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Why declining population is a worrying global challenge

OPINION
By David Oginde | June 6th 2021
[Courtesy]

Professor Wangari Maathai once made a powerful but prophetic declaration about nature. “Mother Nature is very generous but very unforgiving. If you destroy Nature, Nature will destroy you,” said the late Nobel laureate.

Whereas Prof Maathai was talking about the destruction of forests, that truth applies to every aspect of the natural order of life – you interfere with it, and it turns on you with vengeance.

Amazingly, this prophetic word is being fulfilled in population growth.

Because of the deliberate interference with the natural order of human propagation, the world is staring at a serious decline in population.

In a major policy shift this past week, President Xi Jinping together with top Communist Party officials of China announced that government will allow couples to have up to three children, after census data showed a steep decline in its birth rates.

The president observed that the new policy was a necessity to cope with an ageing population and a declining human resource.

In other words, if humans were trees, President Xi Jinping was calling upon his people to plant more to curb desertification – a direct result of a long standing one-child policy.

Thus, like Prof Maathai said, Mother Nature in her generosity, gave China the largest population in the world – which has been its biggest asset. But when they chose to interfere, Mother Nature became very unforgiving, and has come to revisit.

But China is not alone in this fury of Mother Nature. Studies indicate that several countries in the developed world are experiencing a decline in population. Of these, the biggest absolute population decline by 2050 is projected to be in China, followed by Japan and Russia.

Interestingly, many European countries are also in a serious population haemorrhage. But according to a BBC report, several European countries, including the UK, have used migration to boost their population and compensate for falling fertility rates.

Many have a fertility rate way below the magical 2.1 children per woman – without which a community will become extinct. Thus, in reality, the Caucasian population is in serious decline in Europe.

According to Prof Christopher Murray, a researcher on this subject, developed nations are facing a serious population decline such that beefing up with migrants is going to become a competitive necessity.

“We will go from the period where it’s a choice to open borders, or not, to frank competition for migrants, as there won’t be enough,” argues Prof Murray in his chat with the BBC.

What is interesting is that, where the laws of nature are still observed, populations are growing. For example, it is predicted that the population of sub-Saharan Africa will increase three times to more than three billion people by 2100.

According to Prof Murray, there will be more people of African descent in many more countries in a few years. For those of us who love Nigerians, here is the good news: Nigeria is going to become the second biggest nation, with a population of nearly 800 million.

Whereas population decline is attributed to several factors, key among them is a selfish hedonistic approach to controlling family sizes. In the name of attaining “quality lifestyle” we have aggressively pursued smaller families. This is hedonistic because, those who can afford to have more children are the ones who have the least – with most of their resources spent on luxury goods and pets. Thus, a wealthy family may have two homes – including a holiday home, two to three cars, several pets, but only one or no child.

It is not difficult to see why this is an interference with Mother Nature. It is contrary to the unequivocal command God gave Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply. God later made a similar covenant with Abraham, and Jacob. Yet in our time, inordinate amounts of resources are being spent to propagate abominable population-reducing activities such as coerced family planning, abortion and homosexuality. But the fury of Mother Nature seems to be coming.

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