Readers Write (March 6): Population growth, economic growth, Mayo Clinic

  • Updated: March 5, 2013 - 6:53 PM

Illustration: Mailbox.

Photo: File, Tribune Media Services

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger


Debate over what the Earth can handle

I am writing in response to “Look askance all you’d like — we’ll make more” by David Paul Deavel (March 2). I suppose we should expect a defensive tone from an associate editor of Logos and a fellow of the Center for Catholic Studies at St. Thomas. Still, it is sad when intelligent and educated people ignore the facts and science of the population explosion.

The Earth’s population is now at 8 billion, and has doubled in 45 years. Some have said the carrying capacity of the planet is 2 billion. The surplus of people takes its toll on farmland, which has dropped by half per person since 1960.

It takes its toll on fresh water, which has dropped by half per person since 1960, and is causing our aquifers to dry up and water tables (as shown by White Bear Lake) to decrease. It takes its toll on our forests, which have also dropped by more than half. It takes its toll on oil and gasoline supplies, on fish stocks, on animals becoming extinct, on vital minerals and on other resources.

Our population is far beyond sustainable levels. Nearly every problem of the world can be traced to this basic problem.

Robert Kriesel, West Lakeland Township

• • •

I read with great concern a recent letter that asked of the Catholic Church: “Shouldn’t tackling the issue of overpopulation be a moral imperative?”

According to Austin Ruse and his essay “The Myth of Overpopulation and the Folks Who Brought it to You”:

“[T]he theory that the world is so awash in people that it will eventually die is false and it always has been. We will not run out of food, natural resources, or room. The theory is completely and dangerously false. The world now produces more food on less land than ever before. The world is awash in food. The problem is getting it to the hungry. Starvation occurs in the world today not from lack of food but generally as a result of bad policies or the use of starvation as a tool of war. Also, the cost of natural resources is now lower than forty years ago. Price is always a marker for availability: lower prices mean greater availability. Why are natural resources more plentiful? Simply because of our ingenuity. Mankind is better at getting natural resources out of the ground, whatever they are, and we are more efficient in their use.”

Therefore, birth control is not needed, since there is no such thing as overpopulation. End the myth.

This is why the Catholic Church and other organizations are committed to feeding the poor.

Phil McDonald, Eden Prairie

* * *


Only manufacturing can create wealth

In discussing the fiscal cliff, sequestration and the like, politicians and the media have misled the public by confusing economic activity with economic growth.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


  • about opinion

  • The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.

  • Submit a letter or commentary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters