Thanks to medical advances people are living longer. Together with an increase in the number of births and the influx of immigrants it is responsible for the rapid rise in our population.
A great deal of time and money is spent trying to improve our present living standards while not nearly enough thought and consideration seems to be given to maintaining and preserving that which our future generations will inherit.
How long will it be before the number of residents in this small country becomes too large to be tenable?
Less than two hundred years ago there were large continents, unchanged for centuries, where the human population lived in unison with their natural surroundings. We assume their life was hard and a constant struggle but who can say they were worse off or less happy than people who grow up in the civilized world? Their lives were completely governed by their environment and the penalty for not abiding by the laws of nature often proved to be fatal.
Ever since the world was created mother nature has had her own way of keeping things under control. Until man interfered, every form of life was mapped out and balanced by its association with the species that surrounded it. Animals and birds fed on smaller creatures and insects.
Then, in the cycle of things, some of them became the victims of larger predators. Most mammals tend to give birth to far more offspring than they are able to bring up naturally. In their wild state they all have enemies waiting for the chance to steal the eggs or their offspring before they are big enough and able to defend themselves. All forms of life, in every region on earth, had and still have their adversaries.
As a result of man’s medical advances more babies are now born healthy and we no longer lose so many of them at birth. Third world countries are not so fortunate and there are lots of reasons why such a large proportion of their children die at an early age. Malnutrition, disease and lack of medical supplies all play a part. Those that do go on into adulthood probably have a life expectancy of no more than fifty years.
When the Rickshaw boys were a popular means of transport in South East Asia they were lucky if they reached forty. All of those living in undeveloped parts of the world who don’t die naturally from old age or from accidents resulting from their own actions might well be caught up in major disasters such as earthquakes, forest fires or storms and floods. Even those indulged in pointless wars, often waged against their own people, can become victims and reminded they are still subject to the ruthless control nature has over our planet.
Somehow, the civilized world seems to escape from a great deal of this with most of our disasters being man-made and not nearly as devastating. Perhaps our big catastrophe will come when the population peaks and the present excessive over indulgence is no longer sustainable.
At one end of our life cycle we are living longer and at the other more children are being born. Many babies are not planned and are conceived by young women who have no intention of settling down to give their children a stable home.
Each year as more couples turn away from the contract of marriage and shun all idea of contributing to a traditional family unit, the number of them depending on support from the state continues to increase.
What steps should be taken to control this growing population? Or is it already too late? China saw a similar problem of over population developing and restricted every family to one or two children each. Our younger generations are probably too emancipated to accept such legislation from any government. In any case, the disregard for family life as our forefathers knew it makes any such idea impracticable. Perhaps the only way is through education! Or have we gone too far down this road already? Would it be fair to put this added responsibility on teachers?
The problem of over population is a serious one and should be put high on the agenda alongside global warming, Air pollution, power supplies etc.
If there are already questions as to how our present needs can be met, what hope is there for the future when the country is overcrowded and much more of our fertile land lost to housing estates, shopping centres, factories, business parks and the infrastructure supporting them.
valley lad – [THIRTEEN]