The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis. For Langdon, the meaning of these words had never felt so clear: In dangerous times, there is no sin greater than inaction.
Langdon knew that he himself, like millions, was guilty of this. When it came to the circumstances of the world, denial had become a global pandemic. Langdon promised himself that he would never forget this.
Inferno, by Dan Brown
Dan Brown’s latest novel touches on the subject of overpopulation. Beyond eerie graphs illustrating the sudden and prodigious population growth over the last 50 years, images of suffocatingly overcrowded tourist destinations, and reflections on the rapid depletion of the Earth’s resources, Mr. Brown addresses perhaps a less immediately pressing, but a generally more fundamental question: that of facing our problems and taking a stand.
I’m certainly not alone in treating the world’s (or my continent’s, or my country’s) problems as someone else’s – if not to be worried about, then at least to be solved. As long as I can afford shelter, food, and clothing; as long as I have access to potable water and all due hygienic amenities; as long as I can enjoy the intimate chirping of birds in the park on an early spring morning; everything is fine.
But it’s not. What’s more, I’m one of the prime contributors to the world’s troubles. If you thought that the depletion of the Earths’ resources as a result of overpopulation was mainly a ‘third world’ problem, think again. Estimates purport that 80% of the Earths’ resources are consumed by 20% of its population. That would be me, and I bet that you’re in there somewhere, as well.
I don’t have the answers. Sadly, neither does Mr. Brown. What I do know, and what Mr. Brown seems to support, is that shying away from troubles is never any good. Facing them is the only way to go.