Overpopulation: Yes/no and if so: What to do

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Mac'nCheese, Nov 16, 2013.

  1. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68030

    Mac'nCheese

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    #1
    The topic of overpopulation came up in another thread. I was wondering what people thought about this. Do you think the world is overpopulate? If you do, what can we do about it and SHOULD we do anything about it?

    My thoughts: the world isn't overpopulated. Seeing the poor and the hungry of other countries, I see a problem with getting economics not overpopulation. Its not that we don't have enough food for all, we just have a distribution problem. I'm sure just the left over food on American's plates could feed the world.

    Certainly some areas are overpopulated. Some countries, like China, are doing something about it. Other overpopulated countries are not.

    I think the world population will actually level off and go down by the end of this century. Reason why in link below.

    But even if you think the world is overpopulated and you want to do something about it, is it ethical to do so? Is that a form of self-defense, in a weird way. If we don't do something about it, would societies collapse, would war break out? Can we force people to only have one baby to protect our future?



    http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=98371
     
  2. Michael Goff macrumors G3

    Michael Goff

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    #2
    Overpopulation: Yes

    What to do: No clue, there isn't a good answer. It's a cultural thing, we have this idea that people need families. While we have this idea, and the idea that a population decline is a bad thing, we'll continue to have a population increase.
     
  3. Arran macrumors 68040

    Arran

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    #3
  4. Mac'nCheese thread starter macrumors 68030

    Mac'nCheese

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    #4
    Thanks for the update. I guess they are still doing something about it since you can now only have two children. But, as the article states, this might be the first step in abolishing the policy completely.
     
  5. Huntn macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #5
    [​IMG]

    I'm sorry, this is a serious thread, but I could not resist... :)

    Population Control= Procreation Control. Stand back for the Libertarians to go nuts! :p
     
  6. Mac'nCheese, Nov 16, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2013

    Mac'nCheese thread starter macrumors 68030

    Mac'nCheese

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    #6
    Surprised hollywood hasn't remade this yet.

    P.S. no reason to be sorry. All "serious" threads need humor every few posts or so. The mods might disagree...
     
  7. Arran macrumors 68040

    Arran

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    #7
    Yep, that would help the economy too. Instead of stuffing cash in my pension fund, I could spend it all now! :)

    Only problem is I'm well past my expiration date :(
     
  8. BenTrovato macrumors 68020

    BenTrovato

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    #8
    The world isn't over populated but the way the world operates, we are over populated. A few people control all the money and we are wrecking the planet with our pollution and quest for natural resource domination. The way we use and distribute power in this century is ridiculous.

    If we were self-sustaining we could easily have 30 billion people but the way we live now, we are pushing the threshold. All we need is another Fukushima and see you later.
     
  9. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #9
    I think this is very well said. If we could cooperate and seek to maximize sustainability over short-term gains, then this might be a whole other issue. However, human beings as a whole haven't haven't come close to realizing that potential.

    We face a duel challenge with both the need to utilize fossil fuels while at the same time minimizing the effects of Climate Change. And we continue push the other creatures of the Earth into smaller habitats, squeezing their populations down to levels that will be difficult to sustain.

    Does it really matter if there are no more tigers living in the wild? Ultimately, no, not as far as humans may be concerned. But I believe the loss of ecosystems and species due to human encroachment is one of the greatest tragedies in this world.

    So as BenTrovato suggested, overpopulation is more than just a number. It's how that number affects the world. And up till now, that affect has been devastating to the natural world and is not sustainable unless we change how we live in it.
     
  10. VulchR macrumors 68020

    VulchR

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    #10
    Overpopulation is not the problem. Wasteful consumption is.
     
  11. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #11
    Which brings up a "Yes, but ..."

    While overpopulation itself isn't the problem, wasteful consumption + more population exacerbates the problem.

    We could wait for people to behave correctly, but I believe we will be waiting a very long time for that—and in the meantime perhaps sacrificing much of the Earth.

    It's wiser to reduce the number of people in the world—because we will continue to wastefully consume—in order to moderate the damaging impact we're having on the planet.
     
  12. Bug-Creator macrumors 6502

    Bug-Creator

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    #12
    "it's just a logistics problem, there is enough food for everyone"

    While that maybe true today, one should not forget:

    - current high food production is only possible while useing massive (limited) natural resources. Mineral fertilizers, diesel for running tractors etc.

    - food production will more an more be in competition with energy production

    - amount of agriculture land is decreasing due to climate-change, over-utilizing and the fact that more people need more place to live

    "population will peak in 20xx"

    Well maybe, but just look at why : famine, war & diseases


    What to do about it ? famine, war & diseases
    (yep I actually think anything else will fail on the global level :( )
     
  13. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #13
    Perhaps, surprisingly, the key to the issue - or, 'problem' if you like, of overpopulation is actually quite simple, actually.

    Give women access to education, and facilitate their economic, social, political and cultural independence. Of equal importance, enable their access to safe, affordable, and reliable birth control, and ensure that they have control of their own fertility........in every country where this has happened the birth rate has fallen of its own accord.
     
  14. zin macrumors 6502

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    #14
    In a Libertarian paradise, Freedom™®© would ensure the population level reaches an optimal level. And by that I mean the population level would sharply decrease due to chaos taking over.
     
  15. Mac'nCheese thread starter macrumors 68030

    Mac'nCheese

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    #15
    Very true and that's one of the reasons why some project that the population will peak and then fall at the end of the century.
     
  16. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    #16
    When people were lucky to live to 45 we didn't have a problem with overpopulation. Now as medicine has advanced and people live into their 80s and 90's is puts stress on the system.
     
  17. Mac'nCheese thread starter macrumors 68030

    Mac'nCheese

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    #17
    Correct and those elderly people need more care and can't work like the younger people did. If the population suddenly dipped, who would take care of them? China might have that problem soon...
     
  18. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #18
    They're old ... not incapable.

    I'm sure they'd figure it out.
     
  19. ElectronGuru, Nov 16, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2013

    ElectronGuru macrumors 65816

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    #19
    Overpopulation isn't a problem in itself. But its a magnifier, making every other problem worse. Double the people using water and the water runs out sooner. Double the people eating and the food goes faster. Double the people driving and the fuel drains faster (to say nothing about traffic). Double the people trashing/polluting and places fill up or deteriorate sooner. Its the same effect demographics have on politics.

    Historically, the 'over' part comes down to carrying capacity (of the earth). Literally how many can you have and people not starve. We've been through multiple population bombs and each time we came up with a way around it and everyone took a big breath and got back to reproducing. One of the most important centered on nitrogen. When supplies of natural fertilizer could no longer keep up, we found reserves of guano.

    There's a story about an island off Africa so rich in bird droppings that it was mined for it. But it too ran out, sending us looking for more. Then a pair of German dudes created a process to turn natural gas into nitrogen, directly. Today, this is where most of worlds nitrogen (fertilizer) comes from. Its gotten so cheap and plentiful, its now spilling into oceans and creating dead zones. Today, the limits on food are space, density, and water.

    Our planet has shown to be very resiliant. We can choose to push it as hard as we like and most of us will remain alive to see it. Where we usually get caught up is in the trade offs. We can choose to accept 20B humans, but what are we willing to give up to support it? If the population doubles in a given area and the potable water supply does not, for example, there is then half as much water remaining per person. Thats the kind of sharing that encourages conflict.

    But where we will get into trouble is weather. If we are at even 80%% capacity and some portion of the earths growing area goes offline for a few years because of a storm or drought, there is extra capacity somewhere else to cover the short fall. The closer we get to 100%, the less reserves we have, and the bigger the impact unexpected events have on supplies and distribution. The closer we live to the edge, the more of us will go over it when it does.

    BTW, population increases happen in stages. 1) A given place has a high birth rate to counter a high death rate, then 2) improved heath care reduces death rate, then 3) birth control catches up to the new death rate. In between 2 and 3 (which often takes more than a generation), is a population surge. China's been aggressively working on 3 and India has not. The two countries are expected to change places as the 1st and 2nd most populous because of it.
     
  20. Mac'nCheese thread starter macrumors 68030

    Mac'nCheese

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    #21
    OMG. What a horrible thing to say. They'd figure it out! Please tell me I'm reading that wrong.

    " One study estimates that more than two-thirds of 65-year-olds will need assistance to deal with a loss in functioning at some point during their remaining years of life. If those rates of prevalence continue, the number of elderly people with functional or cognitive limitations, and thus the need for assistance, will increase sharply in coming decades. "


    http://www.cbo.gov/publication/44363
     
  21. localoid macrumors 68020

    localoid

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    #22
    Robots to the rescue...

     
  22. Mac'nCheese thread starter macrumors 68030

    Mac'nCheese

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    #23
    I want one now!
     
  23. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #24
    You're not reading it wrong.

    If there were fewer young people and the population was older, then I would expect the older population would find solutions—some more successful than others—to the issues that an older population would face.

    I'm not sure why you see that as "a horrible thing to say".

    Perhaps you can explain.
     
  24. shinji macrumors 65816

    shinji

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    #25
    And even if they couldn't, they would at least be an excellent source of fat, sodium, and simple carbohydrates.
     

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