i think lyme and maybe even autism are likely to have been 'planted' in our population already. we know where lyme came from (plum island research lab) but i haven't heard about the origins of autism yet, though the dx numbers are staggering.
Beyond population growth and limited resources, anyone else concerned about declining intelligence and ability to support ones self? I am thinking along the lines of the movie Idiocracy. I know a few successful, intelligent couples who did not procreate. In all cases, they pursued education and careers and wanted to be in a good position before having kids. Unfortunately, they waited too long and had fertility issues.
Meanwhile, I know another couple who, while on gov't assistance, both unemployed, not well educated, etc, PLANNED A PREGNANCY and were ecstatic when they announced that they were expecting another child.
Even if the kids born to the latter couple are bright, they are at a disadvantaged right from the start.
I dunno. It just seems like smart, hard working folks need to step it up and try to balance things out--even if that means having to find a work around to limited resources--else we're going to have a world run by idiots.
Intelligent folks (liberal and conservative) like to rely on people making rational choices to further their own self interests. As intelligent folks they know that not only must one consider their own personal circumstances, they must think about the impact of a personal choice on the wider community. It's a "rationalist" approach.
The reality is that how a person perceives their circumstances, not the objective nature of those circumstances, will govern choices. We spend huge amounts every year on our educational system intending that the system impart to its students the knowledge necessary to understand the difference between subjective and objective analysis and adoption of the objective standard. In reality the educational system has failed mightily in this task. Indeed, we've gone in the opposite direction and encouraged emotional decision making and "hang the consequences" attitude.
2011 the child sex ratio in India has dropped to 914 females against 1,000 males - the lowest since Independence
And it's been around for centuries: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8699081
As far as autism goes, that's another ball of wax, but I've read studies that are showing the age of the father is related to an increase in autism. Couples in the U.S. are having children later and later.
I think it may be too late to limit population growth in a kind, gentle way- I think we are heading into a series of traumatic die-offs as nature stomps us back. We needed to start promoting "one child is best" and "childless is good" way back before the 50's. Unlike the coercive/force used in china, I think using cultural pressure to express disdain and disgust for those who reproduce too much would go over very well in most societies, if it's done properly.
as it is, our society still values and pushes reproduction- ask any younger woman about the pressure from everyone, even random strangers, about why you haven't had a baby yet, and the way the childless by choice are treated.
Why do people get tax credits for children? they should be hit with extra tax for each child that goes WAY up as the number of children goes beyond 2. If you have no children you should get a tax break.
Most people can't really think beyond their own selfish urges and needs, but if they are surrounded by a culture that says "this is GOOD" they tend to respond. Look at recycling- not long ago, barely heard of; strong cultural pressure, and now you feel guilty if you toss a plastic item in the regular trash.
Of course we will have to get rid of the ridiculous religious pressures used to limit and restrict access to birth control and abortion. Birth control should be widely available and free, strong funding for research into better types of birth control, and vasectomies should be offered free to all comers.
I don't worry too much about overpopulation in a world where we are so globalized that you can pass any pandemic around in the span of a few days. I don't doubt that in our future, with out being an alarmist, just more of a realist from historical precedent, that we're going to face a global pandemic eventually.
The Spanish flu in 1918 spread so fast and so hard, hitting those traditionally not affected as badly by flu like the young and healthy. In fact it hit those people harder because their immune systems mounted such a strong reaction it actually worked against them and killed them faster. Now we have world wide travel and unfortunately once a pandemic like that began we'd be basically helpless to stop it until it ran it's course. The Spanish flu killed between 20 and 50 million at a time when the worlds population wasn't yet 2 billion. If it were to happen today by an estimate we'd lost close to 20 million Americans. That is with a pandemic similar to Spanish flu, other variants could be much worse. Nature finds a way of taking your population down and I think we might be in her cross hairs.
While I firmly believe that the earth is overpopulated, and have decided to not add to the overpopulation by procreating, what about the role of science and medicine in keeping people alive longer? It is all interconnected. Antibiotics have greatly increased the human lifespan. Medical technologies have created temporary "cures" (to keep people alive longer, but obviously we all die) for cancer, HIV/AIDS, mental illness; and created vaccines for others.
I know I sound like a crazy bitch saying this, but in our (the collective we, not each of us individually) "save the world" mentality, we have contributed to the overpopulation problem. Disease, starvation, war - all are historical means of controlling the population. Yet we have to feed the starving, vaccinate the third-world countries, put an end to wars.
I don't know what the answer is except for me to do my part and not add to over-population and the stuff that comes with it (buying crap, creating more waste, consuming more resources, etc.).
We still grow up with a societal ideal of a family of four. At least now woman can put off children for a career, but we are still expected to have offspring at some point.
Access to easy and affordable birth control and real/comprehensible sex ed in schools beginning at a very young age is a great first step. The next step is making long term options like vasectomies, IUDs, and tubal ligation available and available to younger patients. A 20-something year old who doesn't want to have kids shouldn’t have to fight with his or doctor about how they "will change their mind later in life." Not everyone has to have kids!
And finally, I would love to see the adoption process changed somehow, but I don't know enough to say how. I would like to be a mother someday, because I think I will be a good mom and will enjoy it. However, I have never had that desire to give birth to my own child. I would (and will) seriously consider adopting in the future. Unfortunately, everyone I know who has, says it is ridiculously expensive, time consuming, and difficult to navigate. So chances are good that I will end up bringing more lives into this world, even though I would rather not.
I wonder how much that idealization of the traditional "family of four" is a product of television?
Perhaps I'm strange, but I never, ever, not for even ONE moment, felt the pull of any "biological clock." I knew I wasn't cut out for motherhood (lacking the patience!) by the age of 14, and never really wasted much time dating.
Independence, money, HORSES! :D