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Tag: Overpopulation

The Benefits of Backward Biological Thinking

      Many people believe that the government and higher powers should not be able to influence the actions and liberties of biological beings; they believe it is immoral and cruel. However, even in our current society, many animals, humans included, have their liberties restricted and their actions and biological systems controlled. From genetically modified chickens to China’s one-child policy, there are and have been establishments controlling the biology and liberty of living beings. From a moral standpoint, many people are disturbed by these actions. However, limiting and modifying the biology and abilities of animals has undeniable benefits, such as reducing the human population, increasing food availability, and protecting endangered animals. By modifying biological systems through genetically modified organisms(GMOs), and establishing policies that limit population, there could be undeniable benefits for both society and the natural environment.

        Genetically modified organisms(GMOs) can provide food for those in need and can increase the well-being of the environment in doing so. Humanity has exceeded its carry capacity, resulting in famines and food-insecurities across the globe. Currently, nearly 800 million people across the globe are suffering from starvation (borgenproject.org). While food waste is largely to blame for this situation, a lack of available food across the globe is also a major cause of the crisis. Furthermore,  in an attempt to supply food to the growing population, many species are being over-hunted, particularly fish. Genetically modified organisms could allow for more efficient food production by increasing the size of the product and increasing its yield. For instance, genetically engineered salmon have recently been approved for consumption. Being far larger than traditional salmon, these fish not only provide more food for people, but they also decrease the draw and necessity of hunting natural salmon. In this way, a natural species is being preserved, and more food is made available to the public. Furthermore, an increasing number of crops are becoming genetically engineered, allowing for larger plants, pest resistance, and other desired traits. However, there is a serious controversy over the environmental ethics of GMOs, and there are concerns that GMOs will not be able to adapt to pest mutations. While these concerns are not unprecedented,  at their roots GMOs have serious potential to increase food production and have already proven the capability of outperforming natural crop varieties. Using genetic engineering, pesticides can be rendered unnecessary, which would greatly improve environmental health. Furthermore, due to the potential increased yield of GMOs, more land can be devoted to preserving natural habitats that would otherwise not exist if they were converted to farmland (nytimes.com). If more species and plant types were genetically modified, the potential food increase and preservation of species would be drastically increased.

        Enacting policies that would limit the number of children women can have would be highly beneficial for the environment and society. As a result of our ever-growing population, we are consuming more resources, namely fossil fuels, which cause climate change. Furthermore, the increasing human population is resulting in famines and food-insecurities across the globe.  If our population were to decrease, emissions and consumption would naturally decrease alongside, lessening environmental destruction. Many people argue that it is inhumane and ineffective to limit the number of children women can have. However, what is more important, the right to have more than one child, or the right for countless species to continue to survive on this planet, humans included? If people were only permitted to produce one child the environmental benefits would be incomparable. The single best way to decrease environmental degradation is decreasing the world’s population (ES118). If policies were enacted like the one-child policy in China,  there would be no death or pain involved in the reduction of the human population. Furthermore, if the population did decrease by this means, starvation and general consumption would decrease, causing existing humans to be able to use essential resources that they may otherwise not be able to have. Decreasing birth rates would cause no physical damage to anyone or anything; instead, it would result in vital environmental restoration and would improve the well-being of the human race.

        Biotechnology and biological control inevitably bring up the moral question: Is it okay to alter natural biology, and will its benefits outweigh the ramifications it could have on society? Controlling biology could drastically improve the well-being of our society and the world. However, research needs to be conducted on the dangers of specific technologies and policies that would control biology before they are implemented. With the pressing environmental crisis and climate change, humanity needs to come up with new solutions if it wishes to save the world from further environmental degradation. Biotechnology and policies regulating childbirth could solve this problem by increasing food production and decreasing the human population in a manner that avoids suffering.

Sources:

https://vittana.org/24-advantages-and-disadvantages-of-gmos

 

https://greengarageblog.org/13-main-advantages-and-disadvantages-of-gmos

 

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMhpr051833

 

https://borgenproject.org/how-many-people-are-starving-around-the-world/

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/20/business/genetically-engineered-salmon-approved-for-consumption.html

 

ES 118 Lecture

 

Science: In need of women

         Women are not portrayed in scientific history. Whether, you are scrolling through books from the scientific revolution, or you are surfing the web for memes of scientists, all you are going to see is a bunch of old dudes poking around with their scientific instruments. This lack of portrayal of women in science is a result of men refusing to accept women into scientific society and thinking them less intelligent and less suitable to scientific pursuits. Clearly, they are wrong. Scientific prodigies such Joanne Simpson, and Caroline Herschel, for instance, were outperforming the majority of men in the field. Despite the small number of women scientists, without them, science would not be advanced to the point it is now. It is essential to increase the accessibility and inclusivity of science to women because women will improve the world with science in a way that men do not, and the outcomes of women in science will benefit the natural environment.

         It has been proven that women have different brains and ways of thinking than men, meaning they could come up with solutions that men may not be able to come to. Women have significantly thicker cortices than men, which have been associated with high scores in a variety of cognitive intelligence tests(Science Magazine). Why men would exclude women who are smarter than them in certain aspects is clearly not the result of women’s inferior intelligence. Philosophers, such as Aristotle, were mistaken in believing that men were smarter than women(womenpriests.org). The exclusion of women from science is based entirely on false beliefs of intelligence, feelings of insecurity, and a desire to be dominant over their female counterparts. These ideas are both trivial and backward. Besides from being morally corrupt and sexist, the scientific anomalies that could be achieved with the neurological differences of women should not be thrown away. Women’s brains are complementary to men’s in the respect that the hemispheres of the brain are more connected in women than in men(the guardian). This is not to say that women’s brains are better or worse than men’s, just different. If men and women were to work together in scientific fields it is probable that they could come to more solutions, and make more connections than had they limited their scientific peers to those of their own gender. Furthermore, women, purely based on biological differences, will have different scientific and moral viewpoints, both of which must be incorporated into the advancement of science and education to make it as successful as possible.

         Educated women, namely in science, will better their own lives, which will ultimately lessen environmental impacts. In areas with low education the birth rate is extremely high(NYTimes). Increased birth rates increase the population, resulting in an increased environmental impact from humans. It has been statistically proven that women with higher levels of education will have fewer children than their less educated counterparts(NYTimes). This makes sense. With an understanding of birth control and their own biology, they will be empowered to limit the number of children they have,  which will limit population growth. Furthermore, a large reason why people in developing areas have so many children is that they need their young to help them with manual labor as they grow old. However, when women enter the field of science, they have access to higher paying jobs, that require less physical work(Business Insider). This will allow them to work when they are older, and it will allow them to build more savings. As a result, the need for their children to take care of them as they age will disappear. As the necessity of children goes away, the rate of childbirth will go down, decreasing the global population, which will lessen environmental impacts(prb.org).

        The fact that women are excluded, to any degree, from science is outrageous. Why, based on gender alone, for that is all it is, should people be excluded from pursuing an academic pursuit? I would say the answer is the fear men have of losing their dominance over women. That, and the deeply ingrained train of thought in male society that, for whatever reason, women are not meant for science, and instead should stay home with their kids and cookies. This train of thought and feeling of insecurity needs to end. Women in science will better the world. They will complement the scientific ideas of men, and they will challenge and reinforce them in different ways. Women in science will better themselves by increasing their own personal wealth and knowledge, and they will benefit the natural world in doing so. So, for crying out loud, can we please include them in our scientific pursuits!?

Sources

 

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/dec/02/men-women-brains-wired-differently

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/04/study-finds-some-significant-differences-brains-men-and-women

http://www.womenpriests.org/traditio/infe_gre.asp

http://www.businessinsider.com/highest-paying-jobs-for-women-2015-10#13-nurse-practitioner-8

http://www.prb.org/Publications/Lesson-Plans/HumanPopulation/Environment.aspx

 

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