1. When I was a kid(in 1974 to be precise - when I was in class 2), I would often hear these comments:
"The average lifespan has increased. Mortality rate has gone down." "The growth of population is alarming. Soon it will touch the 4 billion mark."
" It will become impossible to survive. There will be no food and water for the next generation. There will be no petroleum reserves left. There will be no law and order. Man will start killing for food and water."
"National governments across the world must take some drastic measures to control this growth. In fact, each couple should be allowed to have only one child(It scared me as I had 4 elder siblings).
There were many details which I would like to skip. I was a dim-witted child and I didn't understand much, but I was worried. How would I survive without water, food and other basic necessities? Will I be safe?" It's been almost 45 years since I heard those remarks. The world population has almost doubled during this period despite certain measures taken by governments(In some cases, they have been extreme). The distribution is unequal. I hear the same things today. Only the figures have changed.
I love to imagine situations. For example, what would have happened if my generation had decided to go childless( evil and ridiculous...but it's just a thought)? What would happen if nature suddenly reduces our lifespan/the average life expectancy by a few decades? Wouldn't it be better if no human being survives beyond the age of 60? Obviously these thoughts are selfish and evil, and it's better to dismiss them.
I don't know much about economics but I do understand certain basic facts. Though it's necessary to strike a balance between available resources and consumption, such steps will do us no good.
Fortunately the population growth hasn't affected my life to any appreciable extent. The queues at bus halts are much longer than they were during my childhood and this has compelled me to buy and use a two wheeler. I love to travel, and Mumbai is one of my favourite places. There was a time when I loved to travel by local trains - the lifeline of Mumbai. But now it is clearly beyond my purview to board a local train(and somehow, if I manage to do that, I find it impossible to alight from it). There are certain other problems which I face as everybody else does. Air pollution has increased. I can feel that when I go into the busy streets in the town. I spent much of my childhood with sparrows, pigeons, cranes and ducks. I loved the chirping of birds early in the morning. Now we live in a town. The population of the town is growing by the day. As the concrete jungles have been spreading out in an ungainly way, trees and birds have begun to vanish. I miss them. But then that's how the world runs. I must accept these changes. After all, every generation has played an active role in effecting these changes.
*(There are more serious issues(of global or national concern) related to population growth but they are beyond the purview of this article)