It is women such as you describe, Freethinker31, that makes it so difficult when a women has life planned so that she can support any children she has. Whether her plan is through marriage or her own resources, things do happen unexpectedly. When something happens to interrupt the plan ... an injury, illness, loss of job, loss of financial support of any kind, she is vulnerable. When a social welfare system is set up to protect from unexpected setbacks, there are those who plan to take advantage of the safety net.
Not all women are such sharks, nor are all men. Because there are some who exploit the system, does that mean the safety net should be taken away for all?
Should a man or woman decide not to have children because of the risks involved?
Yes, paying people who don't have children or who get sterilized would be an excellent idea.
Lower population is especially important for richer countries where people use a lot of energy, like the USA. We tend to think of the population problem as mostly being about poor countries where people have a lot of children ... but what matters is people's demands on resources.
There is some attention being paid in this regard. For example, my home state of South Carolina does not, since it's Dixie, endorse expanded Medicaid. I earn far too little to reach the bar of 133% of the federal poverty level and get federal insurance subsidies, and far too much (over $1,090 per year) to qualify for Medicaid. I applied for Medicaid anyway, and got a nice letter from the Governor saying that I qualified for an irreversible sterilization procedure, but nothing else. So there are some forward looking Republican politicians.
From your link:
The problems listed in the documents include methane gas contamination, spills of wastewater and other pollutants, and wells that went dry or were otherwise undrinkable. Some of the problems were temporary
Methane gas contamination is harmless. A lot of private wells are probably not properly cased, which may have caused a lot of the problems. And how many tens of thousands of wells were drilled, resulting those 243 complaints?
Rather than contaminating increasingly precious water, while extracting more fossil fuel that, with out profligate use adds to the problem of climate change, we should learn to live better with less gas and oil. We CAN
That's an assumption that isn't supported by any evidence so far as I can see.
Conservation isn't the answer. Even if we managed to cut our energy use in half - which would mean a lot of sacrifices that people won't want to make - we still couldn't get by purely on renewable energy. If we used 1/10 the energy we do and had a Third World standard of living, perhaps we could.
I really do do a lot of those energy-conservation things. I don't have a car, I get around on my bicycle. I have a vegan diet.
But I still use plenty of fossil fuels. The electricity here is generated primarily by natural gas. Fracking has lowered the price of natural gas, and that has improved USA carbon emissions. Much better than making electricity by burning coal.
It would help if we had a longterm goal of reducing the population. If the USA had a population of 100 million instead of 300 million or whatever it now is, no question we'd be a lot better off.
We should be building more nuclear power plants. Modern ones, without the liabilities of the Fukushima reactor.
We would not be in this very dangerous situation with global warming, if we had developed nuclear power in a big way. But nuclear power freaks people out.
Misguided idealism is fucking dangerous.
Solar or wind power are not going to step up and take over our energy needs. Even if we conserve energy. They consume too much land and too much raw materials for the energy generated. For a detailed exposition of the problems, see Sustainable Energy without the Hot Air, a free online book that introduces facts to the debate about our energy future.
Fracking does need to be properly regulated. The fracking companies are no more ethical than any other big business, and they'd be dumping fracking wastewater into streams if they were allowed to - they used to do that. And probably some of the complaints in Pennsylvania were because of such negligence by the fracking companies.
But banning fracking would be very shortsighted.
Fracking really could help us to lessen our huge economic interest in the Middle East and its oil, because natural gas is the main current contender for an energy source to replace oil in vehicles, either by vehicles directly using natural gas, or electric vehicles using electricity generated from natural gas (probably cleaner).
Electricity generation is moving to cheap natural gas, replacing coal (which is very polluting). Cheap electricity could help us switch to electric vehicles.
I don't want a nuclear war. And energy independence for the USA would contribute to world peace, a lot. The USA wouldn't throw its weight around in the Middle East so much. Osama bin Laden was funded by Americans at their gas pumps. Probably al Qaeda still is funded by our oil imports. If anybody can give me a good argument as to why energy independence for the USA would not contribute to world peace, I might change my mind about fracking.
I don't think fracking is going to be banned, because the economic incentives, although not sexy, are powerful.
Hopefully in 25-50 years or so, nuclear fusion will become a practical energy source and we can stop worrying about energy.
But, we need to get to that point without having a nuclear war.
People living in suburbia or rural areas have bigger carbon footprints than city-dwellers.
So while urbanites might seem very separated from nature, they are actually kinder to our planet.
One of my neighbors in my house (which I can't live in right now) is very "cool" and "natural" - his lawn and his car sport signs vilifying Big Oil and promoting various environmental causes. He's an acupuncturist and herbalist.
But he gets his heat from a wood stove - very polluting - and drives a car to work. I used to ride my bike past his "don't buy Exxon, buy Citgo" bumper sticker and laugh.
THIS is fascinating! The reason wolves (and other predators) are necessary....and too many people are NOT.
We may become the first species in evolutionary history to destroy its own habitat.
I think others have done it - we're just the smartest ones to do so. If you can call us smart.
"Smart" for short-term gain for a few, perhaps.
Living in balance with nature goes against the grain of modern development. Left unrestrained Homo sapiens dirties its own nest. The solution is easy. Realize our species is a part of a network of natural processes. By paying attention to the consequences of our actions, and valuing nature and making decisions with the Earth and its inhabitants in mind, we can live in balance and maintain and perpetuate life as we know it on Earth. It is worth the effort.
Part of the problem, at least in the USA, is that the majority still denies the fact that we are ALL evolved from natural sources. And are still evolving, I HOPE!
If we don't do something about the mess we have made, we will stop evolving because we will all be dead, along with all the creatures who have become dependent on humans for food, water, and living space. (And affection.)
I do NOT want to live on a world without "Lions, and Tigers, and Bears; oh, my!"