Birth Control and ecology in the Philippines

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One of the hotly debated issues in the Philippines at the moment is birth control. While many Filipinos want it, the church does not and has succesfully been stalling the “reproductive health bill” for fourteen years. The Los Angeles Times has a brief article about the background of this and offers a human angle.

While we at Marine Conservation Philippines do not readily volunteer our opinion on religious or moral matters in general, we will not abstain from offering an ecological perspective on the population growth of the Philippines. The Philippines has one of the most rapidly growing populations anywhere. With the current fertility rate it’s expected that the population will increase by 57 million by 2050 (currently the population is around 97 million.) In a country with massive poverty and lack of jobs such a population growth isn’t good news.  If no new technologies appear to save the day, then it’s safe to say that ecologically the population growth will have a very severe detrimental effect on the environment, due to increased carbon emissions, other polution and increased strain on natural ressources. Natural ressources are already under severe pressure in many places in the Philippines, and with a population who primarily eat a fish based diet vulnerable fish stocks will come under increased pressure.

The church isn’t actually advocating population growth, but it does considers birth control an abomination.  It may seem this is the same from a pragmatic point a view, but there’s an important distinction from a moral point of view. To spell it out, the reasoning is that there wouldn’t be such a problematic population growth, if only people would stop all that fornication…  And to be fair, the issue for the church has never been one of population growth, statistics and socio-economics – that discussion wouldn’t be very long lived, I’m sure even the clergy would agree. It’s been a moral and religious issue all along, that’s why it’s become such a long and hard fought battle.

While Marine Conservation Philippines do not generally speak on religious or moral issues, we must comment on consequences of established policies. The take away message is that religion and morals aside, a population growth such as what’s expected is a really bad idea from an ecological, social, and economical point of view.


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