Quotes on Population

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Quotes on Population

© Richard Grossman MD, 2008

 

“If you wait until the frogs and toads have croaked their last to take some action, you’ve missed the point.”

Kermit the Frog

 

For years I have been saving occasional quotes that I have run across. Each has some connection with population issues. Here are some of my favorites. I hope that they are meaningful for you, too.

 

Concerning the rights of an individual woman to control her fertility:

 

“No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her body. No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will not be a mother.” Margaret Sanger

 

“The management of fertility is one of the most important functions of adulthood.” Germaine Greer

 

“We want far better reasons for having children than not knowing how to prevent them.” Dora Russell

 

“I was shocked when Tabea said she wanted no children. ‘I have seen my mother cradle too many dead babes,’ she said. ‘And I heard Oholibama scream for three days before she gave up her life for Iti. I am not willing to suffer like that.’” The Red Tent, Anita Diamant

 

Religious thinkers vary in their stand on contraception. Many have not come to grips with the fact that we are abusing our planet’s resources:

 

“If we’re going to use artificial means to support life, we’ll also have to use it to limit life.” Thomas Berry, Catholic theologian

 

“Let our lives be in accordance with our convictions of right, each striving to carry out our principles.” Lucretia Mott, Quaker abolitionist

 

“We are united with all life that is in nature. Man can no longer live his life for him alone.” Albert Schweitzer, Lutheran theologian

 

“Be fruitful and multiply and fill the land. But it’s a greater sin for me to let children die. On the other hand, it goes against the Bible. We’re between a rock and a hard place.” José Martinez, Latin American worker

 

Major religions accept the rhythm method, which makes use of the infertile time in a woman’s cycle, but not all accept modern methods of family planning:

 

“It is now lawful for a Catholic woman to avoid pregnancy by resort to mathematics, though she is still forbidden to resort to physics and chemistry.” H.L. Menken

 

Environmental awareness only started 50 years ago, but indigenous peoples have understood the limitations of our planet for eons:

 

“Some day the earth will weep, she will beg for her life, she will cry tears of blood. You will make a choice, if you will help her or let her die, and when she dies, you too will die.” John Hollow Horn, Oglala Lakota

 

“In a sense, the earth is mounting an immune response against the human species. It is beginning to react to the human parasite, the flooding infection of people, the dead spots of concrete all over the planet, the cancerous rot-outs in Europe, Japan, and the United States, thick with replicating primates, the colonies enlarging and spreading and threatening to shock the biosphere with mass extinctions.” The Hot Zone, Richard Preston

 

“Driving gas-guzzling cars should become as unfashionable as wearing fur.” Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, chairman of the Royal Dutch/Shell group

 

“Population growth is the primary source of environmental damage.” Jacques Cousteau

 

“Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist.” Economist Kenneth Boulding

 

There are consequences of too much consumption and too many people. Some of these are inevitable and no amount of technology will prevent them:

 

“The chief cause of problems is solutions.” Eric Sevareid

 

“There is no trifling with nature; it is always true, grave and severe; it is always in the right, and the faults and errors fall to our share.” Goethe

 

“…democracy cannot survive overpopulation. Human dignity cannot survive it. Convenience and decency cannot survive it. As you put more and more people into the world, the value of life not only declines, it disappears.” Isaac Asimov

 

There is hope:

 

“Almost anything you do will seem insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.” Gandhi

 

“One must begin in one’s own life the private solutions that only in turn become public solutions.” Wendell Berry

 

“A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States.