It's Getting Crowded

Lou Lotz

READ : Genesis 1:28-31

Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it. (v. 28)

“Be fruitful and multiply,” said God. I wonder if today God is saying, “Not that
fruitful!” In 1804 there were a billion people on this planet originally built for two.
World population doubled to two billion by 1927—just 123 years. It doubled again to 4
billion in 1974—just 47 years. In 1999 we broke 6 billion, and we’ll pass 7 billion
in 2013.

You don’t have to be a mathematician to see the collision course between the earth’s
resources and the teeming millions who clamor for them. Third-world overpopulation and
first-world overconsumption are sorely taxing what environmentalists call the “carrying
capacity” of planet Earth. Whatever the problem—global warming, the world AIDS
epidemic, pollution control—overcrowding only makes it worse.

Unlike a lot of disasters, this one is preventable. There are steps we can take. Use
fewer resources. Encourage adoption. Support voluntary family planning. Perhaps the most
important step is to empower women, which is the surest way to slow the birthrate in
developing nations, says the Worldwatch Institute. Ours may be the last generation that
can stabilize population growth with education and voluntary measures. The question is not
what we should do but whether we’ll do it.


Lord, make me a better steward of this earth and its resources. Amen.