Humanity can’t end up in ‘adult diapers’, add population

  • Elon Musk again advocated higher birth rates, saying that otherwise we would all “end up in adult diapers.”
  • He claimed without evidence that the environment can support it “even if we double the size of the world’s population”.
  • Experts have mentioned other factors that are driving down birth rates.

Elon Musk argued Monday that it is “total nonsense” that people didn’t have children because it was bad for the environment, and made a new plug for people to have more children to prevent the collapse of civilization.

“Some people think having fewer children is better for the environment. It’s total bullshit. The environment will be fine, the environment will be fine, even if we double the size of the people,” Tesla’s CEO told the closed-door All-In Summit via video call on Monday.

“At least stick to our numbers,” he said. “We don’t necessarily have to grow dramatically, but at least let’s not gradually decline until civilization ends with us all in adult diapers, in a wail.”

Musk has provided no evidence to back up his claims. Swedish researchers found in 2017 that having one less child per family could cut carbon emissions in developed countries by about 58.6 tons per year, CNBC reported. However, other experts said a change in lifestyle and an ever-increasing change in climate policy could have a greater impact on the environment than not having children, Vox reported.

Musk also claimed that if people didn’t have children, humanity would collapse on its own.

Musk has previously expressed concerns about global birth rates. In December, he warned that “civilization will crumble” if people don’t have enough children. He bolstered that argument last week by claiming that Japan “could cease to exist” as the birth rate fell.

While the birth rate is indeed declining in some countries, the UN World Population Prospects report 2019, the most recent edition, estimates that the world population could reach 9.7 billion in 2050, up from 7.7 billion in 2019.

But it’s not rare to see birth rates fall during an economic downturn, as Insider previously reported. For example, the rising cost of living in the US has also caused many millennial Americans to delay having babies. In the case of Japan, people have blamed the high cost of having children, restrictive immigration policies and gender inequality for the population decline.

Many people have also cited the environmental impacts of overpopulation as a reason not to have children. In 2019, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said those concerns are pushing some not to want children or to have fewer babies so there would be less pressure on the environment.

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