Burgers are not the cause of climate change

Impossible Burger’s CEO says cows are the cause of climate change and is aiming to reverse it by getting rid of all cows by 2035. His plan is to satisfy the world’s considerable appetite for cooked cow with a fake version of the same thing.

But he’s wrong about the cause of climate change. The cause is not too many cows but too many humans: overpopulation. We need to get rid of not cows, but people. Not all of us, but maybe two thirds of us.

Oh sure, climate change is caused by too much carbon in the atmosphere, by careless industrial practices over the past 200 years, by insufficient recycling, by too many gas-guzzling SUVs still on the road. It’s caused by.oil companies putting profits before saving the planet, by everyone’s failure to take it seriously enough.

But none of those reasons would matter if the population of the world had not almost quadrupled in the past 75 years or so. Since I was a child. In fact the upward curve of greenhouse gases more or less tracks that of the population explosion over those years.

The elephant in the room of increasingly desperate climate change discussion is the solution of reducing the population. Before, as someone is quoted in the Wikipedia article on the subject, says, nature reduces it for us.

If we were to get back to the 2 billion or so those of us of a certain age remember instead of today’s 7.8 billion and counting, without our becoming any more virtuous or careful or wise (all of which seem longshots), our carbon footprint, –including the number of cows–would be reduced by that three-fourths and the world would immediately become a more enjoyable and sustainable place to live. We could even stop obsessing over coming up with a chemical formula with which to fool ourselves into thinking we are eating a cow.

There are many incentives for population reduction aside from climate amelioration.

Has any place on earth been improved aesthetically or otherwise by the population explosion? Any erstwhile undiscovered island improved by being discovered by a travel magazine, any dining experience improved by lines out the door (except of course for the restaurant’s bottomline), anyone’s quality of life improved by commuting gridlock?

All I’ve heard my whole life, as the world got more and more crowded, is people complaining: this place used to be so nice.

Many here in Wellfleet advocate for more affordable housing to encourage people of working age families to hang around for a balanced population. But I haven’t heard anyone argue that life would be better with the maybe 10,000 citizens (instead of 3000) we would have if the National Seashore park had not claimed over two-thirds of our town 60 years ago.

This of course is not advocacy of some sort of mass decimation of any the 7.8 billion current inhabitants of earth, but that we begin to behave, reproductively, in such a way that the population falls asap to a more desirable number.

Yes, there are problems in systematic population reduction, such as ensuring that it is not used in class struggle, to favor the rich over the poor, the first world over the third. Perhaps an even more deeply-rooted problem is that hkaving children is arguably our single strongest drive. a positive expression of life force. Wouldn’t reducing the population have a depressing effect on society? But the rewards of changing our reproductive behavior are great. And there are other ways of expressing a deep love of life besides having another baby.

Kathleen Parker ended a recent anti-abortion column with the clincher: all those aborted human beings could be out there making a better world. Of course the same argument could be made about all the wonderful, world-bettering people prevented by contraception. Or just not spending more time having sex to produce as many useful, world-bettering people as possible. We have reached the point in human evolution another logic has to prevail.

Meanwhile, it’s hard to take seriously a climate change movement that ignores the overpopulation problem.

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