This I Believe

Michael - Vashon, Washington
Entered on August 11, 2007
Age Group: 65+
Themes: environment
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I believe that we human beings are in serious danger of destroying the elements of the earth that we need for survival because there are far more people on the planet now than the soil, water and air can support. I believe this because scientists as well ordinary people who are in close touch with the natural environment report the increasing pollution of the rivers, lakes and oceans, the loss of our fish stocks and the contamination and erosion of the soil we use to grow our food. There is an obvious, effective and straightforward way that we can avoid exterminating ourselves and that is to reduce our population to the number that the earth can support.

India and China showed the way to achieve population reduction with mixed results. Their methods were abrupt and occasionally brutal as their governments struggled with feeding, housing, transporting and governing the billions of people involved. Their efforts were bitterly resisted by institutions such as religions and by the genetic drive we share with all creatures: the urge to survive by multiplying.

I believe that we humans can and must start on a world-wide campaign for one-child families. It can give us a rapid and relatively painless way to assure that we and our plant and animal companions on earth will survive indefinitely rather than going extinct. Getting six billion people to adopt a one-child policy will require leadership and education plus a combination of rewards and coercion when necessary. We in the United States could, by changing a few of our policies, support the effort and join the enlightened countries who are already aware of the danger and its remedy.