Nov. 14 is a very important day: It is World Vasectomy Day.

Population growth is the primary underlying cause of all the horrendous environmental problems the Earth is now facing and most of the also-terrible social problems. If the world’s population were at 2 billion as it was when I was born, instead of the 7.6 billion it is now and projected to grow to 9 billion or 70 billion or so in a matter of decades, we wouldn’t be facing anywhere near the problems we are now facing. Ditto the U.S. population, which was at 130 million when I was born and an unsustainable 326 million now and growing.

Not only is the Earth facing catastrophic global warming, it is also responsible for the Sixth Great Extinction. Seventy percent of all mammals have disappeared just since 1970. There has also been a massive insect loss which can even be seen here in Vermont. When is the last time you saw a grasshopper?

Socially and politically, the huge and dense overpopulations in most countries have meant that we are no longer closely connected to each other. As a result, we are witnessing the loss of democracy and the rise of authoritarian/fascist governments based on hatred and violence. Over 50 percent of the countries in the world no longer have democratic governments. How scary is that?

So, we very much need better family planning. However, the burden has been placed almost entirely on females for contraception, including potentially harmful birth-control pills, a difficult hysterectomy or that often-terrible experience of abortion. A male vasectomy is much cheaper, faster, safer and more reliable than female sterilization, yet only 9 percent of sexually active men in the United States get one.

It is time for men to own up to their responsibility and get a vasectomy after they have created no more than two children, and with today’s overpopulation, it is even better if they replace themselves only once.

George Plumb is a resident of Washington.

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