Tuesday, September 26, 2017

What demographic issues do you think deserve coverage?

I know I ask this periodically of our readership, but I remain curious. What population-issues do you think should be covered, here or elsewhere? Are there particular regions or particular themes you would like explored?

(I can promise a post on Puerto Rico for tomorrow. More to come after that, too.)


Steve Salmony said...

Would scientists with and without appropriate expertise please devote some attention to the 'Human Asteroid' that currently threatens future human well being and environmental health? If somehow not already visible, the 'asteroid' takes its shape in the form of 7.5 human beings now here on Earth. This asteroid is growing in size at the rate of 80+/- million newborns per year and increasing since the date of my birth by 5+/- billion despite declining total fertility rates (TFRs) in many countries.***

***With regard to the many countries with declining TFRs, please note how many of these countries are still well above a TFR at which absolute global human population numbers could be maintained and stabilized.

Steve Salmony said...

Just for a moment, let us choose to think globally. From a species-wide perspective human propagation data and evidence of reproduction numbers of individuals, even in many places and different regions, point in different directions. Choosing the scope of observation is like deciding to look at either the forest or the individual trees, at either the wave or its molecules. Please examine the global challenge before us as a species propagation problem that is not related to individual or local or regional counts of human reproduction numbers.

Imagine that we are looking at a huge ocean wave, watching it move toward us on the shore. Think of a tsunami. The wave is moving toward us; however, at the same time, there are many molecules in the wave that are moving in the opposite direction, against the tide. If we observe that the propagation of the global human population is like the wave, and the reproduction numbers of individuals or certain locales or different regions are like the molecules, it is inaccurate for the latter to be looked at as if it tells us something meaningful about the former because many of the individual or groups in many locations are the 'human molecules' that move naturally against the 'wave of humanity' which is propagating before our eyes.

Choosing a scope of observation is like deciding to look at either the forest or the individual trees, at either the wave or its molecules. Thus, the global challenge before us is a species propagation problem that is simply not related to individual or local or regional counts of human reproduction numbers. Regardless of these reproduction numbers and lowering TFRs in a multitude of locations, the human population is still growing as well as moving toward those of us on the shore who are observing the enlarging size and direction of the human population wave.

Steve Salmony said...

Looking at 7.5 billion human beings

We can see well enough, and generally agree about, what is happening on Earth. Can we focus for a moment on the question, "Why these things are happening with such a vengeance on our watch?" Under no circumstances can it ever be correct for scientists to consciously censor naturally persuasive scientific research with extraordinary explanatory power just because the new evidence is unforeseen and unwelcome. Our unwillingness to accept what science discloses to us about our distinctly human creatureliness, about the placement of the human species within the order of living things, and about how the world we inhabit actually works, makes our efforts to adapt to the 'rules of the house' in our planetary home a protean challenge. As Carl Sagan reminded all of us, "The suppression of uncomfortable ideas may be common in religion or in politics, but it is not the path to knowledge, and there is no place for it in the endeavor of science."
We possess so much knowledge and know-how, thanks to science, and know enough to recognize and understand that humankind is precipitating a planetary emergency on Earth. And what is our collective response? An inexcusable, unconscionable lack of urgency as well as a deliberate refusal to examine and report findings of extant scientific research. Why not ask a vital science question to which we appear to already have an answer, but of which scientists willfully refuse to speak? Why not ask about the ecological science of human population dynamics/overpopulation? If human beings are primary drivers of dissipating natural resources, dying oceans, degrading environs and destabilizing climate, then let us carefully and skillfully examine extant scientific research that simply and persuasively explains why absolute global human population numbers continue to grow so rapidly and, by so doing, to ravage so radically the prospects for the future of life as we know it in our planetary home. If the human community can share a good enough understanding of what it is that ails us and threatens life as we know it, then perhaps momentum can be gathered rather than thwarted to initiate an able collective response to the problems we appear to have induced for ourselves and other living things on the planet.

Steve Salmony said...


Steve Salmony said...


Many too many people seem not to be ready to acknowledge, much less begin to address, the human-induced global ecological challenges looming before humankind. Scientific reticence, too, remains as a predominant obstacle to the gathering of momentum necessary for behavior change within the human community. Based upon the best available science of human population dynamics, the whole truth needs to be openly discussed, widely shared and consensually validated about why the human species is overpopulating Earth. At this point the forthright disclosure of extant, uncontested ecological science regarding the population dynamics of the human appears to be too difficult a responsibility to accept and too demanding a duty to fulfill for many-too-many, well-established professional researchers with appropriate expertise.

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