posted by forestlady
I conclude the root cause of almost all of the world's ills is overpopulation. There would be less hungry people, less poverty, less violence less
anthropogenic global warming, less impact on the environment and less crime. I want to ask on this thread:
Why aren't we addressing the overpopulation problem? We are beyond Earth's capability of supporting us . . The prehistoric ancients practiced birth
control . . They recognized too many people meant everyone starves. Why can't we see that? Why are there articles lamenting the lowered birth rates
in France and Italy? I'd like to know what everyone's thoughts are on this - why aren't we talking about overpopulation? [Edited by Don W]
I offer you that the 18th century’s Malthus was right in his theory, but wrong in his calculations. Actually he was right in his calculations but
what he did not foresee was the improved farming techniques made possible by the nascent industrial revolution. One farmer could feed more and still
more people. Instead of his dire predictions coming true in his 10 generations, it may be take 20 but no more. His predicted consequences will
Malthus had said populations increase geometrically - exponentially we say today - but food production increases arithmetically. That is, in direct
proportion to the amount of land involved and the energy expended.
Malthus did not foresee the chemical industry’s achievements with artificial fertilizers or the mechanization of the farm. The 1950s Green
Revolution (chemical fertilizers) again raised food productivity by several orders of magnitude. Some scientists warn that the overuse of chemicals
is creating a false and non-sustainable level production from soils which will crash as more of the basic components of soil are irretrievably and
irreplaceably lost. Food output will fall precipitously when that happens.
China adopted the one family one child policy in the 1970s, and it is finally bringing their population growth to a halt. At around 1.3 billion.
China has about the same area as the United States not counting Alaska, so can you image how you’d feel if there were 4 people every time you see 1
person in the US of A?
India, which talks the talk, but does not walk the walk on population control, has but 900,000 square miles - I used 3 million for both the US and
China - for its 1.1 billion people. Demographers tell us for certain, India will pass China - in numbers of people - by 2040, at around 1.5 billion.
Add one more problem abetted by sheer numbers of people; India’s dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir. A welcome freak of the region's nature, born
of seasonal winds and tall mountains, the 80,000 square miles of verdant highlands, is the place we know as Kashmir. It could produce a lot of much
needed food to feed India. Of course, dry and arid and over populated Pakistan sees that same advantage in Kashmir.
Religions have added much to the population problem. As Reagan liked to say about government, “Religion is the problem, not the solution.” It was
not a bad idea - maybe - to urge large families after the decimation of Europe by the 14th century’s 3 major plagues of the Black Death, but times
have changed. Religion seems all too slow to accommodate to changing needs of society. Institutional inertia.
I read some 30 or more years ago some researchers who concluded the Earth cannot sustain more than 2 billion people, in the western style, over a long
- several centuries - period of time. When you look at the alarming and deplorable condition of the oceans fish stocks, when you learn how farmers use
more fertilizer each year to get essentially the same crops, you don’t have to be very bright to see trouble ahead. Even if we issued free condoms
to every male over age 6, the earths 6.3 billion people will grow to 8 billion by 2030. If we ignore the adverse effects of too many people we will
hit 10 billion by 2060. And then the crash?
There is no good news on this topic. It gets only bad and worse. Couple this uncontrollable population explosion with the equally uncontrollable
spread of nuclear weapons and I can foresee hungry African countries blackmailing rich western countries for food or suffer an Atom Bomb in Trafalgar
Square or the Champs-Elysees or the Washington Mall. Our future on Planet Earth looks bleak if we continue to wander about aimlessly and leaderless.
Aside: Lamenting lower birthrates is as much due to ever larger social security payments as to raising false hopes of restoring former glories. In
mockery of the civilized care for elders - who fed them when they could not feed themselves - some economists label it “generational” shifting of
wealth as if that was inherently uneconomic and therefore undesirable. Perhaps forgetting my reworked “There but for 30 years go I?”
[edit on 4/20/2007 by donwhite]