Though Herzog admits her brew of alarmism is only partly responsible for her aversion to motherhood, she throws out a long discredited environmental myth to scare away others: overpopulation. Slate’s Amanda Marcotte, while distorting Pope Francis’ remarks about having children, also leans on the “overpopulation” canard to make her own point. People are the worst. And it’s easy to rationalize dispensing with them when inconvenient. Especially if they’re ruining the earth.
Let’s ignore for a moment that fertility rates tend to trend downward as wealth grows. Let’s ignore our long history of adaptability. Ostensibly, the argument is that the more people we have milling around the more we’ll fight over resources. Has any theory been as thoroughly debunked by history? While the population explodes, the world has seen a rise in per capita of caloric intake, per capita wealth and increased life expectancy –and a transformative explosion in productivity. Some of the densest places on earth also happen to be the richest. Here in the United States, we’ve long enjoyed a higher reproductive rate than most developed nations in the world, and we also have, generally speaking, enjoyed a healthier economy.
And the kids? Not only is life expectancy at 78.8 years – a record high in the United States, according Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, but you can imagine how many magnificent experiences that life might entail considering the acceleration of technology. According to the World Health Statistics 2014, a girl born in in the world in 2012 can expect to live to around 73 years. A boy can expect to live to the age of 68. That’s six years longer than the average global life expectancy for those born in 1990, even though the world population has surged.