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The one where Nick self-Godwins…

Thanks to Mr Cats I have taken another look at the deeply sinister Optimum Population Trust.

Singapore is the world’s most overpopulated state, followed by Israel and Kuwait, according to a new league table ranking countries by their degree of overpopulation. The UK is 17th in the table.

Mid-table mediocrity again! Curses! But yes, it’s them pesky Jews at it again! I mean seriously this is utter wank. How many Israelis are there? 6 million? One tenth of the UK? Even if they are global enemy number two in terms of their usage of “global hectares” (an OPT abstraction of very dubious value) then so what, really? And Singapore is a real shark jump for the OPT. It’s a bloody city state! D’oh! You might as well claim that Mancunians can’t feed themselves with stuff they grow in window boxes and completely ignore the fertile lands of Cheshire and Lancashire that surrounds the city. But back to Israel. The OPT thinks the planet is seriously over-populated and doom will come of it. If I was them I’d massage the figures (which are basically made-up anyway) and leave the Jews out of it. It carries a certain amount of baggage. I mean these great green guardians don’t want to sound like Hitler do they? Actually I suspect they don’t care.

The Overpopulation Index, published by the Optimum Population Trust to mark World Population Day, July 11, is thought to be the first international “league table” to rank countries according to the sustainability of their populations – the extent to which they are living within their environmental means.

It examines data for over 130 individual countries and concludes that 77 of them are overpopulated – they are consuming more resources than they are producing and are dependent on other countries, and ultimately the Earth a whole, to make good the difference.

This is beginning to sound like a bid for global domination. So yeah, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Ghengis bleeding Khan et al. Music to those fellows ears…

Middle Eastern and European countries dominate the index, with nine and eight respectively among the 20 most overpopulated. China and India, despite being bywords for overpopulation, rank lower, at 29th and 33rd respectively. The world as a whole, meanwhile, is overpopulated by two billion – the difference between its actual population and the number it can support sustainably, given current lifestyles and technologies.

Yet again the word “sustainable” is used incorrectly and of course the collectivism shines through. Is my pleasant piece of England over-populated? I mean I remember when this was all trees. Oh, wait, it still is! No it isn’t over-populated. Is a slum in Mumbai (you know the ones the Greenies routinely hold-up as a model for the future) over-populated? I think so. Let’s just accost a random Mumbai slum dweller and ask if they prefer living in a a one room shack and crapping in a bucket in the corner eh? Or if they’d prefer my gaff? Do I need to fly to India to work this one out. Of course if I did I could offset my carbon via Popoffsets which would probably just about pay from the Mumbai slum dweller to be spayed. Indira would be proud. Of course I could just hitch to London and de-knacker Johnnie Porridge with two spoons and a rusty agricultural implement.

The calculations have been made possible by advances in the methodology of ecological footprinting, which measures the area of biologically productive land and water required to produce the resources and absorb the waste of a given population or activity and expresses this in global hectares – hectares with world-average biological productivity.

The index uses data contained in the latest Ecological Footprint Atlas, produced last year by the Global Footprint Network and based on figures for 2006. Data were available for over 130 states. The atlas assesses the ecological footprint and biocapacity (renewable biological productivity) of a country on a per capita basis. The index measures the proportion of a country’s average per capita footprint not supplied from its own biocapacity to determine how dependent it is on external sources.

Ya what? That is gibberish. Let’s compare and contrast two wealthy countries. Let’s compare Japan and New Zealand. They are not dissimilar in size but are massively dissimilar in population. Do both work? Well, yes. At different things. Which is why you might buy a Japanese car or camera but get your wine or lamb from New Zealand. This strange idea of national self suffiency is barking mad. It’s the bloody Good Life on a global scale. And if you have ever watched that show the Goods are only self-sufficient because Jerry and Margot are forever digging them out of the shit – sometimes literally.

The population of Africa as a whole, while not exceeding its biocapacity share, has both higher levels of fertility and poverty than any other continent. OPT chair Roger Martin described this as “a stark illustration of the unfortunate trade-offs between growing populations and sustainable livelihoods which we are currently seeing”.

That’s nasty. It’s also wrong. One of the greatest periods of economic development ever seen happened in Britain under Victoria. You heard the phrase “how the other half live”? That dates from around the start of Victoria’s reign and refers to the half of the population of this country who didn’t have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of. By the time Victoria died she might not have been amused but most of the rest of us were much less disgruntled. And there were a lot more of us too.

He said: “Some people may argue that in a world of international trade, national self-sufficiency doesn’t matter. We think that’s a very short-sighted view. You don’t have to be a little Englander or an eco-survivalist to conclude that in an era of growing shortages – food, energy, water – being so dependent on the outside world puts us in a very vulnerable position. With the rest of the world, including many countries much poorer than the UK, supplying three-quarters of our overall needs, it’s also morally questionable.”

Well, it might be morally questionable if we were parking gunboats in peoples harbour and trading beads with the natives. Rog, economics 101, Money can be exchanged for goods and services. Rog, seriously. Do you really think it is unfair to the South Africans, say, to not buy their wine or to not buy Australian coal because we are forcing kangaroos to dig it out on pain of death or something. Rog my friend you don’t grok how trade works. You see it as a win/lose not a win/win. I mean there is a limit to the amount of roast lamb even a New Zealander can account for so they sell it elsewhere. There is no way the Argentinians can consume as much beef as they raise but due to this thing called “trade” they can obtain other things like egg-whisks and Audis, comic books and CDs and all sorts of things. It’s really quite neat and it has been going on since Ugg swapped a surplus axe with Ogg who had a spare spear.

“To reduce our impact on the planet, we need to think about both numbers of consumers and how much they consume, and the UK is doing exceptionally badly on both fronts. Had we published this calculation last year, my understanding is that the UK would have been in 19th position. In terms of numbers – and therefore in terms of sustainability – we are still moving in the wrong direction, both in the table and in reality. It’s about time we woke up to the fact that the UK has a real population problem.”

You know there would have been a time when this was seen as progress. Indeed a time when “progress” was not a filthy word like “crevice”.

3 Comments

  1. “they are consuming more resources than they are producing and are dependent on other countries, and ultimately the Earth a whole”
    We’re all dependent on the Earth, in case OPT hadn’t noticed, so to foist this “fact” off as some kind of crime that only a few, designated “bad-guy” countries are guilty of is pathetic.

  2. Kevin B says:

    So let’s ask David fucking Attenborough, patron of the OPT:

    “So you want to kill a load of blacks and jews do you? Fucking Nazi Bastard!”

    “No no, we just want a smaller population..”

    “So you want to sterilise a load of blacks and jews? Fucking Nazi Bastard!”

    “No…No, it’s not just blacks and jews…”

    “So you want to kill us all? Fucking, Stalinist, Maoist, Pol Pot, Nazi bastard!”

    “No…No, we don’t want to kill anyone. We just want a smaller population.”

    “Fucking stupid, lying, hypocritical, evil, Stalinist, Maoist, Pol Pot, Nazi bastard!”

    I read the other day that if you put the whole global population into the fifty states of America it would be almost as crowded as England.

  3. Sam Duncan says:

    “Singapore is the world’s most overpopulated state, followed by Israel and Kuwait, according to a new league table ranking countries by their degree of overpopulation.”

    And they’re saying it’s bad?

    If I were them, I’d flush that league table down the memory hole tout-de-suite and pretend it never happened. For years, Bangladesh has been the Malthusian poster boy – wooooo, poor brown people living among their own filth… wooooo… that’ll be us if we don’t kill the weak… sorry, I meant reduce the population nicely… woooo, look, nasty…. – and now we’re supposed to be scared by three of the richest, fastest growing, healthiest, happiest countries in the world? Yeah, you lost me at “Singapore”, fellas.

  4. NickM says:

    Pricely Sam. It’s the global hectares nonsense. This is the reason my idea of a rice paddy in the Sahara had all the Dragons out. I mean where I grew-up in the fertile Tyne valley I had to walk to school through fucking set-aside land. Mr barrat wanted to extend his housing estate. Undoubtedly the farmers who owned the land wanted to grow crops and raise livestock. Neither was allowed for some reason beyond my ken. It’s drivel. It tacitly assumes the planet is owned by all of us. It isn’t. Kuwait has oil, just out the window I see sheep, just up the road is one of the major cities of Europe, Israel has high-tech stuff, Singapore has financial services. Yes, some countries have a lower carrying capacity than others but would it be off of me to suggest that brings in tourists? I live wedged between Manchester and the Peak District. You ever tried parking a car in Buxton on a summer bank-holiday? It’s technically easier to get into a parking orbit round Barnard’s Star. But we don’t live off the land do we? Not all of us. This is the epic fail here. And it is a failure of imagination. Sam, I dunno what you do for a living but I’ll make a punt here. I reckon you would very likely find it remarkably difficult to travel back to the Glasgow of two hundred years ago and explain it. I mean if I had to explain IT support in Cheshire 200 years ago I would be burnt at the bloody stake.

    Anyway, it ain’t the weak they wanna kill as such. It is the unrighteous. The last money I gave to charity was to the British Legion. And that is unrighteous until the Army get their hybrid tanks and the RAF solves unemployment by getting loads of wallahs winding-up lacky bands in a carbon neutral fashion. “Yes, chaps, the squadron shall saunter over Iran at 3mph – as long as it doesn’t break – and use moderately harsh language”. That’ll learn them. After all don’t they know that every time a reactor fissions an atom Allah strangles a lickle puppy.

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