The root cause of the problem of overpopulation is overconsumption. Mark Twain wrote, “Civilisation is the limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessaries”. Jesus Christ never said he came to make us financially better off generation by generation; he said he came to show us the way to the kingdom and commonwealth of God. Overconsumption of food for our own benefit is not the only problem; a greater challenge is the extinction of 50% of animals – except humans – on the earth since 1970. We consume space as well as food. We assume we have the freehold of the earth when we are, as Mrs Thatcher reminded us, only “tenants with a full repairing lease”. The earth is finite and so growth cannot be limitless. God has made creatures that are born, mature and die. Once creatures, or groups of creatures, reach maturity they have evolved to stop growing. The same is true of human society on earth. If we do not rapidly recall this, God’s ‘balance’, as the Qur’an puts it, will come into play. The most likely outcome is the exhaustion of resources and the upsurge of God’s unsung creatures such as bacteria and viruses to reduce our numbers.
The Rev Dr S Mogoba writes, “The land belongs to one large family, few of whom are alive, many of whom are dead, countless of whom are yet unborn”. People alive at present are only a tiny fraction of humanity through time. We need to love not just our neighbour in space but our “neighbour-in-time”. The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world we leave to our children.
David Attenborough writes, “All our environmental problems become easier to solve with fewer people and harder – and ultimately impossible – to solve with ever more people”. We can visit www.populationmatters.org to learn how to act personally, socially and corporately.
We need to cradle God’s shimmering blue and green earth in our loving hands. This can only be done by Christ-like acts on behalf of the whole of creation. If we do not, then it will be proven that we are the only species that destroys its own home.