Too many people…


I took a photo of this painting in San Diego.  Surprised to see a similar one (with pomegranate rather than apple) in the NY Times by Ori Gersht.  Watch this video:

Zero Population Growth

Last week’s the NY Times article on robots taking the place of lowly-paid assembly-line workers in China and similar locations,1 gave credence to my notion that we need ZPG (Zero Population Growth) ASAP,  as the unemployment rates are already too high (click on map to enlarge).

The very depressing article on at-risk kids in Roseland, a Chicago neighborhood, backed up that belief.  Destitute women should not be having children! 2

And, of course, from last year’s Climate Change class, I learned that as the world populace becomes more affluent, such as in China and India, it will want what we have – more cars, which will mean more greenhouse gases,  more appliances, when electrical grids already failing (such as the power outage last month in India which hit around 600 million people), more meat, when our corn crops are already failing.

The recent global droughts in the USA, China, Iraq, Iran, India, Africa, Australia, and more — has decimated the crops of essential rice, corn, wheat throughout the World. We are now set to see upwards of two-billion of our fellow Human Beings actually starve to death.3

And starvation is a lousy death.

Then there’s the thought that the constant wars going on in the Middle East, in Africa, are in countries where the birth rate is high.  (Even if you don’t follow any of the other links, read this one, it is very good.)

In a poor country whose population is rapidly growing, an enormous portion of the population consists of young males between the ages of 15 and 29, who are potential soldiers in civil conflict. There are simply too many young people. A country full these impoverished young men is much more likely to explode into prolonged war.

Death by War or refugee camps for the survivors.

Imagine that your life, as you know it, disappears in the blink of an eye. War, violence or fear for your family’s safety force you to flee your home. After hours or even days of a torturous journey, you find shelter far away, in a squalid tent. You are dependent on handouts of food; possibly have no clean drinking water or access to health care that prevents outbreaks of cholera, dysentery, hepatitis, malaria, and other diseases.

a staggering 33 million people worldwide are currently uprooted from their homes. Of that number, 12 million are refugees and asylum seekers living in camps in countries other than their own, and 21 million are Internally Displaced Persons (IDP), an official designation for civilians displaced by persecution, armed conflict or widespread violence.4 

It seems so hopeless when there are too many people to help.

The 50 poorest countries on earth are also those with the highest fertility rates.

Population growth stretches natural resources to their limits. Deforestation, food and water shortages, and climate change are all intensified by the addition of nearly 80 million people a year to the world’s population.5 

How to achieve a lower birth rate?  Although fundamentalist religious sects (Muslim, Catholic and Mormon being well-documented) push for large families (as seen in the latest book I’m reading6), well-educated women have fewer children, and educating girls is so much more palatable than China’s forced sterilizations.

Would that we could spend the money we spend on war (more than $100 billion a year in Afghanistan) on schools instead.  (Ah, but Greg Mortenson already told us that.)  We could train our soldiers to be teachers.  I can’t imagine that my geometry classes would act so poorly for an army veteran!7

I’m sorry, I do rant.  I don’t have the energy to join the Peace Corps again.  Should I just not read the articles?

On a lighter side:

Two bacteria walk into a bar. The bartender says we don’t serve bacteria in this bar. The bacteria say: But we work here, we’re staph.


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6 Responses to “Too many people…”

  1. Jim Says:

    You do not need a director; you can do plenty of good with limited resources and your fine university education. English and math, for example are a vital keys to success, which South American children lack. Providing opportunities for those who will take advantage of them insures success and self-satisfaction. Life has a biological function on which we can add a cultural function. As for the morals, ethics, politics, poetics,to be taught, Aristotle is still best guide.
    As for the economics, Hayek is good guide.

    Leave the ranting for the impotent, lacking in both competence and motivation.

  2. Jim Says:

    Teachers without Borders, being so immensely successful as a charitable non-profit organization, indicates that writing popular books on your teaching adventures could also pay you, and be source of charitable donations. And if you have any retirement income, it provides more than enough income to support you and someone to cook your meals, clean house, and wash your clothes. For a broader view, Soto’s book “The Other Path”. provides and excellent background.

    • notesfromthewest Says:

      With Teachers without Borders, you can be a volunteer (= no $) or an intern. To be an Intern, you need: Proficiency in one of the following languages: Spanish, French, Portuguese, Chinese and Prior experience with OER. Or Bilingual, English / Spanish. So I’m out of luck.

  3. alexkent Says:

    The Ori Gersht video is specifically based on that painting.

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