to have happened by the research. The results will cause the universities to reassess if further policy or regulations need to be made.
- Creating foreign agreements will be based off of the foreseen need and the relation with that country the proposing country or countries have.
- As the above steps are completed, the effects will become transparent and changes will be made to the data allowing for any mistakes that were made to be fixed.
The following proposals relate to my proposal in certain ways.
Environment - Resource Use (ENVE-RU) IndexManagement via Measurement: translating climate projections into actionable dataMake Climate a Top Priority for Action by Every Global Citizen and Organization
Funkhouser, David. "Population, Consumption and the Future." State of the Planet Population Consumption and the Future Comments. Earth Institute, Columbia University, 27 Apr. 2012. Web. 08 Feb. 2017.
Amedeo, Kimberly. "How the Great Depression Affects You Today." The Balance. N.p., 15 Sept. 2016. Web. 09 Feb. 2017.
Lewis, M. (2011). The big short: Inside the doomsday machine. Detroit: Large Print Press.
How can vulnerable communities best prepare for climate-related hazards, and what new tools can be used to incentivize early action?