Thursday, February 18, 2021

New Zealand's Population Problem

Despite the all the evidence there are still some within the environmentalist movement who attribute the climate crisis to "exploding" population numbers. 

New Zealand’s birthrate dropped to its lowest ever level in 2020, well below the population replacement rate of 2.1. The country’s declining birthrate is in line with trends seen in Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, Japan and the US, among others.

The country’s total fertility rate dropped to 1.61 births per woman of child-bearing age (15–49 years), the latest fall in a decade-old trend.

Most babies registered in 2020 were conceived before New Zealand moved to Covid-19 lockdown on 25 March last year, said Hamish Slack at Statistics NZ.

“Fertility rates in New Zealand were relatively stable between 1980 and 2012, but have generally decreased since then,” said Slack. “Since 2013, the number of women of reproductive age has increased by 11% and the number of births has decreased by 2%.”

In 2020, there were 57,753 live births registered in New Zealand, down 2,064 (3%) from the previous year.

Demographer Prof Paul Spoonley from Massey University forecasts for the next 20 years indicated many families would have either one child or be childless.

He said “The results of the demographic transition which we’re going through now is something we’ve never encountered before,” he said. “We’ve never had a society in which one in four people is aged over 65, for example. It is unprecedented.”

New Zealand birthrate sinks to its lowest ever | New Zealand | The Guardian


Mike Ballard said...

People need power and food. Most power comes from burning fuels which contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. Most food is produced using petrochemical fertilisers. Modern agriculture has allowed for a very quick rise in world population while at the same time becoming a major contributing factor to greenhouse gas emissions. More people mean more power and food are necessary. Changing the mode of producing and distributing wealth would help. Production of food for use with distribution based on need would help, especially if the principle of living in harmony with nature was an ongoing part of our everyday lives. Humans have been quite successful at survival and adaptation by using their minds. However, being socialised within the wages system has made most of them immune to using their ability to critically think about surviving, even though life itself is up against the wall in the face of ever increasing amounts of greenhouse gases being spewed into the atmosphere.

Plants were once so successful at survival that they ended up overpopulating the planet. In the middle of the Cambrian, life on land was about to get a little more crowded. And those newcomers would end up changing the world. The arrival of plants on land would make the world colder, drain much of the oxygen out of the oceans and eventually, it would help cause a massive extinction event.

ajohnstone said...

I think we can agree that people are part of the natural world and make use of its resources.

The question is, if people were in control of their consumption, are they a drain on the environment or could they have a life-style that is sustainable?

I don't think the present consumer pattern can be maintained on the long term because when it comes to critical thinking, we don't really consider that there is an alternative, do we?

That is the incredible difficult part of promoting the socialist case that we can change the mode of production so that it fits in with both our and nature's needs. Slowly but surely we are as a species re-focusing the way we relate to the world around us. The really big question is will we have sufficient time to do so? That is why rather than tinkering around with petty reforms, we require urgently socialism.