Population’s Impact Recalls The Wisdom Of Occam’s Razor!

By Donald A. Collins | 12 June 2022
Church and State

(Image by Luiz Gonzaga De Souza from Pixabay)

As the world ponders its future at various recent world meetings and with the issuance of numerous vital scholarly papers on climate, war, ethics, and governance, the flow of advice and opinion on best next steps seems overwhelming.

I was struck with the recent mention of Occam’ Razor to point toward understanding complexity by a noted columnist I regularly read.

Read here the history and definition of this ancient adage which is roughly defined as “entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity”.

In short, keep it simple, Donald.

Church and State’s web site has just featured a major scientific report on global prospects for climate change, which predicts disaster if attention is not urgently paid to climate and biodiversity collapse.

Having read the specific papers by most of its authors I am of course impressed with their erudition, but also not clear if they were referring to the major underlying global problem, too many humans consuming more than the planet can sustainably produce.

Here’s one of the authors of this paper’s abstract:

Transformative governance is key to addressing the global environmental crisis. We explore how transformative governance of complex biodiversity–climate–society interactions can be achieved, drawing on the first joint report between the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services to reflect on the current opportunities, barriers, and challenges for transformative governance. We identify principles for transformative governance under a biodiversity–climate–society nexus frame using four case studies: forest ecosystems, marine ecosystems, urban environments, and the Arctic. The principles are focused on creating conditions to build multifunctional interventions, integration, and innovation across scales; coalitions of support; equitable approaches; and positive social tipping dynamics. We posit that building on such transformative governance principles is not only possible but essential to effectively keep climate change within the desired 1.5 degrees Celsius global mean temperature increase, halt the ongoing accelerated decline of global biodiversity, and promote human well-being.

You can view the entire paper’s contents here.

And the posting on Church and State of all the article’s papers here.

These scholars reiterate the UN Stockholm June 2022 meeting that earth’s temperature will rise to irreversible levels in less than a decade.

One surprising voice that has captured so many of us on the climate issue, young Greta Thunberg, has tried to push world leaders to more effective action, calling the speeches at big meetings like Stockholm, “Blah, blah, blah”.

Read here.

One of the principal voices for urgent environment action, 95-year-old cinematographer, Sir David Attenborough, has been very clear about his belief that present levels of excess world population have dire effects on biodiversity and climate. Several of my Op Eds make mention of him and his take on the overpopulation issue.

Read one here.

What of course we now need are real solutions, not more blah, blah, blah. For example, one Center for Disease Control issued fact is that over half US pregnancies are unintended!

The above April 2022 Op Ed mentions a book published in March 2022 by my son, Donald A. Collins, Jr which can be obtained on Amazon for 99 cents and read on Kindle, entitled “Women Deserve Free Contraception” which in Chapter Five includes the history of the famous Lippes Loop contraceptive device which is now sadly no longer available. If made available, its low cost could be offered free (perhaps partly subsidized with government or foundation funding) and make available to millions of unserved women both here in the US and worldwide.

Having been active in the contraception field since the 1960’s, I was of course keenly aware of Paul and Ann Ehrlich’s 1968 book, The Population Bomb which made dire predictions about the pending effects of too many humans on Planet Earth. Many of their predictions did not come true when the authors said they would, but now the evidence is so overwhelming about the effect of the human impact on our planet that population reduction should take front and center in formulating worldwide efforts to make the smooth, safe, non authoritarian transition to lower levels that can be offered the amenities of sustainable, habitable human lives while at the same time saving the precious flora and fauna that sustains us.

As Wikipedia tells us:

The Ehrlichs stand by the book despite its flaws, stating in 2009 that “perhaps the most serious flaw in The Bomb was that it was much too optimistic about the future” and believe that it achieved their goals because “it alerted people to the importance of environmental issues and brought human numbers into the debate on the human future.

Many of the reasons why such obviously good actions are not pursued are ably presented in my son’s above-mentioned book. As mentioned, you can read it online on Amazon for 99 cents.

Will these possible gentle, inexpensive, democratic measures be pursued as we move to 11 billion by 2100 from the 8 billion humans alive now? Since my birth in 1931 human numbers had quadrupled from roughly 2 billion.

I am personally very doubtful the world will act in time, as we have for years often noted the anti-contraceptive forces at work to stop urgently needed reduction actions from occurring.

At 91, I can hope that the next generation will be able in time to save their world from the dire global climate and environmental predictions of the experts cited above.

Again, will they pursue recourse to the advice of Occam’s Razor? That, as it defines, is just keeping it simple and doing what is necessary!

Former US Navy officer, banker and venture capitalist, Donald A. Collins, a free lance writer living in Washington, DC, has spent over 50 years working for women’s reproductive health as a board member and/or officer of numerous family planning organizations including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Guttmacher Institute, Family Health International and Ipas. Yale under graduate, NYU MBA. He is the author of “From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013”, “Trump Becoming Macbeth: Will our democracy survive?”, “We Humans Overwhelm Our Earth: 11 or 2 Billion by 2100?”, “What Can Be Done Now to Save Habitable Life on Planet Earth?: Leaders Commit to Reduce Human Population” and “Vote”.

Navigating towards a secure and sustainable future

Stockholm+50: Unlocking a Better Future

How to Save Our Planet

70 Paul Ehrlich on The Limits to Growth

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