Population growth is exponential. When each individual in a population is replaced in every succeeding generation by more than one—even by a very slight fraction more, say 1.01—the population grows faster and faster, in the manner of a savings account or debt. – E.O. Wilson
Back in the day when there were monsters eating us up all the time, I think it was perfectly acceptable to “be fruitful and multiply.” But in this day and age, we need some quorum sensing.
Quorum sensing is the ability of bacteria to stop reproducing if resources are scarce. More humans means less nature, and I think it’s time that we stopped having more than 2 kids. Even 3 kids per generation means humanity will grow exponentially, which is unsustainable.
I did a little pen-and-paper experiment (first picture above). I started off with one female (pink circle) and made her have either 2 or 3 kids for 5 generations. I flipped coins to determine the sex of her offspring. If the offspring was a male, I did not make it have offspring since men don’t have babies. If it was a female, I made either 2 or 3 offspring. The difference between 2 kids / generation and 3 kids / generation is huge. 3 kids puts us into exponential growth and 2 kids does not. Exponential growth means that we crowd out all the grass :(.
So yes, big families are nice but if we keep up this charade were just yeast in the beer bottle. Zero population growth, it’s a sexy thing!
Ben: Do you think you’ll have kids?
Me: I probably will. But really, the world doesn’t need more people, what it needs is more good ideas.
Some photos of buildings in Hong Kong (courtesy of Michael Wolf). People aren’t bees and shouldn’t live like them.
And finally, a song on the theme: