We are living in an age in which we have had to adopt industrial farming techniques in order to sustain the diets of our burgeoning human population (resulting both in over-cultivation of the land and some dubious-at-best standards of animal welfare); an age in which our oceans are being flooded with litter and pollutants while our atmosphere is being choked with fumes; an age in which we are once again contemplating resorting to building on our precious green belts in order to accommodate our swelling (and swollen) numbers. Perhaps, in light of this, we ought to see recently reported falling male fertility rates as a good thing. The plain truth is that the survival of our species – and, indeed, our planet – may well depend upon this natural correction. Life is a fragile gift that we have taken for granted for far too long.
[Besides, a shrinking population is only really bad news for an economy that has become overly reliant upon a steady stream of cheap labour to supply the short-sighted capitalist model of continuously expanding markets, which is effectively a pyramid scheme. We would do well to remember that pyramids have only ever ended one way: entombing the wasted wealth of dead civilisations.]
Indeed, I would contend that we should see the forthcoming drop in birth rates as a fresh opportunity for humankind: the dawning of a new, post-industrial age in which we can aspire to develop a Utopian, peaceful society capable of stretching to greater accomplishments, freed from the need to compete with each other for diminishing resources and space – an age of art, exploration and invention: one in which we can leave a genuinely positive mark on the world, rather than just relying on our progeny to be our legacy.
After all, realistically, what other alternative do we have?