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Kawastyselir wrote:And to add to the larger discussion of our impact on the environment, I'd like to announce the release of Forest's Ecological Footprint Report of 2020. Many thanks to each of the participants that were featured in the report!

Great report! I'm a bit embarrassed to be on the wrong end of the spectrum here at 2.5 earths to sustain my lifestyle, but I think the driver behind my rather unappealing score is the excessive amount of flying I've done over the past year.

Does anyone want to join this?

The Pantheon of Saint Cinder:
Note this is a Pantheon only for the People of the Nation of Saint Cinder, gods and deities might vary elsewhere
Saint Cinder: God of Fire all around the best God, any who oppose that statement. I'm coming for you.
Six-meter-radius biscuit: The God of the Aumeltopia Nation. The God of smelly foods that taste nice.
Keyunra the great Axolotl: The God of the Lallanca Nation. The God of Compassion and Purity we cover up when we massacre small children
Benneth Lolimel Dennant: the God of the Western Fardelshufflestein Nation. A ranting lunatic he is the god of literature because who really writes books that are sane?
Aritzoskan Zanos The God of Aritzoska Nation. God of folk tales and post-it notes!
Choi Yerim: The Goddess of the 073 039 109 032 080 111 112 112 121 Nation. Goddess of K-Pop. Don't tell anyone about J-pop....
Atago Chan and Yudachi Chan: Twin Goddess of the Kerlodia Nation. Goddess of warships. Which reminds me of another game world of...
Lord Ãdàmrìtsk The Lorde of the steppe from the Pakitsk Nation. The God of grass and hordes. More bloodthirsty then you would originally believe!
East Lodge herself: The petrifaction statue of East Lodge. Goddess of cotton, candy, and foxes. Cute and cuddly until that moment she snaps... she will just you wait.. its going to happen
The Lord Emperor: God of the The Tecorogan Federation Nation. God of law, justice, order, protector of lions.
The Goddess of Anime maids: Goddess of the Anime Maids Nation. Goddess of the house, housekeeping and cleaniness.
Toy Figure Ingro-karelia: God of the Ingro-karelia Nation. God of warfare and Strategy games.
Murlonio: God of the Concrete Slab Nation. God of Concrete and Slabs.
Pinkus The Flamboyant: God of the Jodilee Nation. A Flamingo Pheonix spirit made entirely out of pink fire. God of Pink Fire, eating shrimp and animal reincarnations.
The Great Dialga: God of the Pokemon Waifus Nation. God of pressure and pokémon. Que Queen music!
The Pink Sheep: God of the Kooplaland Nation. God of Planetary Pinball and Force Fields. Really if you see a Pink sheep in space you should be questioning your sanity
A scheming De Bello Aquilam: Living God of De Bello Aquilam Nation. God of Debauchery, Thievery, and Disorder. Really just blame him for your bad day!
Thura: The Great God of the Shangyuen Nation. Found on a holy crusade but made manifest by the might of Shangyuen! God of the shifting Sands.
The Chinese Eggman The religion of the The Second Qing Dynasty Nation. The Supreme Egghead is the leader of the Church of Piaopiao. Piaopiaoism also states that every human is inherently good and therefore to achieve your inner nature you must be good.
God of Rrick Roll The God of the Kingdom Of Casetaria Nation. You know the rules and so do I! A full commitment's what I'm thinking of, and you wouldn't get this from any other god!

Lesser Gods:
Lord Bummington: The God of the Amerion Nation. God of being frankly a killjoy. Now slightly missing a head because someone won't give us a new statue
Dr. Roland: The God of the Stollberg-Stolberg Nation. God of Fish, and things that smell fishy...
Trapinch: God of the Bulbasaur reichpact Nation. God of baby Flygons, and catching Pokémon!
Chipped and dusty frieze of the Dreamers: Relic of the Erinor Nation. God of Sharks. Because it is just as sharp as a shark tooth!
Guiness Beer: God of the Blah-blah Nation. God of Stouts. You thought it was a beer didn't you, uncultured heathens!
Trevmond Gardield: God of the Gladinia Nation. who is a human-cat hybrid God of cats, and food. Guaranteed to keep your lands without famine! As long as you treat him with the respect of a pampered God!
Saint Projangebroek: God of the Projangebroek Nation. God of richness and of economy, all who worship him are blessed with avoiding crises. So do it or I'll make a crisis out of you!
Hermanis: The godly personification of Hermes Express 123 Nation. God of war and wisdom.
The wandering-Lamborghini: The zooming God of The Wandering-Lamborghini Nation. God of cars (just not Fords) and Car Washes. You need a car Wandering-Lamborghini is the person for you!

Demigod's and champions:
Demigoddess Hecrein: Champion of the Goddess of Anime maids.
Demigod A Starfish Spirit: Champion of the East Lodge.
Demigoddess Pokemon Waifus: God Killer Champion of Dialga.

Restored Gods:
Marx: New God of the The republic ofTexas and northern Mexico Nation. Once was Our God of communism. But restored to glory, for the revolution will never die!

Retired Gods:
Pride Coconut: Once was the God of The mountainous badlands Nation. God of fine fabric and Fashion. we really didn't know what to do with it.

Read factbook

Ruinenlust wrote:I wonder if voters on November 3rd will have a collective epiphany that the so-called "administration" of "President" Trump has caused more harm and ruin for this country than all of the bad decisions of every single post-war president combined?

Hundreds of George Bush's administration officials are creating a super PAC to try to get Biden elected. You know it's extraordinarily bad when the last Republican president is trying to get the current Republican "president" removed from office.

Trump is a complete and utter disgrace. He ought to be exiled once his term ends. Send him to some miserable rock somewhere, like Bouvet Island. Poor penguins, though...what did they do to deserve that?

I wish I shared your optimism!

Kawastyselir wrote:And to add to the larger discussion of our impact on the environment, I'd like to announce the release of Forest's Ecological Footprint Report of 2020. Many thanks to each of the participants that were featured in the report!

Oops! I meant to send you in the information, but I didn't do it in time. Can we still give you our information and eventually be added to the dispatch? This is a cool thing!

---

Ownzone wrote:snip

I quite agree with you, Ownzone. Trump may be the King of Fools, but it took a nation of fools to get him into power. I'd like to think--or at least hope--that most European countries would never be so dumb in their choice of leaders. Many of our problems are structural and are the result that the systems were created for an 18th century civilization that was a string of former colonies with a much, much smaller population, more primitive level of technology and societal interaction, and for a "nobody from nowhere" group of people, not the world's hegemon. The structures have been stretched, bloated, and twisted out of their original context, and our inability to reform and reorganize ourselves internally has led to many of the country's ailments.

One thing that I would note is that while the United States is one country, and so presents a monolithic edifice to the rest of the world, we are actually very diverse and varied within ourselves. In some ways, I feel like speaking of "the United States" is like trying to speak of "Europe" or "the Caribbean." It's obviously true that we are an integrated, massive country, but the situation across different states and regions within the US make for much more diversity and differences of opinion than might be obvious to outsiders. The history, culture, people, ideas, values, and ways of living are substantially different from, say, Alabama to Connecticut.

If the fifty states were independent countries (or perhaps a smaller number of regional countries, like New England, the Mid-Atlantic, the Midwest, etc.), it would quickly become apparent how difficult it is to comprehensively speak of "the United States." We are, after all, the bulk of the North American continent, and life is dramatically different from the hills of Massachusetts to the swamps of the Louisiana to the high prairies of South Dakota to the deserts of Arizona to the mountainous redoubts of Idaho. Then you have the massive differences between the cities, the smaller cities and towns, the sprawling cookie-cutter suburbs (a particular blight on the natural landscape and one of America's worst "inventions," but I digress), the rural farming communities, and the vast expanses of the continent that are virtually empty.

So you're entirely right, but my point is that the country is as varied as having gay marriage in Massachusetts in 2008, but only having formally struck the ban interracial marriage from the books in Alabama in 1993. That's why these big decisions and laws can have such a divisive impact on society. The world of Seattle and the world of Jackson, Mississippi might as well be the difference between the Amsterdam and Krakow.

---

I think it would make for a cool book series or television show series to think of a scenario where different parts of the United States broke apart into different countries in most respects, and so were able to develop stronger regional identities. There would be a great divergence in the new countries' societies, I think. It would also be a good way to test which policies and ideas "worked better," and which ones led to stagnation, emigration, or outright decline.

But yeah... 'murica. *sigh*

Ruinenlust wrote:Oops! I meant to send you in the information, but I didn't do it in time. Can we still give you our information and eventually be added to the dispatch? This is a cool thing!

Yes! I wouldn't have a problem with that. I had actually meant to post a reminder for everyone a few days ago, but I forgot as well. It's still the report of 2020, so if anyone wants to participate, let me know.

Kawastyselir wrote:Yes! I wouldn't have a problem with that. I had actually meant to post a reminder for everyone a few days ago, but I forgot as well. It's still the report of 2020, so if anyone wants to participate, let me know.

Could I also been in it? Apparently I am 2.6 earths, although many questions did not apply to me (especially the ones relating to driving; I don’t drive but others drive me around), and for many I did not know the answers. My ecological footprint in GHA was 4.5. My carbon footprint (CO2 emissions in tons per year) was 7.2, and my carbon footprint percentage (% of my total ecological footprint) was 55%.

In order to be more eco-friendly, I have mostly given up red meat (meaning no lamb or beef except for special occasion, which are rare, especially in quarantine). We’ve also been replacing our lights with LED and I’ve been showering on lower temperatures. Finally, we’ve decided that the next car my family will get will be either a hybrid or an electric, most likely either some hybrid Toyota or Honda, or the electric Hyundai Kona. And because of quarantine and remote learning, We’ve been driving less, although it’s started to pick up again now that quarantine is over.

Middle Barael wrote:Could I also been in it? Apparently I am 2.6 earths, although many questions did not apply to me (especially the ones relating to driving; I don’t drive but others drive me around), and for many I did not know the answers. My ecological footprint in GHA was 4.5. My carbon footprint (CO2 emissions in tons per year) was 7.2, and my carbon footprint percentage (% of my total ecological footprint) was 55%.

In order to be more eco-friendly, I have mostly given up red meat (meaning no lamb or beef except for special occasion, which are rare, especially in quarantine). We’ve also been replacing our lights with LED and I’ve been showering on lower temperatures. Finally, we’ve decided that the next car my family will get will be either a hybrid or an electric, most likely either some hybrid Toyota or Honda, or the electric Hyundai Kona. And because of quarantine and remote learning, We’ve been driving less, although it’s started to pick up again now that quarantine is over.

So is that a real-life thing rather than a NationStates thing?

Shalotte wrote:So is that a real-life thing rather than a NationStates thing?

Yes. Everything on our RMB is RW unless otherwise specified.

Turbeaux wrote:Yes. Everything on our RMB is RW unless otherwise specified.

The dispatch they're talking about, I mean!

Shalotte wrote:The dispatch they're talking about, I mean!

Yes, it is!

Turbeaux wrote:Yes, it is!

Oh.

Ruinenlust wrote:Trump is a complete and utter disgrace. He ought to be exiled once his term ends. Send him to some miserable rock somewhere, like Bouvet Island. Poor penguins, though...what did they do to deserve that?

I am glad you are not the President.

Middle Barael wrote:Could I also been in it? Apparently I am 2.6 earths, although many questions did not apply to me (especially the ones relating to driving; I don’t drive but others drive me around), and for many I did not know the answers. My ecological footprint in GHA was 4.5. My carbon footprint (CO2 emissions in tons per year) was 7.2, and my carbon footprint percentage (% of my total ecological footprint) was 55%.

In order to be more eco-friendly, I have mostly given up red meat (meaning no lamb or beef except for special occasion, which are rare, especially in quarantine). We’ve also been replacing our lights with LED and I’ve been showering on lower temperatures. Finally, we’ve decided that the next car my family will get will be either a hybrid or an electric, most likely either some hybrid Toyota or Honda, or the electric Hyundai Kona. And because of quarantine and remote learning, We’ve been driving less, although it’s started to pick up again now that quarantine is over.

Yes, certainly. That's okay if some questions didn't apply to you or you had to guess. I think many of us had to guess for a couple of the questions. The purpose of the exercise is to really get us thinking about the kind of impact we have and those around us have on the environment. Thanks for participating, I'll add you in!

Shalotte wrote:The dispatch they're talking about, I mean!

Yes, you should have gotten a telegram laying out how to participate. Let me know if you still want to.

Kawastyselir wrote:Yes! I wouldn't have a problem with that. I had actually meant to post a reminder for everyone a few days ago, but I forgot as well. It's still the report of 2020, so if anyone wants to participate, let me know.

Ruinenlust's footprint information:
Number of Earths = 3.0
Ecological Footprint = 5.2 gha
CO2 Emissions = 9.0 tonnes
% of CO2 = 60%

...it looks like I'm on the most destructive side of things in real life, as compared with some of our better individuals... Turbeaux, making us look bad. ;-)

I'm obliged to mention that Ruinenlust's lifestyle only requires 3 earths if the population remains the same. However, Ruinenlust, who speaks in the third person sometimes, has long ago decided to not have children, which severely limits his ecological footprint, namely to one lifetime, regardless of how that (hopefully) 70-80 years is lived. If Ruinenlust had even one child, that would probably double the figure, and if that child had children...

Population is the multiplier for whatever lifestyle one has, whether frugal or decadent, whether sustainable or not. And even the most sustainable of lifestyles becomes less so if it is multiplied out ad infinitum, since the planet is a stubbornly-finite little marble floating through the void.

Darths and Droids wrote:I am glad you are not the President.

Haha, so am I, for many reasons! What a disaster that would be. Never fear, the political life is not for me. The best things in life are to have some woods and a garden, along with a few other aspects. And this way, Bouvet can remain wild.

Ruinenlust wrote:Ruinenlust's footprint information:
Number of Earths = 3.0
Ecological Footprint = 5.2 gha
CO2 Emissions = 9.0 tonnes
% of CO2 = 60%

...it looks like I'm on the most destructive side of things in real life, as compared with some of our better individuals... Turbeaux, making us look bad. ;-)

I'm obliged to mention that Ruinenlust's lifestyle only requires 3 earths if the population remains the same. However, Ruinenlust, who speaks in the third person sometimes, has long ago decided to not have children, which severely limits his ecological footprint...

Population is the multiplier for whatever lifestyle one has, whether frugal or decadent, whether sustainable or not. And even the most sustainable of lifestyles becomes less so if it is multiplied out ad infinitum, since the planet is a stubbornly-finite little marble floating through the void.

Haha, so am I, for many reasons! What a disaster that would be. Never fear, the political life is not for me. The best things in life are to have some woods and a garden, along with a few other aspects. And this way, Bouvet can remain wild.

I am more boring than ultraenvironmentalistic. You have the right idea about reproduction. I might adopt but creating new children seems extraordinarily unethical in this day and age! Even if they matched my low-impact lifestyle, we only have one Earth not 1.7 or whatever I got.

I can stick with cats. They are less noisy than children and far cleaner than the really young ones. Also, they can be left alone for a couple of days without dying and/or using drugs in your bedroom. Additionally, if you spay and neuter they won't reproduce and create a potentially neverending family line that dirties our planet and sucks it's resources dry. I know that cats are a menace to wildlife but it is not difficult to keep them indoors (perhaps with some closely supervised leashed outdoor time).

Turbeaux wrote:I am more boring than ultraenvironmentalistic. You have the right idea about reproduction. I might adopt but creating new children seems extraordinarily unethical in this day and age! Even if they matched my low-impact lifestyle, we only have one Earth not 1.7 or whatever I got.

I can stick with cats. They are less noisy than children and far cleaner than the really young ones. Also, they can be left alone for a couple of days without dying and/or using drugs in your bedroom. Additionally, if you spay and neuter they won't reproduce and create a potentially neverending family line that dirties our planet and sucks it's resources dry. I know that cats are a menace to wildlife but it is not difficult to keep them indoors (perhaps with some closely supervised leashed outdoor time).

That's a good point: adoption is a wonderful thing. I'm absolutely NEVER, EVER against currently-existing people. People are the best thing on the Earth, but I'm biased. It's just that it's possible to have too much of a good thing; even too much of the best thing. Overpopulation is like dieting: you don't have to burn off calories that you never consume to begin with, and you don't have to "figure out" what do to with people who never existed to begin with. And if there were a widespread movement to have zero children or one child, the potential adoptees would probably not have to sit in orphanages and other situations like that for very long, I hope.

Also "yes" to the cats!!! Cats are magic. Dogs are also magic. Animals are wonderful, in general. Except maybe some insects...

Kawastyselir wrote:And to add to the larger discussion of our impact on the environment, I'd like to announce the release of Forest's Ecological Footprint Report of 2020. Many thanks to each of the participants that were featured in the report!


Forest’s Ecological Footprint Report of 2020
.

Originally coined in 1992 by researchers William Rees and Mathis Wackernagel, the ecological footprint (EF) is a tool used by the Global Footprint Network that “measures the ecological assets that a given population requires to produce the natural resources it consumes (including plant-based food and fiber products, livestock and fish products, timber and other forest products, space for urban infrastructure) and to absorb its waste, especially carbon emissions.”1 In other words, it is a measure of biological supply and demand in a given region. A region that demands more natural resources than the earth can reproduce in a year will consequently yield a greater impact, or EF, on the environment. The global hectare (gha) is the standardized unit of measurement of the EF to describe the world’s total productive and regenerative capacity of land and water resources in one year.2

A similar method of calculating the impact that each individual or collective populations have on the environment is to determine the number of earths that are required to supply the demand for natural resources in one year. Ideally, in an environmentally conscious and sustainable world, we would want this number to be no more than 1. As of 2016, the estimate for the amount of earths it would take to sustain the global population’s consumption needs was 1.69 (resources are being consumed 1.69 times faster than the earth’s ability to reproduce them.)3 This result suggested that the earth had reached its biological productive capacity of that year by August 8. Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic response, the 2020 “Earth Overshoot Day” is estimated to land on August 22, a brief moment of respite in the face of historical rising consumption requirements and depleting natural resources around the world.4

Methods

In NationStates, Forest is considered one of the leading social, intellectual, and environmentally-minded regions. To bring to light this global issue that affects every living thing on Earth and is particularly concerning to Foresters, a voluntary survey of the region was conducted between June 16 and June 30, 2020. Twenty participating nations used the LinkFootprint Calculator to determine their own EF, the number of earths (NOE) needed in one year to sustain their livelihood, their CO2 emissions in tonnes/year, and the percentage of CO2 emissions that comprise their total EF.5 Additionally, their individual results were compared to a real-world country with a corresponding EF for enhanced context.6

Results

Nation (n = 22)

Number of Earths

Ecological Footprint (gha)

CO2 Emissions (tonnes/year)

% of CO2 (per Total EF)

Country Comparison

Number of Earths

Turbeaux

1.4

2.4

3.7

54

Gabon

1.41

Love and Nature

1.6

2.6

2.9

38

Mexico

1.60

Verdant Haven

1.6

2.7

3.7

47

Namibia

1.63

Kawastyselir

1.7

2.9

4.5

54

World Mean

1.69

Grimmjow J

1.8

3

4.4

51

Grenada

1.80

Mount Seymour

1.9

3.3

4.8

49

Romania

1.90

Brokenspokia

2.0

3.4

4.2

43

Lebanon

2.02

Chan Island

2.0

3.4

5.3

53

Turkey

2.06

Cameroi

2.1

--

--

--

Guyana

2.08

Roless

2.1

3.6

5.6

53

Bulgaria

2.11

Gloriosya

2.3

3.9

5.2

46

Bahamas

2.29

Forest Mean

2.3

3.9

6.0

53

Libya

2.29

Girelna

2.3

3.9

7.0

61

Cyprus

2.30

Anachronolandia

2.4

4.1

5.2

44

Malaysia

2.40

Esterild

2.5

4.0

7.6

65

Spain

2.48

Effazio

2.5

4.3

7.6

61

Portugal

2.52

Jutsa

2.6

4.4

7.2

55

Brunei

2.59

Middle Barael

2.6

4.5

6.7

53

Greece

2.62

Hue Manatee

2.7

4.6

7.6

57

United Kingdom

2.68

Darths and Droids

2.9

4.9

6.8

48

Switzerland

2.85

The Void Territories

2.9

5.0

8.8

60

New Zealand

2.91

Lon Kra Con

3.0

5.1

8.5

57

Germany

2.97

Ruinenlust

3.0

5.2

9.0

60

Israel

2.99

Discussion

Earth’s total EF in 2016 (the latest year of available data) was 2.75 gha, or 1.69 NOE needed to sustain the current consumption requirements of the average person.7 This result is influenced by the balance between countries’ ecological reserves and deficits. The United States, for example, yielded a -4.5 gha ecological deficit in 2016 (3.6 gha of biocapacity per person versus 8.1 gha EF per person), while Brazil yielded a 5.9 gha reserve (8.7 gha of biocapacity per person versus 2.8 gha EF per person).8 Despite being relatively similar in terms of total land and water area, this disparity highlights an important point: variations between EFs of countries, including those of individuals, must be evaluated in the context of larger societal influences, such as economic development, cultural attitudes and, perhaps most importantly, geographic location. Due to the anonymous nature of NationStates, a deeper analysis of this sort for each participating nation is beyond the scope of this report, but it is worth noting for the reader to recognize their own place in the world and consider how geography intricately shapes our ultimate output.

As a measure of an individual’s degree of sustainability, the EF and NOE calculations are commonly used to juxtapose one’s ecological impact with another’s to identify gaps or areas for improvement where necessary. According to this sample of participants in Forest, three nations (13.6%) achieved an EF and NOE below the world mean in both categories. Currently, if everyone lived like the average Forest participant, we would need a little more than 2 earths. The mean NOE of Forest, 0.61 above the world mean, ranks in the top 65% of all real-world countries, on par with countries such as the Bahamas, Libya, and Cyprus.9 Though it may seem discouraging, considering the target number for the NOE category is 1, the results are not far from expectations. Most real-world developing and developed nations fall above the world mean in these categories, and it is reasonable to infer that many of the participants reside in such nations. Factors such as the quality of one’s education, socioeconomic standards, governmental priorities at all levels, and family size are just a few of the ways in which our ecological footprint may be determined. The results of these two categories reflect how even for eco-friendly individuals, changing economic and environmental landscapes of the post-industrialized world make it increasingly challenging to meet optimal sustainability goals.

In 2014, the world’s mean accumulation of CO2 emissions reached 4.99 tonnes/year.10 Forest’s mean CO2 emissions of 6.0 tonnes/year would rank in the top 70% of the world in this category, alongside countries like Denmark and Iceland. Being the largest component of the ecological footprint, measuring the carbon footprint of an individual, let alone entire countries, can become remarkably exhaustive. Our food, transportation, and home choices, just to name a few, each comprise a small portion of our total carbon output. Factors that one may not even be aware of nor have control over; such as the extraction, shipment, and packaging of various goods and services; also make up an integral part of our carbon footprint. In terms of the percentage of CO2 emissions per total EF, Forest actually resulted in a lower portion than the world mean. While it does not reflect that the average Forest participant emits less CO2 than the average person in the world, it does reflect that their total EF is slightly more diverse in its resource requirements.

Conclusions

For the average individual on earth to eliminate his or her EF entirely would be not merely impractical, it would be impossible. Per the Footprint Calculator, if one were to live in the most environmentally sustainable way possible in a developed country, he or she would still need at least 0.6 earths. And though the hunter-gatherer way of life lends a sense of Shangri-La in the minds of the modern eco-warrior, the post-industrialized world beckons us to accept that we must instead look for rational ways to harmonize environmental sustainability with technological advancement, sooner rather than later. In a study on the eco-friendly changes that one can make to his or her livelihood, Wynes and Nicholas recommended “having one fewer child, living car-free, avoiding airplane travel, and eating a plant-based diet.”11 A few of the Forest participants, however, expressed challenges to these proposals that they currently face, such as living with family members who choose to eat meat, living far away from a grocery store, or unsuccessfully finding local foods that are not in plastic packaging. Still, small conscious choices in our everyday lives have the power to make a lasting difference on the earth. For example, if a growing proportion of society started to exclude meat for one day out of the week or bought from a nearby farmer’s market, our world EF could see a meaningful decrease. The Global Footprint Network also identifies ways to persuade our leaders of government to effect change. Calling upon our legislators to support renewable energy and efficient public transport systems is vital to the progress towards sustainability and lowering our EF.12 However we choose to find solutions to this global issue is ultimately up to us as individuals, but the cause does not move forward with just one person at the helm. As we know, our EF is multifactorial and interconnected, and no stone need be left unturned with the possibility for planting trees in its place one day.

Endnotes

1 ”How the Footprint Works,” Global Footprint Network, https://www.footprintnetwork.org/our-work/ecological-footprint/.
2 Ibid.
3 ”Ecological Footprint of Countries 2016,” Global Footprint Network, http://data.footprintnetwork.org/#/compareCountries?cn=all&type=EFCpc&yr=2016.
4 ”How the Date of Earth Overshoot Day 2020 Was Calculated,” Earth Overshoot Day, https://www.overshootday.org/2020-calculation/.
5 ”What is Your Ecological Footprint,” Global Footprint Network, https://www.footprintcalculator.org/.
6 ”Ecological Footprint of Countries 2016,” Global Footprint Network.
7 Ibid.
8 ”Ecological Deficit/Reserve,” Global Footprint Network, http://data.footprintnetwork.org/#/.
9 ”Ecological Footprint of Countries 2016,” Global Footprint Network.
10 ”CO2 Emissions (Metric Tons per Capita),” The World Bank, https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/EN.ATM.CO2E.PC.
11 Seth Wynes and Kimberly A Nicholas, “The Climate Mitigation Gap: Education and Government Recommendations Miss the Most Effective Individual Actions,” Environmental Research Letters 12, no. 7 (2017): 7.
12 ”Solutions,” Earth Overshoot Day, https://www.overshootday.org/solutions/.

7/1/2020

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Read dispatch

Did someone already mention that we have an awesome Statistics Minister?

Candlewhisper Archive wrote:<snip>

You are, of course, quite correct. It was, and remains, horrendous. My original point being that gods are a reflection of the time and culture that produces them, but not necessarily to be admired in any way, though I did not expressly state that.
One of my favorite goddesses is Persephone. Like others she was raped, but is allowed out of Hades for much of the year. Likely three or four pomegranate seeds were her doom, but the number is variable in the myths. Hecate is another personal favorite.

Ruinenlust wrote:That's a good point: adoption is a wonderful thing. I'm absolutely NEVER, EVER against currently-existing people. People are the best thing on the Earth, but I'm biased. It's just that it's possible to have too much of a good thing; even too much of the best thing. Overpopulation is like dieting: you don't have to burn off calories that you never consume to begin with, and you don't have to "figure out" what do to with people who never existed to begin with. And if there were a widespread movement to have zero children or one child, the potential adoptees would probably not have to sit in orphanages and other situations like that for very long, I hope.

Also "yes" to the cats!!! Cats are magic. Dogs are also magic. Animals are wonderful, in general. Except maybe some insects...

While overpopulation is definitely worthy of concern, given birth rates are at or below replacement in most of the 'first world' it doesn't seem to be a huge issue at the moment. Perhaps the right solution is to work on getting the rest of the developing world educated and with proper medicine so their birthrates can taper off a bit also.

A larger impact can probably be made on all of our impact if we can push the corporations in charge of production to do so more sustainably. Beyond using more environmentally friendly packaging and production, another big impact source for us all is energy production. If companies swapped even just to nuclear rather than fossil fuels, our carbon footprint would be drastically reduced (with much less risk than is commonly associated with nuclear, and possibly less environmental impact than most renewables).

One last note on a personal level. Remember some of us are parents. While I acknowledge that children do inherently use more resources than empty space, unless you want the species to die out they are important also. I say this because I felt, albeit on a minor level, indirectly attacked and wanted to remind you all that this shouldn't ever just be an echo chamber, even inadvertently.

Girelna wrote:One last note on a personal level. Remember some of us are parents. While I acknowledge that children do inherently use more resources than empty space, unless you want the species to die out they are important also. I say this because I felt, albeit on a minor level, indirectly attacked and wanted to remind you all that this shouldn't ever just be an echo chamber, even inadvertently.

This is partially why I am here, because I have always had someone to disagree and debate with, and it either show me where I am wrong, or increased the strength of my beliefs. This should not be an echo chamber, but I was afraid that despite Forest‘s good reputation, that it took me awhile to actually say my political opinions instead of just keeping them in the dark. One of the good things about Forest is that it is not on the right or the left, but on the side of knowledge and betterment of our understanding, and that should never change.

Kawastyselir wrote:Great analysis. It would be nice to see more people do their own research into any corporation's claims. It's obviously nothing new that a company will bend the truth to sell a product, especially now as more people become environmentally conscious. And it's not like we're living in the pre-Digital Age; we do, after all, have things like iPhones at our disposal to do this kind of research ;)

-----

And to add to the larger discussion of our impact on the environment, I'd like to announce the release of Forest's Ecological Footprint Report of 2020. Many thanks to each of the participants that were featured in the report!


Forest’s Ecological Footprint Report of 2020
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Originally coined in 1992 by researchers William Rees and Mathis Wackernagel, the ecological footprint (EF) is a tool used by the Global Footprint Network that “measures the ecological assets that a given population requires to produce the natural resources it consumes (including plant-based food and fiber products, livestock and fish products, timber and other forest products, space for urban infrastructure) and to absorb its waste, especially carbon emissions.”1 In other words, it is a measure of biological supply and demand in a given region. A region that demands more natural resources than the earth can reproduce in a year will consequently yield a greater impact, or EF, on the environment. The global hectare (gha) is the standardized unit of measurement of the EF to describe the world’s total productive and regenerative capacity of land and water resources in one year.2

A similar method of calculating the impact that each individual or collective populations have on the environment is to determine the number of earths that are required to supply the demand for natural resources in one year. Ideally, in an environmentally conscious and sustainable world, we would want this number to be no more than 1. As of 2016, the estimate for the amount of earths it would take to sustain the global population’s consumption needs was 1.69 (resources are being consumed 1.69 times faster than the earth’s ability to reproduce them.)3 This result suggested that the earth had reached its biological productive capacity of that year by August 8. Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic response, the 2020 “Earth Overshoot Day” is estimated to land on August 22, a brief moment of respite in the face of historical rising consumption requirements and depleting natural resources around the world.4

Methods

In NationStates, Forest is considered one of the leading social, intellectual, and environmentally-minded regions. To bring to light this global issue that affects every living thing on Earth and is particularly concerning to Foresters, a voluntary survey of the region was conducted between June 16 and June 30, 2020. Twenty participating nations used the LinkFootprint Calculator to determine their own EF, the number of earths (NOE) needed in one year to sustain their livelihood, their CO2 emissions in tonnes/year, and the percentage of CO2 emissions that comprise their total EF.5 Additionally, their individual results were compared to a real-world country with a corresponding EF for enhanced context.6

Results

Nation (n = 22)

Number of Earths

Ecological Footprint (gha)

CO2 Emissions (tonnes/year)

% of CO2 (per Total EF)

Country Comparison

Number of Earths

Turbeaux

1.4

2.4

3.7

54

Gabon

1.41

Love and Nature

1.6

2.6

2.9

38

Mexico

1.60

Verdant Haven

1.6

2.7

3.7

47

Namibia

1.63

Kawastyselir

1.7

2.9

4.5

54

World Mean

1.69

Grimmjow J

1.8

3

4.4

51

Grenada

1.80

Mount Seymour

1.9

3.3

4.8

49

Romania

1.90

Brokenspokia

2.0

3.4

4.2

43

Lebanon

2.02

Chan Island

2.0

3.4

5.3

53

Turkey

2.06

Cameroi

2.1

--

--

--

Guyana

2.08

Roless

2.1

3.6

5.6

53

Bulgaria

2.11

Gloriosya

2.3

3.9

5.2

46

Bahamas

2.29

Forest Mean

2.3

3.9

6.0

53

Libya

2.29

Girelna

2.3

3.9

7.0

61

Cyprus

2.30

Anachronolandia

2.4

4.1

5.2

44

Malaysia

2.40

Esterild

2.5

4.0

7.6

65

Spain

2.48

Effazio

2.5

4.3

7.6

61

Portugal

2.52

Jutsa

2.6

4.4

7.2

55

Brunei

2.59

Middle Barael

2.6

4.5

6.7

53

Greece

2.62

Hue Manatee

2.7

4.6

7.6

57

United Kingdom

2.68

Darths and Droids

2.9

4.9

6.8

48

Switzerland

2.85

The Void Territories

2.9

5.0

8.8

60

New Zealand

2.91

Lon Kra Con

3.0

5.1

8.5

57

Germany

2.97

Ruinenlust

3.0

5.2

9.0

60

Israel

2.99

Discussion

Earth’s total EF in 2016 (the latest year of available data) was 2.75 gha, or 1.69 NOE needed to sustain the current consumption requirements of the average person.7 This result is influenced by the balance between countries’ ecological reserves and deficits. The United States, for example, yielded a -4.5 gha ecological deficit in 2016 (3.6 gha of biocapacity per person versus 8.1 gha EF per person), while Brazil yielded a 5.9 gha reserve (8.7 gha of biocapacity per person versus 2.8 gha EF per person).8 Despite being relatively similar in terms of total land and water area, this disparity highlights an important point: variations between EFs of countries, including those of individuals, must be evaluated in the context of larger societal influences, such as economic development, cultural attitudes and, perhaps most importantly, geographic location. Due to the anonymous nature of NationStates, a deeper analysis of this sort for each participating nation is beyond the scope of this report, but it is worth noting for the reader to recognize their own place in the world and consider how geography intricately shapes our ultimate output.

As a measure of an individual’s degree of sustainability, the EF and NOE calculations are commonly used to juxtapose one’s ecological impact with another’s to identify gaps or areas for improvement where necessary. According to this sample of participants in Forest, three nations (13.6%) achieved an EF and NOE below the world mean in both categories. Currently, if everyone lived like the average Forest participant, we would need a little more than 2 earths. The mean NOE of Forest, 0.61 above the world mean, ranks in the top 65% of all real-world countries, on par with countries such as the Bahamas, Libya, and Cyprus.9 Though it may seem discouraging, considering the target number for the NOE category is 1, the results are not far from expectations. Most real-world developing and developed nations fall above the world mean in these categories, and it is reasonable to infer that many of the participants reside in such nations. Factors such as the quality of one’s education, socioeconomic standards, governmental priorities at all levels, and family size are just a few of the ways in which our ecological footprint may be determined. The results of these two categories reflect how even for eco-friendly individuals, changing economic and environmental landscapes of the post-industrialized world make it increasingly challenging to meet optimal sustainability goals.

In 2014, the world’s mean accumulation of CO2 emissions reached 4.99 tonnes/year.10 Forest’s mean CO2 emissions of 6.0 tonnes/year would rank in the top 70% of the world in this category, alongside countries like Denmark and Iceland. Being the largest component of the ecological footprint, measuring the carbon footprint of an individual, let alone entire countries, can become remarkably exhaustive. Our food, transportation, and home choices, just to name a few, each comprise a small portion of our total carbon output. Factors that one may not even be aware of nor have control over; such as the extraction, shipment, and packaging of various goods and services; also make up an integral part of our carbon footprint. In terms of the percentage of CO2 emissions per total EF, Forest actually resulted in a lower portion than the world mean. While it does not reflect that the average Forest participant emits less CO2 than the average person in the world, it does reflect that their total EF is slightly more diverse in its resource requirements.

Conclusions

For the average individual on earth to eliminate his or her EF entirely would be not merely impractical, it would be impossible. Per the Footprint Calculator, if one were to live in the most environmentally sustainable way possible in a developed country, he or she would still need at least 0.6 earths. And though the hunter-gatherer way of life lends a sense of Shangri-La in the minds of the modern eco-warrior, the post-industrialized world beckons us to accept that we must instead look for rational ways to harmonize environmental sustainability with technological advancement, sooner rather than later. In a study on the eco-friendly changes that one can make to his or her livelihood, Wynes and Nicholas recommended “having one fewer child, living car-free, avoiding airplane travel, and eating a plant-based diet.”11 A few of the Forest participants, however, expressed challenges to these proposals that they currently face, such as living with family members who choose to eat meat, living far away from a grocery store, or unsuccessfully finding local foods that are not in plastic packaging. Still, small conscious choices in our everyday lives have the power to make a lasting difference on the earth. For example, if a growing proportion of society started to exclude meat for one day out of the week or bought from a nearby farmer’s market, our world EF could see a meaningful decrease. The Global Footprint Network also identifies ways to persuade our leaders of government to effect change. Calling upon our legislators to support renewable energy and efficient public transport systems is vital to the progress towards sustainability and lowering our EF.12 However we choose to find solutions to this global issue is ultimately up to us as individuals, but the cause does not move forward with just one person at the helm. As we know, our EF is multifactorial and interconnected, and no stone need be left unturned with the possibility for planting trees in its place one day.

Endnotes

1 ”How the Footprint Works,” Global Footprint Network, https://www.footprintnetwork.org/our-work/ecological-footprint/.
2 Ibid.
3 ”Ecological Footprint of Countries 2016,” Global Footprint Network, http://data.footprintnetwork.org/#/compareCountries?cn=all&type=EFCpc&yr=2016.
4 ”How the Date of Earth Overshoot Day 2020 Was Calculated,” Earth Overshoot Day, https://www.overshootday.org/2020-calculation/.
5 ”What is Your Ecological Footprint,” Global Footprint Network, https://www.footprintcalculator.org/.
6 ”Ecological Footprint of Countries 2016,” Global Footprint Network.
7 Ibid.
8 ”Ecological Deficit/Reserve,” Global Footprint Network, http://data.footprintnetwork.org/#/.
9 ”Ecological Footprint of Countries 2016,” Global Footprint Network.
10 ”CO2 Emissions (Metric Tons per Capita),” The World Bank, https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/EN.ATM.CO2E.PC.
11 Seth Wynes and Kimberly A Nicholas, “The Climate Mitigation Gap: Education and Government Recommendations Miss the Most Effective Individual Actions,” Environmental Research Letters 12, no. 7 (2017): 7.
12 ”Solutions,” Earth Overshoot Day, https://www.overshootday.org/solutions/.

7/1/2020

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Read dispatch

it seems i am agressively average in this region XD

i try to be the most ecological i can, but i know that much of my footprint comes from how bad i eat, cause i significantly use much more public transport than most people and my house isnt that bad ecologically speaking

but i'm trying to eat less meat, for health and environmental purposes

Let me say the most important thing first:

Girelna wrote:One last note on a personal level. Remember some of us are parents. While I acknowledge that children do inherently use more resources than empty space, unless you want the species to die out they are important also. I say this because I felt, albeit on a minor level, indirectly attacked and wanted to remind you all that this shouldn't ever just be an echo chamber, even inadvertently.

I'm very sorry if you felt attacked in some way by this!!! Let me explain a bit, if I can. I tried to allude to that when I said that "I'm absolutely NEVER, EVER against currently-existing people," but I should have elaborated a bit more, I think. I realize that this is perhaps the single most thorny, fraught issue that we have ever faced as a species, because it's more or less a direct inversion of the self-preservation instinct and seems to negate the inherent good that every human being is. I don't mean to chastise anyone who has children already, in any case, and even if you yourself are the eleventh or twelfth or seventeenth child of your parents, neither should you feel bad for existing. That would be absurd. We can only forward from here.

I also entirely agree with you (and to that end, The Young Ur) for saying that this region should not be an echo chamber. I would like to think that we are not that. I might offer that my being able to say such things as "there are too many people on Earth right now, and we're heading in the wrong direction" in fact shows that we are a robustly open and tolerant region, because in my Real World life, I keep this opinion so close to my chest that the only ones who've heard it are my family and one or two close friends, and not even all of them agree with me. I once joked in a college paper that this one opinion of mine would unite practically the entire human race against me: liberals, conservatives, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, the Vatican, capitalists, socialists, communists, anarchists, the young, the elderly, the rich, the poor, etc. etc. So in a way, just the fact that I can say my own piece and not be entirely chewed out and slammed as some kind of misanthropic abomination is a testament to the openness and ability of Forest to host diverse opinions. Having said that, I also realize that this one thing is legitimately just about the toughest pill of all to swallow for nearly everyone, in no small part because we are culturally conditioned (from whatever culture any reader of this comes from, I practically guarantee) to think of kids as good (which is true), to think of people as good (again, true), and to think that therefore "more people" is also good and the corollary, that "fewer people" is bad (which has also been true for nearly the entirety of human history, but not right now).

---

Girelna wrote:While overpopulation is definitely worthy of concern, given birth rates are at or below replacement in most of the 'first world' it doesn't seem to be a huge issue at the moment. Perhaps the right solution is to work on getting the rest of the developing world educated and with proper medicine so their birthrates can taper off a bit also.

A larger impact can probably be made on all of our impact if we can push the corporations in charge of production to do so more sustainably. Beyond using more environmentally friendly packaging and production, another big impact source for us all is energy production. If companies swapped even just to nuclear rather than fossil fuels, our carbon footprint would be drastically reduced (with much less risk than is commonly associated with nuclear, and possibly less environmental impact than most renewables).

While this sounds good on the surface, and I would love it to be the case, I can't get myself to that point. In a nutshell (maybe a coconut, since my explanations are hardly ever peanut-sized), I would point to the current distribution of resource consumption in the world today.

Roughly speaking, the richest 20% of the world's population (i.e. virtually everyone in N. America, Europe, Australia, parts of E. Asia, and so forth) consume roughly 80% of the resources and energy consumed by the species as a whole. It's massively unequal. Now, the current total use of resources and energy is already beyond what the Earth can sustain, and we are rapidly and in an accelerating way using up much of what the planet can give, so we are already, in our current configuration, beyond the Rubicon, so to speak. Without touching the number of people, if we were to simply rely on redistribution of resources and energy to achieve perfect equality across the human race, that would amount to siphoning off the majority of resources and energy used per capita from the top 20% and to the lower 80%. Everyone would have a resource and energy budget much closer to the current state of the 80% than the 20%, and we would still have not actually decreased the total use of resources and energy at all. It doesn't matter to the planet how the distribution of resources and energy falls; the only thing that matters is how much collective, total impact we are having as a species. Forgetting the human dimensions of living in such a world, if a ton of carbon is burned, it doesn't matter whether that is by one person or by a thousand; in the end, a ton of carbon still goes into the atmosphere, for instance.

So what matters is decreasing the total human footprint, not simply moving resources around within the species. And if the other 80% of the human race were to elevate to the top 20%'s level of consumption, that would balloon the total up a few times over, and if the existing state is already the "highway to hell," then that scenario would be the "fleet of private jumbo jets to hell," metaphorically speaking. This neither justifies the current wasteful lifestyles of the global "First World," and nor does it suggest that the rest of the world somehow "doesn't deserve" to have better living conditions, but it just recognizes the immutable and inevitable dynamic that for any given way of living, the resources and energy required must be multiplied out by the total number of people who are doing it at the same time. So any plan or scheme that doesn't ultimately reduce the total use of resources and energy in the aggregate, while perhaps a wonderful act of social justice or equity, nevertheless ignores the final problem that we are, collectively, using far more than the planet can give going forward right now. And whether we drive the planet into the ground as equals or as a small number of elites with a massive underclass of billions, the end result for the planet is the same. The total human footprint must come down, if we are to avoid destruction for ourselves and for much of the natural world.

And in light of that, maybe it becomes a bit more obvious that insofar as standards of living rise, and thus as the consumption of resources and energy also rises, it becomes all the more imperative to not blow the proportions of the total societal operation out of bounds. This is most efficaciously achieved by voluntarily, freely allowing the population to decline to parameters wherein everyone, everywhere can enjoy the same standard of living, and critically, where the total size of that operation is smaller and lighter and less than what is currently going on right now. Per capita savings in efficiency are meaningless if the total size does not shrink down as well, and by the same token, shrinking the total footprint is good for the planet, even if inequalities persist within the human race. The planet is a set of physical systems, not moral ones. And our systems have to ultimately conform to the limitations and capabilities of the natural world to sustain us, otherwise we will inevitably collapse and cause ruin for the future and for the natural world (and ourselves, I might add).

Now, this is NOT to say that we shouldn't be trying to decrease our individual impact. On the contrary, that is absolutely necessary, partially because we live for like 80 years, and that population would take decades or centuries to come down to Earth even if large numbers of people were to make the personal choice to either have zero children or one child. And we don't have that kind of time. In one of the books that I've read on the subject of overpopulation, I recall a study that determined that for an average American, the total impact of making rather extreme changes to lifestyle (e.g. not having a personal vehicle at all, never flying, moving to the city to minimize per capita impact, recycling everything, only using renewable energy, walking everywhere, foregoing most heating and all cooling, etc. etc.) is only about one-twentieth the total impact of what one additional person would use over the course of their entire lifetime. In other words, the study's conclusion was that the implementation of rather extreme changes to lifestyle on the part of 20 people was the same thing as 19 people living the way that they did originally, and the 20th person having never existed at all. Even if that figure is off the mark, and perhaps the ratio is closer to 10:1 or 5:1, the math of the situation is somewhat invincible. Changes to lifestyle, and even big changes to systems that only governments and societies can make collectively, and all of that sort of thing, simply does not measure up against the longitudinal total impact that people have over the course of their entire lifetimes, along with all of their descendants. By simply choosing to not make more people for a little while, or more accurately, by the human race collectively choosing to create fewer new people such that the total number of humans decrease, is by far the most powerful tool that we have to actually rein in the total human footprint. By all means, buy an electric car or just push your car into a lake and "fuggedaboudit," but if you have not yet had children or you are in a position to choose to either have more or to stop, consider the massive, paradigm-shifting option of adding fewer or no more people to the mix at all. Each person who is not added exceeds or equals the combined lifestyle and systemic changes of many people who have been added, and that in turn allows the remaining people who do exist a bit more wiggle room and opportunity to find more solutions and to make changes that can further help things and avoid driving us all off of a cliff.

Personally, I think of it like dieting and exercise: people will sometimes exercise and then say, "I ran for five miles, so I can eat this doughnut." That's the wrong way to look at it. Yes, exercising is good, and burning off excess calories is a good thing, but it is far, far better to simply not consume excess calories to begin with. You don't need to burn calories that you never initially consume. By the same token, you don't need to rewire and reconfigure the lifestyles of people who never come to exist at all, and that will also, in turn, make the prospect of changing existing systems easier, because it doesn't have to be done for as many people.

Perhaps this is also a way to conceive of it: imagine two human settlements on two equally-sized islands. One settlement has 10,000 people, and the other only has 1,000. How differently would those ten-thousand people have to live in order to bring their total requirements for food, water, shelter, energy, goods, and services down to what the island of one-thousand uses? [Not that things are quite this simple, but] the island with one-thousand people could be ten times as voracious on a per capita basis, and enjoy the use of ten times as much space, caloric intake, energy use, etc. and still only be equal in total consumption to the island of ten-thousand. Put another way, the island of ten-thousand could bend over backwards and reinvent the wheel, but unless they manage to bring their per capita consumption down by 90%(!), they would still be using more than the island of one-thousand people. And EVEN IF there were some wonderful way to reduce per capita consumption by 99.99% or something, that would still leave the island with one-thousand people with much more space left over for everything else in the natural world if they also implemented the same wonderful schemes, and there would still be more untapped resources to fall back on, and more wiggle room, than on the island with ten-thousand people.

---

I guess my point is that regardless of how people live, everything has to be scaled up to how many people are living at the same time. And per capita gains in efficiency are nevertheless eaten up and in fact obviated altogether by increasing the number of people who are doing the per capita consumption.

Girelna wrote:While overpopulation is definitely worthy of concern, given birth rates are at or below replacement in most of the 'first world' it doesn't seem to be a huge issue at the moment.

To further prove that we are not an echo chamber I must vehemently disagree. Downplaying the whole overpopulation issue as a species is in my opinion one if not the biggest error of our generation. Not only is every new person a new consumer adding to the demand of resources that the planet already cannot provide. Reducing overpopulation barring a new world war, a world wide disease or some major natural disaster(s) will also be the hardest one to accomplish because we would either have to tamper with one of the basic human rights or without governmental "guidance" it would require people to overwrite millennia of biological, cultural and religious programming.
Does this mean that everyone should stop having children.....no....but the idea that overall population growth will stop soon anyway or that we can accomplish the same thing without dealing with this subject is just wishful thinking. The UN's median projection for future population growth sees us hitting 10.9 bn by the end of the century, and it still hasn't plateaued at that point. Even at the lowest end of the 95% certainty projection, population doesn't hit maximum until near the end of the century - at nearly 10 billion people. We can make that figure lower and bring about the end of growth sooner - but only if we start taking this seriously and take the action needed, now!!

As Ruinenlust said this will however never be a popular opinion and no political party in a democratic country in its right mind will ever put this up for discussion but I don't like mollycoddling the situation that we are in. The point where you felt personally attacked is exactly the reason why this will always be a difficult subject to discuss because it deals with something that affects all of us on a personal level. Nonetheless....

"We are jeopardizing our future by not reining in our intense but geographically and demographically uneven material consumption and by not perceiving continued rapid population growth as a primary driver behind many ecological and even societal threats."

--World Scientists' Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice. *The Second Notice has more scientist co-signers (over 20.000 and counting) and formal supporters than any other journal article ever published.

To way in on this discussion of whether deciding not to have kids outweighs the problem of overpopulation, I honestly feel it depends on the wishes of the person, within reason. If one wishes to have kids, nothing should be barring them, and no one should be forcing them or guilt-tripping them into not having them. That being said, having kids for the sake of having kids should not happen, nor should people be having kids just to have a big family or to get the preferred gender. And as long as it matches with one’s moralistic and religious views, if one gets pregnant again but does not want any more kids, they should seek an abortion instead of doing nothing.

Kids are a wonderful thing, and I think that everyone has a right to them and a right to have their own biological kids, but you should have them because it is your dream to have kids, or because you want to have a child to make you laugh and happy, or because you want to have a “family” (as opposed to being single or a couple), not just for the sake of having kids.

In addition, while I respect religious traditions, I really don’t understand or agree with those dogmas and traditions which proscribe having large families, especially when those who follow those doctrines tend to be on the poorer side. While I am Jewish and I go to a modern-orthodox synagogue (although I myself am conservative) and I respect those who wish to have an ultra-orthodox way of life, I find it somewhat irresponsible when many of them go off and have so many children despite having a very niche, not so well paying job (many ultra-orthodox people work in the Judaica industries or in synagogues).

While I consider Harry and Meghan to be big hypocrites (Taking a private jet to a climate summit?!), I agree with their view in the issue: they wish to have kids, but they are being conscientious and limiting themselves to two, and they are going to teach their kids to be eco-friendly and passionate about the environment. This is the same model my parents took with me, and I hope to pass it down to my kids when I have them one day.

In closing, I certainly respect those who love being surrounded by family and children, and who wish to have them of their own. When I am older, I hope to have two kids of my own, so that I can have fun with them and guide them and have a familial life, like the household I come from. But you do not need to have many kids to do this, and so while you certainly can go ahead if you wish and have kids, you must remain cautious and conscientious of the amount of kids you are having and the resources they are using.

If you wish to have kids but you do not want to use many resources, have them grow up in an eco-friendly household and teach them not to overuse resources. In the end, the best thing we can do at the moment for the climate is to teach and encourage others to be more considerate of the energy and resources they take up, and encourage them to take a stand against the powers that seek to destroy our environment.

Middle Barael wrote:To way in on this discussion of whether deciding not to have kids outweighs the problem of overpopulation, I honestly feel it depends on the wishes of the person, within reason. If one wishes to have kids, nothing should be barring them, and no one should be forcing them or guilt-tripping them into not having them. That being said, having kids for the sake of having kids should not happen, nor should people be having kids just to have a big family or to get the preferred gender. And as long as it matches with one’s moralistic and religious views, if one gets pregnant again but does not want any more kids, they should seek an abortion instead of doing nothing.

Kids are a wonderful thing, and I think that everyone has a right to them and a right to have their own biological kids, but you should have them because it is your dream to have kids, or because you want to have a child to make you laugh and happy, or because you want to have a “family” (as opposed to being single or a couple), not just for the sake of having kids.

In addition, while I respect religious traditions, I really don’t understand or agree with those dogmas and traditions which proscribe having large families, especially when those who follow those doctrines tend to be on the poorer side. While I am Jewish and I go to a modern-orthodox synagogue (although I myself am conservative) and I respect those who wish to have an ultra-orthodox way of life, I find it somewhat irresponsible when many of them go off and have so many children despite having a very niche, not so well paying job (many ultra-orthodox people work in the Judaica industries or in synagogues).

While I consider Harry and Meghan to be big hypocrites (Taking a private jet to a climate summit?!), I agree with their view in the issue: they wish to have kids, but they are being conscientious and limiting themselves to two, and they are going to teach their kids to be eco-friendly and passionate about the environment. This is the same model my parents took with me, and I hope to pass it down to my kids when I have them one day.

In closing, I certainly respect those who love being surrounded by family and children, and who wish to have them of their own. When I am older, I hope to have two kids of my own, so that I can have fun with them and guide them and have a familial life, like the household I come from. But you do not need to have many kids to do this, and so while you certainly can go ahead if you wish and have kids, you must remain cautious and conscientious of the amount of kids you are having and the resources they are using.

If you wish to have kids but you do not want to use many resources, have them grow up in an eco-friendly household and teach them not to overuse resources. In the end, the best thing we can do at the moment for the climate is to teach and encourage others to be more considerate of the energy and resources they take up, and encourage them to take a stand against the powers that seek to destroy our environment.

The problem with children is that they often end up living lifestyles/having values that are the polar opposites of their parents' because adolescence often prompts rebellion. I certainly did for a while! People should absolutely have the right to have children but it would be wonderful if just one became the norm among people who desire to reproduce! Unfortunately, the USA's government incentivizes having as many children as possible. I suspect that the same approach is utilized by many other governments across the world.

One area in which I have always bested my parents (who did not raise me to be extraordinarily environmentally conscious but always supported my interest in nature as well as unintentionally living a fairly low footprint lifestyle) is maintaining small housing and transportation footprints. However, living efficiently and avoiding use of motorized transportation whenever possible slashes expenses and that has been the primary driver for those lifestyle choices throughout my lifetime.

I am currently mainintaining a fairly small food footprint compared to them because they eat dairy and eggs. However, I started eating meat as a teenage rebellion thing and then met my meat-loving ex which caused my meat intake to get out of control. During an acid trip a few years ago I started to become disgusted about the animal product business. I could literally perceive the suffering when I had a slice of sausage pizza during the trip. Hearing animals screaming and tasting their pain definitely prompted a thorough evaluation of my lifestyle! For a while, I clung to hope that alternatives to animal suffering would come about structurally. Finally, I decided to take personal responsibility and cut animal products out of my diet 100% I did not require a transitional phase...animal products are not physically addictive drugs, so there is no inherent need to wean yourself off of them (I should note that I have developed quite a bit of discipline since I turned 30.).

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