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Contraception And Sustainability

In a new book, More: Population, Nature, and What Women Want, Robert Engelman, Vice President at the Worldwatch Institute, a research organization that seems to focus on population issues, makes an interesting argument about contraception."It makes sense that those who bear children and do most of the..

In a new book, More: Population, Nature, and What Women Want, Robert Engelman, Vice President at the Worldwatch Institute, a research organization that seems to focus on population issues, makes an interesting argument about contraception.

"It makes sense that those who bear children and do most of the work in raising them should have the final say in when, and when not, to do so," Engelman said. "By making their own decisions based on what's best for themselves and their children, women ultimately bring about a global good that governments could never deliver through regulation or control: a population in balance with nature's resources."

It seems clear that more contraception means fewer people. But we're not entirely convinced that women have fewer children in response to stresses on their environment. Suburban mothers in America don't make decisions about family size based on the efficiency of their toilets or how much Freon their refrigerators use. His argument is probably most applicable in areas where food or water is scarce. And the global population is certainly an issue that matters. If you think peak oil is uncomfortable, imagine peak population.

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