- Chapter 1

Running Amok                                                      

          Our Grandchildren will Curse Us!                                                                             


Chapter 1

Chapter   1

Our Grandchildren will curse us. 

We have been endowed by the Creator with a great legacy.  Planet Earth that is four and a half billion years old, with living things that have been evolving toward today for more than three and a half billion years.  We ridicule the dinosaurs by referring to anything obsolete as a "dinosaur".  However, the dinosaurs were able to rule the earth for 165 million years.  Civilized humans have been on Planet Earth for only 10 thousand years, and we are well on our way toward destroying it.  Overpopulation exacerbates all other problems.  If we do not destroy the planet in some other manner sooner, we shall surely destroy it through overpopulation.  Already, we are rapidly exhausting irreplaceable natural resources, destroying the rainforests, polluting the waterways and the atmosphere, and driving other species into extinction.  World human population is currently growing at a pace to double every fifty years.  From the current 6 billion people on the face of the planet to 12 billion fifty years from now, 24 billion one hundred years from now, and 48 billion in only one hundred fifty years.   Though you and I will be dead in one hundred fifty years, in terms of geological time, one hundred fifty years is a blink.  Can we really be that irresponsible?

 There are, of course, "experts" who tell us that we do not need to worry about population growth.  They point to a few countries such as The Czech Republic where populations are actually declining (but not to countries such as Afghanistan where the population is growing at a rate to double within the next 15 years!).  They predict that the problem of rapidly escalating population will solve itself.  That in fifty years human population will stop growing without any effort on our part to make that happen.  But then, there are many "experts" who predict many things.  How good was that weather forecast for last weekend?  Did the cant-miss stock tip from your broker really double?  Did the expert-pick win in the 6th race at Belmont?  If these simple daily events are impossible to correctly predict, are there really "experts" who can reliably predict an unprecedented event fifty years into the future?  Do we want to bet the future of the Planet on it?

 Throughout history, and as recently as the generation of our grandparents, it was common in most cultures throughout the world and in the United States to have six, eight, a dozen, or more children.  Populations were held in check because a large portion of the children died of complications at birth or of dread diseases before they reached maturity.  Young women died giving birth.  Having a multitude of children helped to soften the despair when some of them died.  

 Now we have developed the ability to eliminate most of the hideous diseases that have plagued mankind throughout the millennia, killing off children and young adults.  At the same time, we have also developed the ability to avoid giving birth to mass quantities of children, and we dont even have to give up sex!  It is the cruel law of nature that living things produce far more offspring than will survive.  With most species, most of the offspring die as babies or while still young, from harsh conditions, disease, starvation, or by falling prey to predators, and that is what keeps populations stable.   Humans have learned to overcome most of the causes of early death.  But with our learning to survive comes the responsibility to control our desires for unrestrained reproduction. How can anyone profess a love for children, and yet doom them to live on an overcrowded overpopulated world? 

 In the United States, we continue to grow our population both through an excessive birth rate, and also by allowing our population to balloon by taking the overflow population from other parts of the world.   The United States must become the proponent to the World for eliminating world population growth.  We have tried to use our position as the most powerful nation on earth to champion other causes with the other nations on the planet, but we have utterly ignored this subject which is far and away the most important cause to the future of the planet.  This is not a matter of meddling in the internal affairs of other nations.  World population is not an internal affair.  People migrate.  Over time, the excess people born in one part of the world will end up in another.  This is a world problem, and must be solved by the people of the world working on it together.  And as the world leader, it falls upon the United States to spearhead a worldwide movement to eliminate the spiraling growth of human population.

 To date, this is a topic utterly ignored by every politician in every office in the United States!

 To take a stand on this issue will require some real backbone.  It is a policy that will be reviled by most all religious groups.  This seems surprising in that one would think that people devoted to Gods works would certainly not want to destroy His planet.  But yet, it is a basic tenet of nearly all religions: "Go Forth and Multiply".  I dont know if this is just a carry-over from days gone by when it really was necessary to have large numbers of children to assure that there would be enough left after many died from pestilence, war, and famine, or if this is a deliberate power play plan to increase the numbers of your tribe and increase the importance of the leaders, or to increase the numbers of your tribe over the enemy tribe?   But whatever the rationale, it is time to put it to rest.  Religious leaders, particularly, should have the maturity to put aside slavery to tradition or desire for the power of increased numbers and work for the benefit of all mankind, for the benefit of the generations to follow, and for the benefit of Gods Planet Earth. 

 Before we can preach population control to the world, we must adopt an internal policy to teach responsible parenting and to restrict family size.  This needs to become a number one priority and a national goal.  We are not talking great sacrifice here.  It is not that no one will be allowed to have children, and that the sound of children laughing will never again be heard throughout the land.  To have a stable population, we do need to give birth to and to raise to maturity an average of two children for every two adults.  Many people, for a variety of reasons, have no children, or only one.   Tragically, in spite of our tremendous gains in medical technology, some of our children still do not survive to maturity.  So those who have the desire and ability to care for more could certainly have three or four.  Thats a bunch.  It takes a lot of love, a lot of devotion, a lot of determination, and a lot of hard work to be good parents to three or four children.  We simply need to resolve that that is enough. 

 Obviously, the first place to start with reducing birth rates is to adopt a policy of doing all possible to prevent unwanted pregnancies and unwanted births.  We need to make family planning and sex education a part of the curriculum in every junior high school and every high school, at the ages where young people are first grappling with puberty.  Before they reach the age where they begin sexual experimentation, young people must be taught that having children is not only the most rewarding experience they will ever undertake, it is also the most awesome responsibility they will ever assume.  Raising children requires twenty years or more of intense commitment of time, effort, patience, and enormous amounts of money, and a lifetime commitment of love, devotion, and emotional support.  It is an undertaking that should never be entered into by anyone who has not first established a stable and loving marital relationship, a stable career path, and full understanding and ardent desire for the task.

 We need to make kids aware of contraceptive methods, and to encourage their use.  We need to abandon a welfare system that has made child bearing a life choice for bored young teenage girls, a means of escaping a dreary life and setting up housekeeping at public expense.  We need to scrap the "abstinence only" policy, and deal with the world as it really is.  Yes, young kids should abstain from sex, but many of them wont.  We need to arm them with thorough knowledge to deal with the physical and emotional complexities that are created by their journey to becoming adults. 

 It will be more difficult to get cooperation from other parts of the world, especially from countries where a culture of producing large numbers of progeny is deeply ingrained.  Using whatever tools we have, the United States must engender the cooperation of the other nations of the Earth to join us in what is clearly the most vital requirement to preserve the planet Earth and the quality of life for its future human and non-human inhabitants.  One of those tools, of course, would be that for any nation that refuses to adopt a "zero population growth" policy, the quota for their people to immigrate to the United States would become zero.  The United States must become the champion for this cause, and educate, cajole, and coerce the world to participate.

 Unfortunately, actual U.S. policy is the opposite.  Since 1973, the United States has refused any foreign aid to be spent on abortions in any country that receives our aid.  Then, in 1984, at a world population conference in Mexico City, Ronald Reagan instituted the "Mexico City Policy", also known as the "Global Gag Rule" that forbids any U.S. aid to any clinic anywhere that even discusses abortion.  Although that was rescinded by President Clinton, it was reinstated immediately upon the ascendancy of George W. Bush, with the further dictate that clinics that receive U.S. aid must preach "Abstinence Only" as the only means of contraception.  This has forced the closure of thousands of clinics in poor rural areas in Eastern Europe, in Asia, and in Africa, where those clinics were the only resources to provide contraception, sex education, prenatal and obstetric care.  According to the Guttmacher Institute, a non-profit organization focused on sexual and reproductive issues, worldwide there are some forty-six million abortions performed, and nineteen million of those are performed by untrained people using  improper methods under unsafe conditions, resulting in serious long term health problems or death for more than five million women a year.  By making condoms difficult to obtain in poor regions of the world, we have actually dramatically increased the number of abortions!  And, we have promoted the spread of disease.  Not only are we not the champion for promoting reproductive health and reasonable reproductive choices in the world, we are among the greatest impediments for that cause.  (Sara Paretsky, Chicago Tribune, 1/7/07)

 If we are able to eliminate population growth, there will be some real and serious side affects.  Our economy is based on having continual expansion in all areas of business, continual expansion of building and construction, and, an ever-growing number of young people to support a growing population of old people.  Learning how to cope without this growing population will be a real challenge.  But if we do not face that challenge now, do we really want to pass the task on to our children and our childrens children, when the number of humans on Earth is even greater, and the task is even more difficult?  If eliminating the growth of population creates severe economic problems, would the problems of actually trying to contract an overgrown population not be that much more daunting?


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