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High Population and its Continuing Growth

In the USA, there is a tremendous amount of indirect propaganda for everyone to produce more children. Recently, several couples produced 6 to 7 children per pregnancy, and there was very wide acclaim for these parents. They were praised in all media (TV, newspapers, magazines, etc., etc.) for months and months and months, and they received huge financial rewards for their magnificent achievements ! This type of publicity glamorizes the act of producing more children. In fact, most Americans of all skin colors are producing at least 3, 4 children these days. This is not a good trend.

The world's human population is presently 6 billion, and may exceed 12 billion by 2050. This need not happen, because we can , and we should, definitely prevent it. Countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, China let their populations get too large, and we are seeing the immense suffering their people are undergoing daily because of it. We in USA should learn from their experience and take steps from committing the same mistake ourselves. Instead, our actions and policies make it seem that we are very eagerly rushing ahead to catch up with them in also having a very high population density.

Anyone with open eyes can see the tremendous growth in population taking place all over the USA. Cities like Atlanta, GA, which used to be very nice places to live hardly 25 years ago, have expanded so much that for people living there life is becoming unpleasant. Same thing happening all over USA, in formerly small villages and towns.

Also, once the population reaches a certain level, it never seems to come down. So the discomfort lasts forever.

The already huge population, and its continuing rapid growth, are the most serious problems leading to several others, in the USA and in the world today. Yet none of the governmental agencies in USA want to address this problem. Instead, a good deal of research supported by these agencies, tends to worsen the problem.

The serious consequences of overpopulation have already been analyzed very thoroughly in numerous publications so far. The most recent is the book [1] in which Paul Simon analyzes the serious implications in the USA and elsewhere, of the coming worldwide water shortage triggered by the already enormous size of the human population.

Many Americans are unaware of the population problem in their country. They believe that it is a problem in countries like China and India, but not in USA. India had a reasonable population of 310 million when it celebrated its independence from British rule in 1947. Now, 50 years later, India's population tripled to 930 million in spite of the heavy propaganda for population control by the government. The population of USA is mushrooming too under the double-whammy of births and immigration, it has almost doubled since the early 1960's. If present trends are allowed to continue, the USA will join China, India as a country with a massively large population before too long. We are already headed to becoming the next billion-people country (after China, India which are already there) in the not-too-distant future, an honorable designation that we should try very seriously to never receive.

We are already seeing the symptoms of overpopulation in USA. In the 1960s even if you searched with a microscope you could not see a beggar in USA. Now everybody says that USA is at an economic pinnacle, and yet we see beggars in all big cities. Also, for the first time in history, at the beginning of January 1999, most large airports in USA looked like third class waiting rooms in large railway stations in India.

Many people argue that it is not necessary to control the population because our technology can increase the food production several folds, find a lot more crude oil and natural gas, and eventually even master the technique of generating vast amounts of energy from sea water through controlled thermonuclear fusion. They forget that technology is never 100% benign. It always comes with unforeseen and undesirable side effects such as pollution, warming of the atmosphere, ozone hole expansion, etc. etc. Even granting that all the above things can be achieved without any harmful side effects, these proponents for ignoring the population problem forget the fact that man does not live by bread and TV alone. We are already running out of space. More than 95% of nature is already destroyed by human occupation and control, and many of the creatures like the dodo bird, passenger pigeon, sea creatures like fish and whales, have either been already dispatched to extinction or brought closer to extinction by human exploitation. Even when well-fed, most humans would find life in crammed quarters without the opportunity to observe natural sceneries frequently, quite unpleasant; and this usually leads to many undesirable and violent behavior patterns in society. So, what is so sacred about allowing human population to continue to grow when it is making the life of everyone uncomfortable and even plain miserable ? Actually, what is really sacred is nature which is being decimated by the already large population and its continuing growth.

In the past, in countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, whenever the population level exceeded the capacity of the food production system of the country, vigorous Grow More Food campaigns used to be launched. That practice usually alleviated the problem temporarily by bringing more virgin land under cultivation. Now we have reached a stage where most of the land is dedicated to some sort of human activity, so the opportunity to extend the crop growing area is becoming highly diminished. In the same vein, the author of [1] recommends that we start a massive plan to covert seawater to usable water by desalination on a large scale, to stave off the impending worldwide water shortage. This can result in a massive increase in several types of pollution. Clearly, such technological feats can at best provide temporary relief for a short time in the life of a nation. It is high time that we accept the inevitable and start a GROW LESS CHILDREN campaign, make it the hallmark of national policies all over the world, and work hard to make it a success.

I have scanned literally hundreds of articles on pollution, overcrowding, traffic congestion, etc. published in popular magazines, journals, and books. These articles usually contain a section with the title What you can do. In almost all these articles I found that this section contained mostly trivial and inconsequential suggestions, but scrupulously avoided mentioning the best action that each individual can take to alleviate the problem, which is to produce less number of children. It is high time that we change this practice and begin advising all individuals to produce less number of children to save the world. It is our sacred duty to keep human population very low.

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Next: A Lean Nation for Up: Two Critical Problems Facing Previous: Introduction
Katta G Murty