Media hype fosters fear of overpopulation

By , Marvin Gregory, Matthew Orr, and Larry Caldwell

Regarding your June 22 article "How many people does it take to change the world?": The subhead states, "With six billion people and counting, Planet Earth is at a crossroads on coming to terms with population growth."

This was more than mere headline hype. Despite quoting several demographers to the effect that depopulation is the real problem, the article strains to reach the conclusion that the world is overpopulated, or soon will be. The article states, without offering any evidence whatsoever, that if Africans don't complete their demographic transition soon (to low birth rates), they will overwhelm not only their own resources, but those of the whole world. The world's most underpopulated (except for Australia) yet resource-rich continent overwhelmed by population growth? In how many generations?

The view that the world is overpopulated and thus running out of resources is scientifically unsound and hopelessly out of step with reality. Yet the media continue to publish stories on the threat of rising human numbers and the impending scarcities and pollution that will supposedly result.

Recommended: Inventions that were going to change the world – but didn’t

Steve Mosher Front Royal, Va. President, Population Research Institute

Technology can't ease oil demand

Your June 28 article "Oil shock hurts less in Info Age" is a little off the mark. We as a nation may have become more energy efficient because of computers, but that really doesn't state our energy problem as it exists today. What is really happening is that we are running out of oil that we ourselves produce. The world is fast approaching its peak in the production of oil, and the Gulf States are the only ones holding strong reserves.

Check the World Almanac. We have only 22.5 billion barrels of oil remaining out of a 214 barrel endowment. Our ability to maintain a balance of half domestic and half imported oil to fuel our economy and a vast nationwide army of private vehicles and trucks is dropping like a stone. Although we may plead with the Gulf States to maintain high production in order to keep prices low, it does not follow that they will be able to bring their production up high enough to meet our demand. The consequence is that we most likely will face high prices for our petroleum products from here on out, and communication technology has nothing to do with it.

Marvin Gregory Renton, Wash.

Lower gas prices not the solution

In "European gas prices hit Midwest" (June 27), the Monitor joins the rest of the media in awakening to our energy woes. But why is it suddenly news that we pay too much for travel? For decades, American consumers and automakers have spurned technologies in fuel efficiency that double (or better) the distance traveled per dollar. If ineptly employed technology and bad consumer choices aren't enough to spotlight the ways we waste money on oil, then let us hope that higher fuel prices will. The epiphany would promise independence from OPEC, clean ecosystems, breathable air, and a stable climate.

Matthew Orr San Francisco

Large salmon run this year

Your article "Salmon protection plan with a sharp fin" (June 22) on the adequacy of the federal Salmon Protection Plan could have mentioned that this year is seeing the largest salmon run in decades. Pacific salmon spend most of their life in the ocean. The size of returning runs is highly dependent on favorable ocean conditions, which are completely beyond our control.

Larry Caldwell Myrtle Creek, Ore.

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