April 9, 2007


It's Time to Fight Population Growth, Which Exacerbates Global Warming and Sprawl (Katha Pollitt, April 9, 2007, The Nation)

If fears of population implosion result in paid parental leave, improved childcare and more support for mothers' careers, it won't be the first time a government has done the right thing for the wrong reason. But isn't it weird to promote population growth while we wring our hands over global warming, environmental damage, species loss and suburban sprawl? The United Nations projects that in 2050 the world's population will reach 9.2 billion! When we think of overpopulation the usual image is of some teeming Third World slum, and indeed most population growth will come in the developing world. But actually it's the developed world that's doing the earth in. Every American uses as much energy as forty-eight Bangladeshis, and as many resources as an African village. Europeans and Japanese aren't far behind. What feels right for a nation or an ethnicity -- we need more Russians! more Italians! more Scots! -- might be wrong for the human race, to say nothing of polar bears.

For decades experts have argued that heavyhanded fertility-control schemes were unwarranted and that modernization -- better healthcare, women's rights, voluntary contraception -- would cause birthrates to fall naturally. And so they have! It worked! We should be cheering.

And they wonder that their ideologies always lead to mass muder?

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 9, 2007 12:44 PM

If she has daughters, she should insist her daughter have her tubes tied, same for her DIL.

Posted by: Sandy P at April 9, 2007 1:14 PM

Bangladesh is a hellhole, and the notion that we should compare our economy to theirs (and find ourselves wanting, no less!) is asinine.

Posted by: b at April 9, 2007 1:30 PM

Katha Pollitt does have a daughter; I seem to remember that after September 11th Katha wrote an editorial about how angry she was that her daughter (a high schooler at the time) wanted to display (Gasp! Shock!) an AMERICAN FLAG after the tragedy. ("Definitely not, I say: the flag stands for jingoism and vengeance and war.") After doing a run-through of possible 9-11 memorial symbols (including, bizarrely, the red flag, which she thankfully rejects as "too bloodied by history") she settles for a picture of the globe; her daughter, we are told, can buy a flag for her own room, "but the living room is off-limits."

(You can read the whole thing for yourself at http://www.thenation.com/doc/20011008/pollitt ... that is, presuming you'd want to.)

Miss Pollitt is presumably a college student at this time. Whether her mother has forbidden her from reproducing, through words or through surgery, is unknown to me.

Posted by: John Barrett Jr. at April 9, 2007 2:01 PM

Wait there's more, she only likes White people - she doesn't want the Third World to reproduce, so there's more earth for the white people and the only white bear - the polar bear!

Posted by: KRS at April 9, 2007 2:29 PM

If she has daughters, she should insist her daughter have her tubes tied, . . .

I'm hoping Miss Pollit rebels against her parent (KP is a single mom), marries a Southern Baptist, and has at least six or seven kids.

Posted by: Mike Morley at April 9, 2007 2:51 PM

The whole population thing is a homo plot, anyway.

Posted by: Lou Gots at April 9, 2007 4:48 PM

Miss Pollit has seen the future. And it is Human Jumbotron.

Posted by: h-man at April 9, 2007 6:10 PM
« DUH?: | Main | TWIST MY ARM: »