Rethinking population

Teaching elementary school in Japan gives me an opportunity to talk about Australia, my home country, quite a bit. Mostly I like starting with the land mass of the two countries. Australia is roughly 20 times larger than Japan. Then move on to the population. Whereas Japan has 130 million people, Australia has 20 million. And this shocks the students somewhat.

Remembering my pre-teen years I too was a little naive and believed a country’s size would be proportional to its population. It is only natural that being human we are fallible to make such an assumption.

I also remember that it seemed to me back then that a country’s population was somehow equated to the greatness of a nation. The Chinese want to claim that. As does India. As an English teacher I also see how English speakers hide the fact that even after totalling the number of English speakers in the world we still only manage to be second and that they were actually third until only recently. By number English is still ranked second and they do not want to remind you of this fact. It only embarrasses them. Yet there should be nothing to be embarrassed about. Simply a large population does not equate to cultural superiority.

Population growth is not something to proud of. There is no logic behind it. People talk as though it is some achievement to see an increase in its nation’s population like it is the strength points in some video game. Furthermore no one ever bothers to ask when enough is enough.

If a nation’s population were like the human body then the world today could be seen as being obese. And perhaps we should population as the human body analogy because like all things there is a limit.

While the environment puts a limit on the system by checks and balances human being chooses to see it as though there is no limit. And this is where human understanding has failed or is flawed. While man is undoubtedly clever he is also foolish to thinnk that he can beat the system.

So let’s just hope that some time soon he will become the wiser and learn to live within the limits of a system that is made for abuses because no matter what it will catch up to us in the end. And hopefully we will learn that the ecosystem does not care whether the human species is part of its picture or not.

2 thoughts on “Rethinking population”

  1. It is good to know another language not because it is useful (though sometimes it is) but because it gives you a different perspective on diversity of culture and life.

    I write a lot about the need to understand that man isn’t the greatest lifeform on this planet (anthropocentrism) ebcasue I see the complacency isn’t just within our species but goes beyond to arrogance towards and disrespect for other forms of life.


  2. Many people I know speak english and think they are superior to their peers elsewhere in the world and think that it is the lingua franca of business, economy, and science they don’t have to bother with a second language. Meanwhile, my classmates often found me strange because I wanted to learn Spanish (that and French were the only offered secondary languages). Now I want to study Mandarin, Japanese, and if needed German because the tech industry is full of people who speak these languages.


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