By Beverli Jinn
Somebody is obviously keeping track. The official website of the city of Dana Point tells us that the population is 33,429. While there’s little doubt that this number fluctuates, we can be certain that it isn’t going to change very much. After all, where would we put additional people? I suppose in third world countries they handle this problem in the only way they’re able. As a family grows in number, they just pack everyone in a little tighter.
That isn’t likely to be seen as a solution in Dana Point. We’re spoiled. Many of us have rooms we don’t even use. Outside we need a big yard to accommodate the patio and swimming pool. We need a three car garage where we can store stuff.
So, in many homes, there really is an extra room where we could house a homeless family. That ain’t gonna happen, of course—not in your home, not in mine.
Housing projects for the homeless might be worth considering but not for long. There’s really not that much available land for more homes.
It’s even less likely that current residents are going to be interested in renting out a room or two. The bigger the house, in fact, the less likely it is that the owner is going to be interested in sharing.
Got an ocean view? Even a peek-a-boo view such as my own little condo? If I stand in the closet of my upstairs master bedroom, I can see through a sliding glass door a patch of blue ocean in the distance. I’m not about to share my personal ocean with anyone, even though it’s not very romantic for even a minimal cocktail party. Taking turns in the closet isn’t all it might be cracked up to be.
The point here is that, view or no view, homeowners in Dana Point like it here. Most of us are going to stay for as long as we can. Most of us will never consider renting out a room. This space on the map is just fine the way it is.
Does it really matter to us that the population of planet Earth is now seven billion, or that this number is projected to rise to 9.3 billion by 2050? After all, most of the population will be in developing countries in places like Asia, Africa and Latin America. Really. What can we do about it?
There will still be lots of empty land; not in Dana Point, of course, but out there. Maybe we can let good ol’ American ingenuity figure out how to get some water to the barren land. We’ve got oceans filled with water. Technology will find a way to desalinate and fill our aquifers. Aqueducts will move water to wherever it’s needed. Voila! The fruited plains will burst forth with wheat and corn enough to feed the world. We’ll have a chicken in every pot before you can say, “Jack Robinson.”
The fact is that, no matter how much food we’re able to produce, it will never be enough to feed the world’s ever-growing population.
The fact is that our children and grandchildren are going to be affected by this growth, wherever they live.
The fact is that humankind has always had to compete to survive. There has always been, and there always will be, winners and losers. Some humans live in luxurious houses in Dana Point; some humans live in third world squalor. Typically this doesn’t seem to be determined by how “deserving” each person may be. I make no pretense about being able to explain how this all works. For me, it seems to help me feel good about myself if I share my good fortune with those who are not so fortunate.
I’m fairly certain, however, that things are not going to get better if we allow Earth’s population to continue to balloon out of control. Legislation putting limits on family size has not worked out so well in China. It’s easy to understand how individual families could reason that an additional child or two will not have much impact in the world as a whole.
Wrong! In China and Dana Point and every other place on Earth, it’s time right now to take this problem seriously. Very, very seriously.