Quite a few years ago, I was walking through the local Borders store, and my eyes fell on the new Dan Brown book, “Inferno”. The synopsis was intriguing and Dan had done it again. That night, I began turning the pages to what turned out to be a most invigorating read.
In the book, a billionaire geneticist decides to cure the world of overpopulation by engineering a biological virus that will wipe out half the human population. And there begins the heroic professor’s race to stop this semi-apocalypse with nothing but an eidetic memory and a Mickey Mouse watch.
But I can’t help but linger on the issue Dan Brown addressed: overpopulation.
Here are some facts:
- The current world population is 7.6 billion. (based off of a UN estimation)
- We are growing exponentially, not linearly.
- We will be nearing 9.9 billion by 2050.
- This is not good at all.
Numbers aside, while it is not something we notice, it is happening all around us. And the irony is that we did this to ourself. The better healthcare we applaud ourselves over, is one of the root causes of overpopulation. The death rate has undoubtedly lowered over the past few decades. But with it, we are pushing our natural resources to the limit, in an attempt to meet the demands of an ever-growing number.
And that begs the question, given where we are headed and factoring the rate with which we are headed there, do we need an inferno? Do we need a means to cut our current population in half? Gives me the chills just asking the question. While I assure you I have not been collecting Infinity Stones over this summer, we must admit, it would tip the biological scales back in our favour. There would be enough fresh water for everyone. Decreased population in bustling places like Africa, India and China would literally save the planet. But let’s look at some other options.
Adoption is most certainly one. There are currently over 400,000 children in foster care in the United States alone. We need to remove adoption as a last measure and give it the priority it deserves. I don’t mean to get into a “my child, my flesh and blood” debate with parents but every little helps and we need a lot of help.
Launching people into space is also something that may become a critical way to save us, and I don’t mean the US Space Force. Putting it in a more refined way, setting up colonies on other planets would require manufacturing artificial atmospheres, terraforming and better space travel technology. Ongoing research on all these fronts is hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel and frankly, wouldn’t you like to wake up and see Earth from out of your window?
There are several other options like a one-child policy, better environmental awareness and universal access to safe contraceptives. I believe that we need to work hard and fast on the single most important issue that threatens life as we know it. I also believe that the most viable and moral solution will have multiple fronts to tackle and that more people need to dedicate their lives to this one cause.
I don’t ask anyone to drop what they’re doing and start handing out contraceptives. But research the subject. Realize it’s importance. Find out how you can make a difference and begin to make that difference. And maybe, just maybe, we won’t need an inferno!