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Is Our Planet Overpopulated?

Updated on November 22, 2020
Stella Kaye profile image

Stella is interested in philosophical, social and religious concepts and has written several articles on this subject

The Human Tsunami - A Relentless Tide Of Overpopulation

Standing room only
Standing room only | Source

Overpopulation Issues

The world would be a better place without many atrocities... terrorism, crime and prejudice to name several but the list is endless. Religious intolerance... poverty... greed... environmental pollution... over farming... the decimation of the rain forests... exploitation of animals... climate change... plastic pollution. These issues will worsen as world population increases.

Be Fruitful - But Don't Multiply Too Much!

The one issue every person on the planet can help resolve is overpopulation. The world would be a better place if there were fewer people. If population remained stable, there may yet be a chance for resources to be sustainable.

There are many opposing views on the impact of ever-increasing population. According to statisticians, the entire world population would fit into Texas. And they're right. But as well as somewhere to live, people need space to grow food. They also need room for their rubbish which goes to a landfill if not recycled.

In nature, there's no waste whereas humans are far too wasteful. The fierce rapidity with which resources are depleted impacts unfavourably on the environment. Whilst humans place every emphasis on monetary value, they care for little else. Habitats can't recover fast enough. When humans damn rivers to supply their cities with water, other species die.

You could say humans are an alien race because they share no relationship with any other species... with the possible exception of head lice! They may have brought them along from who knows where, but that's a story for another day!

As a species, all humans, religious or not, are expert at reproduction - anyone familiar with The Bible knows that God said 'be fruitful and multiply.' God also said 'replenish the earth' but as custodians of this planet, humans have fallen far short of the mark. Humans have reached the point where they're drowning in their own success and this is why the tumultuous tide of humanity threatens all life on Earth.

People, People, Everywhere And Not a Blade of Grass

Too many people - too little resources
Too many people - too little resources | Source

The Human Tsunami Needs To Be Stopped

This human tsunami must stop but how? Nobody wants their family planning arrangements to become a public issue. China's now defunct one-child policy was successful but raised several problematic issues. The disposal of unwanted, newborn females and the dilemma for mothers who became pregnant a second time were two of the most important ones. It also resulted in a whole generation of 'only' children.

Governments should heed advice from scientists, statisticians and environmentalists about voluntary sterilisation programmes. In third-world countries, the introduction of these would help improve lives.

Many think it's an indisputable right to reproduce, but why - when you can't afford to nourish yourself? To look after your offspring, you first need to take care of yourself. To feed, clothe, and provide shelter for them, you need adequate income. Transport too is vital even if it's a bicycle so you can take your grain to the marketplace.

There are too many people for the environment to cope with and as a consequence, it's becoming unsustainable. Those born in the 1950s or 60s, know that world population has increased three-fold since then. Even in the face of war, famine, pestilence and natural disasters, as a species, mankind is too prolific.

Overpopulation means that everything takes longer, in spite of advances in technology. Thirty years ago you'd make a phone call to an official department and get through to a real person - immediately. Not so, nowadays - you're often held in a queue for up to an hour! Travel takes longer due to queues and crowds, so only those in rural areas get a chance of a quiet life. Adequate space to live is harder to find now that new-build homes are smaller.

Humans are successful because they exploit the environment but this success doesn't guarantee their continued stewardship of the planet. As they push other species to the brink of extinction, their habitat is also threatened.

The dinosaurs existed for 165 million years, but how long have humans been here? Not even a fraction of that! Human ancestors dominated Earth for six million years but in their modern form, they've only been around for 200,000!

A Presentation On Overpopulation

'We all have red blood, share the same rock and breathe the same air'

— Stella Kaye

Too Many People - Not A Grey Area But As Plain As Black And White!

Overpopulation will be the downfall of us all
Overpopulation will be the downfall of us all | Source

Everything Can And Will Run Out

There are elements of truth in the cataclysmic scenarios depicted in Sci-Fi movies, but it's far more likely that humanity will be the author of its own demise rather than meet an untimely nemesis by an asteroid, or alien invasion.

Air quality is beyond tolerable limits in congested cities. People are eager to move to the metropolis but who will tend the farmland to feed them? City dwellers of the future may sink into their own excrement with no clean air, fresh food, or water supply. To avoid a dystopian future, steps to reduce population must begin now; governments should ensure that birth rates decrease since the world's resources aren't infinite.

It's stating the obvious, but the obvious is often overlooked: All living entities share the same small rock, breathe the same air and need clean water, fresh food and shelter to survive. If these basic requirements aren't met, it spells disaster for not only humans but all other species on Earth.

Documentary On Overpopulation

Alongside The 'Human' Tsunami Flows A Plastic Tide

An excellent documentary series is 'Life After People.' This hypothetical scenario demonstrates how nature would recuperate if humans disappeared. The concluding episode is a thought-provoking glimpse into a world, devoid of humans. A harmonious environment, capable of sustaining many life-forms now holds dominion after Earth's delicate ecological balance is again restored. The final shot is chilling. Millennia have passed and all trace of human civilisation decayed - the only testament to human existence is a plastic toy man trapped between the rock strata.

Future generations may view the 'plastic age' as the most destructive era in world history. Food and drink come in plastic, clothes are made of plastic and it all pollutes the environment when discarded. There's not a drop of water anywhere that isn't polluted with plastic. Humans have scattered plastic waste all around the globe since the 1950s. (when plastic first became commonplace). Since it was patented in 1909, plastic has only taken a century to become a threat to all living things. Some scientists say there could be more plastic in the oceans than fish by 2050. It's a wake-up call for everyone who cares about the legacy they leave behind.

The scenario of a plastic planet is real. Although it has valuable uses, due to its extreme durability, neither humans nor nature, know how to dispose of it. Research into producing biodegradable 'plastic like' materials needs further investment. Plastic in its current form is lethal to every living thing. The more the population increases, the more plastic will accumulate in landfill sites, rivers and oceans. Humans produce too much of it, so recycling won't solve the issue. 300 million tonnes are being produced each year and as little as 10% is recycled.

A Burning Issue

The continued increase in greenhouse gas emissions will make matters worse. From a scientific angle, humans are still in the dark ages - even nuclear power offers the opportunity for mankind to dig its way out. Water, wind and solar power are suitable alternatives to fossil fuels. These sustainable and renewable energies help lessen the impact on the environment but can't keep up with the rate at which humans are breeding.

There could still be an alternative to a futureless future caused by overpopulation and the associated decimation of the environment. Humanity must make sensible decisions regarding family planning to keep the population down. Continued effort from each successive generation is necessary. Giving careful thought to the implications of starting a family is important for all, but those who don't have the income and resources to provide for one should remain childless for their own well-being and that of the planet.

A Thought-Provoking Sci Fi Short Film

Population Poll

Can humankind solve the vast majority of its problems by introducing population control?

See results

© 2014 Stella Kaye


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    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 

      2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      I read some of Dr. Mcpherson's essays. His description of Latent Heat is interesting. I’ll have to try that kitchen experiment that he explained.

    • Stella Kaye profile imageAUTHOR

      Stella Kaye 

      2 years ago from UK

      Thank you for reading my article, Glenn. You may be interested to read the works of Dr. Guy Mcpherson as you are thinking along the same lines. He is the world's major authority on Near Term Human Extinction. All his work is based on scientific facts. He raises many salient points but his main ones concern the decimation of natural habitat to such an extent that humans are pushing many species and even themselves to the brink of extinction. He thinks there is enough evidence to suggest that tipping points have already long passed, so the situation is now irrecoverable. He believes humans may only have less than a decade left on this planet because of the waste they generate, depletion of natural resources and atmospheric pollution. Here is a link to his site:

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 

      2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      You made some very important points Stella. I actually believe that the human race won't last very long. It's already obvious that we are the only creatures that destroy our environment. No other animal does that and they never have.

      Once we bring it to the brink where the Earth will no longer support us, we will vanish. Without us, mother nature will eventually restore things back to a condition that will support whatever life is left. Then that life will continue to evolve into something new just as we had evolved from fish. It all starts over again, unless a major catastrophe wipes out the present living creatures, as happened before.

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 

      3 years ago from Houston, TX USA

      I commend you on your great article and I have a simple solution: Vasectomy after one or two children. Vasectomies are quick and easy and effective. They are easily managed. There would be no problem as the Chinese had if Vasectomies were used. Yes, I got one.

    • Stella Kaye profile imageAUTHOR

      Stella Kaye 

      3 years ago from UK

      Thanks for the feedback, Daniel. Population control is something all governments will have to address at some point but at the moment they aren't that concerned with the issue. I haven't really touched on the possible solutions in my article so there's scope for a further article in that respect.

      I was just highlighting the problem of overpopulation which many people are either oblivious to or don't think is even happening. Some people have mentioned to me that population control is something governments shouldn't even contemplate as it's a violation of personal freedom and choice.

      I see the way forward as some government incentives being given if couples opt to adopt a child rather than give birth to one. The problem is you can't generalise. For instance, if you were a farmer with acres of land, you could write rightly argue that you need to raise lots of kids to help you work the land, but for someone living in a cramped high-rise flat, you'd be daft to have too many.

      The main issue would be to ensure that no-one was treated unfairly or unequally whatever their status and situation in life but this in itself isn't going to be easy. I think education is the way forward and perhaps the very poor who really can't afford to reproduce could be given some incentive not to have children so they can improve their lives for themselves.

      I think it's far better people are given the freedom to make their own family planning decisions now through better education, than strict population control be enforced at some future point.

    • profile image

      Daniel Gottlob 

      3 years ago

      Thanks for the hub! On stemming rampant population growth what policies would you advocate for? There is the noted controversial but effective China One Child Policy but as you briefly list there are other options. In looking at the situation and the levers that can be pulled; what do you see as the balance for effectiveness versus impacts that will be dealt to some groups versus others and the ethical questions that come with them. I ask this not as criticism of the governing problem (population beyond capacity), but more so in regards to where do you see the next steps from here and are there particular strategies or legislation you see as potential solutions (if only partly) to the problem.

      For example, as sterilization as noted, would you support government funding for the procedures? Would you support compensation to do so? Are there concerns that it would make reproduction a luxury of the rich or disproportionately affect one region/ethnic group over another?

      Same with contraception, where do you think efforts should be focused on that end and are their forms that should be subsidized more than others. Are there forms, that you think will be more palatable to push forward in the near term?

      Also, from an education stand point; there is serious discussion to be had there as well. There are significant links between completion of primary and secondary education by women and number of children. Is funding here something you would prioritize higher than the others.

      Think of it as fodder for another hub.

      Happy typing!



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