Time is running out to flatten “human curve”

The pandemic has resulted in an unprecedented reduction in pollution, congestion and other maladies.

While in college, my wife and I had the privilege of attending one of the first Earth Day celebrations. It started us on a lifelong journey of environmental activism. As a result, we have supported alternative energy sources, composting, tree planting, vegetarianism, etc.

While all these are worthwhile, none of these endeavors comes close to tackling the one subject the COVID-19 pandemic has made self-evident.

In less than a month, the earth has seen an unprecedented reduction in air pollution, water pollution, noise pollution, traffic congestion, crime and other global maladies. The cause-fewer people working, playing and traveling. To save the environment, we need to flatten the curve, the “human curve.”

This idea is not new. Just look at the front-page article in the April 17, 1970, Life magazine issue (1st Earth Day week) titled “Crusade Against Too Many People.” When the article was written, the world population was 3.7 billion. It had taken 5,970 years to reach that milestone, and now only 50 years to add the next 4 billion, and we continue to add one billion every 12 years. The fact is there is nothing the Paris Accord or any other national or local environmental movement can do to Save the Planet until we address population growth.

This letter is about the future, not the past. I am not suggesting anyone present on Earth today should not be here. Nor am I implying any family with more than two children was irresponsible.

This is about what we do tomorrow. What can we do to flatten the human curve? If we dedicated even half the time, energy and money that goes into hundreds of environmental causes to population control, we could find a solution.

We have seen a brief glimpse of what could be this last month. While it is too late for our children to experience this utopia, there still is time for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

— Scott Harvey