Native Intelligence - Controlling human population: A challenge we must face

By Jack D. Forbes
News From Indian Country 12-08

All over the Earth human beings are multiplying at staggering rates, threatening the human future as well as that of all other forms of life.

Our struggles against global warming, against environmental degradation, and against terrorism stemming from poverty and hopelessness, are all doomed to failure unless we stabilize population and even reduce it where we can.

Unfortunately, some countries are still committed to population growth or are unwilling to offer incentives for family planning. Several religious denominations are still blind to their role in contributing to increased population and resultant poverty. The oppression of women and their absence from education in many countries is also a major problem. 

Politicians are often unwilling to have the courage to speak out about the “population bomb.” They do not wish to offend powerful clerics, followers of pro-growth cults or members of ethnic groups or political groups who feel threatened by neighbors numerically (as for example, Israelis and Palestinians).

But the stakes are far too high! Here are a few ideas of how we might begin to move in a positive direction: first, in the USA we might end the tax deduction for more than two children. If parents wish to have more than two children, they may, but they should not be subsidized by the public.

Second, all adults having vasectomies or other procedures to permanently prevent impregnation, will be entitled to a tax deduction equal to the deduction for having a child. This would include women as well as men, but would not apply to abortions.

Third, devices to prevent impregnation, such as condoms and pills, will be made available to all persons above a certain age, free of charge.


Fourth, educational programs will be put in place to encourage mothers to nurse their children for as many years as possible, and to space children accordingly. Public spaces might be developed specifically for nursing mothers where they may nurse their children in a women-only setting if desired by the mother.

Parenting must be a required course of instruction in all schools, since raising children properly is one of the most important functions for many persons.

Internationally, it is vital that the rich nations of the world establish a fund to establish and subsidize schools throughout the world for every girl and every boy. These schools should fit in with the cultures and educational plans of the country where they are placed, but they must allow young women to go as high as they can. This is because literate and informed women, I would think, are a key to stabilizing population growth.

We must also plan for ways to maintain employment for people in a society where population growth is not taking place. Our ways of looking at economic activity must be weaned from a dependence on “growth.” What can we do if we are not building new suburbs, if we do not need new towns, and if the demand for construction flattens out?

Obviously, we will have to concentrate upon cleaning up the messes that we have created, fixing up decaying neighborhoods, repairing abused rivers and streams, and, in general improving the quality of life for all human beings.                

There will be plenty to do! But such a change will also depend upon providing funding to people who now cannot afford to fix up their homes, who cannot afford to go to college, who cannot now afford medical care, and on and on. In other words, a more just and equalitarian society will be needed.

I do not believe that many of our current politicians have the courage to speak the truth to us! But we, as citizens, must put them on the spot and force the issue. It is Mother Earth and future generations whose voices must be heard.

Jack D. Forbes bases his philosophy on Native American ideas of using Mother Earth sparingly and respectfully.