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We can't deal with climate change without addressing overpopulation

To the editor: I applaud William deBuys' insightful Op-Ed article. But he should have discussed the primary driver of climate change: overpopulation. ("Get ready for the new normal: dry and drier," Op-Ed, Aug. 16)

This omission is understandable, as any discussion on the matter is still strictly taboo. Still, the United Nations recently raised its 2100 population projection to a staggering 11.2 billion.

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Obviously, if we are ever to get truly serious about tackling our water issues — or climate change, or habitat loss, or desperate human migrations, or human rights abuses or efforts to ameliorate hunger, et cetera and ad infinitum — we are going to have to get truly come-out-of-the-closet serious about the dire impact that our rampant, 80-million-people-per-year growth is having on both our environment and any attempts to quell our many social conflagrations.

As the saying goes: Just two kids, just 2 billion — we can live with that.

Robert Johnson, Santa Barbara

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To the editor: This drought reminds me of growing up in Oklahoma in the 1930s. It was so dry then, and the resulting dust storms were so bad, that many people just gave up. The papers and newsreels often carried pictures of "Oakies" in their "tin lizzie" trucks heading for a better climate in California.

How interesting that the situation is now reversed. What's the old saying — what goes around, comes around?

Dick Ettington, Palos Verdes Peninsula

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To the editor: Thank you for Judy Belk's beautifully written article. I hope her personal perspective on what a drought can mean will bring us all to attention. ("Memories of a thirsty childhood," Op-Ed, Aug. 16)

I totally agree with her conclusion: "Access to water is a human right, even in a drought. Where people live, their race or their economic condition shouldn't determine whether they have water to drink, clean air to breathe [or] food to eat."

Now let's try to make this a reality in California.

Mary Brent Wehrli, Palm Springs 

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