Letters - 1 March 2019

to precious peace

What’s in a name?

Since the days of George Fox, Quakers have taken ‘the Light’ to be central to seeking spiritual guidance. However, we should never substitute the word for what it represents.

Isaac Penington reminds us of this need for clarification: ‘The names are but the signification of the thing spoken of. It is the life, the power, (the being transformed by that) that saves, not the knowledge of the name.’

Peter Boyce

Alarming extinction

I am grateful to Alison Leonard (15 February) for so movingly describing the alarming extinction of non-human species in the world. I wonder how many Friends associate this, and sustainability issues in general, with the burgeoning human population on our planet.

When Alison and I were born, the estimated world population was about 2.3 billion, an unprecedented high at the time. It is now 7.7 billion and rising. We as a species have overrun our environment.

The importance of this as a global problem can hardly be overstated. It underlies climate change and all of its associated problems: famine, drought, extreme weather, extinction of non-human species, mass migration and, yes, war.

The fact that human overpopulation is such a difficult issue, with, we may feel, few easy, humane solutions, is no reason for us not to grapple with it.

We could begin by strongly supporting women’s rights to contraception. In 2012 it was estimated that forty per cent of pregnancies worldwide were ‘unintended’; thirty-eight per cent of these resulted in unplanned births, approximately 88,000 a day.

Mary Jo Clogg

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