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On population, there’s very good news. Globally, the birth rate peaked years ago. It is approaching or even below the replacement rate nearly everywhere except Africa. The population is still increasing, but that is because people are living longer ie. a decrease in the death rate rather than an increase in the birth rate. Population is set to stabilise. The causes are generally accepted to be empowerment and education of women and their access to contraceptives, the spreading of modest affluence, and reduced child mortality due to medicine and reduction in poverty.
However, population had indeed become very high before its increase started to slow.
But a related problem is increasing. More and more people are eating more and more meat and other animal products. Livestock now outweighs the human population several times over, and farming of animals has crowded out wildlife and the biodiversity essential for keeping the ecosystem in balance.
Animal products are grossly inefficient in terms of calories and land; several times as much land is needed to derive as many calories from animal products compared with eating plant-based food directly. This is good news in a way; it means that there’s plenty enough land to feed everyone, so long as the richer populations don’t insist upon eating loads of animal products. Governments could help address this with economic incentives; it’s crazy that my vegan sausages cost over twice as much as the meat ones, even though the meat ones require far more resources to produce. But no; governments hugely subsidise animal farming, mostly due to historical reasons and lobbying.
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Michael, I very much agree regarding greed, consumerism, dumbing-down, advertising, groupthink and imported plastic crap. But media is supported primarily by advertising, so of course it encourages greed with its endless stories about the lavish lifestyles of the rich and famous, and dumbs everything down – you wouldn’t want the punters to start thinking critically, would you? They might start spending less money on pointless dross…