The green deed no one talks about

Every day, I see posters encouraging people to recycle, to switch off the lights, take shorter showers and bicycle instead of taking the car. London is quite good at encouraging people to do these things! That’s the basic green deeds, but what other choices could individuals make to have a really positive sustainability impact?

There is one really big sustainable choice that every person is able to make, but no one talks about. Just imagine the amount of waste a person living to 80 years old  creates, every diaper, plastic cup, toothbrush and old shoe. Imagine all the plane or car rides a person with even a low income (in Finnish standards) will take. Development and decreasing of poverty would be good if it didn’t mean more plane rides. Think of all the new houses, requiring heating and hot water that are built for an ever growing population. All the forest destroyed to get more fields for growing food, a life of 100 years (this is the predicted lifetime for children born now) of eating.Think how much natural resources are saved on every human who does not live, saved for other forms of life: birds, fish, mammals, plants…just biodiversity.

Check this population “clock” out. That is scary. Compare births today with deaths today and feel the goosebumps. Compared to when my grandparents were born about 70 years ago, there are now five times more humans on earth! Imagine your city with 4/5 of its population gone…

Go childless, have only one biological child, adopt. That saves more natural resources than all the basic “live green-tips”. All living humans that I’ve met are wonderful in their own way, there is no one I wish didn’t exist. Ebola, war, other disease and tragic deaths are not the solution. But if someone is never born, you wouldn’t really miss them, I think.


Two persons become five in the next generation


It wouldn’t even take that long to make the human population a bit smaller and in that way so much more sustainable. If every couple would have only one child there would be no humans left in 900 years. Considering a) how much people like sex, b) how often condoms and contraception seem to be forgotten and c) how absolutely adorable babies are, I don’t think the risk of that happening is very big.

A smaller population would really make all sustainability issues much smaller. Before the industrial revolution, Finlands population was just one-fifth of what it is today. It’s not just developing countries who could contribute to sustainability by having smaller families, the western world needs more declining birthrates too.Sometimes, women doing abortions are called selfish. From another point of view, abortion can be considered to be very unselfish; for the good of the future of the overall human population and the planet. I would, however, vote for these eco-friendly condoms instead as I have understood the last mentioned option is rather unpleasant.


3 thoughts on “The green deed no one talks about

  1. Thinking globally, you have a point. But European nation states are already experiencing population decline because in developed countries women decide to have fewer babies, and to live a life not dictated by childcare – which is fine. The problem is, the populations of countries such as Germany and France are getting older, and therefore money spent on healthcare and such is increasing. The tax burden is increased on an ever decreasing tax base, because there are fewer younger people. So state benefits for the elderly shrink as they make cuts where they can, and tax the smaller working population left even more. So if anything, Europe needs to have more babies to sustain its population, and find ways of making this environmentally viable. Trying to solve the world’s problems by having fewer babies and in the long term fewer humans, will lead to at least a couple of generations of economic hardship, and

    Liked by 1 person

    • I understand your point, but thinking about how much productivity has increased with technical solutions during the past 100 years I argue that we can sustain the economy with fewer working people. I agree that a radical drop in population could potentially lead to chaos but a steady decline of the population would give time for suitable adjustments to the economy. Also, the big generations born after WW2 are now aging, and are a problem now so the age pyramid is already not a pyramid. Having more babies right now would not help the current situation as it would be too late when they reach working age. Just my example with automatized checkouts: this frees labor to i.e. take care of the elderly. Then it is also a question of values (how we divide the cake) to make sure that the elderly receive proper care. As European living standards are so high, less newborn Europeans would have a higher impact on the use of natural resources. I do think that other measures have to be taken as well to ensure sustainability of the European lifestyle, but I think in the long run it would all be a bit easier if the population declined a bit.


  2. Pingback: Telling other people far away what to do | Mind Tomorrow

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