Tonight I was lucky to attend a talk by Alan Weisman, author of The World Without Us and most recently Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth?
Here’s a few illuminating things I learned:
1. The world’s most effective form of contraception is the education of women.
2. Every four days we add one million people to the planet.
3. 40% of the non-frozen land on this planet is devoted to feeding one species: humans.
4. Debunking the myth that a decreasing population means a withering economy, Weisman cited Japan as the country that can teach the world how to “shrink and prosper.”
5. Japan is also the world’s largest producer of robots, some of which are designed to fill in gaps in the labor force and care for the country’s elderly population. Some of these robots are able to help elderly people into wheelchairs or into bed, but dealing with bathroom-related issues remains a challenge.
6. Some of these robots resemble giant teddy bears.
7. To provide and disseminate universal contraception care would cost about $8 billion dollars annually, the same amount we spent daily in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
8. In Pakistan, abortion is punishable by death. Every year, 400, 000 women in Pakistan undergo dangerous, illegal abortions.
9. If universal contraception were available, the number of worldwide abortions each year would drop from 40 million to 14 million.
10. While “There’s no condom for consumption,”* lowering the number of people who consume is within our power.
*Weisman attributed this snappy saying to Paul Ehrlich, author of the controversial 1968 book “The Population Bomb.”