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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Seven billion: Procreate, recreate, or both?

(Photo by ErnestF) 

It is not only important to consider that the world’s human population will straddle the seven-billion mark by October 31, 2011 – but it is even more essential to understand the rate of increase that this represents.

James Eng of includes United Nations Population Fund data in his article titled Seven big problems for 7 billion people.  According to this data, the world’s entire human population was one billion in 1804, and then six billion in 1999.  This means that population not only increased sixfold within a mere 195 years, but also increased as much in the last 12 years as it had in the entire recorded history of humankind until 1804 CE.

It’s no wonder that Paul R. Ehrlich, author of the The Population Bomb, is sounding quite alarmed within this same Eng article.  Ehrlich points out that one billion of the aforementioned seven are already hungry.  This is tragic enough, but Ehrlich also warns that the next two-billion increase in human population (which is being predicted to occur by 2050) will cause comparatively even more peril for humans and their environment.  He explains:  That is because humans are smart, and picked the low-hanging fruit first.  Thus each added individual, on average, must now be fed from more marginal land, supplied with water from more distant or more polluted sources… etc.  His stated solutions include equal rights for women in every country with “access to excellent birth control methods, and, in case they fail, backup abortion.”

These are not at all like the solutions that John Carr of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops are proposing
further along in Eng’s article.  Without even a mention of procreation, Carr jumps right on the “global climate
change” issue (which he does not link in a cause-and-effect way to the vast increase in human numbers).  He
primarily speaks of the need for Catholics “to care for creation and the poor by reducing their carbon footprint… “

Reducing the number of footprints on birth certificates has been a hot-button issue in the Catholic Church for
centuries.  This could be one reason why it “just didn’t come up” in Carr’s section of Eng’s article.  However, the (perhaps skewed) issue of sexual procreation vs. sexual recreation will not just disappear on its own.  There are six billion more reasons to recreate population policy (with input from all sides of the religious equation) now than there were back in 1804.


Copyright October 27, 2011 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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