“One Child: Do we Have a Right to More?”, Sarah Conly
por Juan Pablo Anaya
“We need to talk about population. If you are like most people, you don’t want to. But the truth is that at present, given the danger of environmental disaster, we don’t have the right to have more than one child, and this is something that needs to be discussed. We’re not living sustainably with our present population of 7.3 billion, and the United Nations’ most recent estimate is that our numbers will reach 9.7 billion by 2050, and then a hard-to-imagine 11.2 billion by 2100. And this is when the global average for women is to have about two children. Yes, population would eventually stabilize, but if it becomes stable at an astronomically high number it will still be a disaster. This isn’t something we have a right to bring about.
Almost no one wants to interfere with people having children. A common reaction is to say it just isn’t a problem. Critics dismiss fears about overpopulation as “neo-Malthusian.” The idea is that since Thomas Malthus was wrong in 1798 when he wrote that population would soon outgrow food production, the current gloomy estimates about population are also wrong. However, we are obviously better at science than we were in 1798. Demographers at the U.N. aren’t a lot of mad-eyed treehuggers. They are scientists, whose job in life is to study fertility trends around the world. If they say 9.7 billion by 2050, they didn’t pull that figure out of a hat. Meanwhile, the International Panel on Climate Change, also a pretty reputable organization, has said that we need to cut back our emissions between 40 and 70% to keep global warming within 2° Celsius. That’s a lot. It’s going to be hard enough to do with the number of people we have now, but almost unimaginable with 11.2 billion, or even the more modest 9.7 billion we’ll have by 2050—within the lifetime of many who are living today.”