Letter: Population crisis is looming

December 2, 2011
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The news is out: world population hit 7 billion on Oct. 31! Meanwhile, the Massachusetts population reached a record high of 6,547,629 in 2010. It was great to see that after years of pretty much ignoring the issue, the national, state, and even some local media gave the issue its due attention.

If we do not stabilize soon and then gradually reduce world population, famine is a certainty. The “Green Revolution” greatly increased yields of rice, wheat and corn during the last concern about famine in the 1970s. However, it required a vast increase in the use of fertilizers along with a huge expansion of the world’s irrigated area from deep underground aquifers. Most of these will go dry in the next 30 years, according to independent journalist Gwynne Dyer.

Here in the U.S., our population problem is driven chiefly by immigration, both documented and undocumented. U.S. population will more than double from 203 million in 1970 to 439 million in 2050, and immigration will cause 82 percent of all U.S. population growth between 2005 and 2050, according to NumbersUSA, which advocates for lower immigration levels.

We must come to grips and focus on the fact that our world and U.S. population are at unsustainable levels. Internationally, we must support women’s rights and education, family planning services, and economic development. In the U.S., we must establish immigration policies where in-migration does not exceed out-migration.

The U.S. can be a beacon for the world by instituting fair, wise and practical policies that foster population stabilization and true sustainability.

Henry Barbaro

Board Member

New England Coalition for Sustainable Population

Jamaica Plain