Zero to One Child per Woman: The only possible solution at this late date

Excerpt from “The Sky Is Falling: Chicken Little Was Right All Along” by Don Wilkin Nov 2013.

“I am convinced the only equitable, humane, and effective way to pull our fat out of the fire at this late date, if it could be done at all, would be to immediately and dramatically reduce human fertility worldwide to half of replacement for the next three to four generations, somewhere between “one or none” and “one will do, stop at two.”   All other attempts to live more sustainably would be – in fact are being – entirely undone by our huge and growing numbers.  Such restraint would have to continue until we got our numbers WAY down, certainly below a billion, and possibly below half a billion depending on how long it took.  That level of voluntary reproductive restraint, I don’t need to tell you, would be unprecedented in human historyEconomic collapse is a far more probable resolution to our overshoot problem.

Realistically, most of us won’t survive global economic collapse.  The vast majority of us have neither the skills nor the resources to survive in a purely local economy.  Despite the earnest efforts of groups like Sierra Club and the Transitions network, it is unlikely that anything can now stop the global economy – and human civilization with it – from collapsing around our heads sometime in the next two to four decades.  Most will apparently blithely continue to enjoy our final faux prosperity while it lasts.  By the time the meltdown gets their full and undivided attention, it will be too late.

I take little comfort in being old enough to be cashing in my chips before the most serious stages of civilization’s decline and collapse.  That doesn’t make it any better for my kids and grandkids.  I feel we owe them a realistic assessment of the predicament we have left them.  My heartfelt warning to them is that children born today are probably being sentenced, should they survive to adulthood, to living through the darkest period of human history.  The decision to bring a child into the world today is – or should be – an excruciating one, a choice between small hope for a survivable future with starkly limited opportunities versus a far higher probability of a much more debased, dispiriting one.

If this past century represents the pinnacle of human ability to sustainably manage and equitably share our global commons, and if, despite our big brains and digital libraries overflowing with the accumulated wisdom of all human history, we can aspire to no higher economic goals than ever-greater material consumption, constant growth, and perpetual crowding at the expense of all other species on this planet, including other humans, it might be better if human reproduction were put on the evolutionary back burner for a very long while.  Only a radical pruning provides any hope for a post-human “founder” population sometime in the future with substantially more reverent attitudes toward Earth and more caring and social responsibility toward one another.”

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