A poor record
Recently Andrew Wheeler, chosen by President Donald Trump to replace scandal-swamped Scott Pruitt as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, called in reporters for a talk.
Worried because polls show increasing numbers of Americans concerned about the environment, Wheeler borrowed from the Trump playbook for dealing with bad news: Say it isn’t true, and attack the messengers. Wheeler said reporters should focus on positive environmental news and reminded them there’s been progress since the 1970s. Progress had been made, it’s true.
The problem is that Trump and his minions have dismantled many of the regulations responsible for that progress. It’s been the largest rollback in the EPA’s history. We’ve seen it here in Wisconsin, when Pruitt and other Trump allies got Racine County exempted from air pollution standards, a move that could save Foxconn millions.
There have been several stories lately that will require considerable effort to spin into positives. An Exxon-sponsored scientific study surfaced from 1982, wherein scientists correctly predicted that increasing use of fossil fuels would lead to record carbon dioxide levels, which may cause everything from changes in precipitation patterns to flooding of coastal areas. (Exxon buried that study and kept funding climate change deniers.)
Then there’s the news that over a million plant and animal species are near extinction due to everything from climate change to urban sprawl to over-use of pesticides. Putting a happy face on that will be tough.
But if reporters need help, I’m sure Kellyanne “Alternative Facts” Conway and Sarah “Pinocchio” Sanders are available to help. It isn’t like they’re busy organizing Earth Day celebrations.
Too few kids
Last month PBS cited a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that said U.S. birth rates have reached an all-time low.
In 2018 there were 59 births per 1,000 women ages 15-44. The fertility rate fell 2 percent, placing the current generation below the threshold of replacement. It’s good news for overpopulation alarmists; bad news for the human race.
Industrialized nations have been below replacement population for decades and now seek to reverse the trend as populations age and shrink. Philip Longman addressed this 15 years ago in his book “The Empty Cradle.”
China is responding by tweaking its one-child policy (now allowing two). Their crisis was compounded by gender selection abortion producing a disproportionate number of males. Russia has been “incentivizing” childbirth with tax credits and drawings for prizes like SUVs.
For years nations convinced their populations that children are a burden and people stopped having kids. Now they can’t convince people to have children. Actions speak louder than words. If overpopulation is such a crisis, why are nations scrambling to increase birth rates? Even socialist nations need workers. What becomes of a nation with no one to tax?
Abortion plays a part in this crisis. The Guttmacher Institute estimates 56 million abortions occur annually worldwide. Nations bemoaning a population crisis should address this issue as part of the solution.
Children are a blessing. Selfishness is the driving force behind their disappearance. Perhaps a verse should be added to the Pete Seeger song asking “where have all the children gone?” and then end with his soul-searching refrain, “when will we ever learn, when will we ever learn?”
Pastor Sam Faust