Connections 2000 June

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January
Race, Class, and Civil Rights
February
Poverty, Homelessness, and Unemployment
March 
Imperialism and Economic Injustice
April 
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May 
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June 
Population
July 
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August 
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September 
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October
Democracy and Religion
November
Hunger and Health Care
December 
Children
A family attends Grandpa's deathbed.

June: Population, Birth and Death --
Consider the links among all of the foregoing months' sub-topics PLUS family planning, reproductive rights, sexuality education, equality for women, feminism, parenting, infant mortality, use of natural resources, environmental degradation, crowding, hunger, violence, Catholicism, birth controls, starvation, disease, child abuse, sexual abuse, criminal justice systems, prisons, courts, cops, prejudice, terrorism, torture, abortion, anti-abortion, animals, meat eating, vegetarianism, homicide, suicide, gangs, rape, assault, incest, guns, funerals, styles of birthing and dying...

Sometime on October 12, 1999, somewhere on this dear planet of ours, the six billionth baby will be born. This child will be 12 years younger than the five billionth baby, and perhaps only 11 years older than the seven billionth baby.

In the northwest coastal regions of this continent, the huckleberries are blossoming and the bears are yawning and stretching, looking forward to midsummer feasting on the succulent, purple globes. However, berry pickers from Seattle may beat them to it. Commercial berry pickers, eager to make a living, have created efficient, systematic methods, far faster than tin pails and hands of native American children of the coastal areas, popping every twentieth berry into their mouths. There may not be enough for the bears, or the children, or the birds and smaller animals who spread the seeds, to assure ongoing plants or the insects who devour the remains, or for the soil that once was enriched by the berries.

Expanding population without equally expanding earth ethics will use natural resources down to the bone. Population growth is not new. It has always through history been a threat to peace and resources. What is new is the immense, nearly incomprehensible scale of the problem as it has emerged in the late 20th century. It took 3.5 million years of human evolutionary history for the human population to reach 2.5 billion, which occurred in 1950. But it took only 35 years more to reach 5.0 billion!

Children born in the United States, in their lifetimes, will consume 13 times more resources than their counterparts in Brazil. If we want a peaceful world, a sustainable planet, the full and intricate web of life that has been our legacy until now, we must make vast changes in how we think of each human life. Children who are planned for, treasured, and educated deeply will be part of a sustainable world. We hold the key. If we want to continue to have huckleberries to pick, huckleberries for bears, huckleberries to add to the earth's mantle, we must work with all of our hearts to shift direction, live simply and protect the earth.

Live simply and protect the earth.


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