Where did all that go? Why, as we approach 7.5 billion people on the planet, waning resources, increased pollution, and worry about adequate food supply, do we not talk about population control anymore? Experts in dozens of fields agree. How do we eliminate the use of fossil fuels? How do we return to natural, local, sustainable food production? How do we manage waste? How do we stop the greenhouse effect? How do we protect rain forests and oceans and algae? How do we stop arctic shrinking and the rise of sea levels? Everything would work better if we could just slow down on the propagation of the species a little.
One argument I remember hearing was that the educated, responsible people would stop having children, but the poor, the uninformed, and families in underdeveloped countries that rely on family to work for their survival, these people would all continue to have large families, and before long, the global population would tilt away from the successful providers and toward the needy. Then where would we be?
It's not helping that some religious sects ban, or at least discourage, birth control. The Christian ones take the bible seriously when it says, "Go forth and multiply." That may have been good advice in pre-historic societies that needed to grow to survive, but it certainly isn't in mankind's best interests in the 21st century. Are we meant to believe that we should have large families, and that God has some secret plan that will protect us all when we've used up and destroyed the earth?
China was terribly unpopular in the global community when they allowed only one child per family, but at least they were trying something. In the U.S. system, more benefits are paid to families with more children, especially those with one parent. The result is that poor young women believe their best chance to survive is to have a bunch of kids for which they can claim social security/welfare. We even give tax breaks to families with more children.
Wouldn't the world be better off if we stopped rewarding people for having a lot of kids, and instead promoted better education and opportunities for smaller families? What if we paid those young unmarried women to get job training instead of having more babies?
I don't want to get started on the subject of abortion, which is painful and personal. But I also feel strongly that IF we want to eliminate abortion as an option to women, we MUST first build an infrastructure of education, support for young mothers, better foster and adoption programs, and be prepared as a society to accept both the cost and the burden to the planet that all those millions of unwanted babies would produce. With so many people already feeling the limits of our globe, isn't it kind of crazy to be talking about forcing people who don't want to be parents to go ahead and have more children? Good education about birth control before those unwanted pregnancies is the only sane way to reduce the number of abortions.
Educating girls and young women in every country in the world, teaching them to earn their own keep, to limit the number of their dependents, and to contribute to society could be the most effective solution to our environmental problems. Why isn't anybody proposing educating the poor as part of the solution to global warming? Why is education not the biggest national budget item? Do our legislators believe we should wait until the world is dying and expect the second coming? Or do they have a death wish? Or are the wise people among us neglecting to communicate with them? Maybe nobody cares. Apathy, if that's what's stopping us, is very, very costly.