In the course of this enquiry I found that much more had been done than I had been aware of, when I first published the Essay. The poverty and misery arising from a too rapid increase of population had been distinctly seen, and the most violent remedies proposed, so long ago as the times of Plato and Aristotle. And of late years the subject has been treated in such a manner by some of the French Economists; occasionally by Montesquieu, and, among our own writers, by Dr. Franklin, Sir James Stewart, Mr. Arthur Young, and Mr. Townsend, as to create a natural surprise that it had not excited more of the public attention.
The first step is to recognise what the consequences of overpopulation are . Only by doing this can we find an appropriate solution. Perhaps its most important effect is the increased rate at which we are consuming the Earth’s resources such as oil. To combat this, governments need to do more research on alternative and renewable energy supplies so that we do not use up all the oil reserves. Another negative effect of overpopulation is how some countries suffer from a lack of basic necessities such as food. Here, an answer could be greater international co-operation so that countries with a food surplus donate what they do not need to the less fortunate countries.
After I had eaten the small portion which sufficed to fill my stomach halfway, Brother David casually mentioned his belief that it was an offense against God to leave food uneaten on the table. This was particularly the case when such a great restaurant had so clearly been placed in our path as a special grace. David was a slim man and a monk, so I found it hardly credible that he followed this precept generally. But he continued to eat so much that I felt good manners, if not actual spiritual guidance, required me to imitate his example. I filled my belly for the first time in a year.