To avoid creating an adequate plan to care for the elderly, China’s government now allows couples who are both only children to create two offspring. These children won’t be taking care of too many ancestors as the family pyramid is inverted. Fewer than one third of eligible mothers surveyed in 2009 said they wanted a second child.
China’s one-child policy, instituted in 1979, has slowed their increase to 6.6 million a year, and has prevented their current 1.3 billion from being 300 to 400 million more, though much of that could be because couples prefer to stop at one. Their goal is to peak at 1.6 billion around 2050. Total Fertility Rate is estimated to be between 1.5 and 1.8 in 2008.
Rather than looking at coercive methods of reducing births, let’s first stop coercing procreation and start allowing self-determination. If reproductive freedom were universal—if all who wanted to avoid reproducing were able to do so—growth of human population would be slowed by nearly 40%: from 78 million per year to 48 million. Research suggests government mandates alone are not enough: personal preferences must also change for long-term success.
Increasing awareness is necessary to help everyone realize that the intentional creation of one more of us by anyone anywhere can’t be justified today—not ecologically, ethically, economically, nor even selfishly.
A combination of reproductive freedom and responsibility is needed:
freedom to avoid procreation, and responsibility to use that freedom.
400 million fewer births has resulted in 18 million fewer tons of CO2 emissions a year.
More on China’s one-child policy
UNFPA news on China’s policy December 2005
China’s TFR from 1970 to 2005
The Family Way by Joshua Kurlantzick in Time Magazine is critical of China’s family planning policies.
IN-migration or immigration—out-migration or emigration—we use these labels to tell if people are coming or going, but the distinction merely reveals an observer’s bias. People moving in someplace always move out of some place else: they are immigrants and emigrants at the same time.
Within the borders of freer countries like the United States, migration is determined mainly by economics and personal preference. Between countries, however, restrictions on migration are plentiful and often capricious. Enforcement is always at gun point.
It has been suggested that increasing these restrictions will reduce population growth, and will therefore benefit the environment. However, looking at Earth from a broader perspective, say from space, reveals that all those lines arbitrarily dotted across the planet do not help the biosphere as a whole.
If one of the methods we choose for preserving Earth’s ecosystems is to draw lines on the ground and dare people to step over them, we should be drawing them around wilderness preserves, as many African nations are doing. Restrictions on in-migration are needed in the remaining vestiges of Nature, in the fragile ecosystems which can’t absorb more human impact.
Urban and suburban growth boundaries also help reduce out-migration into less-spoiled areas. Cities will get more crowded until birth rates drop, but perhaps birth rates will drop as cities get more crowded, and as people give up the fantasy of someday “moving out to the country.”
The idea of restricting our own migration within our borders may not have the appeal that restricting in-migration by foreigners has, but for Earth’s sake, that’s the direction we should be migrating in.
Naturally, the best in-migration control is birth control. May we live long and die OUT.
[Human migration control is beyond the scope of VHEMT, so many differing
opinions on the subject are included among Volunteers and Supporters. The
above is my opinion. Les.]
Mt. Scott and a “Street of Dreams”
Progress, December 2005
Further progress October 2008
Progress seems to have stalled on the mountain. September 2011
A personal account of
one portion of Mt. Scott’s wildlife habitat lost.
Review of a new book, Solving Sprawl, plus links to smart growth resources.
US government’s Environmental Protection Agency promotes smart growth.
Cartoonist R. Crumb’s “A Short History of America” depicts growth as it happened and asks “What next?”
While we righteously argue against coercive methods to improve birth rates, let’s keep in mind that coercion is already with us. Reproductive rights are not universally respected, so we already have coercion and involuntary population control. Hundreds of millions of couples want to avoid conceptions, and are denied this right. Where is the outrage at this coercion?
Advocates of coerced contraception are vilified as “ecofascists,” while advocates of coerced births are respectfully called “pro-life”.
Although the VHEMT concept precludes curtailing reproductive choices, irresponsible breeding is curtailing rights of all of us: our right to breathe clean air, drink clean water, to find solitude and quiet, and eventually, our right to procreate without restrictions. As Carter J. Dillard states, "No right, procreation included, is limitless if it is capable of conflicting with other valid and perhaps hierarchically superior rights."
We are also abridging the rights of other species by converting their habitat to ours. Driving a species to extinction is the ultimate act of ecofascism.
When breeding is an unquestioned right, we are also guaranteeing the right to breed slave labor, and to sentence someone to life in a rapidly deteriorating environment. A solid case could be made that procreation today is de facto child abuse.
Eighty million unwanted conceptions occur each year, most because of prohibitions on contraceptive services. Forty-five million of those are not carried to full term. Seventy-four thousand women die and five million suffer injuries from complications of unsafe abortions—an outrageous violation of basic human rights. Each year, roughly 35 million babies are denied their right to not be born into a family that doesn’t want them or can’t provide for their needs.
Those of us who love freedom, and who realize that none are free as long as anyone is oppressed, will continue to promote universal reproductive freedom and responsibility.
Disagreement with Dillard’s Rethinking the Procreative Right.
Why so many are reluctant to talk about human population density.Anarchistic view of VHEMT