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overpopulation problem

Should Patriotic Americans Stop at 2 Kids?

Leading population scientists say the real root of climate change is overpopulation.



Should Patriotic Americans Stop at 2 Kids?

Do we need a baby ban? This innocent walk in the park is really a triumphant march of the world's newest superconsumers.

RODALE NEWS, MADISON, WI—Energy problems, water shortages, chemical farming that's destroying the air and water—the problems facing our planet right now often seem insurmountable, and solutions are slow to implement. But what if the problem wasn't limited natural resources, but simply that there are too many of us on the planet? The question was posed, and heatedly discussed, at last week's conference of the Society of Environmental Journalists.

THE DETAILS: Our current world population surpassed 6.8 billion people this past July, and every day, our planet sees a net population growth (that's births minus deaths) of 270,000 people, said Peter Seidel, author of 2045: A Story of Our Future, a futuristic novel about overpopulation and environmental catastrophes. Seidel was moderating a panel on our overpopulation problem at the Society of Environmental Journalists last Friday, joined by Paul Ehrlich, a professor of population studies at Stanford University, who has written about overpopulation problems since the 1960s and often advocates for hard-line population-control policies, and by William Ryerson, president of the Population Media Center, a nonprofit that educates women about family planning and reproductive health, using entertainment media like radio soap operas.


Overpopulation is often treated as a complicating factor of issues like poverty, starvation, and water shortages, but, said Seidel, it really is their root cause. "The more people you have, curiously enough, the more greenhouse gases you get in atmosphere," said Ehrlich. And it has a lot to do with our consumption patterns. The U.S., he said, has more than 300 million people, making us the third-largest nation by numbers alone. "But in terms of our per-capita consumption, we're by far the most overpopulated in the world." "Our emissions [in the U.S.] have tracked one-to-one with our population growth over last half century," said Ryerson, adding that the U.S. is currently the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world. If the U.N.'s projection that world population growth will add 2.5 billion people by 2050 is realized, it will be the equivalent of adding two U.S.’s to the planet.

But the media tends to shy away from the issue. After all, it's more fun to watch Jon and Kate Plus 8 and The Duggar family, with its 19 kids and counting, than view them as environmental hazards. Tim Wheeler, an environmental journalist at the Baltimore Sun who was also part of the panel, said, "We look at this as an issue that's very fraught with religious and political baggage" because it encompasses issues of abortion, immigration, and the huge unanswered question of, "So what can you do about it?"

WHAT IT MEANS: Overpopulation problems are not easily solved, as most people believe they should have the right to have as many or as few children as they want. It's also difficult to fight the evolutionary instinct of parents to have children. So what can you do about it? Should we ask politicians to create and enforce draconian policies like China's one-child-per-family law? Those laws are unlikely, to say the least, to ever be proposed, said Ehrlich. "Can you see a president getting up and saying, 'If we want to have a better country, if we want to have a better world, if we want to have the resources that everybody needs, and we want to have our fair share of it, we've got to get a population policy in this country, that patriotic Americans should stop at two'? That'll be the day."

Perhaps the most immediate solution is to not force limits upon people but to reexamine our consumption patterns—and pass them on to the next generations.

Here are some ways to start lightening the load that any population puts on the planet:

• Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without. We could all stand to follow that advice from an old World War II-era poster, which saves us money even as it shrinks our environmental footprint. Every product we buy, every gallon of water we spray on our lawns, requires energy to produce and transport. And we tend to buy more without paying attention to what we already have in our cupboards. Take food: The average American household throws away 14 percent of its food, whether due to spoilage or by just ditching leftovers. Eating everything in your refrigerator before you buy more food would save you $590 per year and would prevent millions of pounds of unnecessary pesticides from being applied to fields. Likewise, repairing torn pants or worn-out heels makes much more sense than buying new clothes made from cotton, one of the most heavily sprayed and water-intensive crops in the world, or new leather shoes, which often come from cattle that graze in deforested rain forests.

• Reduce and reuse. In the famous environmental mantras, we generally skip those first two r’s and head straight for recycling. But paying attention to reducing and reusing cuts down on the need to recycle, which itself takes energy. For one week, try living without paper towels or paper napkins; switch to cloth napkins and rags instead. Buy used clothes for your new baby (and for yourself, while you’re at it), or give hand-me-downs as gifts at baby showers. Buy antique or used furniture; it has more character than the mass-produced stuff you find in stores, anyway.

• Live with less. The recession is making all of us pay closer attention to how much we buy, but don't let that prudence fall to the wayside when times get better. Next time you're at the Container Store buying a new sock organizer or box for your shoes, consider whether you really need that many pairs of either one in the first place.

Filed Under: CLIMATE CHANGE, RECYCLING AND PRECYCLING

Published on: October 14, 2009



We have to practice

We have to practice Forgiveness Quotes and letting go quotes. I think that it will become a trend to have less children in the western nations because of over population, but you really have to consider how fast india is growing, and in places like Africa where they don't really have anyway to prevent over population. It is a question of Perseverance Quotes, as only time will tell how much of problem this will really be.

over population may not be the problem

It is true that there are many studies that show that over population and over consumption are a lead cause in the destruction of the environment. Yet there are many other factors that are much greater than over population itself. Government corruption in my opinion is a key contributor to the lack of resources available to others even within the U.S. The reason I think this, is because there are government officials who make more money and consume more goods then any average American family with 4+ kids. That is not including the top one percent of the population which controls most of our own resources and refuses to share the wealth so to speak with all of the rest of us trying to consume "less". We as Americans need to realize that maybe we don't need to limit our population growth, instead we should tax the rich so that people in the U.S have fair chance to flourish. My advice is see the movie Capitalism: A love Story by Michael Moore who can further explain more on the economic crisis we are facing.As for over population I think that if we as Americans have to limit ourselves to having two kids or living with less we should begin with those whose greed has caused such an economic and environmental imbalance.

disagress

You have a good reason for your 4 kids sharing resources with you. However, I want to mention that how about your 4 kids growing up many years later? Do they still share one car, one house, one dinner with you? How about the 4 kids have 16 kids later on? Can you think a little bit further and deeper??

The limit family size of limite children!

It is not good to be over populated it drives up our healthcare cost. Our taxes keep going up.

Two children are enough per couple.

Why a couple should has between to-20 children born or more a year. When children birth defects such as being born with mental retardations, autisms and include eperalicy seizure

It put a burden on States to care for the children that families cannot cope with at home they end in forester homes, group homes, juellvernile centers or institutions

There needs to be some limits per couple reduce the family sizes of how children can be born.

That is smart growth for our economy.

Salem, NH

Okay people...click "Next"...and actually READ the article

I find it amusing that so many of the vitriolic, anti-communisocialazi posters have very clearly NOT read the article to the end. After all, Ms. Main is only reporting on a debate held by a panel of researchers and scholars, she is NOT advocating for population control in the United States. Rather, she makes three simple suggestions, after rebutting the likelihood that any such policy would ever be implemented:

1) Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.
2) Reduce and reuse
3) Live with less.

I know I could certainly live with less knee-jerk ideological name calling fraught with paranoia and visions of a grand liberal conspiracy. Especially since population control politics in the United States, of the type that creates such "conservative" nightmares, has a much longer history thanks to BOTH conservative and allegedly "progressive" eugenics supporters who used it as late as the 1980s to forcibly sterilize the poor, people of color and other "unfit" people. And no, the 1980s is not a mistype. Take a look at Rebecca Kluchin's book, Fit to be Tied, published this year by Rutgers University Press. And then, get a grip. Population policy is an understandably sensitive topic, but we don't need paranoid irrationality or conspiracy theories divorced from the full historical reality making the topic any worse.

Overpopulation

Reducing the population of the US is not going to make a large impact on the world population. It might endanger the future of the US though.

I agree

Global warming is a CROCK! Someone is laughing all the way to the bank on this one!

Using Science

Biology teaches us that a population must create equilibrium with its environment. Either by resources, space, or natural selection a population MUST stop growing and plateau or the environment will react adversely to bring the population under control.

Humans are the only animal group that does not follow these natural rules. We overpopulate by creating space vertically, creating resources by unnaturally production, and avoid natural selection with our medical advances. Therefore, the environment reacts adversely with increasingly powerful storms, severe droughts, mutated bacteria, viruses, and diseases.

To add math to this, there is a net gain of 270,000 people every year (1.35 million people added to the earth every 5 years). How long until we run out of space?

This is a discussion we have to have but are so scared to breach because it means we have to be responsible. Why can't Americans be told ANYTHING without them screaming about their freedom? Adults have to stop acting like teenagers and expect they can do whatever they want.

overpopulation

I totally disagree with you. My husband & I have 4 children and they share everything with us. They share our air conditioning, our heating, our lights, our refrigerator, our cars (since they ride everywhere with us). We share our home & everything that goes into it, which many of you who would agree with limits on population all use alone. Each of you have your own appliances, you drive alone in your cars, you use lights in your home for only the benefit of one person. My children get new things, but I am a true believer in hand-me-downs so they reuse many items in our home. We don't waste much food because when we make dinner it all gets eaten. I have yet to sign up anyone in my household for any type of government service. You miss the point when you just blatantly think that our problems are caused by overpopulation, when many of our problems are caused by irresponsibility. We need ultimately to teach our children how to respect our environment and responsibly utilize the resources we have. It really can be offensive to be putting everyone with more that two children into some kind of "overpopulation criminals" category.

Population

No wonder the Africans are starving. If they'd breed less, they'd have more food per person. What I dont get is how they can have such huge families yet be so famished and unhealthy.

Not Kidding

Global warming is a hard core fact! There are countless weather records to prove it. I've studied weather and climate for several years. However, I don't claim to know if climate change is man made or not. What concerns me is that too many think we have endless resources when they're finite.

Overpopulation

Right on Ken! Its simple math and logic. I agree we should have freedom with the exception of the freedom of irresponsibility. We need to change and adapt when conditions change. I dont believe in a straight up ban but parents should fully pay for their children instead of getting tax breaks with the childfree having to make up for it (going on simple math, if someone gets a new dependent, someone else has to pay more if the government is to keep getting the same revenue from its people).

Overpopulation

I agree with the comment about taxing more for each child. They use more goods and services, the family should pay more. Simple math. People need not resort to name-calling Bill M

Green house gasses?

The only greenhouse gasses we really have to worry about comes from the politicians who proclaim expertise spewing their own Hot Air about "global warming".

You`re kidding, right ?

Brian......You hit the nail on the HEAD!

Liberal BS/Roedale shame

Roedale should stick to the world of fitness instead of delving into the Liberal world of pure BS. Roedale you should be ashamed of this article with no merit.

Overpopulation

Exactly!

Overpopulation

Agreed 100%!

Shame on Roedale Press

Roedale stick to what you know best rather than putting this liberal BS out to your fitness readers. You should be ashamed !

Overpopulation?

Awwww, C'mon! There are lots of us here in the good ole USA who aren't having children to make up for those who want them.
I'm sure that with smarter community planning and smarter farming, we can feed a lot more than are currently being fed around the world.
Education is the key, about farming, birth control, etc.
Not by extinguishing the unborn or putting practices like in China of forcing 1 or 2 children per couple.
This is America and the freedom to have or not have children is up to the family, not the government.

OVER population

What an inspiration to see in the media a mention of over population as the main cause of world problems, there are sufficient resourses, THERE ARE TOO MANY PEOPLE... for some reason the most blatant problem in the world today has become a taboo subject.

Since Paul Erlich's wonderful book "The Population Bomb" explained it all so simply to a generation years ago society has turned a blind eye to reality... there is a point of no return!

It's not religion, socialism, stupidity... it's simple third grade math. Nothing given finite resourses can expand forever... We can ignore many laws, but not the laws of physics.

Ken

Population is always going to be a factor

I find myself unable to vote for either answer in the survey because I do not agree with either one. We, as a society, need to look at population, and we need to have policies that preserve each individual's choice, while helping to make the world a better place.

For example, we could decide on what is a healthy carrying capacity for our country, and have legal immigration quotas based on how much room there is to take on more people. If I remember correctly from something I read years ago, the first generation of immigrants tends to have more children than replacement level, and later generations tend to have slightly less. So it would make sense to take on a small number of immigrants each year. This would work especially well for the European countries whose populations are slowly shrinking.

We should have policies that help prevent unwanted pregnancies. Here are some examples. You could have some sort of mandatory preparation for parenthood/baby sitting section in middle school social studies or health classes, which would include knowledge of what it takes to take care of a baby in cost, effort, time, and missed opportunities. Birth control, and you could make it be for people over 18 to make it easier to pass into law, could be provided for free, or automatically covered by all health insurance. Family planning information and access could be added for all those using social services (such as welfare) and applying for citizenship.

As suggested by other commenters, tax code could be modified to make it more expensive to have more than two children. Adoption, foreign and domestic, could be made more streamlined.

And, here is the most important way the US can help the world population problem: we can be MUCH smarter about our foreign aid policy. As stated by other commenters, people who feel their babies might die have more children. People who feel insecure about the future have more children. Ironically, when infant mortality goes down, the birth rate goes down as well. We need to do more to help developing nations help themselves to become healthy and self-sufficient. This means forgiving foreign debt and getting the developing nations to instead spend their resources on developing robust education and health care systems. This means countries using their own natural resources, exporting or not as they see fit, rather than having multi-national corporations strip the profit from them for the promise of low-paying, dangerous jobs. This means having the farmers use seeds from plants adapted to their own climate, rather than being forced to use genetically-modified seeds from agri-giant businesses, using native sources of organic fertilizer rather than importing expensive chemical fertilizers.

Also, it is helpful to look at population of course, but also at resource use per person. What if the world, including the United States, were using less and less fossil fuels, and more and more solar, wind, biomass, thermal, and tidal energy? What if growing crops did not also mean spewing more toxic pesticides into the environment or stripping minerals from the soil? What if every product we bought were either recyclable or compostable? What if we reforested hillsides so that water cycled itself more often as rain and aquifer recharge before making its way to the ocean?

it's about time.

In the 60's the big thing was '0 population growth' - have just enough children to replace yourself and your partner. That's what we heard and believed. Somewhere along the way this idea was lost and look at the mess we are in today. I can only hope that young couples will consider the consequences of large families on our world in so many ways and decide to stop at 2. I know this can't be a mandate but just a strong suggestion for caring people.

Poll doesn't offer much choice

Your answers on the poll are loaded an inadequate:

Higher population (and the number of babies born per family is only one factor in this) has to put more pressure on the planet's resources than lower population does -- unless we live in ways that have less impact on the environment than previous generations did (which, in general, is not the direction we are moving).

One can agree that population size is related to environmental quality and still disagree with setting "limits" on family size.

So sign me,

neither of the above

Re: Two kids? Try ONE.

It only takes $250,000 to raise a child if you *buy into* the idea that children need excessive goods to live. I have three children, and it surely did not cost that much. I know because I count every penny. Then again, we are frugal by nature, grow our own food, use bicycles to get around, cut our own hair, and live simply. I don't even subscribe to magazines. I suggest some of you patriots should cancel your magazine subscriptions to save the trees, ink, and fuel needed to make them. (Wink-wink to Rodale!)

Population Control

We are not China.

Would you consider this a plausible solution instead? Those who are for population control could line up and jump off a cliff en masse and save themselves from the impending doom that inevitably faces them. I should hope you see the silliness in that, but in demanding people to limit their offspring, you are infringing on a crucial freedom.

Also, I know numerous people who have no children who live quite luxuriously, jetting off numerous times to various parts of the world, living in a gigantic home that would house dozens, possessing numerous gas guzzlers, eating food that's not local, consuming, consuming, consuming... Why don't you go after them?

The rest of us will deal with life as best as we can by using other means such as science to solve environmental problems.

Patriotic American?

Japan and many European countries are now seeing the result of planned decreased births- an aging population with too few young people to work. This makes a lopsided population problem with the "solution" of killing off the elderly. The "population explosion/ end of all resources" people have been beating the same drum for a long time (promising the end of all resources by the 1980s or so). I would hope Rodale readers wouldn't fall for this socialist propaganda. Hopefully we still live in a free America where all decisions aren't made for us by the government.

response

I think it is interesting that they are saying there are too many people and family size should be reduced. While there are a lot of people on this planet, science and technological advancement has something to do with it as well. People are now able to live a lot longer due to modern medicine/technology. People use to have to produce several children to help maintain there land, because more people farmed an made their own things. Most people now realize that they do not need tohave 11 kids as my grandfate did, but people do still want kids. WE have fewer deaths in childbirth, people surviving heart attacks, cancer, etc. Them telling people to they can onl have to kids, is the equivalent, of you saying my 92 year old granfather doesn't deserve to be alive. I really thnk that this is a ridiculous suggestion. If everyone would be mindful of the things that they are doing, I'm sure everything would eventually work out. Especially if people can stop buying politicians and legislation would work for green efforts, that people can stick with.

You're kidding, right?

This is possibly the most asinine article I've set yet from Rodale. My only suggestion is that the godless communists who agree with the premise of this article self-sterilize.

Global warming is a crock. Our government pays farmers not to plant anything.

population

It is a fact of human nature that when a population is threatened with large numbers of their group dieing,due to war,climate change,starvation or whatever the case is,those people will produce more children to perpetuate their society.Africans have huge pressures on them due to starvation and war.They will produce many more children to recoup those losses.A large family in those circumstances is like retirement pay in this country.Those children will produce food and other necessities for their parents to survive in their old age.The muslims are producing huge numbers because of their perception that zionists or whatever are wiping them out.They produce more children to make up the next generation of soldiers.It is an unconscious response to their current situation.We do have too many people on this planet,but I don't see that situation changing as long as people act like animals and don't think ahead to change their attitudes and not just produce children for retirement or wars.Quality of life is a problem here and education could be helpful in voluntary reduction in family size.

Negative Population Growth is itself Catastrophic

"How can there be too many children? That's like saying there are too many flowers" - Mother Teresa

The black and white choice posed by the question is in itself an non-sequitur. Liberal Progressives see so many shades of gray as a convenient rhetorical device.

Most of the "Advanced Western Democracies" are currently practising negative population growth. At current birth rates, these populations are halving themselves every generation. That means massive depopulation every 20 years or so.

The idea that a society can continue with two parents producing 1.3 children is a self-fulfilling prophecy. It's simple math really.

As a result, "Traditional Ethnic Europeans" will be extinct within 50 to 75 years, and the massive social-benefit welfare states will be gone with them. There won't be enough taxpayers to support the elder generation.

What will replace these populations? Without naming names, take a moment to look at which regions of the world are producing 4 to 7 children and you will have your answer.

If you care to learn more, look up Mark Steyn, who has written extensively on this topic. If not then you may want to consider the severity of your myopia.

Should family size be limited?

If, during times of great economic stress and upheaval people stopped having children,then who would strive to their utmost ability to provide and nurture the next generation? We sacrifice in our youth with our labour and our love for the future of our children and by doing so become better people ourselves.At the turn of the 19th to the 20th century, my grandmother remembers the general fear of resources such as timber and coal being depleted.Conservationists in the U.S. pushed for gov't to set aside wilderness areas for future generations and in Europe farseeing individuals planted tress on bare hillsides.Each generation has had it's challenges. I feel that ours is selfishness and greed. A pampered only child misses out on both the "give and take" as well the joy of siblings that lasts into adulthood and beyond.

Race in the article

Kathryn wrote: "I don't recall seeing any mention of race in the article."

I think race is implied by the photo selected to accompany the article. It shows only white women pushing strollers. I think the point the other person was trying to make is, what would our opinions be if the photo showed only black women, or only Hispanic women?

population control

If you strongly feel that population growth is a problem, then adopt a child instead of giving birth to one. Adopt from any country that calls to you.

Believe it or not, this planet produces enough food to feed its entire population. The problem is distribution, not production. The U.S. exports tons of food everyday to third world nations, but only a fraction actually reaches the starving population. Corrupt government officials take a good portion of it for themselves, and many would rather see it rot on the docks or in warehouses than make it available to the people.

The U.S. doesn't need to control population growth. But we do need better ways of using our resources wisely.

Patriotic American

In the land of the FREE? I really can't believe this would be a question!! Are we living in China?? Or the USA? GEEEEZ!!! How could it ever be a question of patriotism? I am almost speechless!

Thank you!

Thank you for publishing such an important article, and thanks Kathryn for making several good points. I recently completed my masters at an environmental graduate school and this topic came up several times over the course of my education. It is an absolute fact that population is growing exponentially at a rate never before seen in human history. We are already passing the sustainable levels of resource depletion, all while more and more people all over the world are working to consume at levels we do here in America.

Combining those stresses with the impacts of climate change, which will disproportionately affect the poor, is going to cause intense conflict. (Which I think we are entirely unprepared for.) Kathryn is also right that there are ways to incentivize people to have less children...and the tax code is an excellent place to start. I also think a massive messaging campaign would help too...people have no idea this is an issue and my experience tells me that many are welcome to learning about it. Adoption laws and costs should also be adjusted to encourage people to adopt, as I plan to.

Overpopulation

More people ... more "gas." Haven't some scientists tried saying they believe the demise of the dinosaurs was because they "gassed themselves to death?" It may be time the "gene pool" needs some "cleansing."

Memes not genes

For those of you (looking at some of the comments above) concerned about how a reduction in family size impacts the perpetuation of your values: please remember it is memes, not genes, that pass along your beliefs. In my own case, I think of my strict Calvinist great-great-grandparents; they had very large families, and yet none of their descendants hold values that my ancestors would find acceptable. In contrast, Plato who died many more generations back, has more influence on my thinking than any of my direct ancestors. My point is that the number of children produced by a given religious/cultural group is immaterial if the culture itself is not perpetuated – you must win hearts and minds, not produce bodies. If you disagree with the direction of our culture, the lesson of modern history is that you can not hope to brute force out-breed the zeitgeist, you have to out-think it.

Whether the world is currently over-populated is an open issue. But there is no argument to be made for the world being underpopulated. I think a non-controversial starting point would be to reduce the societal pressure on those people who do not want children. Being childless by choice should be a more viable option in our culture.

I have several friends who were 'pushed' into parenthood, and in about two-thirds of the cases the children have suffered – sometimes in subtle ways – as a result. Other creatures reduce their reproductive rates in response to crowding – perhaps it is only natural that human beings are beginning to feel a natural desire to reduce their rate for reproduction.

One kid?

I'm sorry... I don't know if you are a parent, but it definitely does not have to take $250,000 to raise a child. I'm sure that is some published number, but it is false in practical reality. I do agree that people seem to be lacking basic parenting skills today, for whatever reason. But we can't use that as an excuse to suggest 'rationing' the number of children people are allowed to have. When we start pondering the revoking of a fundamental human right as an answer to our environmental prolems, something is terribly wrong. Mr. Hitler thought that way and that line of thinking doesn't look any prettier just because one's motivation is different than his. We can all do our part to try to conserve and protect the environment...and teach our children to do the same.

Two kids?

Gosh, that's insulting and morally superior!

I am delighted with my second child, and we reduce-reuse-repurpose-recycle and buy second hand willingly. I don't want you to tell me that my family is politically correct. Even if I do kind of think newts are cute.

Patriotic American

Maybe Patriotic Americans should follow the constitution and not butt into other people's lifestyle choices - of how many kids they have, what they eat, how big a house they have, if they drive a gas guzzler. Patriotic Americans need to focus on the real issue of we are facing a huge debt and killing the American Dream for the next generation and we need to fight Big Government

Overpopulation

Agree with you 100%! This is especially true for countries such as Germany and France that have birth rates far below replacement levels (as low as 1.1 child/woman) but growing Muslim populations, which will be the majority in 40-50 years.

Remember the Global Cooling scare in the 70's? Scientists predicted dire outcomes, and were hoping for ways to warm up the planet.

It has nothing to do with patriotism

This has nothing to do with whether we are patriotic or not. I don't believe that government has a place to tell citizens how many children to have, HOWEVER, our tax code REWARDS more children thru tax credits. They could start by doing away with that.

As an adoptive mother of a child from Africa, I can tell you that our society seems to think it is ok for us to adopt from other countries and have people there relinquish their children. However, that would never be suggested HERE! When a family has too many mouths to feed, they are never encouraged to relinquish their children--but somehow we seem to think it is ok for folks to do that in third-world countries. However, that being said, adoption of children that already exist and need families is a wonderful way to grow a family instead of just producing more people.

I don't recall seeing any mention of race in the article. Education is definitely a key component of this discussion.

It is true that the consumption and pollution created by a person living in the US/Canada is about 15 times that of someone elsewhere in the world. We need to do more to reduce our impact on the environment. Priscilla - I recommend that you read some of Jared Diamond's books if you think all this is a crock.

Personally I think Octomom and the Duggars should not be promoted as an sort of ideal. WHO CARES if Mrs. Duggar is expecting again? Not too mention that the population their family will create will exponentially increase--thank goodness they will provide a wider tax base to support the baby boomers in retirement...I think their choices are crazy on a number of levels, but of course I would be slammed if I said anything to that effect. The subject of population reduction or reduction of family size is taboo in this country since we are all so cognizant of our "freedoms." Thanks for publishing this article. My concern is that the impact of the size of OTHER people's families does affect me and my children - school over-crowding, costs of public services, even use of parks and roads. It isn't like they pay more taxes to cover their extra costs - now wouldn't that be TRUE freedom??

Overpopulation

The Western World needs to have more children unless they want their children to be victims of sharia(?sp?) law. The muslim world is procreating at a far faster rate than the West and in a couple of generations will have the vote irregardless of terrorism. With regard to Global Warming the earth has had many hot and cold cycles in the past with far warmer climates and no input from humans what so ever.
Best wishes to all!

Two kids? Try ONE.

It's unfortunate, but most Americans see children as some sort of birthright or accessory, not actual human beings. Before reproducing, would-be parents ought to realize that it takes $250,000 to raise a child from age 1 to 18 (that's without college, or a single injury or disease)...and they ought to read every book on parenting they can beforehand, since most 'parents' today have the child-raising skills of a newt. One child should be enough for any family, we don't need more people opting for deliberate poverty, like Octomom.

Too Many People

Yes yes Yes. We have enough people already. It is a world problem, but the U.S. must set an example. Negative Population Growth would be even better.

Patriotic American - response

What a mean spirited response. It does not add to the discussion. A productive dialogue would benefit all, without the name calling.

I think it is unpatriotic and despicable and communistic to deem categories of people as unsuitable to bear children. I believe Hitler was thinking on those lines. In this country, that I want to live in, all are free to make basic decisions, such as those to have a family or not, without an IQ or an idealogical litmus test.

Perhaps the world has enough rude people who so easily dismiss others.

(Whoops- did I just name-call? Sorry.)

Racist Propaganda

It is interesting to me that articles like these are aimed solely at white people. If a similar article were written, but instead asked Black, Hispanic, and Asian people to stop having babies, there would be a loud outcry of racism. But it is OK to suggest that white people limit their family size. It is interesting to note that the same people who would seek to limit population, are the same people who think it is OK to have limitless immigration. If one is concerned about water quality, pollution, forest degradation, etc., then one should focus on preserving the few pristine lands we have left. If your neighbor did not care about keeping his own house clean, why on Earth would you invite him into yours?

Patriot American?

"Zero population growth" means just that. Zero growth, not negative growth. Are you that dense??? The population would not die out, just not continue to grow. It is people of this mentality that need not procreate. The world has enough of these irresponsible idiots.

Patriot American?

Michelle Shaffer's response sounds like the only intelligent response.
If you think for one minute that the world is not overpopulated than why are there so many water shortages? Why are we destroying forests that are needed for the survival of the earth just to build more houses and shopping malls? Are we to continue to reproduce until there is no room for any other life form? And then what? Is this the plan? We are destroying the planet just to supply enough food for the human population.
In order for our planet to survive and be here for our future generations we need to kep our human population in check, unless you don't care about leaving our planet beautiful and healthy for the children of our future.

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