Overpopulation Note

This may come across as a bit random but I do think it’s appropriate to share the following considering all the “overpopulation” scare in many places, especially in college classrooms.

A lot of people want to paint the picture that 6 billion people on earth is overpopulation…

The world being overpopulated could not be further from the truth. That is absurdity.

We could actually put all the people in the world in Texas and still have more space to move around than there is right now in Brooklyn, NY. Yes, it would be crowded but still livable.

Of course some cities in itself are overpopulated and crowded itself (like Houston, NY, Beijing, etc), but this doesn’t mean the world as a whole is overpopulated. That’s ridiculous.

Let’s do the math.

There’s about 6 billion people in the world and Texas has 268,000 square miles. That’s 23,000 people per sq mile.

There’s 2.5 million people in Brooklyn that is 89 sq miles. That’s 28,000 people per sq mile.

Of course lakes, bayous, etc have to be factored in (so maybe we would have to use a little more than Texas) but we all get the point.

So please, do not get caught up in this hoopla. It’s really sad and pathetic people want to push this issue which is a non-issue. I am not sure of the “reasoning” and agenda behind these lies, but be careful and check sources.

And yes, it’s okay – have another baby. The world is not going to blow up because of it.

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21 Responses to Overpopulation Note

  1. Ryan Harkins says:

    My father and I had an argument at one point in time dealing with certain methods of birth control, namely a woman getting her tubes tied. He argued at one point that it made little sense to bring more lives into the world when so many were starving on the streets.

    The problem isn’t that there are too many people. I’m not sure when too many will be too many. We could probably stack ourselves a thousand stories to the sky and a hundred stories underground to accommodate more and more people. And people aren’t starving because our world doesn’t have the resources. The problem is getting the resources to the people, and getting people to work for those resources.

    Attention does need to be paid to what our schools learn, not just the college classrooms, but even down to elementary schools. Kids are indoctrinated at those ages about global warming scares and overpopulation scares and the like. I’m still influenced by all those tales we read in 3rd-6th grade about how the pollution and global warming was going to make Earth just like Venus, and how by 2040 (or some other arbitrary date) we would be forced to live in domed cities just to be able to breathe.

    I’ve also heard about how much land each person would have if you crammed everyone into Wyoming. I think in our sparsely populated state (Motto: if antelope could vote, we’d never have a human governor), each person in the world would get something like 2-3 acres. That’s not too shabby.

  2. Tito Edwards says:

    I’ve heard we could place the entire population of the world into the state of Texas and there would still be a lot of space left over for agriculture, new homes, commerical development, parks, etc. for the next 500 years.

    I don’t believe the population doomsayers do much research beyond penning a story on “over population” without any hint of sound scholarship.

  3. Foxfier says:

    ….Ever notice that the folks talking about the world being over populated are writing from inside of cities, rather than– say– the Methow valley? (met-how) http://www.methow.com

    When I was in Japan, I noticed that they built on hills a lot like the ones at home, without any problem at all.

    I’m pretty sure we could fit a ton of folks into Washington and still have it look as neat as Japan!

  4. Stefan says:

    Tito,
    The problem isn’t population density as such; it’s actually a complicated dynamic between population, arable land & water, capital, and technology. If you’re interested, I strongly recommend reading The Great Wave by David Hackett Fisher.

  5. Tito Edwards says:

    Stefan,

    Thanks! I do enjoy reading political and economic geography books and I’ve looking for a good one to read in a while.

    Tito

    P.S. Yes, I’m a nerd when it comes to geography.

  6. rob says:

    While the Texas scenario (I usually use California or the West Coast) is obviously not a solution, and, yes, the problem is more complex than density, it does demonstrate the essential absurdity of the overpopulation argument.

    Most arguments of this sort come from “zero-sum” thinking: there is a certain amount of food in the world, ergo, less people will each have more. Of course, the world and our reality are not zero-sum games. Scioentists are fairly sure that a “world-wide” famine reduced the human population to a few thousand individuals, perhaps seventy thousand years ago. Thank God some anti-Moses didn’t rise up and suggest that there were too many of us for the world to feed!

    The truth is that, as we have become more populous, we have become more prosperous. Yes, there is great suffering in the world. And before anybody can shove it in my face, I lived in Latin American ghettoes (Mexico and Honduras) for three years, so I do indeed know the face of starvbation and suffering and am not your typical American shut-in. But anyplace you find starvation, you find bad management. This sin’t to lay blame. We had starvation some seventy years ago in this country due to our own bad management of economics and land (Dust Bowl, anyone?). In places like Somalia and Ethiopia, there are not too many people. There are too many people fighting wars instead of farming their land and investing in advanced agricultural techniques and technology.

    People say there are to many people in China. They said that when there were only 300 million of them, yet they got to this point. In fact, they survived a disastrous destruction of their infrastructure after the communist takeover and they are still eating. If there are problems, it is not because we are running out of food. It is because we don’t manage it well.

  7. Tito Edwards says:

    Bad management is the product of corruption. Which can be linked to some extent to a break down in society. This break down in society usually includes the absence of God/His teachings being implemented.

    The great suffering we see in many Latin American nations can be somewhat blamed on some of the Bishops that failed in their duty in passing on the faith to those they sheperded. That may be the reason why we have seen some Protestant strands flourish such as Pentacostalism in Brazil.

    There are many, many other factors, but part of the root I believe is in the moral character of those in positions of power that manage these resources.

  8. Nathaniel says:

    Moral character may or may not come with some types of Protestants/Evangelicals. Saying that bad management/corruption relates to moral issues is true. Saying it is because they aren’t members of your branch of Christianity is likely egotistical, inaccurate, or both. Evangelicals can and have supported corrupt individuals. Getting rid of corruption is generally a good thing, but that this occurs by having people change religious branches can be debated.

    That said, there has been enough food grown worldwide to overfeed everyone in the world for the last several years. The fact that people are starving somewhere shows that food may not be shared well. Not that there isn’t enough of it.

    Claims that there are overpopulation can be quite misleading, so I thank the person that made this point (even if I’m focusing on food rather than the availability of land to do it).

  9. Tito Edwards says:

    Nathaniel,

    I don’t know if you misunderstood me but I didn’t say that corruption is exclusive only to Catholics. It can be found in any form of religion. It’s just that up until 1970 95% of Latin America was Catholic.

    If the Pentacostal converts don’t resolve the issue of corruption in Brazil it can easily be said that the individuals within Pentacostalism themselves are to blame rather than the tenets of their faith.

    In Jesus, Mary, & Joseph,

    Tito

  10. Eric Brown says:

    I think the overpopulation argument is quite ridiculous. Population is not the problem. The problem is we, particularly in America, live lavishly and consume resources at an incredibly rate. Instead of advocating a more just distribution of resources, we promote abortion and contraception because we’re “overpopulating.”

    Justice and responsibility are two key elements missing from all talk about overpopulation.

  11. Edward P. Koubek says:

    Great comments yall.

    Ryan Harkins and Eric Brown nailed it. Actually, everybody did but I especially appreciate what Harkins and Brown had to say.

    Everybody commenting is on top of the truth. Cool.

  12. Nathaniel says:

    Tito, I’m guessing the same could be said of the Catholics, sorry if that was your point and I missed it.

    Eric, I tend to agree with you. I think that we have to pay attention to environmental problems as well as social inequality but I think both can be linked to consuming resources at an incredible rate. Especially when done without regard.

    Have a good night.

  13. rob says:

    There is a great book about the history of humanity and the Universe. It involves study of game theory and the “non-zero sumness” of reality.

    Non Zero by Robert Wright

  14. Eric Brown says:

    Nathaniel,

    I think you’re right on. Approximately 97% of the water on the earth’s surface is not usable and the remaining 3% or so is not distributedly justly. In Spain right now, a person caught watering their gardens is charged roughly the equivalent of $13,000 because there is such a lack of resources. They imported billions of gallons at some point this year — I can’t remember the month. Obviously, in other parts of the world, they have a shortage of consumable water and people are dying because of it. Or look at the U.S. Aquifiers. In some places we’re consuming water 20 times faster than it will replenish. And that’s just our problem with water.

    This is where I have my personal quarrels with unrestricted free-market capitalism. People often do succeed, but man’s tendency toward sin often causes him to prosper at the expense of human life and dignity.

  15. Tito Edwards says:

    Nathanial,

    No biggie, glad we can clarify the issues.

    Eric Brown,

    There may be a case for limited regulation or governmental intrusion on the free markets in certain industries such as water. Possible other suggestions could be the airline industry, electricity, and foodstuffs (wheat, rice, or corn for example).

    Just throwing out ideas.

    In Jesus, Mary, & Joseph,

    Tito

  16. I’d say that overpopulation is not necessarily a problem in the world — however one of the things that often gives the appearance that it is is that many of the most populous areas (East Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, etc.) suffer from serious economic and political dysfunctions that restrict their ability to feed people justly. So for instance, in some of the parts of Africa where shortage is such a problem, you’ve got wild extremes of collectivized government farms and many, many subsistence farmers, but very little of the sort of highly efficient agriculture which leads to so much plenty in the US and Europe.

    To a great extent, India is a success story in regards to this over the last 30 years. My Indian friends tell stories of standing in line for hours to get the family’s daily rice ration back before the green revolution. Overpopulation hysterics thought that India had reached the point where it could only starve back in the 70s. But now their population is much larger, and food is quite plentiful, as a result of improving how they go about agricultural production.

  17. Foxfier says:

    Mr. DarwinC.-
    One of the few things that will get my dad into a lecture is a mention of China’s agriculture.

    He looks at China and sees areas that could be cultivated, with some basic equipment, to feed ten times as many people as they currently do– either by enriching the soil by crop rotation or by putting animal feed on poor land and feeding folks that way…instead, folks still work the soil with *oxen*!

    Of all the words of tongue and pen the saddest of these are what might have been.

  18. Micha Elyi says:

    Eric Brown: “…water on the earth’s surface is not usable… or… is not distributed justly.”

    What would a just distribution of water look like?

    Tito Edwards: “There may be a case for limited regulation or governmental intrusion on the free markets in certain industries such as water. Possible other suggestions could be the airline industry, electricity, and foodstuffs (wheat, rice, or corn for example).”

    Outside of some improbable emergency situation, such a case doesn’t come to my mind at all. Perhaps what’s stumping me is the hodgepodge of products, from luxuries (airline seats) to necessities (water), that are listed as examples. Given such examples, what products and services couldn’t a case be made for replacing a free market (i.e., a voluntary market in which people choose whether or not to engage in transactions free of force or fraud) with a unfree market of coerced people (i.e., a slave market)?

    Eric Brown has “…personal quarrels with unrestricted free-market capitalism.”

    Others have personal quarrels with slave-market statism, whether the slavery is restricted or unrestricted. Remember, anything extorted from one is cannot be considered an act of charity by oneself. Charity requires that the giving be of one’s free will. (Who’s the enemy, snare, and murderer of free will?) Therefore, a free market is the first requirement for the existence of charity. The second requirement is that goods and services be one’s own to give. Thus, capitalism, the economic system based on the right to private property in which all property is privately owned (a real system of capitalism has never yet existed anywhere on our fallen world), is also a requirement for the possibility of the most and greatest acts of true charity.

    Perhaps one can see that a free market and private property are part of the natural law. Christian scholars of moral studies thought so too; the Scholastics had worked out that economic justice required free, voluntary exchange and that so-called just price theories and what we now call the labor theory of value were incompatible with the natural law established by God. The Acton Institute (acton.org) is a good starting place for anyone wishing to study the Christian imperative for free market capitalism (pardon the redundancy).

  19. Nathaniel says:

    You can still have capitalism with regulation. Saying that putting any on it would result in a “slave market” seems to be a bit extreme. Besides the Free Market has had some problems in dealing with environmental issues because they can difficult to factor in with a financial manner.

    I tend to think global warming is real despite not being a scientist myself because more and more people who are say the evidence for the theory is getting stronger. Thus odds are that it is happening. An utterly free market manner of dealing with this problem could be to let the damage happen and then those hurt by it could sue. Considering this would be a worldwide class action case that would also be against others from across the world I groan at the complexity of it and the fact that it lacks much opportunity for prevention. Thus I think regulation would not utterly undo capitalism and could be the best way to handle this problem.

    Now if I say global warming is likely real does that mean I’m going to start supporting theories of “overpopulation”? The answer is an easy no. Look at modern China and their population control policy. While being one of a number modern abortion related horrors it has been successful in lowering the birthrate of Chinese. As there are less and less Chinese added to the population of China each year there is going to be a point where China’s population stops growing and begins to shrink. But has this lowered birthrate/number of annual addition Chinese resulted in lower rates of pollution growth from China? The answer is a huge no as the amount of carbon dioxide China emits has shot up.

    Thus I would question if attempts to end “overpopulation” are really protective of the environment. And this is a point that should be made as I find that overpopulation theorists are trying to mask their ideas with an environmentalist guise.

    I think it would proper to try to separate the two and I would encourage others (I already try to myself) to do so, especially when they find some calling for ending “overpopulation” in the name of environmentalism.

  20. rob says:

    One thing proponents of the overpopulation hype don’t understand is that the wilderness is not going to last.

    Your Earth-first types are anti-civilization. They see congregations of humans as inherently evil. A Catholic sees (or should see) these same groupings, tribes, cities, as inherently a good thing. The Bible begins in a garden but it ends in a city. Social density and organization are divinely ordained developments of our human history and they are not going away. As the future unfolds we will become more “civilized” or “citified”, until few if any of us live ful-time in the “country”. There may be bumps along the way. Scientists are saying that the population will go down after mid-century but it will go back up again. It always has.

    So, much as it may dismay some of us (and I am a rural Arizonan, so I do love the wilderness, the snakes, spiders, coyotes, etc), eventually the whole world will be domesticated. Wildernesses will all be managed wildernesses. Basically, the whole world will be like England, a land that long ago became a more or less controlled environment. The world can easily hold many, many more people, but it will be at the expense of wildlife, some of whom may continue to exist only in zoos or in test tubes, ready to be generated when needed.

    Sounds scary, perhaps, but there is no question that, as our growing population begins to truly harness the resources of this planet and our solar system, we are not going to inconvenience ourselves for the Mexican Gray Wolf or the Spotted Owl.

    It is this future that the fight is all about. Do we believe in the good ness of a world over which man has true dominion, or do we wish to return to the stone ages and give the land back to the animals?

  21. Eric Brown says:

    Micha,

    I don’t believe there is a criterion that I, or anyone else, can provide that can show a just distribution of water resources. It’s kind of like poverty. What is poverty? If you look at the people in the United States living in ‘poverty’ who live way beyond their means in our instant gratification culture, one would hardly deem that as poverty in the same way there is poverty in Africa. But there are certainly people who do live within their means and they have a socio-economic status that does not deliver them their due human dignity, that is, society has failed them in such a way that in a country such as ours, people that are trying are prospering and the economic gap between the rich and the poor getting bigger.

    In regard to a free-market economy, I didn’t say I have quarrels with the approach, I have quarrels with too few restrictions. I’m not for over-regulating the market, I’m in favor of some sense of oversight in order to sure that people’s human dignity is respected to some degree. Do I support minimum wage? Yes. Why? I had people in my family, single mothers working two jobs, night and day, making $5.15 an hour with children. Given the state of our economy and the rising cost of living, I believed that to be unreasonable. Now whether or not the national government should set a clear number for everyone to meet, which is $6.44, that’s another question. Everyone has a right to a living wage, which entails that people are paid enough to live decently in society. This doesn’t mean they need to be able to afford several cars, a new television, etc. But they need to be able to pay for their children to go to college, to save for retirement, and so forth.

    I support some sort of minimal regulation because it is obvious to me that we don’t exist in a sinless world. People will try to get over on people. That’s why you see corporations take their business overseas, even to third world countries paying people not so well within their own economies, jumping through tax loopholes, and even employing child labor.

    An ‘unrestricted’ free-market economy, in my view, works well with an unrestricted view of freedom and I don’t subscribe to such a few. Communism, for example, in an ideal and perfect world would be wonderful. One of the main problems with communism is that it doesn’t take into account our broken human nature, hence, why the system would never work. In the same way, an unregulated free-market economy ultimately is a recipe for grandscale injustice.

    I highly doubt a rich corporate C.E.O. who takes 3 hour lunch breaks, vacations whenever he or she wants, with a lavish and wonderful house can really understand nor find the time to be so concerned with the affairs of those less fortunate, particularly to the point of being so graciously charitable. No, they create monopolies on money, get richer, and the economic ladder grows and grows farther apart.

    Does everyone need to be rich? No. But everyone’s basic rights guaranteed to them by their human dignity, in my view, is not achieved in a system of a sort.

    Moreover, I think Nathaniel is right in saying that unrestricted free-market capitalism does nothing to help man channel is appetite and desire for prosperity in a way in accord with morality and virtue. If we’re pumping water faster than it can replenish, drilling oil faster than it can replenish in geologic time, and consuming a large portion of the world’s resources because we as a nation of investers have the money and power is not justifiable in my view if its done at the expense via suffering and death of people in third world nations, or even some of our own. We don’t all share in that prosperity. Not to mention, when we squander resources, we put future generations in a bind. Therefore, the State has the obligation to regulate these matters to some degree. And I think my view is not at all out of line with the natural law. To not regulate laws so that we don’t infringe on people’s free will to do charity, if they choose so, is absurd in my view. Freedom is not limitless.

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