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1 Monique Gentry Sarah Hughes English 1101-004 October 28, 2013 Should methods of population control be used globally?

Disease, war, famine, and global warming are some of the major troubles the human population is faced with today. There are organizations dedicated to aiding and preventing these issues, but the problems that we face as a species are only the symptoms of a greater issue. The source of most of our troubles is the growing population. Disease, war, and famine are all heightened as the human population increases. With more people on the planet every resource becomes more valuable, and with every year humans decide to continue burning fossil fuels and cut down expanses forests, the worse our living conditions become due to pollution. Of course steps should be made towards solving major issues such as peace among nations, advancing in the field of medicine, and protecting the planet from air and water pollution; but one thing every person can do to truly aid the planet is to decide to help reduce the population. To benefit the worlds millions of other organisms that we share the earth with, and to help improve the living conditions for the human species, a conversation on population control is necessary on a global scale. The morality of population control has been questioned time and time again. Legislation such as Chinas one child policy is extreme and unnecessary because methods of education along with the use of contraception have shown to be just as effective. Even with peaceful and non-forceful methods of population control there is still controversy as to whether it is appropriate to call for people to reduce their rates of reproduction. Specifically, the Catholic community has frowned upon any unnatural methods of preventing births other than celibacy, which is not a practical solution for the 7.2 billion people on earth. On the other hand, the scientific community sees a need for population reduction

2 using a variety of methods. Education is the main need for the global population to be benefited, but other methods such as contraceptives should be used as well. The subject of population control has been discussed among the catholic community, and their view is not to reproduce as much as humanly possible, but to do so only when the conditions are right. Information on this is easily accessible on the Vatican website which contains a record of statements released by the church including the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. In this church document, there is commentary on means of reducing population growth. As far as methods to prevent birth, abortion is considered a horrible act which destroys an innocent life. The idea of contraceptives also goes against the church because it promotes not only a level of promiscuity but the idea of going against nature by consciously preventing conception. Abstinence is the main method of birth control promoted by the church. The Catholic Church expressed specifically the extent of their disapproval of the use of contraceptives in this document by writing, All programmes of economic assistance aimed at financing campaigns of sterilization and contraception, as well as the subordination of economic assistance to such campaigns, are to be morally condemned (Compendium). While the church may have strict values set forth for the continuing of human life, they also understand that there are realistic conditions that make it inappropriate to bring a child into the world. The desire to be a parent does not justify a right to children; a level of stability must be present. This includes emotional and economic stability within the family so that any new child brought into the world is guaranteed a decent upbringing. The parents are to only reproduce with due consideration of their obligations towards themselves, their children already born, the family and society (Compendium). The idea of considering all of these factors, especially society, in such an intimate decision seems to really illustrate the idea of selflessness and putting others before oneself. Overall the catholic ideal of benefiting society is admirable, but their means of reducing population by abstinence is unreasonable not only because it has been tried time and time again, showing no effect on the world population growth, but also because

3 it goes against human nature to simply not engage in sex. Similarly to the catholic ideal of selflessness, much of the scientific community encourages the idea of reducing population for the good of society. One of the most pressing issues when it comes to overpopulation is something that effects every human on earth: the ever growing demand for resources in the world. This demand will not disappear anytime soon, and with more children being born each day, these resources are becoming scarcer with the passing of time. A statement about population growth and natural resources seen on a website created by the Optimum Population Trust states, Numbers are now projected to rise from seven billion in 2010 to between eight and eleven billion by 2050. It is unlikely that an equivalent increase in food production can be repeated without the use of significantly more energy, water and fertiliser, inputs which are themselves limited and may also be vulnerable to climate change (Population Matters). Now that we have explored these conflicting sides of this issue, what would each say to the question of whether methods of population control should be used globally? From the research I have done on the catholic social doctrine, I believe they would agree with increasing education in general, but the church would certainly disapprove advocating any methods of contraceptive use. While encouraging the public to live a righteous lifestyle that encourages abstinence is quite admirable, it is also extremely unlikely that all 7.2 billion people on the planet will adhere to that ideal which makes it an unreasonable approach to population control.

4 Works Cited Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. Vatican: Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Web. April 2005 George, Marie I. Environmentalism and Population Control: Distinguishing Pro-Life and Anti-Life Motives. The Catholic Social Science Review. V 18. (2013): 71-90. Academic OneFile. Web. 30 October 2013. Kuo, Gioietta. Mega Crisis? Overpopulation is the Problem. World Future Review. (Fall 2012) Academic OneFile. Web. 30 October 2013 Malthus, Thomas. An Essay on the Principle of Population. (1798.) Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project. Web. 1998 Population Matters. Optimum Population Trust, 2013. Web. 31 October 2013. How Many People Can Live on Planet Earth? Films On Demand. Films Media Group, 2009. Web. 3 Nov. 2013. <http://0-digital.films.com.lrc.cod.edu/PortalPlaylists.aspx?aid=148&xtid=41688>.