Ask Alexandra – February 2015
1) Dear Alexandra Paul,
I have read your post about Overpopulation, and was rather impressed by how much knowledge and information that it can provide to someone. It also brings up a few question that I wish to ask you.
Such as why do you believe in order to solve the issue overpopulation that poverty would have to be tackled first? Also why would other nation crave to have and waste resources just like America, if they already possibly see the negative affects it’s having?
Finally, could you direct me to other sources where you obtain your knowledge on the topic?
Thank you for writing. I am not sure exactly which post you are referring to, but for an up to date summary of Human Overpopulation, check out my TEDx talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNxctzyNxC0
There is no one thing that should be tackled first when it comes to reducing family size around the world. Sending girls to school and allowing women to have more rights is imperative in developing countries where females are second class citizens. Access to the appropriate birth control (different cultures embrace more fully different methods) and affordability is also important. Education for girls and empowerment for women means they will choose to have smaller families. Having 2 children instead of 5, and both parents being able to work outside the home if they choose, is a powerful way to alleviate poverty. Furthermore, education means people think for themselves instead of simply following the dictates of religion.
Governments must instill social nets that help elders, so that couples do not feel they have to have a lot of children to take care of them in their old age. It would also help if our cultures would celebrate the one child or no child family, instead of sticking to the old mindset that “Big families are happy families” and “Only children are lonely children”.
You ask why other nations crave to have the kind of wasteful lifestyle we do, and it is because humans are wired more for immediate gratification than long term consequences. Who would not choose to have a car and a nicer house when it is offered, after taking crowded public transportation and living without refrigerators or tvs? Those of us who have that stuff now know the downside, but we still cannot give it up either. Plus Capitalism encourages us all to buy more, to have more “ambition” to earn more money, to never be satisfied, because that is what keeps Capitalism humming along – willing consumers…
My favorite book on human overpopulation is Michael Tobias’ World War III. And anything by Paul Erlich!!!
I also get a daily email from Population Media Center. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get it also!
Thank you Brian,
Long time pescitarian, recent vegetarian, electric car driver and big fan of yours! I drive a 2013 Chevy Volt and keep hearing about a “Cross Volt” Crossover SUV that would be perfect for my wife. Is GM really going to make this? I missed the big Detroit auto show but will be attending the auto show here in Cincinnati next month to find out more about it. Any inside scoop?!
Thank you Andy. I am so glad you are now vegetarian. Congratulations!!!!
I was the spokesperson for the Chevy Volt when it first appeared on the market in 2010, but I no longer have the inside scoop on their plans. I still drive my Volt and I love it, so I hope GM will continue to make the car. It is like 2 cars in one: Electric for 99% of my driving, but if I go over 43 miles and am not able to plug it in, the gas engine kicks on for 300 miles on a tank of petrol. I hardly ever drive in gasoline mode, but when I need it it’s there.
I am sure you can give ME inside scoop after the Cincinnati auto show!
Thank you for helping the planet by being a vegetarian. That and driving a car powered by solar (if you are able to have solar panels on your home to charge your Volt batteries) are great ways to do your part.