Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The elephant in the room.....

I set my graduate students a reading assignment for monday, we then spent 2 hrs talking over the 3 papers I had set. All were about corals declining - one was on deep water corals and the effects of ocean acidification, one was on shallow water corals and how fisheries were causing the major decline in reefs and the other was a policy paper that suggested tackling all the problems at once and stop messing around with the small stuff. None of these papers really tackled the big issue, all skirted around the root and only talked about the damage that root was doing. But my students totally got it (which I was impressed by!) and we had a long and exhaustive conversation that several after told me they really enjoyed. And it's relevant to not just coral reefs either, it's relevant to everything around us. 

The main threat to humanity is humanity itself - Population

Yet no-one wants to talk about population control, except China that is. And I applaud their efforts, only they forgot to deal with a very large cultural problem first - inequality of the sexes - that is now coming back to bite them. No country wants to tell people how many children they should have, but it's a fact we have to deal with if we want our children to continue to live on this planet in the future. Increasing population is the root of overfishing, is the root of ocean acidification and is the root of impending energy crisis - it is something we need to deal with now.

I personally don't think anyone has a right to tell anyone how many children they should or shouldn't have, but I think governments globally need to do more about helping our population make informed choices. Is having "17 kids and Counting" really good for our future on this planet? Is having another child because you like children or because you want both sexes in your family going to cut it in the world to come?

Quoting Barak Obama "The truth is we can't solve climate change because I changed light bulbs in my house. It's going to be because of something collective". 

I wonder if he is going to address that elephant by name or keep hiding it in the corner......

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