We all know, if vaguely, that we are facing something we might call a catastrophe. In this country, the awakened are perhaps more aware of global warming than of overpopulation. Global warming seems like something we caused and can perhaps—perhaps!—reverse. We can’t reverse the numbers of us living on this planet.
A long time ago, during the Carter presidency, there was a fledgling public discussion about the fact that there are too many of us. The discussion died aborning. I think that may have been a strangling by politics: at the same time there occurred the heating up of the anti-choice forces (what if they had to contend with the fact that there are already too many of us?), a notion that birth control seems sometimes to be targeted at dark-skinned women, and a sentimental insistence on the part of women (especially, and some preachers) that all births are sacred and special—although Bible readers would have trouble finding any endorsement of that view in the Old or the New Testaments. “Suffer the little children to come unto me, for of such is the kingdom of heaven” applies to the ones of us already here but is interpreted sometimes as an overall benediction on procreation. I doubt that Jesus would have agreed.
Now, no one wants to admit that babies often thrust families into poverty, making it nearly impossible for women to work since we have no system of free child care. Even when that is not a concern, their existence threatens the planet.
This dire thought is obscured by baby showers, baby gear (strollers have become almost monstrous in size and number), baby blue-and-white, and grandmothers who display cute photos in their wallets, and, most egregious of all, shaming of couples who have chosen not to reproduce themselves.
The overcrowded future will be especially threatening for prosperous, individualistic US citizens. Look at the housing that the attached PowerPoint presentation shows, look at the beaches and the Japanese Water Park. People who can afford and feel they need their own space will never agree to living in these hive-like apartment towers or to spreading their beach towels on a foot or two of space.
But there is not always going to be an alternative, even for the monied: our present passion about the environment, about hiking into the heart of the woods, is probably partly motivated by a feeling that the woods will soon be gone.
This presentation doesn’t make note of it, but most of the groaningly outsized cities are inhabited by people we usually don’t consider to be white, no matter what their skin color actually is. We already know that white people (so-called) will before long be a minority in the U.S., and I would imagine the same holds true for the rest of the world. Our privilege—the whole array of nonsense, Ivy League universities, summer houses on empty beaches, helicopter rides to ski on remove mountains—will fall of its own weight. Finally, even owning eight houses, as do Paul Manafort and his wife Kathy, will no longer provide relief. There are too many dark-skinned people crowding in. And they won’t all be cleaning and cooking.
What to do?
Well, at least stop cooing over the latest example of our irresponsibility, no matter how cute the little hands and feet.