Letter to the Chapel Hill News, July, 2008

(This letter was published in the Chapel Hill News, July 29, 2008.)

We in the town of Chapel Hill are implicated in a daunting global threat, a colossal problem that appears to involve every citizen on the planet. No one is to blame for this human-driven predicament; yet all of us could be enjoined by the requirements of practical reality to humanely and voluntarily take responsible, self-limiting action to meet the challenge, I suppose.

Please note that annual birthrates of newborns in the human community are rising precipitously in the United States as well as in many other countries worldwide. For example, more than 4.3 million newborns joined the American family in 2007. That is more births than occurred in 1957 at the height of the post-WWII baby boom. Would someone please point out what advantages the American family derives from such rapid growth in its population numbers?

The total number of human births last year exceeded the highest annual number of births ever achieved in the United States. How much longer can the United States sustain the momentum bound up in the skyrocketing growth of the human population? How long can the frangible ecosystems and finite resources of Earth be reasonably expected to sustain the human species, given the determination of people in most countries, not to regulate the growth of human numbers?

Many capable scientists are validating the projection that the human population on Earth could increase from 6.7 billion to 9.2 billion in the next 42 years. That is a 40 percent increase in our global population. Given its current and anticipated growth, it appears to me that the human species may well ravage the Earth between now and 2050 unless meaningful individual and collective efforts are made to slow the growth of human numbers.

Perhaps someone will kindly explain how much longer a planet with the relatively small size and make-up of Earth can be sensibly expected to support the well-established and easily discernable over-consumption, overproduction and overpopulation behaviors of the family of humanity.


Steven Earl Salmony
Chapel Hill

2 Comments

  1. Posted August 26, 2008 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Salmony,

    On the one hand, as a depopulation advocate I am very sympathetic to your intentions with sustainability southeast.

    I agree that agricultural expansion is the number one threat to life on the planet all things considered.

    However, there were a couple of things at this site that did not sit well with me. First, although I am skeptical about about the conclusions that demographic fertility trends will lead to a stabilization of population some time in the 21st century, I think the point has been well argued by demographers and deserves a much more serious rebuttal on this site. While this site’s arguements regarding food supply may well apply to certain high-growth often rural countries, I don’t see how it applies to countries such as Italy, Japan, etcetera which have gone negative-growth. Are we to believe that individuals in these countries have inadequate access to food?

    I do not think that your arguements will be taken seriously unless you rebut mainstream contemporary demographic scholarship in a much deeper way. In particular, what about Brazil, which is currently experiencing an explosion in food production? Shouldn’t we see a corresponding fertility explosion? It seems like your arguements ignore all scholarship after the wide-scale introduction of birth control, essentially.

    Lastly, I think also when you make use of highly specious rhetoric such as the comparison of the total numbers of current annual US births to the total births in 1957, instead of a measure like births per capita or a fertility index, you alienate more thoughtful readers than you could win over.

    People who don’t care to think don’t think to care.

    On a certain level I want you to be right, because it would mean a reconsideration of the moral commandment of “thou must plow”. On the other hand, from what I have read here, I’m not convinced that you are right.

  2. Posted September 13, 2008 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    Juggle numbers as you may, Malthusian revenge peers from the brink.
    One grain of wheat, two, four, eight, and we are expounding on the food rhetoric, man grows and man ravages.
    Through the observation of social patterns, i have seen the trajectory of the mindset which opens the fallopians to the next generation of users and abusers of existing resources.

    How can a society so ill informed find clear judgment and keep on multiplying beyond the capacity to support its progeny?

    Access to clean water and air.
    clean energy and natural living must not be the privilege of the affluent, but rather the inherent right of all creatures.

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