Recently, the idea that Australians should have more children (eg Costello’s line: one kid for the mum, one for the dad and one for the country) has been more prevalent than for a couple of decades, and some related research on male fertility as a function of time has appeared in the media in the last few days (SMH – Young men told to make babies now and the ABC – Male fertility drops with age).
Whatever the benefits of Australians having more children (whether it’s the awful argument of ensuring a large enough workforce or otherwise), nowhere have I heard how having more children is acting in accordance with sustaining the life support systems of the Earth. It just isn’t enough to just look at the direct impacts on Australian society of more people in Australia.
If at any time Australia needs more people, could it perhaps attract them from the 6 billion or so who currently don’t live here with carefully tweaked incentives? We’ve recently seen that many people want to come and work here (under the union-maligned work visas).
Unfortunately, a broad view of these sorts of questions doesn’t appear very often. Carl Sagan wrote about our “identification horizons” (eg here), and I wonder if sometimes our identification horizons are far too small.