- As a college freshman, my residence hall opted to forego
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
- 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", email@example.com,
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
- "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
- "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
- "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
- KEEP THE FOLONY GOING FOR HUMAN MISERY
- "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.
- "In giving aid without requiring receiving governments
to make contraceptives readily available and promote smaller families,
we are aiding and abetting a crime of monstrous proportions.
- "One outstanding example is Ethiopia, where Bob
Geldorf marshaled an impressive array of pop musicians in 1984-85 to raise
millions for food aid. Unfortunately, though Ethiopian population was then
41 million it is now 82 million and is racing ahead to 148
million by 2050. And another famine looms on the horizon.
- "Another example is Afghanistan. We agonize about
our aims there - and the terrible sacrifice of so many of our young people
yet we pay little attention to a birth-rate which will increase the
current population of 28 million two and a half times to 74 million by
2050. Who believes that Afghanistan will be at all manageable by then?
- "Our need to avoid giving aid to nations which are
failing to make a significant effort to constrain their population growth
is an even more difficult subject than population growth in general, yet
if we do nothing, we should admit, at least to ourselves, that we are acting
to compound the degree of misery that is to come.
- "One difficulty in any attempt to spread this unpalatable
truth is that neither we, nor the USA, are taking adequate steps to stop
our own populations expanding."
- As Rimmer said, "We need to get this dilemma firmly
on to the discussion agenda." To that, I add, today, now, this minute,
not a second later. Why? Because humans add another 220,000 people every
day and 77 million annually. It's not like we have a lot of time to play
with this monster bearing down on us.
- Frosty Wooldridge has bicycled across six continents
from the Arctic to the South Pole as well as six times across
the USA, coast to coast and border to border. In 2005, he bicycled from
the Arctic Circle, Norway to Athens, Greece. He presents "The Coming
Population Crisis in America: and what you can do about it" to civic
clubs, church groups, high schools and colleges. He works to bring
about sensible world population balance at www.frostywooldridge.com
He is the author of: America on the Brink: The Next Added 100
Million Americans. Copies available: 1 888 280 7715
- To take action: First and foremost, join <http://www.numbersusa.com/>www.numbersusa.com and
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- Second, join <http://www.thesocialcontract.com/>www.thesocialcontract.com for
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