Version #14 as seen just below, with the slight rewrite, dropped Version #11 line 2’s words sustainable world and inserted meaningful life. The problem is that in the long run of over a hundred years the population of the world must be brought to a balanced and sustainable level. The population has gone from just over 2 billion when I was born to almost 8 billion now. If our current population is multiplied by four times again, that would be 32 billion people. That seems impossible, but people are still reproducing rapidly because all necessities are available. Unfortunately, our current energy that supports almost everything we do is created by burning oil and coal and these are polluting the air and ocean to where the environment is having trouble sustaining us at our current population. There simply isn’t enough for 32 billion people, and nature will certainly return our population to something that it can sustain.
In 1952 Charles Galton Darwin, the grandson of Charles Darwin, published The Next Million Years, in which he takes an extremely long view of problems and tries to figure out what humanity must do to survive that many years. On page 136 he writes –
“But the difficulty in the world is going to be that the number of people born is too great for the food supplies so that a fraction must die anyhow; may it not be better that they should die in infancy? The truth is that all our present codes about the sanctity of human life are based on the security of life as it is at present, and once that is gone they will inevitably be revised, and the revision will probably shock most of our present opinions.”
That is a horrible realization that must be faced, even with an optimistic set of goals like my UU statement has been trying to espouse. Population control isn’t hopeless but it is a terrific challenge … so I have reinserted sustainable world into bullet point #2. However, how that sustainable world will actually be attained will require some serious changes of thinking and behavior from our present ideas.
We Unitarian Universalists are finding hope and giving kindness by:
- —discovering the orderly nature of our Universe, so we can help ourselves and others benefit from all that is possible.
- —creating an ideally balanced human society, so you and I and everyone else can have a meaningful life in a sustainable world.
- —dedicating our wisdom to the great tradition of alleviating the suffering of all living beings.
- —helping one another use our abilities for our own and others’ well-being.
- —appreciating that we as a fellowship of people expressing diverse views are discovering wonderful new ways of living.
- —making a habit of doing kind things that help us love one another and our Universe.
Nature always wins in the long run, but we can win in a very long short-run.