Are There Too Many of Us?

The earth is finite; it would be idolatrous to suggest otherwise.  There is a limit to how much human life the earth can sustain, and we are probably getting close to that limit.  Overcrowding is already causing immense human suffering.

The population is exploding in the poorest areas of the world; the birthrate is shrinking in wealthier nations.  When women have access to opportunity, education, and health care, the population problem takes care of itself.

In countries like the United States and most European nations, the birthrate is already below 2.1 per couple, the “zero-growth rate.”  Those few couples with more than two are three children are statistically insignificant.

So, it makes no sense to call for oppressive laws to limit family size in countries that already have a negative growth rate.  Freedom, not coercion, is what is bringing the size of families down.   Yet, some in the UK–a country that already has a negative population rate–are calling for mandatory enforcement of a two-child rule.

The problem is not the rare families who want to have several children.  The problem is the economic assumption that growth in consumption equals economic health.

The Optimum Population Trust calculates that ‘each new UK birth will be responsible for 160 times more greenhouse gas emissions . . . than a new birth in Ethiopia’. (Telegraph).

The solution is not for wealthier countries to stop having babies.  The solution is for people in wealthy countries change their consumption habits and help people in poor countries gain access to education, opportunity, and healthcare.

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