A columnist for the UK Guardian wants to save the Earth by thinning the ranks of humans that are a cruel blight upon it. By his account, population control is the only viable solution to the destruction of the planet.
"The worst thing you or I can so for the planet is to have children" writes the Guardian's Alex Renton, who advocated in a Sunday column an ambiguous system of system of carrots and sticks to get the developed world to stop reproducing.
Renton cannot contain his loathing of the developed world. "One less British child would permit some 30 women in sub-Saharan Africa to have a baby and still leave the planet a cleaner place," he writes. Renton adds that "a cull of Australians or Americans would be at least 60 times as productive as one of Bangladeshis."
Interesting that Renton used the word cull, which the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines thus: "to reduce or control the size of (as a herd) by removal (as by hunting) of especially weaker animals; also : to hunt or kill (animals) as a means of population control."
Renton's suggestion that we "cull" developed nations is quite sinister. His word choice--"a cull," instead of, say, "policies to incentivize single-child households"--should cause the reader to worry. Assuming he knows the definition of the word, he is proposing that we thin populations through coercive, potentially violent, and necessarily morally corrupt means.
Though Renton stopped short of openly proposing the forceful one-child policy of China's communist regime, he praised the policy as "the most successful governmental attempt to preserve the world’s resources so far." His solutions are, in his own words, less "draconian," and include carbon offsets for reproductive restraint.
Could children perhaps become part of an adult's personal carbon allowance? Could you offer rewards: have one child only and you may fly to Florida once a year?
Yes, how benevolent. Restrict your earth-destroying procreative tendencies, and you will be allowed to take a vacation. How generous of this theoretical super-state to permit vacations for those who stop destroying Mother Earth by restricting our natural human need to continue our species.
This absurd suggestion is at least less violent in nature, but that word "cull" continues to bother the reader who knows its definition--and what it would entail in practice.
Considering the growth rates for the US and the UK are below one--0.98 and 0.28, respectively--Renton is not actually advocating the slowing of population growth in his country, but rather the thinning of the developed world's population. He wishes to see fewer Americans and fewer Englishmen on the planet. Renton sees the prosperous human race as a blight upon the Earth that must be stopped for the good of dear Gaia.