China is considering scrapping its one-child policy because of worries about an ageing population and how much of a social net the country can afford without the traditional reliance on large families to care for the aged. "We want incrementally to have this [one-child policy] change," said Vice Minister of the National Population and Family Planning Commission Zhao Baige. Planet Ark reports that teams studying the issue would have to consider the strain of China's huge population on its scarce resources.
Okay, it doesn't take a lot of number crunching to recognize that no amount of young workers "supporting" the elderly will make up for droughts, floods, deforestation, dustbowls-for-croplands, climate change, sea-level rise, extinctions, and economic meltdown that will follow in the wake of more people on our little world. This goes for all nations toying with or employing pronatalist policies: US, France, Russia, Australia, Canada, Japan, and growing
Julia Whitty is Mother Jones' environmental correspondent, lecturer, and 2008 winner of the John Burroughs Medal Award. You can read from her new book, The Fragile Edge, and other writings, here.