Resolution on Population Growth

WHEREAS, mammalian populations that exceed the carrying capacity of their environments exhibit many typical characteristics prior to drastic population declines or "crashes;" and

WHEREAS, the world human population today is exhibiting these traits and is increasing at an exponential rate which now adds 1.3 million new people each week to the world population; and

WHEREAS, incomplete figures indicate that between one and two billion people are today undernourished, and between 4 and 10 million will starve to death this year, and there is no possibility that agricultural production can be increased rapidly enough even to maintain present standards of nutrition if the population continues to increase at the present rate; and

WHEREAS, modern technology depends to a large extent on nonrenewable natural resources, such as petroleum, that are rapidly being exhausted; and

WHEREAS, the expansion of this technology is causing a rapidly accelerating pollution and destruction of the environment-such as air pollution which contributes to respiratory and other diseases, pollution of lakes and streams which destroys water and fishery resources, and the poisoning of the entire biosphere-including man himself-by persistent pesticides such as DDT; and

WHEREAS, many renewable natural resources are being overexploited and reduced to a point far below their maximum sustainable yield; and

WHEREAS, increased crowding and deprivation of large segments of the human population may be the most important factors leading to increased massive social and behavioral disruptions; and

WHEREAS, in many parts of the world, populations already depend upon imports of food for their survival, and the population of the United States probably already exceeds the optimum size for maintaining a desirable standard of living in terms of aesthetic values, lack of overcrowding, preservation of open spaces, and other factors conducive to mental and physical health and well being; and

WHEREAS, all the preceding facts indicate that a massive population decline is inevitable; and

WHEREAS, actions by the responsible political leaders of the United States and other nations to lessen the effects of this impending disaster seem to have been consistently too little and too late; and

WHEREAS, the growth of populations, now makes the solution of a host of major political, social, and individual problems more difficult and will eventually make satisfactory solutions impossible;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the American Society of Mammalogists voices its gravest concern to the President of the United States, and the United States Congress, and the Governors of the 50 States, officials at other levels of government, and to the people themselves, in the hope that they will assume immediately their responsibilities to take large-scale, effective, and unprecedented action to curb population growth, by promoting birth control, legalizing abortion, reducing tax incentives for natality, and by such other acts as may be needed to realize the larger goal of survival of the human species under acceptable conditions.