Regarding Human Overpopulation

WHEREAS, there is an upper limit to the number of people that can be supported on Earth without severe deterioration of the environment, reduction in the quality of life, and massive die-offs; and

WHEREAS, it took approximately four million years of doubling to reach a population of 2 billion in 1930, but only another 45 years to double to 4 billion (about 1975); and

WHEREAS, we are on the way toward doubling again with a population of 5.4 billion, which is far above the level which the Earth can sustain without serious damage, as evidenced by worldwide ecological problems; and

WHEREAS, we continually learn of new threats to the world environment, such as worldwide contamination of the air, water, and land, ozone depletion, carbon dioxide buildup, loss of natural habitats, depletion of natural resources, shortages of food, water, and fuel, species extinctions, spread of damaging exotic species, increasing tension among the world's nations, lack of suitable disposal methods for solid and hazardous waste, and alarming increases in the real extent of deserts worldwide; and

WHEREAS, the realization is upon us that we are destroying our own habitat, the planet Earth, upon which our lives depend; and

WHEREAS, all environmental and many social problems are interrelated with and dependent upon human numbers; and

WHEREAS, if we ignore the implications of unimpeded human population increase, then environmental catastrophes such as famine or disease will be forced on all of the world's people; and

WHEREAS, it is morally wrong to continue to destroy the world for our children and grandchildren, rather than leaving our descendants with the legacy we inherited; and

WHEREAS, stabilizing human numbers is an imperative first step toward addressing present day ecological problems and can provide additional time and opportunity to solve them; and

WHEREAS, a reasonable number of humans can lead a high quality, productive life, but the human population must be stabilized at a sustainable level; and

WHEREAS, if our children and grandchildren are to inherit a livable world environment, it is imperative that we act now to take major corrective measures; and

WHEREAS, human population growth is the most crucial problem of the world today, dwarfing associated problems such as war, disease, pollution, famine, and drugs;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The American Society of Mammalogists, meeting at Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington, 19-23 June 1993, urges the political and religious leaders to acknowledge that solving the human population problem is essential to human survival, to promote a climate in which population limits can be established and worldwide birth control information can be disseminated and in which incentives can be established for having fewer children so as to ensure a high quality of life for all of the world's people. We must attack this problem with the commitment that we devote to national defense to prevent leaving to our children a legacy of insurmountable problems that lead to the destruction of the life support system of our planet.