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.
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.