Even with equal women's health and educational opportunities, the problem is really and unfortunate lack of >>average<<< intelligence. I read this general text in another forum;
The problem is that maximum food and water available in 2050 will be 1/3 to 1/2 of what it is now. The 7 billion of now reduced to just above starvation level in the best case scenario (6 billion) means reducing the 130 million annual births to 4 million while keeping the death rate of 50 million per year the same. That is just 3% of today's birth rate. If it is more, then the death rate will have to increase. If neither is done, the amount of food and water available will be below that needed to survive, on average. This is a set up for warfare and mass starvation/death from thirst. Eco-collapse preceded by years of abject world depression.
The math exercise;
IF): The population must go down fast enough to prevent a mass die-off event. The maximum food and water for humans that the planet can produce in 2050 will be at least a third less than today and possibly even less than half. The cumulative effects of AGW, soil losses, water losses, and oil loss/huge expense, will take a heavy toll on yields. If people start to compost more and grow and buy locally more, it will be on the low end. Business as usual until then will be the high end of crop and water loss. The population will be close to 9 billion living on enough food for only 3.5-4.7 billion. If there was some great leader who could say, and people obey, that we need a moratorium an having kids for 20 years, then the natural death rate would reduce the population by at least 50 million per year. Let's say 60 million per year reduction with almost no births. In 10 years it would reduce .6 billion, in 20 it would reduce 1.2 billion. Then one child families would keep the reduction rate at 20 million per year, so by 2050 there would be roughly 5.4 billion in a world that can only support 4.7 billion in the best case. So 700 million would starve or die of thirst, rather than 8 billion over a period of 20 years or so.
That is if there was such an edict and new morality and it started immediately. That is about the best mitigation we can hope for. Let us say it was an instant going to one child families with education and free forms of birth control and changes to social systems to provide for the disabled and elderly. Then 38 years of 20 million per year net drop would be 6.3 billion in a world that can support a max of 4.7 billion. There would be more deaths from starvation, 1.6 billion in a short period, and a greater chance of warfare over resources. Still, it would be better than the crash of 8 billion or more in around 20 years, in similar fashion to Easter Island 1150 AD. Warfare, theft, cannibalism, diseases, starvation, all too fast to even bury the remains.
I agree that people, on average, just are not smart enough to think ahead, or moral enough to care for future generations.
I like to use the term "head in the sand". Here's a good video on it with others at the right.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTWduFB_RX0
I posted this in the past at both the environment site and population.org ;
Here is more commentary with a great old link on the bottom:
The "Horsemen" and the blame. 1.) Aquifer depletion is to be blamed on the people who are over the aquifers, not on outsiders. 2.) Soil depletion can only be blamed on the countries where they are or have depleted their own soils(by not adding organics/composts, salinization by over-irrigation with river waters high in salts, citification by uncontrolled population growth and sprawl, and by not fallowing the land), not on outsiders. 3.) Oil depletion can only be blamed on the countries with oil who have sold it for their own wealth to outsiders. 4.) AGW has a number of sources of blame; the countries burning oil, the countries burning coal, the countries using slash and burn agriculture, the countries cutting down their forests--not outsiders. 5.) overpopulation beyond sustainable is the fault of the countries involved. It may be their culture. It may be their average stupidity. It may be religions. It may be their immigration policies. It may be the greed of some. It may be a combination of factors. 6.) world fisheries collapse can be blamed on drift netters, shark finners, and 3 billion people who get 60% of their protein from fish/seafood. 7.) Surface water pollution/depletion can be blamed on the people in the areas it is occurring and the people upstream who over-use and pollute with everything from agricultural chemicals, industrial waste, excrement, and pharmaceuticals.http://dieoff.org/page14.htmhttp://www.worldometers.info/
These are VERY useful links. Plus this factoid:
"Research from Murtaugh and Schlax at Oregon State University shows that a hypothetical American woman who switches to a more fuel-efficient car, drives less, recycles, installs more efficient light bulbs, and replaces her refrigerator and windows with energy-saving models, would increase her carbon legacy by 40 times if she has two children."
And this food for thought; Overpopulation causes poverty, low IQ causes overpopulation and poverty.
1)overpopulation>too many people for the number of jobs>lower wages/income>poverty.(economics 1)
2)overpopulation>increased resource demands>increased depletion and increased prices>less money>poverty.(economics 1)
3)overpopulation>increased pollution and depletion>lower food production and lower pure water per capita>collapse/crash
area collapse/crash/economic hardship>migrations>collapse of host areas.(population science)
4)Higher IQ>thinking ahead>lower breeding rate/knowledge of sustainability and ecology>higher income>population habits within sustainability and pollution/depletion at replenishment/absorption rates(known by increased knowledge for increased IQ).
5)Lower IQ>easy influence by religions and cultures/lack of understanding ecology and ability to think ahead>high breeding rate>poverty>higher breeding rate>collapse economically and ecologically in one area>migrations>collapse in host areas.(multidisciplinary science and observation)
6)Long term crowding>crowd tolerance (generally regardless of IQ)>more overpopulation(w/more lowered wages)>collapse/crash
From page one.
I have seen food waste at 10% not 40%, and in my household it is zero because we compost or re-use everything. Our adjusted for one child footprint is 1/20th the average American citizen, and we live well. It can be done outside of urban areas, but the giant monstropolises of the world are all unsustainable and will be the places where most of the die off occurs. They will become deserted decaying monuments to human stupidity.