"If we don't halt population growth with justice and compassion, it will be done for us by nature, brutally and without pity - and will leave a ravaged world." Nobel Laureate, Dr. Henry W. Kendall
Throughout the spring and summer each year, various cultures from around the globe focus on renewal, fertility and rebirth. While some may be renewing their dedications to their spiritual paths, or nurturing the garden promising abundant gifts, still others are preparing for the most valued treasure of all...the conception or birth of a child!
Our genetic instincts and emotions both, drive us to procreate, but according to awareness groups such as WOA!!, we should be considering the potential negative impacts upon our offspring, the environment and society as a whole, before choosing to reproduce (or mass-reproduce).
For some, spiritual leanings seem to influence the desire to multiply, and while the basic human right to conceive is not (and should not be) up for debate, I personally wrangle with some adverse feelings about couples who appear as if they're trying to re-populate an entire planet single-handedly. We sometimes see a glimpse of their lives on reality TV, or hear their childrens' names being called out when it's time to leave the soccer field - as if someone were reciting half of the names from the books of the Old Testament.
The unfortunate truth is that, unlike the families who are ready to raise children as mentioned above, over one-third of the human population growth can be attributed to incidental or unplanned pregnancies. These children are more likely to grow up in poverty or become statistical data for any number of sociology studies. The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division is one such group. They've recently submitted a 240-page population projection report.
According to the tabulations from the United Nations recent report, the global population is "projected" to reach about 10 billion persons (up from the current 6.9 billion worldwide) by the year 2050. These figures, however, are based upon the continuation of current trends and cannot be counted as absolute, since it is impossible to accurately "predict" population changes given the wide range of variables affecting population growth or decline.
While worries of the Earth's ability to sustain such a burden continue to circulate the Internet, nowhere in the UN's report does it state that their findings should be a cause for alarm, nor does it state the opposite. Emphasis IS made, however, on improving the availability of reproductive care and contraception, especially among under-developed regions, where population growth - due to a lack of these services - has steadily advanced over the years.
Fertility Rites then, in my opinion, should be modified only to the extent of promoting continued responsibility, awareness of the impact upon Mother Earth, and channeling our efforts to assist in providing reproductive care and contraception to those in need. During our modern Fertility Rites and Rituals, perhaps focus should be increased upon the fertility of the Earth itself, as we work toward achieving the unified and primary goal of healing our planet.
The opening quotation of this post lends merit to my own conclusions: Balance WILL be achieved, between the Earth and those draining her resources, with or without our assistance in the matter. Heading into the future, while holding fast to selfish ways or ignorance, will likely result in some very unpleasant changes, for all of the inhabitants of Earth, as she is forced to respond to the abuses we, as a whole, inflict upon her.
Inspired by her Native American roots and Bradbury lineage, Polly Taskey is a writer and grandmother in the northern USA. She shares her wisdom and pagan interests through Pagan by Design and The Moonlit Grove.