The World's Population Situation

The section on "World Population," July 8, is very interesting. But, I find it disturbing that our political leaders seem to be listening to economists rather than ecologists. I don't think President Bush (or Bill Clinton) has given a speech recently without emphasizing and advocating growth as a solution to our problems.

It seems our economic system has encouraged us to adopt a mentality that simply says "more is better." We seem unwilling to admit that the world's resources are finite or that we are diminishing our ability to support our increasing population. It's time to consider a modified capitalistic system, one that emphasizes sustainability rather than growth. As long as our culture holds growth as one of its primary tenets, there is no hope that future generations will have a chance of improving their quality of

life. Walter Czech, Denver

The article "Brazilians Face Population Dilemma," July 8, misrepresents the Catholic Church's position on family planning. Along with quoting Paul Burgess's mistaken assertion that "the hierarchy and the bishops in Rome" are against family planning, the article states that a "papal encyclical bans modern methods of birth control" and that "official church policy ... still strictly forbids fertility control." Church teaching is opposed to artificial means of birth control but permits some natural methods,

which, according to a World Health organization study, have an effectiveness at least as high as any other method. Michael M. Gorman, Amherst, N.Y., Department of Philosophy, State University of New York at Buffalo

The Monitor is to be applauded for the section on World Population; I feel obliged to criticize it, however, for giving the impression that the problem of overpopulation is a problem of the South. It is not just numbers that matter, but the impact of the numbers on the planet's resources. In "The Population Explosion" Paul and Anne Ehrlich estimated, based on energy use, that a baby born in the United States represents 35 times the destructive impact on the Earth's ecosystem as one born in India and 280 times that of one born in Chad, Rwanda, Haiti, or Nepal. Reduction of waste and affluence in the North can do much to reduce the overall impact. Eugene Peterson, Santa Barbara, Calif. Voters and color

In reading the article "Clinton makes Strong Pitch to Mid-America," June 26 - July 2 World Edition, I was struck by a certain dissonance with respect to the titular voting blocs mentioned. Whereas one could find "middle-of-the-road white voters" and "middle-class, white, Reagan Democrats," there existed only "black voters" and "blacks" in the words of the author or the analysts cited.

I was under the impression that black America had been shedding the effete skin of a politically predictable entity and that one could not ascertain voting preference based solely upon color.

Have not recent election figures borne out such a presumption, with black voters represented all over the political spectrum? As well, a quick summoning of some high-profile black Americans' names produced such discrepant voices as Colin Powell, Alice Walker, Clarence Thomas, and Spike Lee. Which one, then, is the black voter referred to in the piece? Andrew Heil, Prague

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