by Edd Doerr
Headline of front page story, New York Times, May 4, 2011: "UN Sees Rise for the World to 10.1 Billion".
Headline of page two story, Washington Post, May 4,2011: "Rise in sea levels may be faster than expected".
According to the Times, UN and population experts' expectations that world population will stabilize at about 9 billion by 2050 are off. New calculations put the figure at 10.1 billion by 2100. Meanwhile, the Post reports that by 2100 sea levels will rise between 3 and 5.2 feet. Bad news for low lying population areas like Florida, New York, Boston, Los Angeles, London, the Netherlands, Denmark, Pacific islands.
The Times reports that Nigeria's population is expected to rise from today's 162 million to 730 million by 2100, Malawi from 15 million to 129 million, Yemen (which has no oil and little fresh water) from 5 million in 1950 to 100 million. Meanwhile, foreign aid to pay for contraceptives, $238 billion in 2009, is stalled and the recent US budget deal whacked the US international family planning programs by 5%.
Serious scientists have been warning for years that this population growth is unsustainable, but most of the world goes blithely about its business, while religious and political conservatives have been pooh-poohing warnings about clinate change, overpopulation, deforestation, desertification, resource depletion, and waste accunulation.
Here in the US Catholic Church officials (out of touch with their members) and Protestant fundamentalists are working overtime in Congress and state legislatures to defund family planning and trash Roe v Wade and women's rights of conscience.
Connecting dots, back in November 1975 -- 1975! -- President Gerald Ford approved a report, the National Security Study Memorandum 200 report, that comprehensively covered the overpopulation problem in 227 pages of fine detail. What? You've never heard of it? Well, immediately after Ford approved NSSM 200 the report was mysteriously classified and buried until nearly the eve of the 1994 UN population conference in Cairo. The report was unearthed by population scientist Stephen Mumford and published in a fat book "The Life and Death of NSSM 200: How the Destruction of Political Will Doomed a US Population Policy", available on the Internet. Mumford had heard of the report from certain Catholic Church operatives, though no one else seemed to know anything about it.
I was the first and one of the very few writers to review Mumford's book and the report, in Voice of Reason (the quarterly Americans for Religious Lkberty journal), in my regular column in The Humanist, and in USA Today magazine.
Without question, overpopulation, global warming, climate change and resource depletion are the biggest problems facing the human race. The the clock is ticking. Humanists and all others of good will need to work together to head off disaster.