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ckosarek's picture

Naess and pragmatism wouldn't get along.

 Though I could easily nitpick the entirety of Naess' The Ecology of Wisdom, I am only going to do as much with his essay, "Population Reduction: An Ecosophical View." Naess starts with a true enough observation: that we, the human race, have overpopulated this planet to the detriment of our ecosphere. Logically he says, we must then work on reducing our population over the next few centuries, despite that current politics advocate doing otherwise. He states that "[o]n average, no very great population is required of each culture . . . [and that] huge numbers tend to reduce the manifold" (304). So by increasing our population, we not only destroy the environment, but our cultures as well (more people lead to more fractures). His logic is solid, but I ask how, exactly, he proposes to reduce our population. In many cultures, being fruitful and multiplying is expected and embraced. Even further, it is our biological instinct to propagate. In the face of biological and cultural instinct, how is it possible to get everyone on board to reducing the population? And how is it possible to treat every separate culture as one, united human force when our tendency is to fracture? And even if somehow, at the present time, every culture was convinced to come together for this population-reducing cause, how would we ensure this unification in future centuries (because, as Naess indicated, it would be some time before the population could be effectively reduced). 

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