Bodies, everywhere?

Are you gloomy about Britain? Are you gloomy about this planet of ours?

We approach our referendum on our place in Europe and one of the hot potatoes, if not the hottest potato, is immigration. From Europe but also the world. On top we have a refugee crisis issuing from the Middle East. A crowded country becoming even more tight packed.

But are these symptoms of a larger malaise?

Do you think we are over populating the earth? That we will inevitably drain it of resources, starve or dehydrate ourselves through too many mouths to feed? Should we be actively trying to slow population growth?

You will see many pieces that have this posit at their core. Here’s one from a couple of years ago.

There is a lot of evidence to support it. And I for one believe that, just now, we are overwhelming different elements of the planet – the number of species disappearing at an alarming rate, for instance, surely suggests something isn’t working.

Yet there is another view. Which is that by focusing on stopping population growth we place ourselves in a situation where sooner rather than later everywhere will be like Italy with a shrinking aging population unable to renew itself, unable to support itself. As this video from a few years ago suggests.

Me, I’m not sure. I see the maths for a slowing growth but will that tipping point be reached before we guzzle our planet to death? Hope so. Actually, meliorist that I am, I suspect so.

And here’s a poem for such a situation.

Β Demographics

Β Parent: child; 1:2.4

It was once but not any more.

You know what we need,

We must spread our seed,

To relieve all that tension

And ensure a full pension

We must re-populate

So copulate, copulate


About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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25 Responses to Bodies, everywhere?

  1. colinandray says:

    There are so many issues here that it clearly is a very complex situation however, we should not use mass population movements in the Middle East as the basis for analysing population growth. Rather, efforts should be put into resolving the reasons why so many find a compelling need to move. It is sad that so many cultures seem hesitant (I am being nice) to accept large numbers of immigrants on the basis that it would cause financial complications “at home”. I find it very difficult to understand the perspective that “I am not prepared to risk some degree of hardship just because your country is in a turmoil.” If we took our world’s population, and rated every country’s standard of living on a scale of 1 to 10. If we then came up with an average standard of living, and manipulated every country to drop to, or rise to, that average standard of living … then the world should theoretically be a happier place with much less reason for aggression. That theory unfortunately relies on populations that are compassionate, and will make sacrifices for the sake of others. It would seem that all major religions should get a failing grade due to their lack of promoting those concepts aggressively enough to make any change.
    The good news is that there are many people in the world who are good role models. We just need lots more of them. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. BunKaryudo says:

    It was an interesting video. Unfortunately, I’m very likely to be here in 75 years to tell if its projections were right or not. Despite what it says, though, I’m still a bit concerned that there are so many of us.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am one of those Pollyanna people whom some call ‘meliorists’ who steadfastly believe that there is more good and more good people making a difference, on this planet than not. I think the population movement is just another chance to get that giant melting pot mixed that we sang about in the 60’s and 70’s so happily but seem to have forgotten about now. I think that statistics, news and political statements all come from people who trade in fear and who think it important that the population of the world remain fearful.. I agree with Colin’s wide statement really. I do think that our stance, our beliefs and our willingness to see a bigger picture needs to be spoken fearlessly. My country has a voting population of 3 million and a residential population of less than 5 – the more people from different cultures who enter this country the more exciting and vibrant our culture becomes. It is so challenging for the first generation of immigrants who from desperation flee their homelands to a country with a different culture, customs, language and people. That alone should be the root cause of our compassion; our concern for their welfare should reign and our willingness to bridge the divide where ever possible should be the rule rather than the exception. That’s the world according to me today Geoff πŸ™‚ And all this with only half a mug of coffee in me ……….. hope it makes sense.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. colinandray says:

    Wow! I’d love to hear what you have to say after a full cup of coffee! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  5. trifflepudling says:

    I am not sure how you could slow population growth effectively. You can’t really rely on people in that way without dreadful draconian measures. I tend to believe that the other strand of Malthusianism, i.e. catastrophe, is what will happen. And who knows, if that chunk breaks off the Canaries and the resulting tsunami has dire consequences, or space debris impacts with the same sort of result, we won’t have to restrict growth. (You can’t rely on these kinds of events happening, of course). We are ingenious specimens. Somehow we’ll cope. And before people say that the poorest countries will lose out, well maybe you could say that third world countries would adapt better, especially without the West eating a lot of what they grow. It is very complex.
    c. 18,000 new species were discovered in 2014, apparently. There is so much we don’t know about the planet still, and we have to be realistic about outcomes that we want actually happening.
    But there’s a rugby match in half an hour so I’m off to watch that

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      Hear hear, default to the rugby. Very wise. Love the whole lets speculate issue. Thanks Gilly


      • Gosh, was’t I dismal! But I do think that if human beans can possibly eff things up, then they will. We are the masters in some ways, but nature often has the last word.
        Grand Slam, though! Why is there no England flag available on iPad keyboard?!

        Liked by 1 person

      • TanGental says:

        The things you ask. No idea, I give in – why isn’t there? And yes, whoopee! Most unexpected. Now all we need to do is win the 20:20…


  6. jan says:

    Pretty grim. I’m almost happy my time here is shrinking. Feel sorry for the children though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      Well they will have their challenges but then I remember ancient rellies saying much the same about us as kids and the fear of nuclear conflagration with the Soviet bloc. Didn’t happen. Or AIDS. That neither. I will remain a stupid optimist


  7. Sacha Black says:

    So I heard a weird thing that said there’s enough room in Alaska alone for every person on the planet to have half an acre or an acre or something like that of space in which they could farm and live off the land which apparently is enough land for one person. Whether that’s true I have no idea!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Mick Canning says:

    As has been noted already, a very complex issue, Geoff. Overpopulation? Well, 9 billion people is a hell of a lot for our small world, especially as we seem to be using up resources at an ever faster rate. It is hardly likely to get better. But that is unconnected to the refugee issue, which is a case of compassion and simple humanity for people who have lost everything and are so desperate that they are willing to risk death for them and their children to reach safety.

    Liked by 2 people

    • TanGental says:

      A fair enough point Mick. The link for these purposes was around the fear of overcrowding and how that is used to try and block all other views. I agree wholeheartedly that we must show a huge amount more compassion and be massively more welcoming of these refugees and the we can’t take any more argument is flawed. I’m less sanguine about the world population’s use of resources but I don’t buy the idea it is inevitable it keep on for ever. We will find out soon enough relative to the length of our time on this
      planet. Thank you for commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Norah says:

    Interesting post. Complex situation. No easy answers. Meliorist or not, I think we need to stop abusing the planet quite as much as we do.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. What an interesting video, Geoff. Does make you really think. I’ve no answers other than I do my bit (I hope) by recycling, turning off lights, etc. However, I don’t think it matters what we do because every year we keep being told we have to do even more. To slow population growth down I think you need to bring in a law that says each person can only have one child. Of course, not all of those will have a child but I do believe China tried something like this not so long ago in order to bring down their population growth.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      Indeed China has for many years and they now have a complete crisis with few women and lots of men who will never have a partner and a population crisis looming. As a social experiment it sucks actually because boys are more prized than girls.

      Liked by 1 person

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