From The Soul

soled postIt is far more dangerous than global warming. Far more pressing than any economic recession. And far closer than you might think.

Overpopulation is threatening natural resources, changing economies, and altering public policy from numerous directions. In most cases, the countries experiencing the most growth are those still in development. In sub-Saharan Africa, for instance, the population is increasing at a rate of 2.5% annually.

Regardless of your political affiliation, overpopulation is a problem. Yet it remains one of the largest themes dividing politicians.

This past winter break, my family and I traveled to Senegal and The Gambia. It was an eye-opening experience for many reasons, but something I found most interesting was the insane amount of poverty. Oh, and the fact that each mother seemed to have at least five children.

Yes, years ago, one reason for having many children was that the chances of survival for those children were slim. But now, even in the streets of Senegal, many convenience stores have pharmacy departments with medicines unimaginable a hundred years ago. Mortality rates are also at historical lows. Even so, the available options for birth control and family planning remain minimal and even non-existent in many areas.

The reality of the situation is that America needs to play a larger role in international aid for family planning. Since the time of President Eisenhower, one of the first items on many presidents’ budgets has been to cut cut international funding for programs such as family planning and birth control. Have these moves partly been efforts to appease key voting blocs? Most likely. There are large swaths of fundamentalist voters that carry big electoral weight.

My purpose, however, is not to question religious beliefs; it is to look at party ideals. And honestly, the goal of all American politics should be firstly to look after the wellbeing of the American people and secondly, if the government has the resources to do so, to care for others in the world.

Today, we do have the resources to lower poverty by tackling overpopulation. At the very least, if no more funds will be dedicated towards international family planning, then existing ones should not be cut.

For anyone who says otherwise: I strongly suggest you visit a developing nation experiencing exponential growth and that you take a good look at the directly corresponding poverty. Then try to claim that the American people have no room for such problems.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *