Laudato Si Supplement



At the time of Jesus’ birth, the earth’s entire population was just 300 million, smaller than the U.S. by itself today. About 45 million of those people, including Jesus himself, lived in the Roman Empire, whose borders stretched in Jesus’ time from modern-day Portugal in the west to Turkey in the east.

It is estimated that the population of the world reached one billion for the first time in 1804. It would be another 123 years before it reached two billion in 1927, but it took only 33 years to rise by another billion people, reaching three billion in 1960; it’s interesting that “33 years” is how long Jesus lived.

You know what the population is today on earth. It’s got to stop, this momentum. But, of course, no one is doing anything about it. Minimal talk takes place on the periphery of academic discussion, within permanently marginalized alternative educational circles. That’s it.

Activists and proactive concerned citizens of all stripes are engaged in attempts at reforming this and that, well-meaning, highly educated, and — in many cases — deeply experienced. But they conveniently ignore the fact that our collective crises can only get worse unless our population momentum is dealt with anew.

Somehow Pope Francis’ Laudato Si circumvents this issue. It’s a wonderfully socially-conscious/environmentally-conscious statement, but it begs for a supplement. And that’s what I’m providing here, I believe.

Perhaps it will be instructive to point out that all of the billions who inhabit the earth at present could be fit into the state of Texas, if the population density of Manhattan were embraced. That’s absolutely true.

The thing is anyone with any sense whatsoever would not wish for such a scenario to be pulled off; if you pulled them over in the street to take part in a survey designed to find out how people felt about such an idea, I’m sure that the vast majority of respondents would cringe at the thought. For no matter how beautifully such a project might be implemented, it’s as wrong on as many counts as the notion of transporting the earth’s population to other planets.

And yet… people like the well-respected Stephen Hawking hawk such nonsense. Advocate interplanetary relocation.

But you and I know — viscerally — that that’s not going to solve our problems. And no one has to be the proverbial Rocket Scientists to be aligned with us.

Note though that in Silicon Valley they cheer lead their capitalist agenda with the mantra, “If you can do it, do it, and if you can do it at a great financial profit, do it fast.”

Well, when you’re busy making babies, going through the motions of similar intimacy, and having fun diverting yourself to death with entertainment and serious consideration of documents such as Laudato Si… without addressing the dynamic of overpopulation, there’s no time to do anything else.

I recommend that readers contact me to discuss the details of how we can be the first people on earth to intelligently tackle this singular problem.

Rachel Olivia O’Connor is a freelance journalist. She can be reached at [email protected].

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