How appropriate it felt to read United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s clarion call for action in the Oct. 31 front-page article, “Global population’s 7 billion mark could be a year off the symbolic date.”
The challenge of population growth seems to be failing to receive the attention it warrants. The world’s population has previously been projected to reach 9 billion by mid-century. Such an increase will further contribute to the energy crisis we face today and all the resulting consequences related to it. As Ban suggests, the population challenge deserves our leaders’ immediate attention.
According to the U.N. article, the official date the population reached 6 billion was in October 1999. With an increase of 1 billion people in just over 10 years’ time, it seems that previous mid-century projections are conservative estimates.
There could be more than 10 billion human people walking the Earth in another 38 years.
It is time for governments to begin considering more restrictive measures to meet the population challenge. One such measure might be to restrict benefits to a certain number of children per family — two, for example. Families could still elect for as many children as they like, but they would have to take full financial responsibility for additional children.
The benefits this would have on population growth would likely be minimal for some time, but a difficult journey commences with a single step. Such a measure might be a step in the right direction. With folks thinking twice about footing the bills for that third child, we’d have begun the journey.
The money the government could save might then be invested in developing alternative sources of energy to those on which we have depended.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.
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