There does exist an easy and even cheap solution for fixing the pressing global problem of population explosion. It is, however, a well kept secret. It does require that first and foremost we should be able to remove the ban on contraceptives from the Roman Catholic, Islamic and Hindu and a few other similar antiquated belief-systems.
The secret is that we would have taken a huge leap forward in overcoming the worst excess of the population explosion in one easy step just by achieving this quite simple and straightforward goal. Achieving this would not mean banning or even harassing religions at large. This goal would be achieved just by making these old-fashioned religions give up stubbornly implementing just single one of their most harmful dogmas.

Of course, the other way to achieve this goal would be by persuading more and more of the followers of these belief-systems to understand that they do not have to implement just these parts of the antiquated dogmas of their religion anymore. Even if this all is admittedly just a pipe-dream. However, the latter option is not just empty talk, as we have great practical examples of how this can happen.
In the Christian Protestant world and countries like Japan and Taiwan, this kind of change has already happened during the last century. People just stopped listening to their priests in these matters. Soon the priests also had to change their own dogmas not to lose their audience altogether.

The countries where this happened are now among the wealthiest in the world. It is amazing how rarely it is acknowledged that some nations have reached their unprecedented levels of general well-being largely because they  were the first nations in the world to have their growth of population in check.
When people have the physical means, and most of all a true psychological and social liberty to decide by themselves if they want to take care of six or two children, they very often not very surprisingly choose the latter option.

Enough resources just needs to be directed towards spreading dirt cheap or preferably free means of birth control to all of the poorest people of the world. This needs to happen in every single village, and with great fanfare and a upbeat marketing drive like those of Coca-Cola.
An equally strong effort is needed for educating people on how it is in their own direct self-interest to have fewer children. Then, when people soon see in reality how their general standard of living starts to rise, when there are less people depleting the existing resources, the real change could be initiated in their minds, and this change is what matters.
All that this requires is that the some of the most backward religions like Roman Catholicism, Hinduism and Islam would be required to keep just those of their ideas to themselves which do concern human reproduction, or that their followers would not listen to them just in these issues anymore.

A child suffering extreme starvation in India, 1972. - Wikipedia

Of course, all that I have said is just a pipe-dream. Any of this will perhaps never happen. The religious zealots do prefer seeing small children and even whole nations starving to giving up any of their ancient dogma, that is accepted unquestioned and without even need for any kind explanations why some things are required from the believers.
Human life is "sacred" to some of these people. They prefer to let millions to die horrible, slow deaths when population outstrips all available agrarian resources in a growing number of countries before accepting any form of contraceptives.

This is bad; this is simply really very, very bad. However, as long as religions do have a special position in the public arena, very few politicians even dare even to notice the evil policies of some of the Catholic, Islamic and Hindu leaders. This happens in spite of the fact that is easy to that some of these people just are interested in growing numbers of their follower. They build their power and importance on these numbers.
The hardest part to swallow is that they do not even have to face the fact that they are choosing famine and starvation, but also the ensuing social instability. They think that they are just making their gods will come true. Sadly, just in this particular matter their gods will trumps the needs and very real suffering of humans in their minds. They are sadly twisted by the needs of a religion.

They simply just refuse even to think about any of the consequences of their actions. This is made easy by the people who not dare to bring the subject up out of fear of offending religious feelings. Seemingly these people, in fact, do sleep with excellent conscience. This happens even if so many of the unneeded, unwanted and unloved children, who are born only because of their policies, inch their way to early graves after a life spent in agony.
Religious attitudes towards the birth control simply are just now in the heart of solving this particular problem. The remaining explosive growth simply happens mostly among the followers of the most backward religions. If we would leave out the role of the religions, we would be simply lying and putting our heads into a bush.

In the heart of this issue is that the countries where the most old-fashioned religions do rule tend to be in the worst situation. It is very simple task to take a hard look at the statistics and find this out. The Protestant Scandinavia and areas like northern Germany or the Benelux-countries and the Anglican areas of the world were the first to put an effective end to the local population explosions. They have also achieved unparalleled levels of wealth since.
They were aided by the simple fact that they have not had a more conservative religion on their back. The process was helped by the fact that modern state-church-Protestantism did adapt itself to the requirements of the new world quite early.

Even later the same pattern is to be seen everywhere. In Asia, there was little religious dogma in these matters that would have been preventing the use of contraceptives. After the problem was identified and its graveness realized, the problem could be handled with resolute action and education in countries like Japan, Thailand or Taiwan.
In stark contrast, in the Muslim world and much of the sub-Saharan Africa the conservative religions have prevented progress in population control and results are extremely dim. Latin America is a special case. There the Catholic Church prevented all progress in these matters quite like Islam for a very long time.

In fact, the area seemed to be destined to drown in the population explosion. However, during the last few decades Catholic Church has lost its true grip in many areas of Latin America and there is again hope, at least in more advanced parts of Latin America. In fact, the situation is in many areas of Latin America more and more like the current situation in Spain, France or Italy. In these countries, contraceptives are used in a similar manner than anywhere else in the western world, but lip-service is still paid to the Only True Faith on Sundays.

In the United States, a statistical fact is that the followers of the religions that do prohibit the use of contraceptives are dramatically overrepresented among the ranks of the poor. The followers of old-fashioned religions tend come from big families that just so often can give much less individual support to its members than a small family.
However, the richer classes tend often to come from less restrictive religious backgrounds. They tend to have smaller families, that can give a lot more support to an individual child. The religious differences are not the only important factor at all. However, their role has been downplayed on purpose for a long time, so not to hurt religious feelings.

(This piece was completely refurbished on 1st of April, 2013)