All women should have birth control

world population : Birth control is needed

Everyone gets full. 69 agriculture ministers decided on the weekend at the Green Week in Berlin. The 840 million who are currently starving did not mean they were concerned with the world's population in 2050. Aside from the fact that it is not difficult to decide on a distant goal that others must achieve - there is something bold about the promise. Because the area for agriculture will not increase significantly. But the number of people does. And that is exactly the problem of many future projects, from environmentally friendly agriculture - so the promise - to the vision of a climate-friendly energy supply to a reasonable standard of living for many.

Yield forecasts and emission paths are discussed. One important factor is often left out, however, population development. The United Nations has revised its forecasts upwards several times in the past few years. Experts are currently assuming 9.6 billion people in 2050 (today it is 7.2 billion). Better to ignore the forecast of eleven billion by 2100. The number pretends to be a certainty that does not exist.

Inevitably, such data - best represented in graphics with bold lines that threateningly upwards - lead to the names of Thomas Robert Malthus and Paul Ehrlich being mentioned. They prophesied that the earth could only carry a certain number of people and that catastrophic conditions threatened if the population explosion was not prevented. It turned out to be exaggerations. The famines that Ehrlich predicted in “The Population Bomb” of 1968 did not exist in many cases. The question is not how many people can live on earth (quite a lot), but rather how they live.

Population development plays an important role in this. It is no accident that countries with predominantly poor populations have the highest fertility rates. This is particularly true of the countries south of the Sahara. There, women continue to give birth to a particularly large number of children, which has also contributed significantly to the correction of the UN prognoses.

There is absolutely no doubt that giving birth and watching a child grow up are some of the greatest experiences human beings can have. But all too often it is also economic or social constraints that cause women to have many children. Wherever the chances of education and prosperity increase, the birth rate often falls.

Another question is how people can be supported in family planning. Experience from countries such as Iran shows that if young women and men are talked about it across the board and if contraceptives are made available to them, the number of children per family will decrease. And of my own free will.

Repressive approaches like the Chinese one-child policy are the wrong way to go. And it brings less than expected. Not 400 million births were prevented, as the authorities claim, but at most 100 million, estimates the Institute for Population Research at Peking University. The majority is due to increasing prosperity, according to the formula: economic upswing, fewer children.

China is now struggling hard with the consequences of its brutal family policy. There are only a few young people compared to the many old people; the targeted abortion of girls has led to a boy surplus of 18 percent, which, according to social scientists, in turn leads to increasing crime. A rethinking is beginning very slowly. At the end of December 2013, Beijing formally relaxed its one-child policy somewhat.

Once again it has been shown that coercion is a poor means of achieving goals. With a clever argument, people are more likely to be convinced. If there is also the prospect of an adequate life, the chances are good that there will be moderate population growth worldwide. One that scientific and technical progress can keep up with. So that one day everyone will actually be full, and not just bread.

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