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Population Australia's 'big threat'
Peter Ker, The Age
PROMINENT Australians have thrown their support behind a controversial new book which argues that population growth is the biggest threat to environmental sustainability in this country.
In a provocative attack on water conservation schemes, such as Melbourne's Target 155, the book Overloading Australia urges Australians to ignore water conservation, forcing politicians to rethink population and immigration policy.
Focusing on perhaps the most taboo aspect of environmental debate, authors Mark O'Connor and William Lines have argued that pro-immigration and "baby bonus" policies are at odds with plans to reduce carbon emissions and secure water supplies.
(24 January 2009)
Japan workers urged: Go home and multiply
Kyung Lah, CNN
... In a country where 12-hour workdays are common, the electronics giant [Canon] has taken to letting its employees leave early twice a week for a rather unusual reason: to encourage them to have more babies.
"Canon has a very strong birth planning program," says the company's spokesman Hiroshi Yoshinaga. "Sending workers home early to be with their families is a part of it."
Japan in the midst of an unprecedented recession, so corporations are being asked to work toward fixing another major problem: the country's low birthrate. Tell us what you think
At 1.34, the birthrate is well below the 2.0 needed to maintain Japan's population, according to the country's Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.
Keidanren, Japan's largest business group, with 1,300 major international corporations as members, has issued a plea to its members to let workers go home early to spend time with their families and help Japan with its pressing social problem. Watch more on this story Video
One reason for the low birth rate is the 12-hour workday. But there are several other factors compounding the problem -- among them, the high cost of living, and social rigidity toward women and parenting.
(26 January 2009)
Peak oil? Global warming? No, it's 'Boomsday!'
Paul B. Farrell, MarketWatch
Five reasons 'population explosion' is world's biggest economic problem
[The science fiction novel] "Boomsday" does put the problem in sharp focus: No, it's not "peak oil." Not global warming. It's the population explosion: Too many people, old and young, boomers and babies too. More and more people filling up our little planet.
And while she proposes eliminating boomers, throughout history other writers, warriors and governments have dealt with the other end, limiting births -- from family planning, infanticide, even genocide. Yet few expect change at either end of this spectrum. Indeed, a United Nation's study estimates the world population will continue exploding, from 6.6 billion to 9.3 billion by 2050!
And not only will there be about 50% more people on the planet before today's kids reach the age of the youngest boomers today, but every year they'll also be demanding more opportunities, more benefits and more resources for their personal economic growth as well as for the expansion of their national economies. Warning: by 2050 America's 400 million will be vastly outnumbered by 8.9 billion others across the planet, all competing with America.
In short, within four decades human demands will easily double. That makes population growth the key variable in every economic equation ... impacting every other major issue facing world economies ... from peak oil to global warming ... from foreign policy to nuclear threats ... from religion to science ... everything. Population is the No. 1 variable in the economic equation.
(26 January 2009)