Are you Neo Malthusian or Anti Malthusian?

I would describe my views as more akin to Anti-Malthusians.

 

Neo Malthusian and Anti Malthusian derive from Malthus’s theory about overpopulation. His theory on overpopulation is that population tends to increase at a faster rate than its means of subsistence and that unless it is checked by moral restraint or disaster (such as disease, famine, or war) widespread poverty and degradation inevitably result. The definition of over population is, “The excessive population of an area to the point of overcrowding, depletion of natural resources, or environmental deterioration.”

 

Some justifications that prove that our world isn’t “Overpopulated” is that no matter what, we as a species will find a way to solve any resource problems. In the definition of overpopulation above, it states the “depletion of natural resources, or environmental deterioration”, so as long as we don’t accomplish this, we won’t be overpopulated. The green revolution was a solution that helped steer us away from being overpopulated. The Green Revolution was an R&D movement that revolutionised the way we farmed by implementing technology as it provided us with an abundance of food resources. This helped eradicate food shortage in a lot of places. Not only that but the development of GMOs has also helped us grow crops in many different harsh conditions that people wouldn’t have dreamed possible. Subsequently, I believe that if we do run out of one resource e.g fossil fuels, then we would shift our attention to an alternate source e.g renewables.

 

The reason why Malthus’s theory doesn’t apply to present times is that he didn’t take human development into account, he probably believed that we wouldn’t develop such tools to aid us with the collection of resources. This is the flaw in his theory, with all the information that we currently have, it is clear to say that the development of technology has been beneficial in being able to provide us with the resources that we need.

 

A current example showing the humans ability to adapt would be “Global Warming”, since the industrial revolution, fossil fuels have become a huge part of our lives. Fossil fuels help make our lives easier e.g powering cars, generating electricity and others. However, the excessive use of this carbon emitting good has left a mark on our planet. Evidence of this is shown through the hole in our ozone, the melting of ice caps the raised sea levels etc. Mankind has recognised this and governments have taken action by reducing carbon emissions in each country. An example of the action that has been taken would be the Paris agreement. Now, how does this link to Anti-Malthusian beliefs? Well, it proves my point that humans have the ability to adapt to situations and won’t let our world resources completely be depleted.

 

In conclusion, I believe that so long as mankind makes the right decisions and makes sure to constantly develop new technology or alternate resource strategies in order to prevent the current resources from becoming completely used up, then I believe that our earth is not overpopulated and my ideas will still align with Anti-Malthusian ideology.

How do you intend to reduce your individual ecological footprint?

Being brought up in a first world country has allowed me to have easy access to necessities. However with this, I actually consume a lot of different types of food per day and use a lot electricity thus leading to me having a large ecological footprint. A lot of the aspects that contribute to my large ecological footprint are things that I take for granted such as air conditioning, cars and meats. Using a website, I have calculated that if everyone on this planet lived like me, then we would consume all of the worlds resources by February 2018.

Some ways that I can reduce my ecological footprint would be to consume less meat based products, take shorter showers, use public transport, reduce usage of air conditioning and turn of plugs that I have finished using. Out of all of these goals, I can say that I have accomplished three of them (reduce usage of air conditioning, take shorter showers, use public transport). For me, I normally use fan’s during the day and I only turn the Air Conditioning on when I’m about to go to bed. I also try to take as little time as possible to shower (5-7 minutes). Finally, I take public transport is my most commonly used mode of transport, when I go out with friends or come home from school, I take the MRT or bus.

However, I do consume a lot of meat, especially beef and cows are one of the largest contributors to the ecological footprint. Cows require large amounts of land to eat, not only that but they release large amounts of methane which then contributes to a large carbon footprint. I should be more aware of the things that I eat. Finally, I need to try to reduce wastage of electricity as I sometimes leave plugs on overnight or charge my electronic devices overnight. This wastes a lot of electricity which then leads to more electricity that needs to be produced which then causes more carbon emissions thus leading to a huge impact on our planet.

How much power should the Government have to control fertility?

I believe that a government should have some control over the fertility rate of a country depending on the situation. If a country is failing to keep up with the rapidly increasing population, then I do believe that a government should take control. A country that has done this would be China. I do believe that China did the right thing to limit the number of births to one child, but I don’t think that it’s right to force people to get abortions and sterilise them to keep the birth rates low. It is said that the reason why China implemented the one-child policy was that the world was becoming overpopulated. So out of all the countries in the world China “Took one for the team” and decided to reduce the number of births within the country. This is where I agree with what China’s Government has done as it is an action that benefits everyone on this planet.

However, I strongly disagree with the harsh punishments that were put into place just so that they can reduce the population. I think that it is inhumane to force someone to get an abortion or sterilise their citizens. People have the right to choose how many kids they have. Now some may say “If the Government didn’t force abortions or sterilise them, then people will still have the incentive to produce more babies”, I agree with the statement, but I believe that fining citizens more and strongly enforcing this fine across the country will do enough. In the end, China’s efforts were successful in reducing the population and if they didn’t take all these courses of action, China’s population may still be growing at a rapid rate.

How my life has been affected by the place(s) that I have lived in.

Some places that have shaped my life journey so far would be England and Singapore. I was born in Leicester, England and lived there for 7 years of my life. I met many different types of people there, and made a lot of friends. In England, I realised that the place was very diverse in terms of peoples nationality. Not only that but there are a lot of nature parks there which allowed me to connect with wildlife. Also the atmosphere there was very relaxed and friendly, I could go up to the neighbours and start a conversation with them. Living in England helped me develop my communication skills and confidence.

However, when I moved to Singapore, I could feel that the environment was a lot different. In a lot of places around Singapore, especially in the city, there are a lot of buildings, I can’t find many nature parks and greenery, unlike England. After all these years in Singapore, I can say that a lot of people are in a rush to either go to work, school, tuition etc, and people also look very unhappy. It doesn’t seem like a friendly environment where I can go up to people and start a conversation easily. By the end of the day on MRT’s people look exhausted from long working hours, school and ECA’s (Extra Curricular Activities). Singapore has helped me develop my awareness of the surroundings.

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