There are too many of us
When Christ said go out and multiply, the world population stood at about 300 million. There was reason to have more people. It was a very different world to today. By 1700, the world population had reached an estimated 680 million. Global population has since, like COVID-19, exploded exponentially. In 1990, it stood at 5.3 billion. Today, a mere 30 years later, it is 7.8 billion. There is no longer reason for more people.
The planet quite simply cannot support this population, this growth rate. It shows up in the number 0.6. The 0.6 delineates the shortfall between what we produce and what we consume. If the planet met the people’s needs, it would be 1.
The limited resources of this planet are being used up through our massive extraction of those resources, like oil or mined products. Or by destroying what we have, such as forests that are being destroyed not only for their wood, but also to make way for people to have somewhere to live, and to grow crops the 7.8 billion people need. The fish in our oceans are being consumed faster than they can reproduce, as the plastics we throw away also harm the fish and the waters. We need to greatly reduce the use of plastic. And do what Nestlé has done, which is to achieve plastic neutrality — collect as much plastic and turn them into productive products.
The viruses we suffer today are new and created by too many humans interacting too closely with wild animals and insects.
We’re all well aware of the alarm over rising world temperatures changing our climate in ways we can not safely live with. According to the Nasa Earth Observatory: “The average global temperature on Earth has increased by a little more than 1° Celsius since 1880. Two-thirds of the warming has occurred since 1975, at a rate of roughly 0.15-0.20°C per decade.” The online article added that “a one-degree global change is significant because it takes a vast amount of heat to warm all the oceans, atmosphere, and land by that much.” And 7.8 billion people carelessly add to it.
Look at some numbers to be frightened: One-third of the topsoil has been degraded; the Amazon has lost 17 percent of its size in just 50 years; the world is cement gray, no longer green; in the oceans we’ve lost 50 percent of our beautiful coral reefs, reefs needed for fish to grow; we’re overfishing, diminishing the supply; animal and plant species are disappearing, with an estimated 500 gone since 1900.
The Philippines is no better. It’s lost 30 percent of its coral, and 75 percent of fisheries are overfished. In 1900, some 70 percent of the Philippines was covered in green. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Philippines lost a third of its forest cover between 1990 and 2005. Are you dismayed at the irresponsibility this indicates? Something 7.4 million Filipinos in 1900 could admire and enjoy, but something 108 million have to destroy to be able to live day to day.
What, I wonder, will the more than 150 million Filipinos in 2100 need to survive—if we don’t slow population growth? The Philippines struggles to support 108 million people. Ask the more than 17 million in poverty. Ask the more than 13 million malnourished children. How will it manage 150 million a short 80 years from now? Surely the Catholic Church must realize that the dictate of Christ is no longer what he would wish of this world were he alive today. God gave Christians an independent mind to consider all facts of an issue, and decide based on those facts. The facts say: There are too many humans on this planet. Slow down.
It’s in the emerging world where the problem lies. The advanced nations have slowed growth considerably, and are even declining as in Japan, recording a 0.2 percent decline in 2019. But this is more than offset by population growth elsewhere. In Africa, it’s 2.7 percent per annum. In India, it’s 1 percent per year but on a 1.35 billion base. In the Philippines, it’s 1.4 percent. The world in total is growing at 1.1 percent annually, which if not constrained, will result in a world with 10.9 billion people on it by 2100. The world won’t be able to support them.
Think about it: 7.8 billion humans need 1.7 worlds to be fully supported. Some 10.9 billion will need 2.4 worlds. Is Armageddon still just science fiction, or soon to become an inevitability?
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