20-Year Slump in UK Births ‘Good for Planet’?

21 August 2023

2.9 MINS

A British expert says the record low is good for the planet. It’s now fashionable to whine about overpopulation, but what does the Bible say?

Climate panic is now so widespread that it’s not just radical environmentalists praising population slumps, but mainstream academics too.

The UK is experiencing its lowest birth rate in two decades, and the nation’s top demographics expert couldn’t be happier. From the Telegraph:

Britain’s top demographics expert has said the falling number of babies born in Britain is a “good thing” after new data showed the number of births had hit a 20-year low.

Professor Sarah Harper CBE, founder and director of the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing and a former government adviser, said falling birth rates in the West were “good for… our planet”.

Her comments came after official figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed there were 605,479 live births in England and Wales last year, the lowest number since 2002…

Prof Harper told the Telegraph: “I think it’s a good thing that the high-income, high-consuming countries of the world are reducing the number of children that they’re having. I’m quite positive about that.”

The academic said declining fertility in rich countries would help to address the “general overconsumption that we have at the moment”, which has a negative impact on the planet.

Back in the real world, declining birth rates will spell disaster for Western nations. An ageing population will lead to a perfect storm of overburdened pension and healthcare systems and a reduced labour force and economic productivity to pay for it.

Declines in Western entrepreneurship, cultural vitality and geopolitical strength are sure to follow.

It’s Fashionable to Call Humans a Disease

Once part of the political fringe, environmental activists have now taken centre stage in our culture, mainstreaming the idea that humans are a burden rather than a blessing.

American biologist Paul Ehlrich has had a major influence on the modern environmentalist movement. He wrote The Population Bomb in 1968, warning of the need for immediate and drastic population control, in order to avert a global catastrophe caused by overpopulation.

His predictions were wildly wrong, but somehow his ideas have remained immensely popular.

David Attenborough, the British natural historian and broadcaster, is another figure who has often waxed hysterical about overpopulation. He infamously claimed:

We are a plague on the Earth. It’s coming home to roost over the next 50 years or so. It’s not just climate change; it’s sheer space, places to grow food for this enormous horde. Either we limit our population growth or the natural world will do it for us, and the natural world is doing it for us right now.

Paul Watson founded the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. He also likened humanity to a plague. He has said, “The fact is that we live on a finite planet with finite resources. Until we fully understand the limitations of our planet and how to respect those limitations, we will be predators and parasites, a disease upon the Earth.”

Anthropologist Jane Goodall, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and science educator Bill Nye are among countless other high-profile figures who regularly decry population growth and emphasise the alleged danger humanity poses to the planet.

Humanity is a Blessing, Not a Curse

In contrast to these histrionics, Scripture teaches that humanity is a blessing on this planet. The Bible affirms the intrinsic value of all of God’s creation, with the human race as the crowning jewel (see Psalm 8:1-9).

The human race has been entrusted with the care of God’s creation. Nowhere does this mandate include population reduction. In fact, it calls for population increase. As Genesis 1:28 explains, “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’”

Christians must take a proactive part in caring for creation, for the benefit of future generations and for the glory of God. But we must have our eyes open to the difference between secular environmentalism that portrays humans as a curse, and God’s Word that declares the exact opposite.

Someone needs to remind Professor Sarah Harper of the words of Psalm 127:3-5a:

Children are a heritage from the Lord,
offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.

Image via Unsplash.

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  1. Leonie Robson 21 August 2023 at 9:46 am - Reply

    Well they are certainly doing everything they possibly can to exterminate a vast swathe of the population!
    Sadly, even believers are falling for the agendas of God hating crazies.
    Blessings to you and your beautiful family Kurt.

  2. Ian Moncrieff 21 August 2023 at 11:10 am - Reply

    Thanks for the reminder of everlasting truth from God’s word. Population is popular with our Creator.
    Shalom Kurt and Angie.

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