Overpopulation is mankind's greatest threat

Muninn

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Jun 2012
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Overpopulation is the world’s top environmental issue, followed closely by climate change and the need to develop renewable energy resources to replace fossil fuels, according to a survey of the faculty at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF)

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Overpopulation came out on top, with several professors pointing out its ties to other problems that rank high on the list.

“Overpopulation is the only problem,” said Dr. Charles A. Hall, a systems ecologist. “If we had 100 million people on Earth — or better, 10 million — no others would be a problem.” (Current estimates put the planet’s population at more than six billion.)
Worst Environmental Problem? Overpopulation, Experts Say

The specter of overpopulation was raised once more in 2008 by the decline in global food stocks and rapid deterioration of the environment. The figures are frightening — 218,000 more mouths to feed each day, 80 million more each year, a global population now close to 7 billion
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/14/opinion/14iht-edminois14.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

I believe that most, if not all of the perils Mankind faces are related either directly or indirectly to overpopulation. Poverty, war, global warming...all of these issues have basis within overpopulation. There are not enough resources, land or jobs for so many people. We must look ourselves in the mirror and ask some tough questions on this issue.
 
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Muninn

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What tough questions did you have in mind?
What is the root cause(s) of overpopulation?

How do we reduce our numbers without trampling on others' rights to live and bear children?

What is the optimal number of people for the earth and how do we get under that number and stay there without violating rights mentioned above?

As technology improves, does that optimal number also improve as we learn to live and consume resources more responsibly?
 
Likes: Sparta
Mar 2010
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What is the root cause(s) of overpopulation?

How do we reduce our numbers without trampling on others' rights to live and bear children?

What is the optimal number of people for the earth and how do we get under that number and stay there without violating rights mentioned above?

As technology improves, does that optimal number also improve as we learn to live and consume resources more responsibly?
As nations get wealthier, their birth rate drops off. For lots of reasons. The wealthier you get, the less you need to rely on your children to support you in old age or to work your land with you. You have better access to birth control and sex education. People put more of an emphasis on their careers when they make more money.

So, the root solution is to help the third world climb out of poverty.
 

Muninn

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Root cause of overpopulation?

Agriculture and medicine, I would think.
There's more to it than that. Why does a family need 11+ kids. Why use fertility clinics when there are so many in orphanages? There's more at play than just optimal conditions.
 

Muninn

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As nations get wealthier, their birth rate drops off. For lots of reasons. The wealthier you get, the less you need to rely on your children to support you in old age or to work your land with you. You have better access to birth control and sex education. People put more of an emphasis on their careers when they make more money.

So, the root solution is to help the third world climb out of poverty.
But look at what is going on in America. Too many workers, not enough jobs. How are we going to lift entire nations out of poverty when the means to do so is not there?
 
Mar 2010
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But look at what is going on in America. Too many workers, not enough jobs. How are we going to lift entire nations out of poverty when the means to do so is not there?
That isn't how it works. If you had fewer people, you would have proportionally fewer jobs. Population doesn't really drive the unemployment rate.

We have huge sums of money in this country. The problem is that an astounding percentage of it is being sucked up by the top 0.1%, so despite being an uberwealthy country, it doesn't seem like it is.

Currently, the US gives a smaller percentage of our GDP to foreign aid than any other first world country except Greece:



We give about 1/3 as much per capita as a percentage of GDP as the average country. That UN target of 0.7% of GDP was a goal we committed to aiming for, but we aren't living up to our promise.

We could most definitely do a whole lot more. For example, if we took just 15% of what we spend on the military and shifted it over to foreign aid, that would pop us up to the top of that chart and would radically improve the situation in the third world. And, we would do more to improve our own safety building schools and whatnot in the third world than we do blowing them up, that's for sure.
 
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Muninn

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.....We could most definitely do a whole lot more. For example, if we took just 15% of what we spend on the military and shifted it over to foreign aid, that would pop us up to the top of that chart and would radically improve the situation in the third world. And, we would do more to improve our own safety building schools and whatnot in the third world than we do blowing them up, that's for sure.
Oh, I agree with you there 100%
 
Likes: teamosil
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Asking why there is overpopulation is going to yield different answers depending on your timescale. If you're thinking in the context of the last couple decades, you might reference a visual like this:

Fertility rate, world map


And then you'd start talking about culture, poverty, etc. and agree with teamosil's comment above about lifting people out of poverty to manage population.

But if your question is "why has the human population spiked so dramatically over the past thousand years," you'll reference a visual like this:



And your answer to the question will be more in line with Sparta's, that it has to do with agriculture and medicine. But in fact, both agriculture and medicine owe a great deal to something else, which is an even more profound contributor to our population boom, and that something is fossil fuels. Agriculture and medicine would be infinitely less successful without fossil fuels.
 
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