Too many people.
Name any problem or crisis confronting humans on our beleaguered Mother Earth, and I promise you I can trace it back to the biggest problem of all. There are simply too many people. Currently numbering about seven billion (that’s seven thousand million), and expected to reach nine billion by 2050, our number grossly exceeds the carrying capacity of this miraculous planet.
“The planet groans every time it registers another birth.” – Paul Simon, “Born at the Right Time”
And we seem to be utterly incapable of doing anything about it. Humans are smart enough to control their numbers, but for the most part, they don’t. And it seems the poorer, the more miserable the population, the more wretched souls are brought into the world. The second-biggest problem plaguing humanity is religion – and religion (Christianity, Mormonism, Islam, et cetera) criminally exacerbates the population problem. How, for example, could any sane person possibly oppose Planned Parenthood? Planned Parenthood provides reproductive and other health services, education and contraception to people who desperately need it. Planned Parenthood gives women and families the skills to avoid unwanted pregnancies – and thereby is the single most effective organization anywhere in terms of reducing the need for women to consider abortion. How dumb and irresponsible can the evangelicals and other Bible-thumpers be, especially when juxtaposed to such a common sense, necessary and elegant concept as planned parenthood. More ironic is that the same people who would righteously defend an unviable glob of cells, then turn around and ignore the needs and rights of living children and their impoverished families. Millions of them; no, actually, billions of them.
We are rapidly murdering our Mother Earth and the incredible diversity of life it sustains. The Earth is 70 percent ocean. We are killing it. Do yourself a favor and watch the BBC’s magnificent series “Blue Planet.” If you do, think about global warming, over-fishing, acidification, death of coral reefs, including the Great Barrier Reef, and dead zones covering hundreds of square miles in places like our own Gulf of Mexico. How can we possibly allow this amazing web of life to be raped and pillaged by too many people? Watch “Blue Planet” with your kids – they will love it. Tragically however, it depicts fish and mammals in an environment that future generations will probably never get to see or experience in real life.
Let’s get closer to home. I moved to Utah in 1976. At the time, Salt Lake City had to be one of the best places to live in the whole U.S.A. Now, I can’t stand to even go there. If you put 3 million people on the Wasatch Front, it will be thoroughly and completely trashed. If you drain the Colorado River with a pipeline so people can have lawns in the desert, an entire vital ecosystem will be thoroughly and completely trashed. If we keep selling Moab to people who don’t live here and could care less about our quality of life and environment … one could go on and on ad nauseam.
I am in complete support of any plan or method to reduce the number of humans. If we don’t, Mother Earth will do it for us and it won’t be pretty. The Chinese “solution” (one or two kids per family) may have to be implemented worldwide. If overpopulation remains unchecked, what the whole world faces inevitably, is mass starvation, mass extinction, mass migration and unending war over scarce and dwindling resources. If you haven’t looked up from your dumb-phone recently, those things are already happening big time, worldwide.
Future generations will look back, not with thanks and appreciation for our stewardship, but with dismay and disgust.
May you live long and prosper. Just try to do so sustainably.