Third World

“Better to have children in Ethiopia than UK”

Doctors' advice to Britons: have fewer children and help save the planet from The Guardian, Friday July 25 2008 I read with some embarrassment the title under which prof.John Guillebaud, and dr.Pip Hayes, express their views in the British Medical Journal. It read: “Better to have children in Ethiopia than UK” Prof. Guillebaud is a Former Co-chair of OPT (Optimum Population Trust) , Emeritus Professor of Family Planning and Reproductive Health, UC London. Ex-Medical Director, Margaret Pyke Centre for Family Planning. The OPT is my favourite source of information and an inspiration for action on population issues. Of course I agree with the article as regard family planning, it is about time that such the burning issue of overpopulation should be exposed for what it is: a stupid taboo which hides the urgency of its solution. Bu that title is clouding the issue by a politically correct deformation of reality and I found it quite disturbing. Is this affirmation a message to make us, debased and spoilt Westerners, feel guilty, or was it an unfortunate report by the Guardian ? Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries in an impoverished Africa, and it has already its heavy burden of a raising population, which is projected to reach between 147 million and 195 million in 2050—a tenfold increase in a century. Isn’t this enough tragedy? If we think that more children in Ethiopia should be welcome, think of the destruction of its forests and the unsustainable depletion of resources, the most awesome ecological tragedy and increasing poverty, which is a consequence of this rapid population growth. More babies in Ethiopia, indeed. More deaths and more climate change in Third World countries with a fragile ecosystem, defendless and undernourished people, is this what prof. Guillebaud suggests? Their suffering should prevent him to make such foolish remarks, which sound like an encouragement to breed. These poor people may have a lower footprint than us, but they would love to increase it, if only they could. Prof. Guillebaud should know that what counts is not the footprints, but the number of feet. It is the population in the Third World, where it is going to grow in the near future, where there is the greatest number of young people waiting to reproduce, which is the real danger to the planet and to themselves,