(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