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Local View: Overpopulation still a growing concern

Religious folk might claim overpopulation is the Almighty's bailiwick and not something for us simple humans to consider. For much of my 94 years, I thought only a little about overpopulation.

But times seem to be changing. Recent articles have cited overpopulation as a growing problem.

In the June 11 issue of Time magazine, Richard Rhodes, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author on climate change and nuclear power (his new book is "Energy: A Human History"), discussed the largest need for decarbonizing our entire energy supply. Rhodes said nuclear power has become a choice we ultimately need to consider. The article mentioned the starving millions and billions of Asia who are suffering the prolonging agony of overpopulation.

Population Connection (popconnect.org) said that for the past several centuries humanity has been polluting the air and water, altering Earth's climate, eliminating habitat for plants and animals, and depleting the natural bank account of nonrenewable resources. Further, we are decreasing the capacity of natural ecosystems to regenerate or maintain renewable resources and "ecosystem services," such as providing clean air, water, fertile soil, flood control, an adequate climate, and the conservation of biological diversity. This is the environment in which our planetary population continues to grow.

Evidence of an overpopulation problem is overwhelming and growing, in spite of many wars that take hit after hit on populations.

In our country there is great indecision in handling the problem of the backup of migrants in our Southwest. This is stalemated by the emotion of immigration and the separation of children and their parents. Our President Donald Trump is attempting to stop or at least slow down the increasing numbers of our starving southern neighbors as they head north in search of better lives.

Overpopulation silently cites many of the forces related to global warming, environmental pollution, habitat loss, the likelihood of a sixth mass extinction, intensive farming practices, and the consumption of finite natural resources such as fresh water, arable lands, and fossil fuels.

In June, The Week magazine reported that more than 600 migrants died this year trying to cross the Mediterranean from Africa to Europe. Most of them perished in rickety, overcrowded boats that sank in the vast expanse of water.

Paul Ehrlich's book, "The Population Bomb," said, "Too many people, packed into too-tight spaces, (are) taking too much from the Earth."

In very simple words, we are removing the Earth's resources, polluting what was pure, and bringing more and more people into our already overcrowded world.

The outstanding advantage of reducing population would be a less-crowded world and less need for expanding militaries in our nations. Military budgets grow and grow. Increasing numbers of military actions take place as overcrowded conditions cause ceaseless struggles with too many people seeking subsistence.

More emphasis must be made at reducing population without continuing any need for killing off overpopulation. Will we ever learn? I certainly hope so — for our kids, our grandkids, and all the many others.

Approximately 20,000 scientists from around the world signed the World Scientists Warning to Humanity, which stated that since 1992, we have added 2 billion passengers to the planet while depleting resources and polluting the planet.

Let me respond to those who speak harshly about abortion. Who has more right to make that decision than a birth mother left high and dry by a birth father​​​? Birth mothers nurture the seed for nine long months, bear children with physical forbearance, and are the most entitled to evaluate the very early stages of the child's life. It's bad enough when the father is unwilling, unable, or irresponsible for a child's future. But maybe the father is one of the country's finest, off to fight and kill the soldiers from other nations in wars to protect our large companies only seeking additional resources abroad.

Bernie Hughes of Superior is professor emeritus of educational administration at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.

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