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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
Print version ISSN 0256-9574

SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. vol.98 n.5 Pretoria May. 2008




Humans - a threat to humanity



J du Toit Zaaijman

Middelburg, E Cape



To the Editor: At last an editorial1 on the much-neglected topic of the sustainability limits of our globe. Thank you, Mr Editor, for your most informative, readable, and politically elegant essay. The bottom line is that if we don't do something about the overpopulation of our globe, we will reach the 9 billion mark possibly even before 2050, as predicted in your editorial. The earth is groaning, it is indeed gasping, probably already on a death bed of sorts. Agreed, it is not rocket science to figure out that too many people are being born. Something somehow will have to be done to popularise both male and female voluntary sterilisation once again. Certainly in the rural areas it seems to have been forgotten about. Small families must become the fashion. This is in keeping with World Health Organization recommendations and standards. I know of one heavyweight South African politician who already has 19 children and nevertheless recently got himself tied up in wedlock, for the umpteenth time, no doubt so as to have more babies with the lovely new young bride. So it would appear that (at least some) politicians need to be educated on the sustainability thing. It is also almost unbelievable that any government today can still encourage single-parent families by providing inappropriate social grants for babies born out of wedlock.

The leaders of at least some groups in the religion industry also need to be educated. Surely they cannot forever continue to protect their selfish, in-group taboos on basic contraception? What if we should all decide to take that sort of line?

As far as clean water, fresh air, open space, energy resources, food for the masses, etc. are concerned, it is obvious that we are facing an escalating crisis, basically because too many people are being born. I can only hope that every editor of every publication will do his or her educational bit, at every 'conceivable occasion'. Many thanks, Mr Editor, for your bit so far.

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