Debate and Discussion

Overpopulation? True or False?
kyupol at 1:46PM, Dec. 16, 2006
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I'm not too clear whether or not the world is overpopulated.

Those who advocate population control say that too many people have negative effects like:

1) pushing down standard of living
2) increased poverty
3) increased unemployment
4) increased political instability (more conditions for revolutions)
5) increased consumption and pollution
6) destruction of forests and ecosystems, etc… etc… etc…



While those who say the world is NOT overpopulated say:

1) If you fit the whole world into x country/state (where x country could be Philippines, Ontario, Canada, Texas, Australia, Britain, etc…) there would still be enough liveable space for everyone while the whole world remains vacant.

2) It is just an unjust distribution of wealth that causes poverty, unemployment, etc…

3) The economy depends on population. Industries like food, real estate, construction, automotive, electronics, and everything else depend on the demand created by more population. Economic growth also depends on population.

4) Some newspapers say that the first world countries have declining birth rates, therefore halting economic growth. Not enough bodies to fill in the available jobs. I dunno about this.
NOW UPDATING!!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:25PM
mapaghimagsik at 2:10PM, Dec. 16, 2006
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Many first world nations do have declining birth rates. I'm not sure this is a bad thing.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:51PM
ccs1989 at 12:52PM, Dec. 17, 2006
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Depends on where you are. Sure, you COULD live out in the boonies and not have to worry about overpopulation, but if you're living in a crowded city because it's convenient you might want to people to stop having so many kids.

http://ccs1989.deviantart.com

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
-Henry David Thoreau, Walden
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:38AM
Rich at 2:35PM, Dec. 17, 2006
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I doubt overpopulation is going to become a problem in my lifetime, or anyone else's here for that matter. Most of the world is still not very thickly inhabited and like has already been said, 3rd world countries have a declining birth rate. As for us 1st world countries, the gov't will most likely issue some sort of mandatory birth control before we get overpopulated.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:07PM
marine at 9:36PM, Dec. 17, 2006
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God already takes care of that, what with inspiring religious crusades, natural disators, and Jeffery Dahmer's.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:51PM
Ronson at 7:01AM, Dec. 18, 2006
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Overpopulation isn't just about the amount of people per area. It's about the impact of people on the cycle of nature.

Locally, some areas are overpopulated and some areas are underpopulated. Some, I assume, are “just right.” Anywhere where starvation is a significant cause of death is overpopulated. It could also be argued that certain diseases could be a sign of overpopulation - diseases that spread through casual contact.

If someone - and I think it was Germany (during WWII? Not sure.) – hadn't figured out how to refertilize the soil with nitrogen and other nutrients, the human race would have hit a plateau for food production. Had that not happened, we would already have been overpopulated because there would not be enough food to feed our species.

But every time we've figured out how to improve food production, there has been a downside. Fertilizing and pesticides that protect farm poison the groundwater and the fish. The balance is in making sure that technological improvements are exponentially better for our species than they are bad.

Another view of overpopulation is if it causes a decline in other species. If we go by that measurement, we are definitely overpopulated almost globally. I doubt there are many species that haven't been impacted by human growth.

The question then becomes “what should we do about it?” … and I sure as heck don't know. I am reluctant to curb human liberties and freedoms.

Stephen Hawking says we need to start colonizing space. I suppose that's true, but there aren't a lot of places for us to go that wouldn't be prohibitively expensive to live.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:10PM
Inkmonkey at 9:18AM, Dec. 18, 2006
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Normally overpopulation seems to take care of itself. If there are more sheep than a field can handle, a few sheep starve to death and things settle down back to normal. It's cold blooded, but that's nature for you.

The problem with humanity is, if there's not enough food to support us, we can just bring it in from somewhere else. Now, this prevents the focused deaths that would normally keep one area capable of maintaining its “maximum population”. But by importing food, clearing land for farming, etc. it solves the immediate “people starving to death” problem, but spreads the “using more than we actually have” problem to a wider scale.

The real problem, though, is luxuries. Cars deplete a very finite resource, land cleared for a baseball stadium can't be used to grow crops, for bunnies and butterflies and crap to live on, etc. The world could handle our population just surviving, but keeping ourselves entertained will probably destroy the planet.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:59PM
Jimeth at 11:03AM, Dec. 18, 2006
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Yeah, as some have said I think, it's not just ‘do we have space for housing?’. It's ‘do we have space for housing all the people, and all the animals to kill to feed the people, and all the crops to feed the people and the animals, and all the trees to give us a breathable atmousphere and house species’. Sure, if you want he whole planet to be one big city then we're far from overpopulated, but this world doesn't exist for humans alone.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:08PM
Phantom Penguin at 5:56AM, Dec. 19, 2006
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Most larger countries with China excluded, birth rates are going down. Russia is a huge example of this.

when every country is forced to limit child birth, then theres overpopulation
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:42PM
mapaghimagsik at 9:22AM, Dec. 19, 2006
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Phantom Penguin
Most larger countries with China excluded, birth rates are going down. Russia is a huge example of this.

when every country is forced to limit child birth, then theres overpopulation

What's the criteria of forced? Also, we'd much rather compete over resources than limit child birth.

Until the major religions of the world get over their obsession with birth control, and this whole “quiverful” thing, we're going to run into population issues.

Also, I'm not sure where people get the idea that our current population is sustainable. Our current crop yields, that everyone touts as being more than enough to feed the whole world is based on a finite resource.

last edited on July 14, 2011 1:51PM
ccs1989 at 1:23PM, Dec. 19, 2006
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In Hong Kong, a family will live in a house that is smaller than a normal classroom. That's really small. Japan also has very small apartments, and houses are incredibly expensive.

The US is fairly lucky. Sure, we have overcrowded cities, but then there are many places with low population. However if you want to be near the “action”, you probably want to live in a city, because that's where the jobs are. So certain places seem overpopulated.

I think we're hurting this planet a lot with out large population, and it wouldn't hurt to tone it down. I'm glad birth rates are going down for this reason.
http://ccs1989.deviantart.com

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
-Henry David Thoreau, Walden
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:38AM
mapaghimagsik at 2:28PM, Dec. 19, 2006
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ccs1989
In Hong Kong, a family will live in a house that is smaller than a normal classroom. That's really small. Japan also has very small apartments, and houses are incredibly expensive.

The US is fairly lucky. Sure, we have overcrowded cities, but then there are many places with low population. However if you want to be near the “action”, you probably want to live in a city, because that's where the jobs are. So certain places seem overpopulated.

I think we're hurting this planet a lot with out large population, and it wouldn't hurt to tone it down. I'm glad birth rates are going down for this reason.

Luck has some to do with it, but the US has always been territorially agressive, and only had our capital destroyed by the Canadians once.

However, after WWII, being the sole nuclear power did a great deal to help push along the goals of US supremacy, and with 5% of the population consuming 25% of the worlds resources, it seems they did a good job. It does help that we've done some rather nasty things to our neighbors to make sure they don't get too much of the pie.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:51PM
billythezombie at 3:36PM, Dec. 19, 2006
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Ronson
If someone - and I think it was Germany (during WWII? Not sure.) – hadn't figured out how to refertilize the soil with nitrogen and other nutrients, the human race would have hit a plateau for food production. Had that not happened, we would already have been overpopulated because there would not be enough food to feed our species.

I don't really have much to contribute here, just want to point out that it was the Dutch and the English in the 17th-18th centuries, and it was exactly because of overpopulation in the cities; they couldn't afford to have dead fields just sitting there, so they planted tuber crops which refertilized with nitrogen and gave more food at the same time.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:22AM
suzi at 3:41PM, Dec. 19, 2006
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^– that was me ):
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:05PM
Ronson at 7:13AM, Dec. 20, 2006
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Of course, the other problem is the size of an individual's “ecological footprint”, that is, the amount of nonreplenishable resources that an individual uses to sustain their lifestyle.

Americans are by far the worst abusers, with the rest of the industrialized nations relatively close seconds.

In China, the individual ecological footprints are smaller, but the larger population tends to make it look worse.

So even if we aren't overpopulated, there is something to be said with scaling down the harm we do to our environment.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:10PM
lothar at 1:27PM, Dec. 20, 2006
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mapaghimagsik
Also, I'm not sure where people get the idea that our current population is sustainable. Our current crop yields, that everyone touts as being more than enough to feed the whole world is based on a finite resource.


are you talking about OIL ? that's the finite resource here, Modern agriculture is going to collapse when it runs out, not to mention the massive food transportation network , Places like Los angeles are going to have starvation if they don't prepare for this ; the place is built on a desert and has a population somewhere around 13 million ( i realy have no idea) i read somewhere that the average food eaten in the US travels about 2000 miles from farm to plate , hows it gunna get there without oil? i'm not even going to get into this new Biofuel crap and how its production has alredy claimed 17% of US farmland previously used for food production or how this number is set to skyrocket, subtract that extra production and consider that the US population just passed 300 million !!

Also -CCS -depends on where in Japan you live, i'm in rural Japan and live in a pretty big and cheap house .
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:45PM
ccs1989 at 2:37PM, Dec. 20, 2006
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Rural Japan is a lot different from the cities. But that's cool, lothar. Didn't know you lived over there.

Anyway oil isn't the begin all and end all of energy. There are many other energy sources, such as fusion (once it's perfected) and then hybrids. Cars are also using less gas to the mile these days. Gradually as the problem escalates people will find solutions.

http://ccs1989.deviantart.com

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
-Henry David Thoreau, Walden
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:38AM
mapaghimagsik at 4:02PM, Dec. 20, 2006
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ccs1989
Rural Japan is a lot different from the cities. But that's cool, lothar. Didn't know you lived over there.

Anyway oil isn't the begin all and end all of energy. There are many other energy sources, such as fusion (once it's perfected) and then hybrids. Cars are also using less gas to the mile these days. Gradually as the problem escalates people will find solutions.



I had a chemistry professor, who when demonstrating the value of synthetic fabrics, made the statement “oil is far too valuable to burn”

I've had this discussion before, and it seems not many people realize just how tied to oil our agricultural processes are – Not as something burned in the manufacture, but an *ingredient*. Its important to know the difference, because we're closer to achieving sustainable fusion power (a long ways off) than we are to coming up with a fertilizer which a) doesn't use oil as an ingredient and b) provides the same multiplier to of crop yields.

I do share your faith that we will come up with alternative technologies. So hope for the best, but plan for the worst.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:51PM

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