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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 14, 2007 / 26 Iyar 5767

A world of good news

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Feeling crowded? Paul Watson is. The founder and president of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, a militant environmental organization, writes that human overpopulation is "a virus . . . killing our host the planet Earth," and so the number of people living in the world should be slashed by 85 percent.


"No human community should be larger than 20,000 people," Watson insists in a new essay. "We need to radically and intelligently reduce human populations to fewer than one billion." He describes mankind as "the AIDS of the Earth," and calls for an end to cars, planes, and all ships save those powered by sail.


The views of a fanatic? Yes, but Watson is also a co-founder of Greenpeace and a former member of the Sierra Club board of directors, not to mention one of Time magazine's 20th-century environmental "heroes," and even one of the elder George Bush's "Daily Points of Light." Nutty though his support for eliminating 5.5 billion human beings and most modern conveniences may be, it is not likely to hurt his standing among the green elite. On the contrary: Within the environmental movement, antipathy to population growth and technology is utterly conventional.


In their 1990 book "The Population Explosion," for example, Paul and Anne Ehrlich described "the birth of an average American baby" as a "disaster for earth's life-support systems." Al Gore made a similar claim two years later in "Earth in the Balance." A father of four, Gore also declared that "no goal is more crucial to healing the global environment than stabilizing human population" — i.e., bringing fewer children into the world.


Bemoaning human fecundity has been in vogue at least since 1798, when Thomas Malthus wrote his famous essay arguing that since people multiply faster than the food supply, more babies eventually mean more starvation and misery.


Malthus was wrong (as he later acknowledged), but here we are two centuries later, and neo-Malthusian misanthropy is as fashionable as ever. A report published this week by the Optimum Population Trust, a British think tank, recommends population reduction as the "most effective" strategy to prevent climate change. "The greatest thing anyone . . . could do to help the future of the planet," suggests OPT co-chairman John Guillebaud, "would be to have one less child."


But that's not what the evidence shows.


When Malthus was writing, just before the turn of the 19th century, the Earth was home to some 980 million human beings. The global population today is about 6.5 billion, a sevenfold increase. If the alarmists are right — if more humanity means more suffering and devastation — our lives should be far more impoverished, degraded, and pitiful than those of our ancestors. But they aren't. By and large, human beings today are healthier, wealthier, safer, cleaner, better fed, and more productive than those who lived in 1800.



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Anyone tempted to dismiss such a claim as hopelessly naive should spend some time poring through The Improving State of the World, a new book by longtime policy analyst Indur Goklany. A former US delegate to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Goklany has assembled a mountain of data making the case that as nations grow wealthier, the quality of human life rises. Far from being a disaster for our species and the planet, Goklany argues, economic growth and technological change have been a boon for both, making it possible for ever more people to live ever-improving lives in an ever-cleaner environment. That is not to ignore the fact that there is still terrible misery in the world, or that modern industrialized countries far outstrip the developing world in wealth. At the same time, it is in the world's poorest societies that some of the greatest strides are being made.


Take food. Since 1950, the world's population has soared by more than 150 percent. Yet food has become so abundant thanks to the Green Revolution that global food prices (in real terms) have plunged 75 percent. Over the past generation, chronic undernourishment in poor countries has been slashed from 37 percent to 17 percent, despite the fact that there are far more mouths to feed. In the United States, meanwhile, staples such as potatoes and flour have dropped in price (relative to income) by more than 80 percent.


Or take infant mortality. Before industrialization, children died before reaching their first birthday at a rate exceeding 200 per 1,000 live births, or more than one in five. "In the United States as late as 1900," Goklany writes, "infant mortality was about 160; but by 2004 it had declined to 6.6." In developing countries, the fall in mortality rates began later, but is occurring more quickly. In China, for instance, infant mortality has plunged from 195 to less than 30 in the past 50 years.


Life expectancy? From an average of 31 years in 1900, it was up to 66.8 worldwide in 2003.


Health? We are more likely to be disease-free today than our forebears were a century ago. And when chronic illness comes, it tends to come later — nearly eight years later for cancer, nine years for heart diseases, and 11 years for respiratory diseases.


Education, child labor, clean air, freedom, famine, leisure time, global poverty — by almost any yardstick you choose, humanity is thriving as never before. It is not true that living standards must fall as population rises. On the contrary: Where there are free markets and free minds — economic growth and technology — human progress and hope are all but guaranteed.


"Humanity, though more populous and still imperfect, has never been in better condition," Goklany writes. Our lives are better than our ancestors'. Our descendants' can be better than ours.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

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