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John Wetzel: We must address population growth

From the COLLECTION: What's on your mind? 19 letters to the editor last week series

I agree with Llewellyn King’s editorial (Jan. 1 Tribune) that we must begin talking seriously about population and population growth. Jane Goodall also discusses population in her new book, "The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times."

Instead of mentioning problems with population behind closed doors as happened at the COP26 conference in Glasgow, it needs to be openly discussed by government officials, leaders and citizens worldwide. With a human population of 7.9 billion and headed toward 9.9 billion by mid-century and 11 billion by 2100, we are beyond the point of sustainability. This is reflected by the current climate crisis and rapid reduction in critical resources that are being maxed out.

We must also confront the current economic theory that growth is both needed and good by analyzing how we can function in a world with reduced population and declining economic output. In Japan, a declining population and economy has actually provided a higher standard of living for the majority.

The population discussion also needs to focus on the need to preserve our current natural ecosystems as these ecosystems maintain the conditions for our very survival. With increasing growth (population or economic), we impact these exact ecosystems that we depend on.

If we don’t act within the next 10-15 years, to begin reducing both population and the economy, the current natural ecosystems will begin to change and we will suffer the consequences. So let’s begin the discussion! What can we do about the over population problem and our unrelenting assault on the environment?

John Wetzel



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