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How human overpopulation impacts other animals and what you can do about it by Katie Batty


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How human overpopulation impacts other animals and what you can do about it by Katie Batty

  1. 1. HOW HUMAN OVERPOPULATION IMPACTS OTHER ANIMALS …and what you can do about it Katie Batty
  2. 2. BEFORE WE START…  Talking about human overpopulation is a topic many people find difficult and there can be strong opposing views  It can be particularly divisive among the vegan community  Human overpopulation is not the only factor contributing to the destruction of the planet, but it’s a significant part of it  This talk is about thinking about what can we do in our lives to help others and do the least harm in regards to human population  At the end there will be time for questions and I want to have a respectful discussion that truly listens and evaluates the views of others
  3. 3. HISTORY OF HUMAN POPULATION & IMPACT  Humans stopped living in harmony with other animals arguably when we shifted from a nomadic existence to agriculture – around 10,000 years ago  We started hunting other animals to extinction, such as the mammoth  18th Century - the Industrial Revolution led to an explosion in the population due to advances in food production, medical care and sanitation  However, industrialisation led to enormous pollution of the air, seas and the exploding human population began to have an even bigger impact on the other animals
  4. 4. WHY DOES THIS MATTER FOR OTHER ANIMALS?  We are just one species of millions  More humans = more land is ‘cleared’ and stolen from the other animals who live there (as well as native human populations)  80% of the world’s forests have been destroyed (World Resources Institute)  70% of the non-human animal population live in forests (National Geographic)  In Australia, since European invasion, about 90% of native vegetation in the eastern temperate zone has been removed for agriculture, industry, transport and human habitation.  About 50% of Australia's rainforests have been cleared  The proportion of Australia covered by forest or woodland has been reduced by more than one third (Source: Creating Markets for Biodiversity, Productivity Commission, Canberra, April 2001).
  5. 5. LAND CLEARING IN AUSTRALIA National Forest Inventory, cited by Department of the Environment, Australia
  6. 6. JUST ANOTHER FACTOR TO CONSIDER  When doing a calculation of our carbon footprint we take into account our transport, diet, overseas holidays and consumption habits  But what about our reproductive choices?  A 2009 study found:  “Under current conditions in the United States, for example, each child adds about 9441 metric tons of carbon dioxide to the carbon legacy of an average female, which is 5.7 times her lifetime emissions.”  Reproduction and the carbon legacies of individuals, Murtaugh and Schlax, Global Environmental Change. Volume 19, Issue 1, February 2009
  7. 7.
  8. 8. YOU’RE NOT ONE OF THOSE ANTI- NATALISTS ARE YOU?  No. I am talking about thinking about what is the most ethical choice to make, taking into account how humans impact other animals – doing the most good and least harm to the world  Anti-natalists argue that it is wrong to bring a new person into this world knowing that suffering in inevitable  It is a philosophical theory and states that birth, ‘natalism’ is a wrong  Many people criticise anti-natalists arguing that:  Even with suffering, life can be joyous  (Male) anti-natalists should not tell women what to do with their bodies  These people are just assholes (Yup, some of them are. I left some of these groups due to ableism or sexism)  On the flip side, by choosing not to reproduce they are still aiding the planet, their reasons are just different to others
  9. 9. WHAT ABOUT THE VOLUNTARY HUMAN EXTINCTION MOVEMENT?  This a movement that advocates for humans to voluntarily stop reproducing, in order to save other animals and the planet from further destruction –  Many people in VHMET are also vegans  Volunteers of the movement believe it would be ideal for the human species to voluntarily die out  Supporters of the movement don’t agree with extinction, but at least think there are too many humans at the moment and we should stop producing any more  Whether you agree with extinction or not is a moot point as it is high unlikely humans would voluntarily stop reproducing  THE KEY ISSUE IS: what is an ethical choice for me to make in my situation?
  10. 10. WHAT’S UNETHICAL? There are any unethical ways to deal with overpopulation, so let’s rule those out first of all:  No killing or mass genocide  No biological weapons to prevent breeding  No forced sterilisation or abortion  No pressuring pregnant women into an abortion This about future choices – not the children who already exist or mothers who have decided to continue with the pregnancy
  11. 11. SO WHAT CAN WE DO?  If you are part of the tiny percentage of people in the world’s history that truly have a choice about whether to bring a new person into the world consider: what is the most ethical option?  One child? No child? Or adopting or fostering a child?  Massive shortage of carers Australia wide – for fostering and permanent care  20,000 Australian kids in need of permanent homes  305,377 new births in Australia in 2015  So if 6% of those new parents instead adopted or fostered all kids would have a stable home to live in  There are problems in the system, we need to encourage more people to adopt with financial assistance – e.g. NSW will give up to 37k to adoptive parents
  12. 12. WHAT ABOUT COUNTRIES WHERE PEOPLE DON’T HAVE A CHOICE?  Promote women’s empowerment and reproductive rights  The more empowered and educated women are, the fewer children they have  In particular, access to contraception and abortion – an area religious aid groups often refuse to assist with  Donating to groups such as Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights
  13. 13. RESOURCES       186A?Opendocument  help/news-story/04033db4e855b997a79264362666f32b
  14. 14. QUESTIONS?