By David Reed
Last month at Columbia University, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterrez spoke very forcefully in his speech “The State of the Planet,” including what the future inevitably holds if we humans do not act very, very quickly to stop overheating our planet. Perhaps we must now look outside the standard solution box, but first let’s examine some hard facts.
For years we have debated the question, “Is human-induced global warming a reality?” (Yes, it is.) Next, “Do we need to do something about it quickly?” (Yes, we do), then followed by the so-far-insoluble question: “What to do?” (See suggestion below.)
We humans are primarily responsible for global warming. The science is clear: There are too many of us on Earth demanding too many decreasing resources. Population is increasing exponentially while many resources on which we depend are declining. This cannot continue.
Lessons of history are clear: Regardless of what we hope for, we humans do not have a great reputation for sacrificing ourselves for others in need. Paris Accords actual actions reflect this truth.
Big picture: We humans simply cannot continue on the present trajectory — something must be done for the short and long term. Asking the world’s population to seriously sacrifice a lifestyle by wanting “less stuff” is not realistic. Slowing the rate of population growth is difficult but is realistic.
What to do?
Encouraging fewer births is difficult but practical. Women have increasingly risen to the front with demands that their needs be paid attention to. A major issue is that it should be a right for a woman to be able to choose to have fewer children — a right still not universally agreed and acted upon.
Being able to provide contraception to all families wanting it is vital but not financially feasible. Not all governments have the resources to finance such a plan, but nonetheless some needy recipients may not have the financial resources to purchase modern contraceptives.
One source is able to finance free contraception — contraceptive manufacturers that have made fortunes by greatly overpricing medications. Is it not high time that such companies and their stockholders now pay back for these excessive profits by freely providing what women desire and at the same time help the world slow the overpopulation that otherwise will end “life as we know it”?
It is the manufacturers’ stockholders, not the CEOs, who have the power to encourage change. Fighting one problem (global warming) by concentrating on reducing the obvious primary problem (overpopulation in violation of women’s rights) could provide one solution to address both problems.
How to start?
The only realistic way to start discussion and encourage needed worldwide action must be with clear leadership by a credible international body representing all nations and peoples, the primary job of which is human health: The U.N. World Health Organization.
Sounds far-fetched and difficult? Agreed. But the world is roasting. There is little time left to act. If not the above suggestion, what is your idea for action?
David Reed M.D., J.D., is a medical reviewer and researcher who lives in Longmont.
Credit: Source link