[saymaListserv] Re: [afmdiscussion] Fwd: [earthcare] Future Population Decline: What Are Our Responsibilities As Friends?

Janet Minshall jhminshall at comcast.net
Fri Sep 17 09:34:03 JEST 2004

Dear Roy Taylor,  Thanks for your very good letter and change of 
focus.  I understand your concern about water, especially in Atlanta 
with its crumbling pipelines and sinkholes caused by massive leaks in 
the water and sewer systems.
One of my sons lives in a small apartment in a fairly nice part of 
town (Briarcliff Rd. near Callanwolde) and pays $70 a month for water 
because of the problems with the water lines. I think the political 
will is just developing to fix the system in Atlanta now that the 
bills are so high. I also think that we have a very creative and 
innovative portion of humanity who will come up with short term 
solutions to most of the problems we see as looming threats right now 
like the pipe sleeve system which has been developed to fix the 
leaking water pipes and sewer lines of Atlanta.

As to long term water supplies, I have read that desalinization 
plants will be an interrim measure for Western Europe, Canada, Japan 
and the US (the developed countries) and that drawing down water from 
the oceans for desalinization may help to balance the rising sea 
levels from global warming.  Long term, the population decline will 
dramatically reduce demand for water for human use and for 
agriculture, as will increased morbidity from diseases like HIV in 
the less developed countries and the effects of lifestyle (obesity, 
smoking, alcohol consumption, and drug use) in the developed 

I tend to think long term because that is the nature of the field I 
was trained in, political economics.  I, too, am worried about the 
world we have created and how the very large population we will still 
have in 40 to 75 years will cope with what I see as the even greater 
threat to humanity of population aging and decline.  I think we are 
both right and I definitely do not consider you a "Chicken Little" 
for voicing your concerns.  It is you who will create the political 
will that needs to exist in enough people to make change happen.  It 
is that political will that will stimulate the creativity and 
innovation which will help us adapt to such problems as the water 

I'd be interested in your response.  Thanks for your message.  Janet Minshall

Long term population projections on a global scale are difficult for even
the most experienced of demographers.  The amount of variables and their
varying potential for influence are staggering.  Assuming that we could
start to agree on the the numbers and the timeline would there exist a
political will to make the changes necessary to offset the impact?

We can not even find that will here in the metropolitan Atlanta region when
the effect of over development has been well documented.  The North Metro
Georgia Water Planning District's plan for water supply charts us as running
out of water sometime between 2015 and 2018.  Because of the positive
development blinders we wear, we allow them to fool us that we can allocate
more water from existing reserviors, build new reserviors and conserve
enough water to continue developing in the same manner as we have with out
change for 30 years or more. So I am told to stop being like Chicken Little
and trying to upset people.  They seem to get very irritated when I use
their report to expose this flaw.

What I'm getting at is that each of our Meetings exist in areas where there
is little political will to change the status quo.  One of the fears in this
Country around planning is that it involves us collectively and we have to
give up our individuallity to do so. We all know that socialism leads to
communism and there is nothing worse.  We can't be expected to change our
lifestyles or where and how we develop because that would be giving up our
individual rights.

Globally, we will be living in a state of growth for the next 40 - 75 years.
Regionally, we are running out of resources to maintain the type of
development that we have been doing for that many years.  I am more worried
about the  world we will have created by then than I am about our ability to
cope with a leveling off and decline of population.

Let's assume we could get ourselves in a power position to effect change.
Would the same suggestions
for effecting positive change in a growing population be similar for ones
with a declining population?  Live more lightly on the earth. Respect one
another.  Treat each other as equals.  See that which is Christ in everyone
you meet.
Peace & Love

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