After all the press about the negative consequences associated with declining birth rates and aging populations around the globe, there’s this: "We need to radically and intelligently reduce human populations to fewer than one billion." Say what? Ya mean that 5.5 billion folks have gotta go? Why?

Because humans are "a virus . . . killing our host the planet Earth." That, according to Paul Watson, president of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and co-founder of Greenpeace. I dunno, but I'm willing to bet that Mr. Watson doesn't include himself in that virulent contagion that needs to be expunged.

In response, Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby does an able job of documenting the many societal and environmental enhancements (not impoverishments) resulting from human population growth and technological expansion. Comparing the present epoch with all previous ones, Jacoby notes,

"Education, child labor, clean air, freedom, famine, leisure time, global poverty…by almost any yardstick you choose, humanity thrives as never before. Living standards do not fall as population rises. On the contrary: Where there are free markets and free minds -- economic growth and technology -- human progress and hope are all but guaranteed."

Kudos to Mr. Jacoby. But I doubt that those who consider any footprint on Mother Gaia as a sacrilege will be impressed with the living standards of those who make them. Viruses, remember, are only good when they're eradicated.

(What are your thoughts about Mr. Watson's vision? Post them here. )