This week social media blew up over Prince William suggesting the world do something to mitigate the effects of over-population while Kate is expecting Royal baby number three. He was branded a hypocrite for suggesting over-population is a global concern particularly in Africa where the human population is growing at a rate of three and a half million people per month.
Are we not missing the point? Is William’s third child really the issue? For the better half of a millennium, the so called developed world has plundered, pillaged and deprived the African continent of its resources and its indigenous peoples. The slave trade destroyed entire tribes, decimated the family unit and promoted fear of extinction in the populations of Africa. Even in tribal Africa today, there is an ingrained belief that the developed world is trying to wipe them out.
The problem is further exacerbated by the developed world as we provide just enough aid and economic relief to barely sustain indigenous populations while continuing to take the resources we need to grow our own economies and bolster our own lifestyles. We provide food and medicine to ensure longer life spans and wipe out deadly systemic diseases however only enough to keep them under control and at our mercy. Historically population growth is tied to impoverished populations. It seems counterintuitive but we are wired to survive and the more children you have the more likely your survival. They act as a youthful, strong and cheap labour force to hunt, gather or work the fields and hopefully enough survive to care for you as you age.
Once again we seem to miss the point, the Prince’s children are not the hypocrisy we should be focused on…
The real hypocrisy lies in the developed world’s alarming concerns about declining populations and the effects they will have on economic prosperity at home. We increase immigration levels from those “over-populated” areas of the world. Further creating a resource drain by picking and choosing who emigrates to our countries, taking the best and brightest hopes for the third world to offset our own declining populations. At the same time, we promote larger families through incentive programs and tax breaks to our own citizens. Population growth is an important factor to drive prosperity and continue moving our economies forward. We do this while pressing alarm bells about the rapid population growth in the under-developed world.
The real answer to population growth is to bring those in desperate poverty to a point of economic sustainability. In every economy where basic human needs, such as an abundance of food, clean drinking water and access to healthcare are met populations tend to level out and even decline. At the same time we need to work to shift our own population growth based economies to new sustainable models. One’s that strive to ensure basic needs are met for everyone and considers our impact on the planet as a whole.
Only then will we have truly put to rest the real hypocrisy and achieve sustainable prosperity for our global human family, our planet, its environment and all its diverse species of plants and animals.
Copyright 2017 Greg Glazebrook, All Rights Reserved.