Cheryl Wetzstein's column missed the boat ("Conferees rebut population fears," Culture, Tuesday). Yes, birth rates have declined considerably in Western Europe -- but not so much in less developed countries.
Paul R. and Anne Ehrlich are correct: Overpopulation is threatening our civilization, as resources such as oil, forests, arable land and fisheries are being exhausted ever more rapidly. Back in 1975, when world population was only two-thirds of what it is today, the conservative Gerald Ford administration produced the important National Security Study Memorandum 200. This report warned of the impending dangers of overpopulation and urged prompt action to stabilize world population.
Unfortunately, the NSSM 200 report was mysteriously marked "classified" and buried until almost the eve of the 1994 Rwandan massacre, which was caused in part by overpopulation in Africa's most densely populated country.
Overpopulation seriously threatens our country and our planet. Not only must we deal immediately with global warming and declining resources, but we also must halt world population growth. This can be achieved through universal access to family planning, promotion of equal rights, and educational opportunities for women.