Human Impact Ignored Too Long

By Donald A. Collins | 24 May 2021
Church and State

(Image by Pexels from Pixabay)

The effect of climate change has now been reaffirmed, but unlike earlier warnings will not go unheeded this time because large commercial interests realize its adverse effect on the whole Earth and the sustainability of human life.

Once again, we must thank the reporting of the world’s greatest English language paper, The NY Times whose May 23, 2021 article I cite here.

This again ties directly into the urgency of my current op ed theme, what I am calling the Attenborough crisis, namely the inability of Earth to sustain its present human numbers. As Sir David, now 95, so eloquently tells us in a recent interview, the number of us has increased at least 3 times in his (and my) lifetime from 2 billion to almost 8 and is going he thinks to 11 billion.

Again, the NY Times page one May 23rd article offers us a nuanced view of what a declining birth rate will mean for humans. Read it here.

The 20th century presented a very different challenge. The global population saw its greatest increase in known history, from 1.6 billion in 1900 to 6 billion in 2000, as life spans lengthened and infant mortality declined. In some countries — representing about a third of the world’s people — those growth dynamics are still in play. By the end of the century, Nigeria could surpass China in population; across sub-Saharan Africa, families are still having four or five children.

But nearly everywhere else, the era of high fertility is ending. As women have gained more access to education and contraception, and as the anxieties associated with having children continue to intensify, more parents are delaying pregnancy and fewer babies are being born. Even in countries long associated with rapid growth, such as India and Mexico, birthrates are falling toward, or are already below, the replacement rate of 2.1 children per family.

Demographers warn against seeing population decline as simply a cause for alarm. Many women are having fewer children because that’s what they want. Smaller populations could lead to higher wages, more equal societies, lower carbon emissions and a higher quality of life for the smaller numbers of children who are born.

At 90 I must admit I have in my long life enjoyed the benefits of the vast human excessive use of Earth’s non-renewable resources. As I prepare to depart this life, I can only hope my children’s generation will help make the dramatic actions necessary to avert the certain disasters of doing nothing!

Former US Navy officer, banker and venture capitalist, Donald A. Collins, a free lance writer living in Washington, DC., has spent over 40 years working for women’s reproductive health as a board member and/or officer of numerous family planning organizations including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Guttmacher Institute, Family Health International and Ipas. Yale under graduate, NYU MBA. He is the author of From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013.

From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013

By Donald A. Collins
Publisher: Church and State Press (July 30, 2014)
Kindle Store

Sir David Attenborough on overpopulation

David Attenborough | “The source of all our problems = POPULATION GROWTH”

David Attenborough’s Witness Statement (A Life on Our Planet)

World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency

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