Letters to the Editor, June 2021
Published: June 14, 2021
It is wonderful work you do to help the planet as much as possible from overpopulation. You are one of only a few organizations that will talk about the obvious—the connection between our sad environment and too many people. I would like to see an article directed to men about their responsibilities. You talk about all the women that you are helping with birth control, abortions, etc., but you should also mention sterilization for men.
Thank you for all the critical work you do. I always try to read Population Connection cover-to-cover because it gives me detailed insights into what’s happening on the population front worldwide. I find myself, again and again, in 100 percent agreement with everything I read in Population Connection, and I appreciate the breadth and depth that I gain from reading it each quarter.
Many of us in the environmental movement are closet supporters of Population Connection simply to avoid conflict with less progressive friends, neighbors, and acquaintances. That said, many of us in the environmental movement are also academicians and we like to know the real science and the real data behind stories we read in your exceptional magazine. Consequently, I would like to see scientific citations for many of the articles presented in Population Connection.
-Norman T. Baker, PhD
Thank you for featuring last fall’s unprecedented California wildfires [in the March issue]. Population Connection has rightfully attributed the worst fires in our history to a perfect storm of overpopulation, climate chaos, and destructive public policies serving influential, wealthy individuals and industries. Resistance to science-based solutions is increasing in tandem with these extraordinary, multiple crises.
Here in Humboldt County, California, our once-pristine rivers and tributaries are clouded with turbidity, choked in algae, and polluted by fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, and mining debris. The otters that once patrolled local streams vanished decades ago with the collapse of the biodiversity they fed upon, victims of habitat loss and diminishing fresh, clean water due to human activity. All but one of our region’s six large rivers are officially designated “impaired.”
The prerequisite for all historic social advancements and humane, science-based public policies begins with ubiquitous demands for change.
I am concerned for two reasons about what Joanne Harrington wrote in her March letter to the editor. The first concern is that the author and friends have had difficulty finding physicians to do tubal ligations. The second is that, unfortunately, people do change their minds, and Ms. Harrington doesn’t seem to take that into account.
I practiced obstetrics and gynecology in the same rural community for 40 years. Before performing tubal ligations, I discussed the “terrible Ds”—divorce, death of the partner, and death of a child—to try to reduce the possibility of regret. The youngest woman I sterilized was 18. She had two children, cervical pre-cancer, and menstrual problems and chose hysterectomy as her treatment. I also put tubes back together for women who regretted their surgery. Part of my reason for doing fertility surgery was that a woman might be more likely to have a tubal ligation if she knew that there was a possibility of putting her tubes back together in the future. My vision of my role as OB-GYN was that I was to serve the needs and desires of women when possible, and to not be judgmental.