There is a reason why videos of kittens in sombreros get ten thousand hits on Youtube
When it comes to the environment, population control is the big fat elephant in an increasingly squishy room. It links to every environmental crisis we could mention but you’ll not hear a peep about it on any political campaign trails.
It has precipitated the devastation of natural habitats, causing the instability of ecosystems. It places ever-increasing pressures on food producers, leading to inevitable increases in genetic modification. But you won’t read about it on the front page of your daily rag, nor is the subject likely to arise around the office water-cooler.
But there is no denying that our rapidly depleting natural resources are being stretched across an ever-burgeoning population, as the world’s have-nots scramble desperately for the things that most of us currently take for granted – like the office water-cooler.
Already the scarcity of the earth’s two percent or so of fresh, drinkable water is prompting desperate conflicts – think Somalia – and it’s estimated that we now have just thirty years of oil, sixty years of natural gas and a hundred years of phosphorus, before we’ve used it all up.
So why aren’t we talking about this? Because it’s a great big buzz-kill, that’s why. There is a reason why videos of kittens in sombreros get ten thousand hits on Youtube and your Facebook post celebrating that perfect pavlova gets fifty more hits than the link you shared about chocolate being a leading cause of Alzheimer’s. Nobody likes a party-pooper!
I made up the bit about chocolate and Alzheimer’s, by the way.
Even if we were ready to have a conversation about overpopulation, what would we say? I’d propose voluntary euthanasia as one solution, except that the result would most likely be a slight reduction in the number of cuddly old people in the world and I like cuddly old people. Euthanasia would do nothing to reduce the number of tossers who fail to give me a wave when I let them into the flow of traffic on a Monday morning.
No public official is ever going to get elected suggesting that we curb our ferocious appetite for reproduction. It would negate our primordial purpose, let alone our civil liberty. The idea would immediately manifest thoughts of China’s one-child policy and in politics, the only colour more reviled than green is red.
If there is one thing that capitalism and the free market stand for, it is that we can do whatever the hell we want, as long as we can pay for it. I think that’s the general gist, anyway. And, let’s face it, privileged middle-class white folks simply don’t like being told what to do.
Yes, any politician seeking to curb our genetic proliferations will need to employ some political fast-talking to successfully conceal their intent. I suggest a program called the Child Rationalisation Assistance Program. It’s suitably obscure, with an acronym that offers an alternative interpretation of the bureaucratic double-speak. I’ll be announcing my candidacy on Monday.