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Collision Course--US Population growth and field sports

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  • Collision Course--US Population growth and field sports

    When I started riding in western Ma. in 1950, there were about 150 million Americans. Lots of farms, dairy cows all over New England, sort of the tail end of a semi agrarian society. Now in 2010 there are about 307 million of us (by Google)

    This will seem more noticible if you live near Washington, DC than in Aroostock Co Maine!
    Again by Google, by 2050, when a now 15 year old kid will be 64, the projection is that there will be 4,201,000. Americans.

    Do the math. Cows and other human feedstock will need forage and pasture, so where will horses get shoved to?

    Analitical leaders of eventing have some thinking to do, based not on fuzzy minded "We love our ponies", but on the overwhelming threats of demographic realities. Who is doing this thinking?

    Or we can just pretend it isn`t happening, the more typical human response to these unpleasant projections.
    Last edited by denny; Aug. 22, 2011, 09:59 AM.
    http://www.tamarackhill.com/

  • #2
    There's something a bit off about that growth rate projection.... it's way beyond geometric. I think they need to go back and check their numbers.

    The number of children born in the U.S. peaked with a record 4.3 million births in 2007, but has since fallen, dropping to 4 million births last year, according to estimates by the National Center for Health Statistics. The birth rate -- a measure of births per 1,000 people -- has dropped 10%.

    Source: http://money.cnn.com/2011/08/11/pf/r...on_birth_rate/

    Not saying CNN is all that authoritative, But basically the entire population of India and China would have to move to the US to make those numbers realistic.... which would take longer than 50 years.
    Last edited by Belg; Aug. 22, 2011, 09:26 AM. Reason: Numbers.
    Nudging "Almost Heaven" a little closer still...
    http://www.wvhorsetrainer.com

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      I`m not a math wizzard, go argue with the US Census Department. It took from 1950 to 2010 to grow by 150 million. So maybe we`ll only have about 360,000,000 people by 2070. Do you have lots of open galloping and hacking land where you live? Can you teach your eventers and their young riders all the requisite cross country skills?

      There`s an old, very wise saying----"DON`T SHOOT THE MESSENGER!"
      http://www.tamarackhill.com/

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by denny View Post
        I`m not a math wizzard, go argue with the US Census Department. It took from 1950 to 2010 to grow by 150 million. So maybe we`ll only have about 360,000,000 people by 2070. Do you have lots of open galloping and hacking land where you live? Can you teach your eventers and their young riders all the requisite cross country skills?

        There`s an old, very wise saying----"DON`T SHOOT THE MESSENGER!"
        Not shooting, Denny :=) Just saying that it's all but impossible to grow from 330 million to 4.2 Billion in 50 years with a reproduction average of 2.3 kids.....
        Nudging "Almost Heaven" a little closer still...
        http://www.wvhorsetrainer.com

        Comment


        • #5
          This population discussion brings to mind the seemingly silly movie "Idiocracy" which may be silly but when you watch the beginning it tells you how the world got to that point. It starts out showing people making or not making decisions about when to have children. The intellectuals rationalized why they were waiting until they finally died while those dimmer bulbs just kept popping them out until they were the dominant breed. LOL The end result was "Idiocracy". Are we there now?

          Comment


          • #6
            Ahhhh, I see, the number wasn't 4,201 million :=)

            Yeah, I can see 420 million population. Part of our Farm is on ag preserve, it's gaining steam in the WV Panhandle. I think that conservation efforts will continue to gain strength as the population grows, there seems to be a lot of interest in these types of programs.
            Nudging "Almost Heaven" a little closer still...
            http://www.wvhorsetrainer.com

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Sorry, Belg, not 4 billion, 400 plus million. Still way more urban/suburban sprawl than in 2011. Unless all eventers collectively buy N. Dakota, and move there!
              They have indoor eventing in England,, why not winter underground eventing in NO Dakota?
              http://www.tamarackhill.com/

              Comment


              • #8
                Go look at Europe if you want to see what will happen.
                ... _. ._ .._. .._

                Comment


                • #9
                  Everytime I drive past a golf course I think that we should find a way to share. All that acreage for a tiny group of people to use. If our golf courses were like the ones in England instead of carefully manicured to perfection like here, there might be ways to make them multi-use.
                  Nina's Story
                  Epona Comm on FB

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    "Frog in the water" experiment---

                    Supposedly you can put a frog into boiling water and he`s out of there in a nanosecond. Put him into cold water, turn the heat up gradually and he`ll die.

                    Humans will similarly accept gradually deteriorating situations of all sorts. Perhaps that will prove to be the case with diminishing eventing. We already have proven that with our acceptance of the FEI`s destruction of the long format, so what`s next?
                    http://www.tamarackhill.com/

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by denny View Post
                      Or we can just pretend it isn`t happening, the more typical human response to these unpleasant projections.
                      Not me. I moved to Canada.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by denny View Post
                        Sorry, Belg, not 4 billion, 400 plus million. Still way more urban/suburban sprawl than in 2011. Unless all eventers collectively buy N. Dakota, and move there!
                        They have indoor eventing in England,, why not winter underground eventing in NO Dakota?
                        If I had to put on my crystal ball hat, I'd say that acceptable & average commute distance is going to shrink again significantly; and coincidentally (denotively, not connotatively) the value of reasonably local, organic/sustainable farms is going to come out as a shining light of each community. With that comes the prioritization on preservation of open space.

                        Logic: As the population goes up, demand for fuels goes up; raising prices. Higher prices lower the affordability of remoter housing communities, dissolving the "savings" you gain from outer expansion.

                        People divest themselves of houses causing a "suburb" crash.... property values go down, farming again becomes affordable on a family scale; while at the same time having a much lower cost-to-market that transcontinental shipping.

                        In that window, if it comes (and I beleive it will), is the opportunity to expand venues and commit open/green space to diverse pursuits.

                        I don't think it's so much "forward to the past" as it is a brick wall we are speeding towards: the economy of petroleum and the centralization of food production are a very nasty pair of vulnerabilities and I think that will come home to roost sooner rather than later. 2007 was the warning bell; and homes with longer commutes tanked a lot harder in value than your typical NoVA McMansion.

                        I do think there needs to be some large efforts made to expand natural opportunities overall, not just for horse parks etc, but for bridleways, hiking paths, etc... up to and including a "Trans-America Trail" (though there is one, it is used by offroad bikers)

                        I know it kinda sounds like "nature museums" and Central Park... but I really honestly believe that the open space is going to be there for a very long time to come.
                        Nudging "Almost Heaven" a little closer still...
                        http://www.wvhorsetrainer.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by denny View Post
                          I`m not a math wizzard, go argue with the US Census Department. It took from 1950 to 2010 to grow by 150 million. So maybe we`ll only have about 360,000,000 people by 2070. Do you have lots of open galloping and hacking land where you live? Can you teach your eventers and their young riders all the requisite cross country skills?

                          There`s an old, very wise saying----"DON`T SHOOT THE MESSENGER!"

                          Yes. It is called Fair Hill and it is over 6,000 acres of preserved land. It is not going anywhere. We also have Carousel Park, which is county owned and you can school there any time. We also have Old Hope Farms and Radnor Hunt Club, on occasion.

                          So, no, I am not worried about a crazy population boom. I am not sure the US Census Bureau is also taking into account the 'baby boomers'. The largest, by number, generation in the US. They are in their 60's now, roughly. They are finished reproducing and will not likely survive another 65 years. The population is decreasing, overall.

                          Norway actually has a problem where people are not even reproducing to replace themselves. Married couples are *maybe* having one child and many are declining to have children at all. This is to the point where the government is creating incentives to have children, otherwise Norway will cease to exist in the next 65 years. I only mention this because then all the eventers can move to Norway and set up winter-underground events as well as summer above-ground events.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            One of the more interesting demeographics presentations I attended focused on that much of the children being born are to lower income families. It was not a fun presentation- they discussed what jobs are growing.... and mainly... the bulk of your growth will be in low income families.

                            One of the good things- I don't think we will see the same level of sprawl development that we did- ever again. Right now, people can't give away suburban or rural lots and land. They are literally devaluing to the point that farm land makes the most sense (hooray!). Meanwhole- urban land positions that allow for denser developments remain robust.

                            I think with eventing.... it seems like just fewer kids getting into riding and next to no entry level options for suburban kids. I was talking to a rider last week- she had mentioned there being very few lesson programs in the area. 20 years ago- there were probably 20 barns within 60 minutes of my house with robust lesson programs with schoolies and kids starting out. I can think of maybe 3 or 4 now, and the costs of lessons at a few of them are breathtaking.

                            Very few kids around here go beyond ponies- I used to know scads of teens like me with horses....

                            So yes, land... but I can think of probably 10 places I can go ride in my area that have XC jumps and schooling. But if my boss says "my kid wants riding lessons"- well, I know of maybe one eventer with a lesson horse, and a few HJ barns with a few lesson horses.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I think in part it depends on how development in the next 50 years looks. I think there is reason to hope that the forces that drove sprawl in the last 50 yrs (cheap energy--both to drive a lot and to heat large homes, racism and fear of city demographics, etc.) are on the decline.

                              But it is hard to say. I live in a very sprawly area (Northern VA) but can ride out to a preserve with much better trails/hacking than I grew up with in rural VT, so I think all is not lost.

                              But people with interest in conservation (not just eventers, everyone) do need to make that a priority.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I add to my previous that the groundswell movement towards open and sustainable won't happen by itself.... it will require those who cherish it to speak about it... but that society as a whole will become more and more receptive as time moves forward.
                                Nudging "Almost Heaven" a little closer still...
                                http://www.wvhorsetrainer.com

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Help Eventing's future, Become Vegetarian

                                  Originally posted by denny View Post

                                  Do the math. Cows and other human feedstock will need forage and pasture, so where will horses get shoved to?
                                  Well if everyone became vegetarian then we wouldn't need all those acres for feedstock plus all the land used to grow feed for them and could use that land for horse pasture, xc courses, heck perhaps even a place for roads and track . (Along with helping a whole host of other issues beyond the scope of this thread)

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I think this is a very coastal/East Coast perspective. I see no issue out here. There are hundreds of thousands of acres open in the in west.

                                    Most of the US population in concentrated on the coasts (approx. 200 million). If you look at the center of the country you see huge open areas.

                                    I would suggest the title be "Collision Course-Coastal Population Growth and Field Sports." Maybe Rebecca Farms is ahead of the curve and we will see eventing come more to the center of the country where there is still plenty of field space?

                                    As for becoming vegetarian, some of the best XC courses out west are on cattle pasture land and hay farms.

                                    Reed

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      There is a serious global issue arising in the realm of farmland and food. At some point, those pressures are going to affect the US, if they haven't already, as with the ethanol v. food arguments.

                                      A food crisis may be looming on the horizon, or perhaps it's just rampant speculation.

                                      Some background:

                                      US universities in Africa 'land grab' -- Institutions including Harvard and Vanderbilt reportedly use hedge funds to buy land in deals that may force farmers out

                                      Food Crisis and the Global Land Grab (blog with lots of links, make of it what you will)

                                      Maybe this all sounds distant or far-fetched or irrelevant to eventing, but it's our future and, like denny says, there's no real benefit to being in denial.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Just your local biologist chiming in to say the frog in water thing is not true. Any frog, unless he is a completely moronic frog will still hop out when the water gets to hot.

                                        Humans, however, generally behave like morons pretty consistently, so boil away.
                                        Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                                        Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                                        We Are Flying Solo

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