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Non-Birth announcement

I am, together with a female I never met, excited to announce the non-birth of the son or daughter that was never conceived due to our proactive determination to ensure that outcome. This non-being was not born today on January 1, 2014, nor on any other day of our adult lives. Accordingly, nothing weighing 7 lbs. 14 ounces or any other weight issued from anyone's womb on that day or any other day on our account. And no grandfather, grandmother, uncle, aunt or sibling irrationally celebrated the arrival of a newborn simply because he or she shared their genes.


However, the planet shared our excitement. Since there are 152 more people born than die each minute---or 220,000 a day---more people than there are primates in the entire world----Gaia thanks us this and every other day for this joyous non-event---particularly since it occurred or did not occur in Canada , where each newborn on average will emit 23 metric tonnes of Green House Gasses each year, consume about 46,000 pounds of minerals annually and 3.6 million pounds of minerals, metals and fuels in his or her lifetime.

In the context of an ever diminishing base of affordably accessible non-renewable natural resources---which enable our industrial economy and underpin the sustenance of billions across the globe---every extra human pushes those of lesser means off the plate. In a world of 'continually less and less', all survivors will of necessity be party to manslaughter. To live they must eat someone else's lunch, and one day that someone will live in their nation or neighbourhood and not out of sight and out of mind in Africa or Asia.

It is my hope that one day non-birth announcements like this will fill the newspapers and childless people will be the object of public gratitude, along with those who adopt rather than conceive children---while those who have more than one child will suffer the same disapproval as thieves, murderers and drunk drivers who commit vehicular homicide. "Green" celebrity parents of large families, meanwhile, will be excoriated as the ignorant, selfish hypocrites that they are. Unlikely? Remember that once upon a time, not long ago, smoking in public places, driving without seat belts or inebriated were thought inalienable rights. It is amazing what a crisis can do to effect a sea-change in attitudes. Suddenly and hopefully not too late, the public will realize that we are in an emergency.

And perhaps one day a prize will be awarded to a couple who do not have the first baby of the New Year.

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Comments

Firstly, I agree that people need to control reproduction. I've heard quite a few women say they choose not to add to a populated planet, or bring in children when there are other more needy ones who need resources.

The issue is, for every child you don't have, the government will bring in two people. There are plenty of places in the world where women are still willing to have larger families, where there isn't as much desire for open spaces. Less children born? Increase intake to ensure we meet population targets!

Eventually the demographics will shift, and those who choose to have children will replace those who don't and a new standard will be set. They'll be given incentives if need be to have children. If there is a population target, you can either choose to contribute to it, or have someone else do it. Given that scenario, I would much rather do it myself than outsource my breeding. At least I know my children will have a conscious awareness of these issues and a stake in the future of this country.

I'm not saying you must have children. I'm saying that this may be a self defeating strategy, because it assumes that there is no competition for a niche, which there is. It assumes that you can choose to leave a resource unused, space unfilled. It assumes that you have some control over the population, which you don't.

You must FIRST ensure that your nation has collectively, control over population growth and demographics through peoples individual reproductive choices. This means the idea of a 'population target' must be dispensed with completely.

"It assumes that you can choose to leave a resource unused, space unfilled. It assumes that you have some control over the population, which you don't...This means the idea of a 'population target' must be dispensed with completely."

That is exactly what population activists---such as myself---would dispute. That is why we are in this business, to lobby for a Population Plan for our respective nations which would defend our unused resources and our "empty" spaces. Our aim is to first stabilize then reduce our population levels. An uphill struggle no doubt, but one we must engage in nevertheless.

The question is, how do we achieve sustainability? We cannot ignore the P in IPAT. We must resist population growth, not yield to it with a defeatist attitude ("for every child you don't have the government will bring in two people").To do this, we must treat migration, fertility rates and refugee intakes as variables which can be adjusted up or down depending on our priorities and preferences. Migration quotas and refugee intakes are relatively simple to set. They simply require a stroke of the parliamentary pen. Fertility rates, on the other hand, are more resistant to government suasion, but they still can be nudged up or down by financial incentives or disincentives. To concede to your point however, in the Canadian context, our priority must be to slash immigration intakes since our TFR is relatively low at 1.7, and migrants are having more babies than native-born residents. The demographic shift you refer to.

Bottom line, we must get our population down as rapidly as is humanely and politically possible. We must have a population goal.

Our primary target, however, should be the mentality of Ponzi economics, which asserts that a)economic growth is desirable, necessary and physically possible going forward and that b)population growth is necessary to promote economic growth. Until we defeat this central assumption, our arguments about birth rates and immigration levels will continue to be swept aside.

Congratulations on achieving so much by doing so little.

You are an inspiration to a world that must embrace the art of having far fewer of us, each getting much less done so that we can all have so much more.

Best regards to the non-family.
Hope to see you this side of oblivion.

Whatever the actual number of humans that the poor worn out continent of Australia can support, it should be heading back down as soon as possible. It can't do that straight away because the population is quite young (despite all this ageing obsession) and has many women in their child bearing years. They are not on the whole having big families. (most not as small as Tim's although some do it that way.)
The more Australia adds to its population now (60% of Australia's population growth is immigration) the harder it will be to go back to a sustainable population that lives within the carrying capacity of the continent. One of the main indicators of over population is the continuing damage to the environement as shown in State of the Environment reports.
We are headed inexorably in the wrong direction with a bunch of clowns in charge.