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More babies cause more problems

Published: Sunday, January 6, 2008

Updated: Sunday, February 15, 2009 16:02

More than 6,000,000,000 and rising. That is the U.S. Census Bureau's world population clock estimate as of Jan. 6, 2008 5:00 p.m EST. The Bureau also estimated that in the year 2006, Florida alone carried 18,089,888 people. That number is surely higher as we enter into 2008.

If you take a moment to stop and look around, you will see the effects of our booming population right in Central Florida. UCF carries that heavy burden, and it appears in some of the students' most irritable day-to-day occurrences. Can't find any parking today? Can't find a seat in that 200-capacity class? Can't get into the class you need to graduate? These are all direct results of a population that is spinning out of control and a world that is trying to draw more resources from an already empty pool in order to keep up.

The results of a population that is too big for its own good are wreaking havoc not only on the Earth's environment but also on the human well-being. More people equals more energy, more oil, more food, more everything.

The clearing of land, whether to mass produce crops or to suck out a few billion barrels of oil, is happening at an alarming rate. Some species are displaced, but most die. Rivers and oceans are polluted with mining, and fisheries are depleted. Water is running out and rivers are drying up. The atmosphere is heating up and the pollution levels are rising. The list goes on and on.

And all these woes have a direct impact on our lives as well. We must breathe the very air we sully. We must drink the very water that is running dirty and going dry.

Yet perhaps most disheartening of all is the loss of kinship among our fellow human beings. More than forty-eight thousand people attend UCF today. With the nonstop expansion of our school we see a decrease in intimate attention both from professors and among fellow Knights. As our population soars here and elsewhere it begins to feel less and less like a home. Overpopulation causes a detachment - mentally and sometimes physically - from the environment around you. A feeling of being just one small piece of a gigantic puzzle increases feelings of loneliness, isolation and depression.

Maybe it's time to take a hard look at why we continue to insist on the overindulged lifestyles that we perpetuate. There are three self-involved reasons why people continue to reproduce in the face of an overpopulated world.

First, some insist on defying nature itself. When pregnancy isn't in their cards, they opt for in vitro fertilization. Surely Mother Nature did not have this in mind when she counted on certain checks and balances to ensure the survival of the planet. Those whose fate is that of infertility should feel less like victims and try to accept their outcome in life, rather than using science to make a baby in a petri dish. They will be doing a far greater deed to the overall population and Earth if they consider adoption.

Second, many people have kids to carry on their lineage. They fear that when they die they will leave no legacy behind, and having a child seems like the best way to ensure their immortality. But this is not the 1800s, people. There is no need for this kind of irrational thinking anymore. Chances are, you have relatives all over the globe by now.

And lastly, many people have kids because they were just too caught up in the moment to grab protection. By blatantly choosing a few moments of uninterrupted pleasure over protecting yourself, you are adding another child to this Earth, and not only you but every one of us will carry that heavy burden. The world is interconnected, and we all carry the weight of another mouth to feed in some way or another.

Let's face it, in 2008 everyone in this world should be aware of at least one way to have safe sex and if they're not then much of the blame extends to the educational system, as well as the parents for not educating a youth that is becoming sexually active earlier and earlier every year. Without proper education on the basic facts of sex, teens tend to rely on myths and skewed information that they obtain from their peers. This leads them to make ill-informed decisions that can cause them to wind up pregnant. They must be told how and where to acquire protection so they're not left out in the cold to figure it out on their own.

So what else can be done about this breeding problem? Some offer the "one-child-per-person" route. Others insist on adoption of the millions of already-born children without a home. Yet some are more radical and are trying to take direct action against Earth's most invasive species (i.e. humans).

A growing number of people are jumping on board to what is called the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement. Their motto, "May we live long and die out," seems to accurately illuminate their goal. Described as a movement or a concept, VHEMT, comprising supporters and volunteers, realizes the plight of our planet due to overpopulation and makes a personal commitment not to add another human to it. Some believe that we should voluntarily "phase ourselves out for the good of humanity and planet." They feel the battle in accomplishing their goal is against human greed, ignorance and oppression.

Although very different, all of these alternatives to breeding share one thing in common: They reflect compassion for a greater good. They demonstrate that qualities such as reason and humility are not dead but steadily emerging from their slumber. They help promote a duty we have to our future and our planet, the place we call home. When contemplating the thought of having children in the 21st century, a utilitarian perspective must be added to personal wants and desires. There is simply no room left for anything less.

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