In her debut, Allen warns against overpopulation and exhausting the Earth’s ever-dwindling resources.
The author argues that although human beings crave nature, their arrogance and “anthropocentrism” has led to a depleted and unsustainable environment. She compares this human-centered view of ecology to the ancient theory that the Earth is the center of the universe. Like a modern-day Copernicus, the author seeks to challenge the “universal consciousness” of Earth’s “wise hominids.” She argues that mankind’s uncontrolled consumption produces waste, extinction and poverty, threatening not just the planet, but mankind’s very existence. Allen uses compelling facts and statistics while listing the numerous causes of humanity’s accelerated growth. For example, she contends that although “most religions” address family planning openly, some governments “coerce” mothers into parenthood. At the other extreme, she cites the striking decline in Iran’s birthrate, accomplished, she writes, through religious edicts. She discusses at length the Vatican’s stand against contraception and abortion and also reminds readers that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke presciently about family planning’s importance. Although she points out various efforts and partnerships that offer possible overpopulation solutions, some ideas may be more achievable than others. For example, the Ontario-based Sustainable Scale Project advocates the implementation of a “1.5 children per family policy” by 2100. The author covers the end of life, as well, including her thoughts on right-to-die issues. Allen’s well-argued book bravely tackles a subject that, as she notes, is “taboo” even among some environmentalists. That said, readers may find that she relies too often on quotations from others instead of offering her own ideas.
An informative, passionate treatise on the impact of population growth.