Part 1: Human felony of giving food aid without contraceptive aid
As a college freshman, my residence hall opted to forgo Sunday meals to give money to the 90 million starving souls in Bangladesh. We felt good because we fed millions of famished children. However, no one understood the downside: we fed an already overpopulated country that grew to 144 million people. What's wrong with that? Answer: they live in a landmass the size of Iowa. They expect to double their population by mid century.
What felony did we commit? We gave food aid without contraceptive aid. Thus, they face greater human tragedy as their population exploded like a human atomic bomb. They live in utter squalor and degradation unknown in the Western world, except for Haiti!
Ironically, Haiti suffers not only from an earthquake, but at nine million on its way to 12 million living on a spit of an island, that civilization faces horrific consequences at every level. They cut down 98 percent of their trees. They drain 36 million tons of topsoil into the ocean annually--thus lack arable land to feed their humongous population. They pump billions of gallons of toxic sewage directly into the ocean. They suffer unimaginable illiteracy rates. They grow their population beyond their ability to maintain a sustainable and livable civilization.
In a brilliant article by British population expert Eric Rimmer, "Compounding the Felony", firstname.lastname@example.org, he speaks to the least addressed issue in the world today. We must wonder why world leaders, the media and most countries avoid the overpopulation issue at all costs. In the meantime, humans add another billion to the planet every 13 years with no end in sight! Yet, the symptoms erupt daily around the globe. Rimmer brings the issue front and center:
"Ever since we moved from nomadic
hunter-gathering to settled farming - we have been able to produce enough food
to expand our population," said Rimmer. "As early populations swelled, we
outgrew one area, then moved to another or moved from one island to the next
and extracted all we could from millennia of accumulated bio-capacity, often
leaving land that would take many centuries to recover.
"The only real brakes on our expansion were famine, disease (often transferred from the animals we had domesticated) territorial, religious conflict and adverse climate-change - which together resulted in high death rates and brutally short lives.
"It took most of the last ten millennia for us to learn to overcome enough of those limitations by introducing much higher levels of hygiene, developing new medicines and other ways of dealing with disease and injury and to reap the benefits in terms of greater longevity and, of course, accelerating population growth."
THE WORLD SCALE OF ENVIRONMENTAL FELONIES
"This was accomplished in the face of more and more of us killing each other in massive conflicts," said Rimmer. "Yet the inevitable Malthusian difference between geometric people growth and arithmetic growth in food supplies has now led to global population that has tripled in seventy years and is fair set to add 50 percent to current totals by mid-century. Imagine the additional conflicts that will produce!
"That growth has been almost totally dependent on fossil fuels, not only to provide the traction and fertilizers for modern farming, but also to transport food over increasingly ridiculous distances. Cheap fossil fuels are now ending, and will either price themselves beyond common use and/or simply come to a practical end as the cost of extraction becomes prohibitive.
"And if we could find clean and sustainable energy sources to replace fossil fuels which seems increasingly unlikely what would that achieve? Isn't it likely that we would just continue our current profligacy, and destroy yet more of our planet's natural infrastructure?
"Although we developed effective contraception 50 years ago, it has not been available to, or utilized by, large numbers of people in many parts of the world where local population doubling is occurring in periods of 20 or 30 years. And in the "developed" world, we each increase our riches and gobble up more and more of limited world resources.
"One result has been the fact that, since the mid 1980's, our total consumption has exceeded overall bio-capacity - and the excess consumption is now above 30 percent. Not only must we now reduce current population and individual consumption to enable sustainability it is blindingly obvious that another 50 percent population increase can only lead to disaster. Moreover, if everyone were to be living in the style of the European Union -- a lifestyle that many aspire to -- consumption would now exceed bio-capacity by 140 percent."
KEEP THE FELONY GOING FOR HUMAN
"Nevertheless we go on compounding
the felony," said Rimmer. "We make increasingly frantic efforts to increase
food supplies, but much less determined efforts to increase contraceptive use,
and we therefore drive population growth on an expanding scale. We think we are
being compassionate by rescuing millions from starvation while ignoring their
burgeoning numbers, but we are simply condemning a much larger number of people
to the same fate.
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