From ............ Daily News Miner

November 23, 1996

Now that Pope John Paul II admitted the obvious that evolution is not just a theory, perhaps he next will admit that uncontrolled population growth is a threat to human survival, which is equally obvious.

The recent World Food Summit in Rome would have been an excellent platform for the pontiff to announce that worldwide population control is needed to prevent the human race from fouling its one and only nest—this tiny and delicate spaceship we call Earth.

This planet does not have unlimited resources. Without population control, humans are quite capable of eating and consuming themselves out of house and home.

Other species have natural biological checks on their breeding but still experience massive die-offs when population explosions during periods of plenty are followed by food shortages. But humans have evolved to the point that they can breed year round regardless of the ability of their offspring to survive.

Humans must depend upon their own intelligence and good sense to not produce children they cannot sustain. So far, this species is demonstrating that it is not as intelligent or as sensible as many of our sort like to think.

After ridiculing the goals agreed upon by participants in the World Food Conference Cuban dictator Fidel Castro wangled a private audience with the pope.

Perhaps Castro, who renounced his [Roman] Catholic heritage and failed miserably to feed his own people, convinced Pope John Paul II that the church should support birth control to stave off world hunger.

For his part, perhaps the pope convinced Castro to stop Cuba's birth control efforts, end suppression of the Catholic Church and adopt capitalism.

More likely, neither man budged from his deeply held beliefs. That's a shame.

Castro has been looking for some new sugar daddy to help feed his people following the collapse of the Soviet Union, which did a rotten job feeding its own people. Instead of looking for a handout to prop up his dictatorship, Castro should return Cuba to the free enterprise system. Allowing his people to control their own destinies, however, would mean the end to his power and his grand socialist experiment. That would never do.

All is not hopeless. Humans possess the intelligence to prevent overpopulation, end world hunger and not destroy the planet in the process. Agricultural advances over the past several decades have shown an amazing ability for modern farmers to produce enough food to feed the world. Just as important, educational efforts in enlightened nations have achieved zero population growth as well as increased the standard of living for their citizens.

The sad fact that 11,000 children die every day of starvation and malnutrition is not yet due to the inability to feed the world. Reasons that so many of the world's 5.7 billion humans go to bed hungry is due to inept agricultural policies, pollution, poverty, overused water and land resources, worldwide loss of fishing stocks, war, cultural and religious beliefs and, of course, normal human frailties such as greed and lust for power.

Nations need to institute policies that will ensure that their people have enough to eat. Governments should remove policies that inhibit their farmers from participating in a free and open global marketplace.

In addition, world leaders have a responsibility to curb the world's population growth, which is expected to hit 8 billion in little more than three decades. At some point, population growth will outstrip agricultural production despite technological advances.

At that time, the evolution of humans will either come to an end or suffer a severe setback due to the refusal of the species to practice birth control.

Rowland Nethaway is senior editor of the Waco [Texas] Tribune-Herald. E-mail:RNeth@aol.com

"Humans must depend upon their own intelligence and good sense to not produce children they cannot sustain. So far, this species is demonstrating that it is not as intelligent or as sensible as many of our sort like to think." -[in sidebox]

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Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Saturday, November 23,1996