This Sustainable Life


251: Let's make overpopulation only a finance issue

Ep. 251

Here are my notes that I read from for this episode.

  • New comment from reading Countdown by Alan Weisman
  • Overpopulation is major issue.
  • Challenges are culture, religion, lack of education, lack of birth control
  • He presented research results of demand for birth control by women -- about 250 million. Figure about a guy for each: 500 million
  • I figure low because many don't know it exists or are swayed by not seeing it so not realizing they could want it
  • He also showed results that unwanted children lead to poverty while smaller families where most people live today, ie cities, prosper
  • Combination of huge unmet demand that when met leads to money tells me birth control isn't a moral issue, nor legal, religion, or charity issue but a finance issue. The money comes later if demand is met
  • Should be profitable if someone can figure out financing
  • Many people may default, may be hard to keep track, but look at how huge the demand
  • Women risk their lives and die for abortions. No products or services have that kind of demand. Maybe heroin, which is also profitable.
  • In all of environmental efforts, reduction being major goal and profit coming from growth, profit rarely comes from conserving environment
  • Most would-be environmentally sustainable businesses look like steam engine, which I've talked about before. It looked like it would lower coal use and did for each use but increased it overall
  • Making meeting the interests of half a billion people a finance issue seems a huge change in perspective
  • Don't have to look for charity or government aid
  • As for morals and legality, Coca-Cola shows what happens when profits face against morality. They sell unhealthy sugar water everywhere in the world, including parched places with no water, charge for it, and people keep investing in it.
  • Could be a major route to bringing human population down to sustainable level of a couple billion.
  • Signs I see show we are over sustainable and projections people say imply we're leveling off still show growth in 2100.
  • I hope some enterprising entrepreneur sees opportunity and meets it.
  • Many stories of successful family planning nationwide in Thailand, Iran, Mexico, Costa Rica, as well as cultural shifts in Japan, Italy, and more
  • And economics seem likely, unlike growth economics which are failing everywhere, environmentally, culturally, socially, failing in every way but making a few people incredibly wealthy, mostly by birth

More Episodes


612: Sebastian Junger, part 1: Humans Thrive on Mutual Dependence, Feeling Needed, But Our Culture Isolates.

Ep. 612
When I wrote up my experiment to live with my apartment off the grid in Manhattan for a month, I looked up what I did the morning I started. My library records show I borrowed and listened to Sebastian's book Tribe, then my browser history shows I watched a ton of videos featuring him. Soon after I read Freedom, watched Restrepo and The Last Patrol.His work makes you question your values, the values of our culture, and what you do about it. In my case, his exploration to why in a culture of material plenty, that according to, say, Steven Pinker's Enlightenment Now or The Better Angels of Our Nature, which say life is the best its ever been, in head-to-head competition, people who know civilization choose to live in other places. His books and our conversation clarify and refine the conditions, but the main appeal of not-civilization is feelings of mutual dependence and feeling needed. Our culture isolates. With affluence has come anxiety, depression, and suicide.His research and writing helped me understand why I enjoy each step of polluting less. People from the outside read me as extreme, but America pollutes extremely much. I've reduced over 90 percent, but I still pollute. I'm finding myself not extreme but traditional.Sebastian shares the main points of his books on community, mutual support, feeling needed, war, love, and more versus isolation and anxiety. At the end we talk about how to restore what we've lost and the prospect of changing culture to sustainability, which looks promising.Sebastian's Home PageLots of videos featuring Sebastian

610: Abortion and Sustainability

Ep. 610
Here are the notes I read from:40% of pregnancies are unplanned. Overpopulation is a major problem for environment so it's a topic for this podcast.Girlfriend who pressured me into unprotected sex and got pregnantNot only women's issue. Men have as much value to add as anyone who hasn't been robbed or murdered to speak on robbery and murder.Her power, reversing her word, pressuring, irresponsibility, tearFinancial abortion. If you support abortion, it's consistent and will help you win your caseStories of pro-lifers getting abortionsMany men who support abortion and many women who oppose itWhat if someone believes unique human life begins at conceptionTo me, fertilized cell is not a human being. Like an ant, not an anthill, nor are a dozen ants or even thousands. Yet at some point an anthill forms. Or a cloud. Water vapor everywhere, yet where cloud begins in space or time not clear.Somewhere clump of cells becomes human capable of suffering, before nine months.If you believe the cells don't become human until late and don't accept that others could consider it murder, have some compassion. It may help to learn that many past cultures, including likely yours into the twentieth century, and many others today consider infanticide after birth within days, weeks, or even longer acceptable. How do they look to you? Would you kill a born baby? Can you see that others might see you that way? What would you do if you saw a parent preparing to kill a baby already born that was viable? What would you say to a society that left twins to die from the elements or hunger?Democracies debate life, death, self defenseSeems to me a conflict to resolve democratically. No scientific proofLet's say you're absolutely right and not a unique human life at conception or even until birth. People can vote however they want. Can you at least acknowledge their point of view? To lead, you have to go where they are. You're losing. Maybe reconsider your tactics.Likewise, say you can prove unique life begins at conception. Still not well defined. When sperm enters egg? Can't be. When DNA combines? If DNA doesn't finish combining, you'd allow some birth defects to be killed. My point is you still haven't found a hard lineOr what if we can clone humans from one cell. Then you must do everything possible to keep that machine running and build as many as possible.Both sides keep pushing toward greater extremes, listening less, not more, trying to circumvent democracy. Stating more extreme positions.I think democratic debate is best solution at high level. Also practically, I think it will win you more support and disarm opponents more.I can't help mention a creative solution from The Satanic Temple. It's making abortion a religious ritual protected by law that health care providers apparently have to honor. If all it takes to force by law a doctor to give an abortion is converting to a religion, I suspect TST may see an influx, new religions may start forming, or existing religions will begin their own rituals. I'll link in the text.