Poverty-stricken people need real assistance

Mr. Edwards objects to the idea of “a significant decrease of world population in order to combat hunger and environmental damage.”

I believe he is wrong. I consider worldwide population control a good thing to aim at, not because I am “elitist.” Anyone who takes a good look at population growth in the countries he mentions specifically, the UK and the US, will see a distinct trend toward much smaller families than in the past. The total fertility rate in the United States estimated for 2011 is 1.89 children per woman, which is below the replacement fertility rate of approximately 2.1. In my opinion, this is largely due to economics and education and the availability of birth control. Unfortunately, this trend means those who are best equipped to make the necessary changes worldwide are producing fewer children who will grow up to receive the kind of education that might enable them to see the large picture and form viable solutions to the problems we all face.

He goes on to say “There are poor and hungry people in this world because of warfare, famine, and selfishness.” With this statement, I most heartily agree. But I refuse to permit him or anyone to lay the “warfare, famine, and selfishness” at my feet. North Americans and Europeans send billions of dollars worth of  food, medicine, equipment, and educators to many of the countries where warfare, famine and greed run rampant. Sadly, the greed and selfishness is of the warlords, dictators disguised as “royalty” and priests of many ilk, prevent donations meant to help the poor from ever reaching them.

“Instead of … sending them contraception … provide … medicine and clean water … schools and hospitals… modern farming techniques…”

We cannot educate those who refuse to be educated, such as warlords, dictators, kings and priests. They do not wish to be educated. They are corrupt and not guided by the same moral values we hold. They have no desire to give up what they’ve won by blood and bullets or birth and are willing to hold on to with more blood and bullets. They do not choose to help their own peoples by fairly distributing the largesse provided by North Americans and Europeans. They use it instead as barter to buy more guns and ammunition to cement their privileged positions. Blame their materialism, not mine. I do not live in a gilded palace.  I do not have servants. I do not spend wildly on fast cars and big yachts. Do you, Mr. Edwards? Do many (or any) of the people you know and love?

“Preventing our neighbor from being born is not love, it’s the very definition of selfishness and must be rejected.”

No, Mr. Edwards, I reject your selfish and dogmatic suggestion that a woman must have as many children as your particular god decrees — whether she can adequately care for them or not. When I say “care for” I include the words love, protect, feed, shelter, clothe, and educate. If a parent cannot do that, she should be encouraged not to produce more children. I think the hide-bound ideology your statement above indicates is a sin and inhuman, as well as inhumane and certainly shows a great lack of love for your fellow human beings as well as for this over-crowded little planet where we all live. Poverty-stricken people everywhere need real assistance, not prayers and dogma and me giving up my materialistic electric toaster and microwave oven will not help provide for them, but showing them ways to have fewer children just might.

This Web site, for any who are interested, shows three different organizations’ estimate of world population growth percentages. I find it quite telling.

Judy Griffith Gill
Cahuita, Limón
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