Well, the day has come that the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA) has been warning us about: October 31, 2011 is supposedly the day that the world’s population hits 7 billion! The UNFPA has been loudly beating the warning gong (just as they have been for years) that we are growing ourselves into disaster! Dr. Eric Tayag of the Philippine Department of Health, stated that “we should focus on the question of whether there will be food, clean water, shelter, education and a decent life for every child. If the answer is ‘no,’ it would be better for people to look at easing this population explosion.” How? According to the United Nations: by expanding birth control and abortion services to the world.
However, is over population really the problem? Will decreasing the number of babies being born really make a substantial difference with hunger or clean water or shelter or education? Let’s examine a few of these areas:
The following is a quote from the World Hunger Education Service: “The world produces enough food to feed everyone. World agriculture produces 17 percent more calories per person today than it did 30 years ago, despite a 70 percent population increase. This is enough to provide everyone in the world with at least 2,720 kilocalories (kcal) per person per day (FAO 2002, p.9). ”
They go on to describe the main causes of hunger. Poverty, of course, tops the list. However, the two main reasons for poverty do not include too many children. Instead, people are primarily impoverished by harmful economic systems and conflicts (in other words, war.) Cataclysmic natural disasters, such as earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, etc., play a large role as well. Overpopulation is not even mentioned as a reason, except that, tragically, it is the world’s children who pay the biggest price as far as hunger is concerned.
So, what about the world’s supply of clean water? In 2001, the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) asked an organization called Global Water to perform an investigation of groundwater availability in water-short regions of the world. That investigation was documented in a report entitled: Groundwater Availability Study for Water-Short Developing Countries, where it was shown there are significant groundwater assets available even in some of the most drought-prone areas of the world. Although available, these groundwater assets are not being used today because often the leaders of drought-prone countries will not make the provisions necessary for the wells to be dug. In other words, there is no lack of water, just a lack of those willing to provide the resources or the concern to dig for it.
Every indication is that our world contains all the resources that people need. In fact, with today’s modern farming methods and technology, more food can be produced than ever before and shipped anywhere in the world without much problem. The same holds true with materials to build sturdy homes. Or to build and staff new schools. It is greed and ignorance and poor or evil government organizations that keeps most of the world hungry, thirsty, homeless and uneducated, not overpopulation. Sadly, most of the world’s children are born into poverty, but that just means we need to do more to meet those needs instead of expending our energy and resources to keep those children from being born.
I wonder if the United Nations took all the time and money they are investing into birth control and used it for helping countries to establish caring, stable governments if more of the world’s population would be lifted out of poverty? Or, if the teams now setting up abortion clinics for little villages would put their efforts into digging wells or building shelters? Perhaps I am being naively simplistic, but I wonder all the same.
The Bible makes it clear that we are responsible for feeding the poor as well as clothing and housing those in need. How exactly we are supposed to do this is the confusing part in our world today. I know that donated grain often rots in shipyards and money given in compassion ends up lining the pockets of corrupt leaders. But this does not mean we can stop trying.
Whenever there have been natural disasters, my husband and I have made a point of giving our money directly into the hands of those we know and trust. We are blessed to know people who travel all over the world to feed the hungry during natural disasters. We can be assured when we give to them that our money translates into actual food for those who need it. Unfortunately, with our world the way it is, you must do research before you give.
So, are 7 billion people too many? To me, the question is irrelevant. New life is always a blessing. The thing that needs to be combated in this world is not the number of babies being born, but the amount of compassion we are willing to show, as well as our determination to fight injustice.
I am not trying to minimize the pain that most of the world suffers everyday. I count myself so blessed that I have never seen my children hungry or without a roof over their heads. The point I am making is that these problems will never be solved until we focus our time and resources in the right directions. And these do not include birth control or abortion!
Keeping it true! Barb