Teresa Audesirk: Population control
February 3, 2010
Like so many Routt County residents, I treasure our beautiful open spaces, our abundant wildlife and our community — where I so often see friendly and familiar faces. In small towns, individuals find a sense of belonging and confidence that they can make a difference.
Unfortunately, as planet Earth becomes increasingly crowded, places such as ours are becoming increasingly rare. It is easy to take relatively unspoiled natural beauty for granted. But with human numbers currently at more than 6.8 billion and growing, planet Earth is losing its wild places at an unprecedented rate. As painful as it is to confront the need to voluntarily limit births, the consequences of failing to do so will be far worse. Our efforts to tread lightly, conserve energy, maintain wildlife habitat, and protect the environment that sustains us are underminded as we require Earth to support about 75 million additional people each year.
Many here and throughout the U.S. are working to reduce their consumption of resources, but in order to make any real overall progress, each year we must consume enough less to more than compensate for the demands of the 2.6 million people added annually to the U.S. ranks. Continued population growth forces us — like the Red Queen in "Through the Looking Glass" — to run fast just to stay in the same place. To prevent our best conservation efforts from becoming mere holding actions, population stabilization must become a cornerstone of environmental stewardship.