Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 33 No. 14. 1970
Population Pollution Pesticides
Population Pollution Pesticides
Ecological Thinking Need not be Incompatible with our Place and Time. It Offers an Essential Factor, like a Necessary Vitamin, to all our Engineering and Social Planning, to our Poetry and our Understanding. There is Only one Ecology, not a Human Ecology on one Hand and Another for the Subhuman. No one School or Theory or Project or Agency Controls it. For us it Means Seeing the world Mosaic from the Human Vantage Without Being Man-Fanatic. We must use it to Confront the Great Philosophical Problems of Man—Transience, Meaning, and Limitation—Without Fear. Affirmation of its own Organic Essence will be the Ultimate Test of the Human Mind. This is, in Essence, the Ecological Conscience.
The battle to feed humanity is over. Unlike battles of military forces, it is possible to know the result of the population-food conflict while the armies are still "in the field." Sometime between 1970 and 1985 the world will undergo vast famines—hundreds of million of people are going to starve to death. That is, they will starve to death unless plague, thermo-nuclear war, or some other agent kills them first. Many will starve to death in spite of any crash programmes we might embark upon now. And we are not embarking upon any crash programme. These are the harsh realities we face....
The United States Department of Agriculture has predicted that the curve representing possible exportable US grain surpluses will intersect the curve representing the food aid requirements of 66 developing countries in 1984. The United States, as the only world power with a prospect of food surpluses, should take immediate action in two areas. First, it must set an example for the world by establishing a crash programmed to limit its own serious "population explosion." Then it must establish tough and realistic policies for dealing with the population crisis at the international level, We can hope that other Western countries will follow suit.
The first step would be to establish a Federal Population Commission with a large budget for propaganda—propaganda which encourages reproductive responsibility. This Commission would be charged with making clear the connection between rising population and lowering quality of life.
The second step would be to change American tax laws so that they discourage rather than encourage reproduction. The income tax system should eliminate all deductions for children, and replace them with a graduated scale of increases. It must be made clear to the American population that it is socially irresponsible to have large families. Creation of such a climate of opinion has played a large role in Japan's successful dealing with her population problem.
Third, the United States should pass federal laws which make introduction in birth control methods mandatory in all public schools. Federal legislation should endorse the right of any woman to have an abortion which is approved by her physician.
Fourth, the pattern of federal support of biomedical research should be changed so that the majority of it goes into the broad areas of population regulation, environmental sciences, behavioural sciences and related areas, rather than into shortsighted programmes on death control.
The world today reminds one of the fabled man who jumped off the floor of a 50 storey building. As he passed the second floor he was heard to say "Things have gone pretty well so far".