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An Open Letter to the Chairman of the New York Times

From Emile Musallam, age 18

RE: Overpopulation and The Risk of Existence 

Dear A.G. Sulzberger: 

Everybody knows what overpopulation is, but nobody knows what harm overpopulation can cause to the world. A.G. Sulzberger; I am writing this letter to you so that you can spread the message of the harmful effects of overpopulation to the world. You own a very powerful outlet that almost the entire world knows about, The New York Times. Most people believe overpopulation isn’t a big deal and just sweep it under the rug. People aren’t aware of what issues it can cause, and since it isn’t directly affecting us too much yet, we seem to just ignore it completely. My goal is to educate and let the world know what long-term effects overpopulating the globe can cause to not just society/humans, but life existence itself. One of the primary sources I will use to inform you about overpopulation is

I personally don’t have kids currently and don’t plan on it for a little while. Since I don’t have kids I can’t speak on personal experience of having my own. Although, I am able to say that I wouldn’t want more than 2. The average number of kids per family is almost 3. This includes polls from families without children. The more kids are born, the more people there are in the world that need essential resources like water, food, etc. Obviously, the world can feed and support only so many people. The more people there are in the world, the higher demand there is for essential resources such as food, water, energy, etc. There was about a 1% increase in the number of people alive since last year. 1% doesn't sound like a lot but when there are so many people in the world, it is a huge amount of people. My target audience would mainly be financially unstable people, mothers/fathers who are on the fence about having kids, couples considering adoption, and activists who are interested or a part of the cause. Once I inform these people about the problem, the message will spread, and then soon enough, this will become a problem we no longer need to worry about. 

The only issue with this problem is that it is not easy to stop people from the number of kids they choose to have. We obviously can’t just become a corrupt government or have a worldwide system limiting the number of children people are having. A lot of pregnancies aren’t on purpose either so it wouldn’t make sense or even be possible to limit the number of children being born. The only solution that I see to this global issue would be promoting alternate solutions. These solutions may include either adoption or not having kids at all. Having children is a lot of work, money, and time. So if you are deciding whether you want kids or not, just don’t have them if you have to second guess yourself. Instead, just adopt children. Harvard students are projecting an increase of 3.9 billion (half of the current Earth population) people in the next few years. I am just trying to show people the effects of having kids and instead maybe looking at other options such as adoption or considering not having kids. 

As I said before, Harvard students have done lots of research on this topic and they have said that “The number of humans existing on Earth has never been as high as it is now. In 1800, Earth had approximately 1 billion inhabitants, which rose to 2.3 billion in 1940, then 3.7 billion in 1970, and approximately 7.5 billion today. In the last five decades, Earth has experienced an extreme population boom.” This being the case, our population continues to grow daily while our resources continue to shrink day after day. According to the article by Harvard, it will be a never-ending cycle of the expansion of the human population. It is a big social and economic challenge that “necessitates the alignment of different national interests, especially with regards to reproductive rights, resource availability, and environmental concerns.” 

In the story “Into The Wild '' by Jon Krakauer, the protagonist, Chris McCandless, went on an adventure alone into the middle of Alaska and figured things out on his own. He didn’t need a girlfriend, a friend, or a child by his side. Later on, he wants someone by his side to tell his adventures too but he does not need anyone. The point is to do what you need, not what you want. If everyone in the world did what they needed to do rather than wanted, we would be better off. It is the same in this context of the topic. Another example would be that when Chris went off the radar, nobody cared about him until he went into complete isolation from society. This is an example of people not caring about an issue until it becomes directed toward you. 


Emile Musallam

This submission was part of an open letter assignment at Huntington Beach High School. If you are interested in submitting a post to EarthPlex, visit our Submit a Post page.


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