Letter: No need for panic

By The Daily Illini

I would like to commend Alex Dunkel for his Friday column which stimulated thought on campus about the issue of overpopulation. It is an important problem that humanity must solve, and by involving more people, we have a better shot at finding real, workable solutions. I must dispute, however, the “immediate” seriousness of the problem and his claim that population management would require “horrific” policy changes.

The problem with Dunkel’s population projections is the phrase “if the current rate of growth were to remain steady.” The United Nations Population Division estimates that global population growth will decrease from 1.22 percent to 0.33 percent by 2050 with a total world population of 9 billion. Noting this natural decrease and the recent evidence of successful birthrate reduction in nearly every third-world country through increased contraception availability and education, I suggest there is little reason to panic and take immediate, drastic action. We will end up with a global population problem if we do nothing, but there are 46 more years before 2050, and in that time, we can implement less radical contraception-based population control to further suppress birth rates and even to create negative population growth. There is no reason on population control grounds to support abortion or any other radical policy, but there is reason to support global increases in contraception and family-planning education.

While I’m not saying Alex Dunkel’s column didn’t raise other important

political questions (it did, in fact), I am merely suggesting there is no need for panic. We already have the tools – the contraceptive technology – needed to solve the population control problem. We need not do anything drastic or make horrific ethical decisions; all we need to do now is to teach more people the value of using those tools.

Daniel J. Parente

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sophomore in engineering