Beberapa wkt lalu SBY mengajak Jokowi utk ber“Foto-Selfie” dlm acara ‘ritual’ Transisi Kepemimpinan Nasional. Sementara Jokowi ‘blusukan’ mengundang Prabowo dkk utk ber“Foto-Selfie” dlm acara pelantikannya sbg Presiden RI. Tentu saja itu adalah ‘momentum’ bagi Prabowo utk mengucapkan ‘selamat’ dan sekaligus menyatakan sikap ‘legawa’. Sayang ‘kemesraan’ itu cepat berlalu, KMP dan KIH pun kembali berlomba berebut ‘Kuasa’. Idrus-Anung pun lalu ber”Foto-Selfie”. Kapan sih, Senayan berhenti 'Gaduh'?
Senin, 25 Februari 2013
The reason why we should control population growth
we should control population growth
Wiryono ; A Lecturer
at the University of Bengkulu’s Forestry School
POST, 22 Februari 2013
to the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), Indonesia’s population has doubled
within 40 years from 119.2 million in 1971 to 237.6 million in 2010. In
another 40 years from now, our population will exceed 450 million,
resulting in the increased extraction of natural resources and increasing
All environmental scientists and activists must be alarmed about this high
But some Indonesian Muslims are not worried. For them, fears of a human
population exceeding the earth’s carrying capacity means a lack of faith in
God. They strongly believe that God will provide every creature with the
necessary resources to live.
We can see those who have this view among the ranks of the Islamic-based
Prosperous Justice Party (PKS). Tifatul Sembiring, a former PKS chairman
who is now communications and information minister, has seven children. The
current PKS chairman, Anis Matta, has nine children, while his predecessor
Luthfi Hasan Ishaaq has 11 children. The three Muslim leaders are
relatively still young and may have more children in the future.
It is no coincidence that the three PKS chairmen, like other party members
who are devout Muslims, have many children, which must be religiously
A Muslim myself, I understand the religious basis for having many children.
But I also know the religious argument of Muslim supporters of birth
control, which is to provide better education and health for future
As an ecologist, I strongly believe the human population must be controlled
because population growth is a fundamental cause of environmental problems.
Seeing the trend of young devoted Muslims having many children worries me.
I have talked in mosques about the importance of birth control to save the
environment, but as I am not a religious scholar I am unable to win debates
against opponents of birth control, among them Muslim clerics, which are
based on religious teachings. I hope open-minded, progressive Islamic
scholars will back my argument for birth control. For me, religious
teachings must always be interpreted according to scientific theories.
The human population, like other organisms, has the capability of growing
exponentially, or very quickly. But no population can grow indefinitely.
When a population of any species grows, its density increases, causing more
intensive competition among members of the population, which results in a
shortage of resources and ultimately, death.
Competition among humans leads to war. The world is never free from war. We
have experienced two world wars and many low-scale wars. The root of wars
is competition for resources, although other factors, such as religious,
ideological and ethnic differences, may become the triggers. Wars
claim many lives.
In many species, an increase in population density will increase predation,
but as the human is the top predator in the world, predation is not a
threat to us. Only rarely does a human fall prey to large carnivores, such
as lions, tigers, snakes and crocodiles. Increased population density will
also increase the incidence of disease. Contagious diseases spread quickly
in slum areas that are densely populated and lack sanitation.
Population growth is also controlled by density-independent factors, namely
natural disasters, such as tsunamis, storms, floods, droughts and fires. A
tsunami caused by a major earthquake in Aceh in 2004 killed more than
With the human population, however, the density-independent factors are
often intertwined with density-dependent factors. For example, Jakarta is a
naturally flood prone area, but the frequency, depth and extent of floods
increase with increasing population density. Forest fires are natural
phenomena in dry regions, such as Australia, but in Sumatra and Kalimantan,
high demand for agricultural land due to population growth leads farmers to
clear the forest and burn the land, resulting in uncontrolled forest fires
during dry season.
The human population grew slowly in the beginning. It took several hundred
thousands of years before it reached 1 billion in 1804. But 123 years
later, in 1927, it grew to 2 billion. Subsequently, the time needed to add
another billion people on earth got shorter. The population reached 3
billion in 1960, 4 billion in 1974, 5 billion in 1987, 6 billion in 1999
and 7 billion in 2011. The curve of human population growth shows a very
slight rise during a period of several hundred thousand years, but at the
end of the curve, it rises drastically. Apparently, the advance of science
and technology in the last two centuries has enabled us to overcome
density-dependent factors that would have otherwise reduced the population
Can the human population continue to grow? Optimists will say so because
they believe that human creativity will always be able to develop science
and technology to overcome the limits of natural resources.
After all, we have not experienced a worldwide shortage of resources as
warned by Malthus several hundred years ago, or by the Club of Rome several
But most biologists will say that no population can grow indefinitely. The
human population is no exception. It is only a matter of time for our
population to stop growing. It may not occur during our lifetime, but it
will happen. So the question is not whether the human population can continue
to grow, but how can we control and stop population growth?
We can do it voluntarily through reasonable measures or through the loss of
life through wars, diseases and malnutrition. ●