In his July 24 column (“Can we solve tough issues together? Our survival depends on it”), Phil Dirkx wonders about the size of the world population in 80 years. He thinks the number will depend on the countries with nuclear weapons of mass destruction, and the extent of air and water pollution.
This is entirely a misdirected approach in viewing the world population, i.e., creating the environment conducive to increasing population to its full potential.
On the contrary, what is urgently needed is to find ways to decrease the future population through peaceful means. The planet Earth does not have infinite resources. Scarcity of water is an increasingly serious problem in many parts of the world.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the current world population is over 7.5 billion. Three-hundred years ago it was under 1 billion (yes, it is not a typo). Humans have (successfully?) managed to create this population explosion. Even Pope Francis has stated that Catholics should not breed like rabbits.
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There are only two solutions to this serious problem. First, humans should, ideally, stop procreating — or at the minimum keep it at a very low level. Second, girls should be provided with educational opportunities worldwide. It is a fact that the birth rate among educated women, irrespective of the world region, is much lower than among those who are not educated.
Zaf Iqbal, San Luis Obispo