Letter to the editor: Earth rebelling against overpopulation. Will we listen?

I want to share my thoughts on the topic of overpopulation, the topic of recent letters to the editor by David Van Vleck and Father Luke Austin. In my view, overpopulation is an underlying cause of many of our current problems worldwide. Climate change, access to clean water, migration of refugees, political unrest and the ongoing Sixth Great Extinction are just a few of the problems confronting us which are linked to human overpopulation. We have lost sight of the fact that we, as a species, are just one part of an intricate web of life on this planet.
As a practicing Christian, I call this web of life God’s Creation. And the fast growing human population has the web of Earth’s systems out of balance. Nothing in nature grows endlessly… in the human body, those cells that do just keep reproducing are called cancer, and they often end up killing their host.
Human populations also cannot grow endlessly. We may look around us in Vermont, and see plenty of space, but that space is home to other creatures and organisms, all part of the natural system that we depend upon. We talk about the carrying capacity of natural areas for deer, moose, bear, etc. and there is also a carrying capacity for our species and it is more than just enough physical space for housing and growing food.
It’s my belief that we have surpassed that carrying capacity, and that Earth’s systems are trying to curb our population growth (increased infertility rates; diseases such as Ebola, Zika, Lyme, etc.; increased suicides, wars etc,) and regain balance.
If human populations keep growing, we will crash Earth’s natural systems, (this is happening now…) and there will be much suffering. We have the intelligence to understand this, but the larger question is, will we have the ability and self-restraint to think beyond our individual desires, and consider the larger good, and the needs of future Earth inhabitants, both human and non-human.
Heidi Willis

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