Population Truths

Talking to people about overpopulation 71 years ago (when I was 10 and U.S. population was one-third its present value) I had a hard time making a convincing case that the problem should be addressed. The task is much easier today as overpopulation’s damage to life on Earth is manifest in many ways, chief among them the current symptoms of global warming, or climate change.

Yet plenty of people — a majority — still do not get it. 

“I had four children because I wanted four kids,” declares a man unaware of what I call the moral law of universal generalization: it is immoral to do that which if everyone did it would result in disaster. 

This man may not have thought through the consequences of everyone birthing or fathering four — or even three — children. Or he may not have been aware of the moral necessity to imagine everyone doing as he planned to do. Another man says, “What’s one more?”

Many couples worldwide do not have the luxury of choice — family planning. Many organizations, including Population Connection, have been working to expand the percentage of couples with choice. 

Population is large enough (and still growing, with ample opposition to population reduction) that there will undoubtedly be a massive die-off due to pestilence or starvation before too many more decades have run their course. Or several massive die-offs. They will not be pretty.

— Bruce Riblet Henry

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