So anyway, if we refuse to address out of control population growth, it won’t matter what we do on the conservation side so why bother?
Perversely, I agree.
I was in Saigon a few years back speaking at a company event. I met a guy from the US who had been in Saigon for about 20 years, running an advertising agency; he was also speaking. He was showing me some stills of some ads he was working on showing a Vietnamese family enjoying a very Western style home, well decorated in Western style, with computers, TVs, all the comforts you can imagine.
So, knowing that most Vienamese are still toughing it out in rice paddies (or worse), and even if they’re urbanites, they’re often living six to a room in some barely standing walkup…….I asked him if those sorts of ads piss off the Vietnamese who are not wealthy, knowing that they will never live like that.
Answer was “not in the least”. He and others had done loads of marketing research that showed that the Vietnamese are some of the most aspirational people in the world. So, even if it’s a family working in a rice paddy, they are pushing on their kids to excel in school, get a STEM degree, and learn English, because those are the tickets to that western lifestyle.
So, back to my original point. You can get the Westerners to agree that populations should be controlled. That’s no big deal, since most developed nations are already at negative population growth, or at no more than bare replacement levels.
What you can’t do is get a traditional culture in a developing nation to go along with you on it; in an agrarian nation without a social infrastructure for the elderly, children are your retirement plan, and the more you have, the better your older years will be.
So, you have the perverse incentive: If you want population growth to come down naturally, you have to get everyone living like Westerners, because in a developed nation, children are a financial liability and not a financial asset.
What a mess.