Once again I read a Facebook plea from my mayor Don Darling that, “Growing our population in Saint John,” is a key success factor for our future.” It is a rather ubiquitous political stance. Former NB premier Frank McKenna wrote in the Globe and Mail a year ago, “…parts of Canada are dying for lack of population growth.” In Ottawa, a 14-member council formed to advise the Trudeau government on economic growth recommends tripling the Canadian population to 100 million people.
I am not against immigration; I am an immigrant. My wife is on a team helping a refugee family, and I help out. I am all for open borders, globalization, and economic well-being for all. But I am tired of us killing our planet.
Have you ever thought about the finiteness of our planet? We have water shortages worldwide; we are very close to killing our oceans to the point of the only fishes it will support are jellyfish (enjoy your jellyfish casserole!); our air literally stinks; global warming is a fact; animal extinction is accelerating; and I could run on and on and on. The cause, while seemingly complex, stems from one simple fact — we are growing the human population base unfettered.
Did you know we cannot make iron ore? We can make oil, but we don’t want to yet. We can desalinate water. We cannot make rare metals. We can grow more trees, but we keep cutting them down faster than we plant them. We can probably grow more food in the ground, keep adding fertilizers, and … no, before much longer all our food will be hydroponically grown as all our topsoil will be dead. What is, what isn’t, what can this planet sustain, have we passed its limits: these are arguments that meet resistance. People oppose the thoughts we need to cut back; because we like our elite lifestyles and want to defend them. We want our children and our descendants to live in an advanced society where they can flourish. It is a noble goal, but can the planet support us?
Let me ask you resisters a simple question: how big is too big? We have 7.5 billion people now. What’s your cap? 20 billion? 40 billion? A trillion? An alt-right man argued to me once that we could fit the world population in the state of Texas; therefore we are not even close to maxing out this planet. In my opinion, 7.5 billion is way too many people, yet at the rate we are growing, in 100 years it will top 22 billion. Enjoy wearing your life-support suits.
In the 1950’s, geophysicist M. King Hubbert realized that Earth’s resources were finite and devised his peak theory to predict the lifetimes of its resources. Primarily applied to oil, it has been expanded to other natural and renewable resources. We will at some point exceed the earth’s capacity for human demand in many if not all categories: oil, iron, copper, food, air, water, minerals, etc. At some point, humans will stop growing because they cannot grow anymore, and at that point, it is more than likely that great reductions in human populations will occur. Laws of nature. Foxes and rabbits.
It might take decades, centuries, or even millennia to prove the finiteness of this planet, but we will discover that population growth is not sustainable, so why do we push it? Short term gain? Let our kids worry about how to feed themselves?
Saying we need to grow through population growth is lazy. Think about what you are really saying when you say Saint John, NB, or any other jurisdiction, needs more people for its economic well-being. Its area population base is about 100,000 people. You are basically saying any city with such a population base is too small to sustain itself. Sussex at about 5,000 cannot possibly survive. Bathurst at 12,275 people is a hopeless cause. Every other community around the world less than what, a million people maybe, is pointless. If population is so vital to economic well-being, then let’s merge Canada’s population into one single city: Toronto.
These are stupid assertions, but that is what you are implying when you say we are too small. We are not too small, we are too lazy. If it’s good enough for much of the world to live in small communities, then why can’t it be good for us? Let’s get innovative. Let’s put our heads together and find ways to be prosperous. But let’s not keep expanding our footprint on this beautiful planet; because it just cannot sustain us that much longer.