Parliament Debates Raising Population Limit

Baikonur, Kazakhstan, Earth -- 2 Apr. 2057:  The all-parties Committee on Sustainable Growth and Development tendered its report this day, arguing before the Trapezoid that the maximum number of biologicals living on Earth should be raised by 5 million.  Reasons given for this recommendation include the easing of environmental pressures due to the unexpected success of the Department of Ecological Reclamation's various programs and the perceived need to encourage economic growth.

The committe's chair, Dr. Pangyric Apoptosis, Technocratic elector for LEO-Constellation, appealed directly to eir party to look beyond "the ingrained distaste of many for tampering with the population control programme," stating that "according to our ecological scientists the planet can easily support another few million bodies, and acording to our economists we're in sore need of them."  Dr. Apoptosis is eirself an ecologist of some note, and has long been an advocate of revisiting the population-control debate.  E has published a number of papers in respected journals claiming to demonstrate that the models on which the original population-limit statutes were drafted could be adjusted based on recent advances in ecotecture and the fine-tuning of regional projects to take advantage of more accurate climatic modelling.

The mood of the chamber was not receptive to the proposal, with scathing criticisms coming from the down-wing parties, most particularly the Naturists.  Gerhard Steiner, Naturist elector for Europa-Germania, accused the committee of "advocating a return to the dark ages of environmental degradation and unchecked human appetites"; Taglan Valdur, Naturist elector for Australasia-New Zealand, went even further, claiming that the committe's report condoned "ecocide" and "the rape of Mother Nature".  Others were more measured in their criticism, but not less staunch in their opposition.  Cateryn Starbreeze, Communitarian elector for Cascadia-Nevada, spoke strongly against "this attempt by an elitist Spacer who's never even set foot on Earth to dictate the way in which we manage our population and our delicate ecosystem," stating categorically that "Nevada has no room for more bodies.  The Earth has no room!"  Askala Hailu, Traditionalist elector for Rift Valley-Ethiopia, stated that she would "unconditionally oppose any attempt to raise the population limit," and that "the ecosystem of our State is bruised and battered enough as it is without her being subject to further indignity.  Simply let her be."  Rogbert Geddario, Traditionalist elector for Atlantica-Atlantis, stated dismissively that "there's plenty of room in the outer system for anyone who wants to raise a big family.  Let them move out there."  The last comment drew audible boos from the sections of the chamber seating the members for the Jovian complex and the Saturnine Confederacy.

There was little in the way of opposing debate, with only a few potshots from Libertarians like elector Tanas Pietrelo of FAP-Vesta, who condemned the "principle of ecological health over familial freedom, on which the maintenance of the population control statute depends," and elector Radical Mu of TAD-Enchiridon, who referred to those speaking against the proposal "Deepgreen fundamentalists" and "anti-scientific ignoramuses who refuse to see the evidence placed right in front of their faces".  However, the simple factual arguments put forward by Dr. Apoptosis and the committee seemed to have swayed much of the chamber; in a narrow 310-303 vote, the chamber has chosen to send the recommendation on to the Senate to be drafted as an amendment to the Terran Sustainable Population Act.

Kingston Braithwaite, communication director of the anti-population control advocacy group Freedom to Grow, posted a series of tweets hailing the decision as "a step in the right direction, for Earth and for Democracy ... the freedom to create offspring and raise a family is of the utmost importance and we must see respect for it restored ... healing Earth's environment needs innovation and economic growth, not control by protectionist bureaucrats and deepgreen eco-fascists."  Mr. Braithwaite is the former Libertarian elector for LEO-Constellation and the prime mover behind the previous administration's ill-fated attempt to have the Sustainable Population Act repealed entirely.

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