Is There Really an Overpopulation Problem in the World?
There has been a narrative, over the past few centuries, that the world is full of people and that it being full is a sign of our resources dwindling and all of us eventually being starved to death. There have been talks of this in movies (looking at you, Avengers), but many people disregard those and turn to books instead, which have had overpopulation, or rather, its psychological effect on people, fear, as one of the main selling points.
Yes, there are more people alive today, around 7.7 billion of us, than there have been in the 1700s, when it was estimated that the 1 billion at the time was far too much for our planet. But, the question isn’t whether we have an overpopulation problem, because judging by the current caloric intake and resource distribution, we do not. The question is whether we can sustainably have more people on the planet and how do we get there.
Overpopulation – A Myth Turned Weapon
A growth of population is normal, because it goes hand in hand with the available resources. Animals often do that and they do it with respect to the resources available to them. Humans changed that by inventing new resources, using tools to create ways of making more, thus being able to sustain more.
With new studies emerging, it is shown that on average, we consume more calories than we did 50 years prior, let alone a hundred or more. There is a part which shifts that, a more sedentary lifestyle, mobile phones, a lack of activity and technology allowing people to work in a single spot without much or any physical activity.
The world, however, is growing, especially in Africa, where there are lots of children per mother, compared to the US, which barely has 2 children per family. But, do more people make it worse, do we have more CO2 emissions because of more people? We do not, not really.
People Are the Problem – Just not the Many, But the Few
Most people ignore the facts that the richest 1% of the world own 50% of the world’s wealth, while the richest 10% own around 90% of it. That leaves a lot of people who do not have a lot of power.
Sure, you can be educated and learn not to throw stuff in the wrong places, like motor oil down the drain. But imagine a large company throwing lots of nuclear waste down the drain, or rather, in the ocean. That makes the world a lot more dangerous than you throwing a single piece of paper out your window. The problem with overpopulation is the wrong use of available resources, its current use, which is not sustainable.
Using the Resources More Sustainably
Other than mass genocide, there isn’t a way to limit the number of people on this planet. Education helps, but the industry must also shift and look forward. The world, if it is going to host more of us, needs to be harvested sustainably, firstly by reducing air pollution and using drinking water sustainably, then by using food sustainably. The world has enough room for plenty of us, it just needs to be used better.
Overpopulation is not true and while we have more people on the planet, they are not the cause of the problem, but rather the current use and misuse of resources.