Is it 'populate and perish' now?

Rosemary Milsom, July 2007, Sydney Morning Herald

Live Earth was one example of how the climate-change crisis is now well and truly on the global agenda, but there's a significant aspect of the issue that needs further exploration: population control.

Traditionally, the spotlight has been on Asia when discussing the notion of limiting how many children people have, but slowly the rest of the world seems to be waking up to the impact we all have on the finite resources available to us.

Last month a paper prepared by Britain's Optimum Population Trust (OPT) said that if couples had two children instead of three, they could cut their family's carbon dioxide output by the equivalent of 620 return flights a year between London and New York. Localise the maths and it's a shocking figure.

Professor John Guillebaud, co-chairman of OPT, said when couples are planning a family they should be encouraged to think about the environmental consequences.

As a general guideline, he said, couples should produce no more than two children.

Here, in Australia, we are being urged to have more children in an effort to reverse our declining birth rate. Hell, the Federal Government even gives us a cash bonus ...

Regardless of its complexity, population control is an issue worth tackling and we should get involved.

I don't think we should allow the debate to be dominated by academics and politicians.

More: SMH

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