Stuff I Found

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The overpopulation myth

Somebody put this video on Facebook:

I never quite understood the overpopulation fear. What does it mean to be overpopulated? That we have too many people living on the planet to feed, and some will die? Well, if some die, doesn't that pretty much solve the overpopulation problem? To me it seems like fearing overpopulation is fearing that the Earth will one day support more people than it can... which really makes no sense. If the Earth can only support, say, 22 billion people, then it can only support 22 billion people. You don't have to worry about it going over because it can't.

In other words, population naturally controls itself. If a baby is born and there aren't enough resources to support its survival, it dies, and that's that.

It's like fearing somebody will grow too old to live... Don't worry, when you are too old to live, you will die. You don't have to do anything to make sure you are dead when you should be. It happens by itself.

I guess what really worries people is the thought that we will, as a species, run out of resources and our species will die. Well... yeah!! That's inevitable! There is no human or species that can live forever.

That isn't to say we shouldn't try to prolong it... but I don't think we should fear it.

That said, I don't like some of the things in the video. The whole Texas thing seems to assume that people only need a plot of land to live. It says nothing about all the resources, both biological and psychological, we would all need to survive in such a place. It's not like a plot of land of a specific size is all we need. It doesn't mention food and water distribution, for example. Maybe it is just trying to make a point about physical space, but are advocates of the overpopulation fear arguing that we will all be squished? I haven't heard that argument...

I'm also not so sure about its prediction of the next 30 years... in fact, I'm not sure there's really any scientific way anyone could make an accurate prediction like that... and why does it matter anyway? If the Earth could sustain 100 billion (perhaps with of technological innovations), would that be bad? I don't think so.