A modest proposal to society concerning climate change, a satire


Photo by KukZaa

Peyton Jefferson

Reading Time: 5 minutes

To think of all of the helpless families, children, and people who have to struggle through the horrible after effects of hurricanes is a bitter thought. They battle to attain water, food, and common commodities. Their schools, workplaces, and even houses may be inhabitable due to water damage. Not to mention their mode of transportation is destroyed, and their connection to other communities is limited from possible power outages. An increase in stronger and more intense hurricanes is just one effect of global warming. Other effects include the reduction of ice in the Arctic, a boost in the number of droughts and heat waves, and an increase in heavy precipitation, which could lead to floods. Because the rise in temperatures has a direct impact on the reduction of sea ice, continental ice sheets, and glaciers, several species of animals will die from the drastic change in their habitat. Already “analyzed data on polar bears in northeast Alaska and the Northwest Territories documented a 40 percent population loss between 2001-2010 from 1,500 to 900 bears” (“Polar Bear Population Decline” 1). In order to prevent climate change from causing further destruction to our world, to people’s lives, and to animal habits, then we must make dire changes to our lifestyles.

The complex causes of climate change all focus on the theory of the greenhouse effect (which is when the Earth’s atmosphere traps heat radiating toward space resulting in a global warming). These greenhouse gases consist primarily of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. Since it is common sense that eliminating the prominence of just one of these greenhouses will have a hefty effect on the decrease of climate change, then we must reduce the sizable amount of carbon dioxide within the world in order to avoid the deadly consequences of climate change. After having thought over this subject for a long time now, and considerably weighed the various options to averting further destruction in our world, I can see that no choice is easy to decide upon. However, no other solution can bring about a greater change than a worldwide reduction of population. The average human breathes out about 2.3 pounds of carbon dioxide daily, which will be multiplied by the world population of about 7 billion, and then 365.25 days that consist in a year. That process results in a whopping 2.94 billion tons of annual carbon dioxide output. In order for us to help save our perishing planet, we must take the necessary precautions, or suffer in the continuation of ill habits that hurt our people and our world. I have been reassured by the actions of China’s one child policy that this solution should uphold quite well, for if all nation’s accepted a similar plan of one child per household (which would be upheld through the United Nations) then the population shrinkage across decades should heavily cutback CO2 emissions and therefore decrease climate change.

Firstly, this solution could help the economy in the sense that it will reduce the amount of money that goes into the education system. With a reduction in children, the money that nations pour into their public education systems would decrease and could therefore be used for other means. This would by no means harm the education system, but instead benefit the economy.

Secondly, a shrinking population would mean an increase in job opportunities. This increase in job opportunities would lead to a decrease in unemployment rates and therefore an economic expansion. If a shrinking population leads to an increase in employment availability, then it must always result in a better economy.

Thirdly, an article published by John Braithwaite, concerning population growth and crime, suggests that “larger cities have higher crime rates than smaller communities” (Braithwaite 1). Therefore, if the population throughout the world were to also shrink to a smaller population, then the crime rate would also decrease. With the absence of the presence of anonymity when there is a larger population, criminals in a smaller population would be easier to track down. This phenom would lead to less crime, and create a safer, more secure world.

Fourthly, by ensuring that each household contains only one child, the results are a better standard of living for that child. If all of a household’s resources and money are geared towards providing for one child as opposed to three or four, then that child will be fit for a king. Instead of splitting attention with other siblings, the child can then flourish under the love and financial resources that is meant for only them. This theory is also supported by the highly respected opinion of my mother, who believes strongly in devoting all of her attention to only one subject. After all, mother knows best.

Fifthly, the advantages of a reduction in population include a decrease in the cost of living in certain places. Without an extremely dense population, there will be less competition on the housing market, and therefore houses will sell for cheaper. This benefits residents because it allows them to spend their money elsewhere.

Sixthly, this would work well as a reduction in the costs of welfare programs. Since welfare programs tend to be extremely expensive for nations, a reduction in population would also lead to a reduction in costs for welfare programs. Therefore, benefitting several nation’s economies.

Some may oppose this solution because they believe it reduces the people’s liberties and freedoms, or that it is simply a cruel policy to the people. However, we must do what is for the best of our people. On Twitter, someone justly tweeted “Hobbes defines the Social Contract as the condition in which people give up some individual liberty in exchange for some common security ” (Diana Silvers). This social contract applies similarly to the issue that we are dealing with today. In order to prevent climate change from becoming more dire, we must be willing to give up some of our rights in order to protect the world as a whole.

Therefore, I can think of no other solutions that could be more painless than the one by which I am already set upon. Not by forgoing our use of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas, in exchange for less harmful resources such as “plant-derived plastics, biodiesel,wind power” for which an article from Scientific American suggested (Biello 1). Not by cutting back on deforestation, since “timber harvesting in the tropics alone contributes 1.5 billion metric tons of carbon to the atmosphere ” (Biello 1). Not by balancing the amount of trees that are cut down, with the amount of new trees that are being planted. Not by paper recycling more in households, schools, and workplaces. Not by investing more in electric vehicles that can charge overnight as opposed to running off of gas. Not by reducing the amount of methane leaks in both the natural gas and oil industries. And certainly Not by phasing out the polluting HFCs (Hydrofluorocarbons) which are several times more potent at trapping heat than carbon dioxide. No, none of these solutions would ever be quite as efficient as a one child per household policy.

I truly believe that this is the only way to avoid anymore destruction from the heat behemoth, and that I have no personal relation to this solution. By advocating for a one child per household policy, I am also limiting the number of children I can have, and I do so knowing that I am giving up my own rights to better protect our world. However, I did only ever plan on having one child, if any.