None of us had a choice about when we were born, or where or to whom. So it takes a peculiar arrogance to justify thinking of people as superior or inferior based on the lottery of life. It was not the ‘stork’ that caused the problem.

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While the rhetoric is saying there has never been a more exciting time to be an Australian, there are clearly serious issues which are being avoided. The sales pitch is to sell dreams while ignoring the elephants in the room. General David Morrison tactfully called some of it in his 2016 Australian of the Year acceptance speech. Stan Grant flagged the challenges for the Indigenous population. There is a huge difference between the language of aspiration, of hope, of wishes and the language of what is actually happening in our world at the moment. (See earlier blog ‘Is morality absolute?’)

The major elephant is: we are approaching 8 billion people on the planet and yet the economic models of the colonial era have not changed. There are 60 million people displaced in the world (more than twice the population of Australia) with nowhere for them to fit. Why is there no international dialogue about the exponential growth of population? There is a UN Declaration about Human Rights. Where is the UN Declaration about Human Responsibilities? Does one exclude the other? Surely not?

It will take a cultural or attitude change (preferably before the change is thrust upon us), but the strategies have been around for decades. They are such as: provide government financial incentives for small families rather than the reverse, have contraception readily available, give education for women so that they can have a choice or a mix of roles in the family and society.

In some societies, women have no choices. They are often in abject poverty or tied into cultural belief systems without access to alternative ideas or other ways. Some are dominated, subjugated or enslaved. But, where choice is available, the predictions are for a slowing of population growth.

Then we have to address the next elephant – the archaic economic models based on indefinite growth, plundering raw resources, favouring global corporations and fostering an ever-expanding consumer market. The models of previous centuries do not deal in self-sustaining strategies or employment roles which serve rather than exploit the community. It is possible to construct an ecological economic model where all the component parts stay in balance – but it does need population growth to be curtailed – along with self-interested greed. Settle for sufficiency and the cerebral leisure pursuits for which mankind is admirably suited.

Do your own research. This is not rocket science.

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