This I Believe

Geraldine - Chalfont, Pennsylvania
Entered on November 29, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
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This, I believe…

I believe in the importance in the balance of nature…I believe that ALL species have a ‘right to life,’ and that without a wide variety of creatures, the earth will be a sadly lacking place, and humanity will be the poorer for it.

The human population is projected to grow to nine billion within the next 40 years—a 50% increase. Just imagine what the morning commute will be like; imagine your neighborhood and the destruction of open land and the lines at the grocery. But these are mere trivialities in the scheme of what things could be like if we continue to lose plant and animal species in favor of more and more of us.

Consider that in the past, millions—or maybe even billions—of people have been lost prematurely to wars and disease and many millions more were never conceived as a result of these deaths, yet the human population has still managed to reach an astonishing size in a relatively short period due to the multiplying-effect of an ever-increasing base of humans with every passing generation.

While this is great news in one sense, it also has a downside…as thinking creatures, we cannot expect to go on proliferating like we have in the past, because we’re not dying at the rate that we once did.

Consider that we’re in a world where once infertile couples now have large multiple births; where many Western adults produce serial families; and where medicine has increased life expectancy significantly, and yet there is no dialog among politicians about the need to curb the birth rate.

Consider also the ancient Mayan Civilization of Central America. Evidence suggests that droughts, the destruction of primordial forests and human overpopulation combined to bring about the fall of this once advanced civilization—and in a relatively short period of time.

We hear talk of everything from electric cars to alternative energies, but not a word is muttered about what would likely be the single most effective factor in reversing the global warming trend…that of curtailing the number of emissions producers themselves. (And, yes, by that I mean humans.)

What does it say about us that we cannot bear to broach this seemingly most taboo of subjects?

Perhaps it is time to reconsider how we, as a society, encourage—even pressure—young couples to produce grand children, often in the name of ‘ego,’ while China has been pushed to restrict its populace to having just one child in a ‘too late’ effort to get its over-population problem under control.

Consider the fact that China has over one billion people, yet just 1,600 pandas remain left in the wild in that country. Is not this an imbalance is too great to ignore?

Starvation, land wars and genocide, poverty, pollution, disease, declining natural resources like clean drinking water and suburban sprawl are also the result of unchecked human expansion.

If we are to maintain our quality of life and the balance of our natural world, we will need to make a seismic shift in our thinking about making more people.

This, I believe…