November 1st, 2011
03:36 PM ET

Letters to the President #1016: 'Seven billion'

Reporter's Note: I write to the White House each day. I have no idea if they have noticed, but since the Secret Service has not called, I'm guessing no.

Dear Mr. President,

Seven billion people in the world! I've been seeing headlines about the human species reaching this milestone for days, and I find it rather alarming.

Oh sure, everyone loves a cute baby, but seven billion of anything seems a tad excessive. And think of the potential problems: the ever growing demand for food and clean water, the competition for living space, and who knows if we'll have enough closets?

On a more serious note, I was talking with some friends just this weekend (and I'm pretty sure I've mentioned this to you in a previous letter) about how so many of our most serious issues, at their core, relate to our population running amok. Energy consumption, transportation, pollution, the health care squeeze, pressure on the habitats of other species, and on and on it goes.

Of course, many people do not want to talk about the idea of population control, because it so quickly runs up against all sorts of other sensitive issues, such as immigration, and abortion, and the ability of minority groups to grow into majorities over time.

But such timidity aside, every time we hit one of these major steps in human population I can't help but think that the day is coming in which we will have to engage this issue. And though I don't know what answers humans may produce toward stopping an endless expansion of our species, I do know we'll have more than enough people with opinions about it.

Hope your Tuesday is nice. Call if you can. I'll be in Canada for a few days, but still available. Do you want me to bring back some maple syrup?


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Filed under: Letters to the President • Opinion • President Barack Obama • T1 • Tom Foreman
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