Monday, November 23, 2009

Danger, Will Robinson

My young colleague, Veronica, recently published a blog addressing climate change. Her post acknowledges climate change, refers to several facets thereof, commends companies for going green, and calls readers to action today. This is all very good. However, a few simple procedures could take this post to the next level.

In the first paragraph, the author ambiguously refers to money spent by companies in automotive and other industries on 'green' improvements as evidence that people are committed. I think this would be a much more effective paragraph if it cited, or at least linked to, specific examples of how automobile manufacturers are investing in 'green' research, surveys or statistics about consumer preference for 'green' products, etc.

The next paragraph mentions polar bear commercials, which evoke holiday coca-cola advertisements, both to me, and to google. A link here would have been especially helpful.

The third paragraph emphasizes that global warming is here causing real consequences, one of which was actually stated backwards. (Ocean levels are rising, not sinking.) Also, elevated temperatures during the summer, even record temperatures and such, do not PROVE things. They provide evidence. As legend-in-his-own time scientist and thinker Freeman Dyson will attest, proving things within such complex and poorly understood systems as the global ecosphere can prove exceptionally difficult. My point is this: the fact that global warming is practically indisputable at this point is no excuse for sloppy reporting.

In short, while I generally agree with the sentiments expressed by my colleague, I felt they could have been presented more clearly and with documentation.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Population Control

It is becoming clear that the world is facing new problems. Globalization, global climate change, and the technological revolution with its attendant risks and benefits, present today's generations with unique challenges, problems we must all overcome if we are to avoid, nay, avert disaster. These puzzles will continue to stimulate the brightest and most creative minds, as we ponder our course. Innovative strategies are already being developed and implemented all across the world.

It is well known that for the last three decades, the People's Republic of China has had a population control policy in effect. This plan was implemented in the hopes that population control might "alleviate social, environmental, and economic problems in China" (Rocha da Silva, Pascal (2006)
). This has resulted in drastic reduction in population growth in China, which even so remains the most populous country in the world, though India's population is quickly rising. As this has certainly reduced the country's environmental footprint (it is estimated that at least 250 million people haven't been born as a result of the policy; that's a lot of people not using electricity, making waste, etc.), it is a boon to the rest of the planet and a beacon of hope for countries looking for revolutionary new ways to tackle the tough trials of today.

The United States produce the most pollution per capita, of all the nations on the planet. If we implement a policy similar to the one-child policy in China, we would have a terrific impact on the pollution output in our world. Since each American on average puts out more pollution than any other citizen of the Earth, each child not born as a result of this policy would save the world more efficiently than children not born anywhere else on the planet!

Critics of the one-child policy cite increased rates of abortion and infanticide as negative consequences of this policy. While many babies, born and unborn, would certainly be sacrificed, this is a small price to pay for a cleaner planet. Besides, their sacrifice helps keep the planet inhabitable for you and me. Also, studies show that people of lower intelligence breed more prodigiously than do smarter people, so we would be reducing emissions while increasing our national I.Q., so to speak. With that in mind, we might even enact such reform with retroactive elements, to startling effect.

In short, of the many wondrous possibilities with which we are faced today, the one-child policy has shown that, by producing less offspring, it produces results.