by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) has recently called for a complete review of all benefits and fiscal policies that give incentives to people in the UK to have more than two children.

The CIWEM believes that this will lead to a non-coercive policy of ‘stop at two’, which should help us to face up to the challenges of population and consumption growth and start living within our environmental limits.

One third of all humans who have ever lived are alive today. The global population is currently 6.7 billion and is predicted to rise to around 9 billion people by 2050. But the current species extinction rate is between 1,000 and 10,000 times higher than the natural rate, with a mass extinction under way. Human activity, not natural phenomenon, is the difference between this and the five previous big extinctions that have occurred in Earth's history. The current destruction is driven by habitat loss, over-exploitation of resources, invasive species and pollution. All of these are the result of human activity, and more specifically, the impact of the size and exploitative behavior of the human population.

In the CIWEM’s recently published Manifesto, the Institution calls for the alignment of all elements of the economy with the principle of living within environmental limits. There must be an end to the presumption that economic growth is essential for a successful society, with environmental health and societal wellbeing afforded greater status in this respect. This means a review of all policies that encourage larger families, along with the UK leading the way in international negotiations to increase levels of overseas aid committed to empowering women to take greater control of their own fertility.

The CIWEM also calls for the Sustainable Development Commission to monitor and report on the impact of population and people’s lifestyles on the environment. Such information is essential to planning and evolving communities and to planning for action on climate change.

The Manifesto says: “The time for debate has passed. The scientific evidence for human-induced climate change is clear. Without unprecedented commitment and cooperation, future generations face a bleak outlook characterized by a hostile climate and greatly diminished resources. In this context, the next Government will find itself in a unique position: it can set the UK, and lead the international community, onto a trajectory which can give us a reasonable expectation of meeting the climate change challenge through the establishment of an adaptable, low-carbon society; or it can go down in history as the Government which procrastinated and failed to take the last chance to act in time.”

However, this “stop at two” should equally apply to counties other than the UK and such like developed countries, and especially here those counties where they cannot even feed two children.

Nature has its own way of population control. The problem is but that we, modern man, insist on interfering with the system by coming to the aid of every little or not so little famine, for instance.

Famine is Nature's way of saying that the land cannot support the amount of people but, alas, no one is able, it would appear, to hear Her voice.

It is true, yes, that in the developed world nigh on every child, bar those of Gypsies, for instance, survives infancy and there is no need to have more than two children as the continuation of the line is guaranteed that way.

We all know that there are people that love to have a whole soccer team of kids this is not a necessity though, in regards to providing for continuation of lineage nor for old-age provisions of parents. So, in most cases it makes no sense whatsoever, here in the developed world.

© 2009