Re: “The African population disaster,” Gwynne Dyer, November 17
Contraception and a one-child policy are not the answer to the African population increase. Africans must will to live healthily. There are many reasons why we have children, but for Africans one of them is cultural… children are an investment to work in the fields and to care for them in their old age. There is no safety net in most of Africa, and where it exists it is too often feeble. I am thankful that I do not need many children to care for me. With better governance and more choices of livelihood, this situation could change for Africans too.
For the African birthrate to “decline steeply” two things are necessary: a rise from poverty and democratization. Both these come with education.
You will not find famines, civil wars and massacres in a country such as Canada, a democracy of mostly educated and affluent people, even though our long cold winters do not allow us to grow our food.
We keep our governments on their toes to supply roads and make decisions for it to be possible for the necessities of life to reach us. Famine is not a result of weather, although that might exacerbate it. It is a social issue.
As one watches on TV the emaciated refugees of Africa, one can be fairly sure that there are no electricians, plumbers, doctors, lawyers, teachers, truck drivers, or government officials amongst them. These people have not been plentiful enough to bring their culture to good governance, or else they have found a way out to save themselves.
Those of us working to bring education and poverty-relief to the peoples in Africa are working for the continent’s stability. Miracles occur, c.f. the Asian tsunami (brought about largely due to the social media). Let us really understand what to do in this African situation, and help achieve the miracle. Anything else would be less than human.