Overpopulation

* Alexander Cockburn accused me and the Sierra Club, among others, of being "potential mass murderers" (Column Left, March 29). His accusation is made as he discounts this century's overwhelming human population growth and its related environmental impacts.

World population will reach 5.6 billion this year. Demographers' projections are that global population may double within the next 50 years. The human population already is, or will soon be, beyond the capacity of the Earth to support it. The natural environment is being degraded and destroyed, including a tremendous loss of other plant and animal species.

We believe that stabilizing population growth is an essential component of protecting the environment and enhancing the quality of life for all humans on the Earth. Providing family planning is not the complete answer, but it is essential that it be available to all people. The Sierra Club has worked closely with members of Congress over the past four years to substantially increase the United States' support for international family planning programs, with the goal of universal access to birth control for everyone on the planet by the year 2000. Thanks to our work and the bipartisan support of many others, U.S. funding has increased each year.

TANYA M. HENRICH

Sierra Club California

Population Chair, Chico

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