The World’s 7-Billionth Baby Is a Gift, Not a Problem
Though it's almost impossible to predict when the world's population hit seven billion, demographers at the United Nations have decided that today is the day. Around the world the milestone has provoked some interesting reactions.
On the one hand, hospitals are welcoming babies with lavish ceremonies all day today. Children are being showered with special certificates and being given festive cakes, and newspapers are featuring babies on their front pages. All of this is refreshing for pro-life supporters. We live in a culture that generally considers pregnancy a disease or a problem to fixed, so all this excitement is a great sign.
(Here's a great photo essay with pictures of new babys from around the world.)
However the milestone has also roused the ire of alarmists. Instead of celebrating the seven billionth baby, they warn, we should lament this burgeoning population, an explosion that will eventually crush The Beloved Earth under the weight of our gluttonous consumption.
But is that really true?
According to the Population Research Institute (PRI) the answer is no. PRI is widely recognized as a global expert in population studies and continues to put the "overpopulation myth" to rest. They have a number of simple, informative videos on their website, Pop.org, to help people understand the truth about population. One of my favorite clips deals precisely with today's milestone.
The video below explains that, yes, our population has reached the mystical seven billion number and that this figure will continue to climb. However, because of mass contraception and abortion, global birth rates are frighteningly low.
The spiraling rates mean that the global population will peak in about the year 2040. After that, it will rapidly fall and, if current rates continue, will dip below seven billion again in about 75 years.
Pro-life advocates--and most demographers--would agree with alarmists that we have a serious population issue. Yet the problem is not that we have *too many* children. The problem is that we have too few. Since people are living longer and having less kids, we'll soon have a glut of older people and very few young people to support them. (Which also means euthanasia advocates will be louder in coming decades.)
So even if we ignore the traditional belief that children are profound gifts simply because they were made in the image of God, we can see how they are so desperately needed in many other ways. We need them for their ideas, their marriages, their support, their contributions--the unique gifts that only they can offer the world.
In today's world, the seven billionth baby is not a problem. He's a gift. And he's a solution.
If you have some time, check out this one-hour interview with Steven Mosher, head of the Population Research Institute. He not only debunks many population myths but makes these complicated issues easy to understand:
UPDATE: Steven Mosher has a great article today at National Catholic Register celebrating the seven billionth baby.