Voice of the People
This month the United States reaches an inauspicious milestone, a population
above 300 million. To put this statistic in perspective, we passed 200
million in 1967 and we are projected to pass 400 million around mid-century.
Each year we add approximately three million persons to the country of whom
about half are immigrants and about half are an excess of about 1.5 million
more births than deaths per year.
Most problems we humans are currently facing would be more manageable if we
were fewer in number. Moreover, we Americans consume natural resources and
generate waste at a rate greatly exceeding that of many other countries. For
example, an average American needs 24 acres for his/her support, while an
average Ethiopian requires one acre (www.ecofoot.net). Those of us who hold
the care of the earth as a spiritual concern find this milestone a call to
reflection and prayer, as well as a call to find ways to respond.
In awareness of this reality, couples who are considering having a baby
would do well to think about alternatives such as adoption as an
earth-friendly choice. Lowering the number of births in this way and via
contraception would slow the rate of U.S. and world population growth,
thereby relieving pressure on fragile ecosystems. For those thinking to
enlarge their families, choosing adoption rather than bringing another
person onto the planet would be a truly creative way to observe this
demographic crossing. To obtain further information about adopting a child
and/or population concerns visit www.quakerearthcare.org
and click on
publications and then pamphlets.