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Is Overpopulation a Myth?

Updated on April 20, 2016
A crowd of people
A crowd of people | Source

Can there ever be too many people?

When I was born, back in 1970, the world population was 3.7 billion people. By the time I was in kindergarten that number had risen to 4 billion. By the time I graduated from high school we had a net increase of another billion human beings, bringing us to 5 billion human residents of earth. By the dawn of the new millennium we pushed over the 6 billion mark. Ten years later we surpassed a world population of 7 billion people.

There can be no doubt that the world population has grown and continues to grow. Scientists have been coming to the same conclusion for decades. We are headed toward a dire lack of resources, environmental collapse, and a plummet in the average quality of life. Yet many still deny that humans can cause negative changes in their environment and think the earth has infinite resources.

They focus on dropping populations in countries with higher standards of living and better education, sometimes going so far as to claim it means humanity is in danger of dying out. I believe a decline in birth rates in a well-off country just means its people are making more responsible choices due to better education and access to safe and effective birth control.

However, many people believe that there is no such thing as overpopulation, that either the earth will accommodate an unlimited number of humans because it always has or that God has decreed that we must "go forth and multiply" without limitation. Some even argue that the idea of only having a few children rather than having as many as possible represents a liberal agenda to kill off the white race. They call overpopulation a myth.

Personally, I think the world has enough people already and that reproduction on anything more than a replacement level is an unsustainable plan for the future. I believe resources are finite and that the world population can and probably will overgrow the earth's capacity to support it. Or it's possible that, like any other overpopulated species, we will suffer extreme losses to contagious diseases and plague will solve the problem before we get a chance to do something less drastic ourselves.

Is It a Myth or a Real Danger?

No one can really dispute that the earth's human population is growing. What is in contention is whether or not the increase is leading to overpopulation or an unsustainable drain on the planet's resources.

Weigh in with your opinion as to whether or not our growing numbers could create a problem.

No comments including swearing will be published. Comments are moderated so if your comment does not immediately appear, that is the reason. I can only approve comments while at the computer.

Is Overpopulation a Real Danger?

Yes, you're right, if the human population continues to grow at its current rate we are in for trouble!

Yes, you're right, if the human population continues to grow at its current rate we are in for trouble!

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    • Kylyssa Shay 11 months ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      You are right; the sheer numbers aren't the only problem, it's what all those people do and the waste they produce or cause to be produced. I think the 3d printing revolution can't come soon enough and that when it does, it will help a great deal with the problem of plastic rubbish. Of course, it won't have enough impact on its own, but every bit adds up.

    • Stella Kaye 11 months ago

      I don't believe overpopulation is a myth; I think it is a very real problem that may already have pushed the planet's sustainability over the edge. It's not just the number of people - that's only the tip of the iceberg - it's the amount of non -recyclable rubbish they create and the sheer volume of land that they decimate to the detriment of every other living thing.

    • anonymous 3 years ago

      I think that overpopulation is not a problem if we are talking in reference to the survival of the human species. Nature will moderate our numbers through some proactive control mechamisn,ie war ,plague, pestilence etc or some major natural catastrophic event. If we are talking about a breakdown in social structure as competiton for dwindling resources approach there will be anarchy and difficulties for millions until the herd is reduced, but ultimately the natural ordrer will prevail and homeostasis will be restored. Then there is the theory and observation of demographic transition in which industrialized nations will boast a low death rate and a low birth rate stabilizing the population and in some instances a low birth rate actually causing a reduction. In conclusion do i think population is an issue that spells out human extinction the answer is no but quality of life and stagnation is definitely realistic as resources wane

    • anonymous 3 years ago

      Obviously overpopulation is a HUGE problem. I don't even consider this to be a real question- it seems self-evident. Look at the illegal timber industry raping and pillaging the forests. Look at the elephants, and other species- what would be their answer to this question. Of course- I don't want to die, and not too many people do- but I secretly hope that the the herd gets culled- and sooner, rather than later. Anyone who asserts that overpopulation is a myth is a dreamer that is dreaming that we will all of a sudden have a mass awakening of human consciousnes, and we will all live in peace and harmony- if we will just "get it". There is a dark side to humans- and that dark side is exacerbated by increased population density. We become MORE "evil" with more population- and not more "good". The world is getting more and more crazier and corrupt- not less so. Everything will only get worse- but- keep dreaming, dreamers.

    • anonymous 3 years ago

      By race who has the largest world populations? Those are the races who are responsible for overpopulation. If you have 4 different races and 1 of the races account for more than 60% of the worlds population then they are the ones responsible for the problem. In balance each race should account for 1/4 of the population not 3/4.By comparative contrast you can see that the U.S. population make up is 67% White, 14% Hispanic, 13% Black, and 5% Asian. These stats are taken from a poll taken in 2005' and is still and most likely will remain accurate for decades to come. So by comparative analysis, which even a 3rd grader can understand, we see that the population of races is vastly imbalanced as the majority race accounts for nearly 70% of the U.S. population.So yes if certain races don't find away to tame their reproductive urges then on their shoulders will rest the problem of overpopulation, only we all suffer as humans, but when the historians look back they'll say it wasn't the collective effort of humans world wide that created this problem, instead they'll point out the numbers and see that it was certain races or a certain race that caused this catastrophe.

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      We may already be at a population level that will cause a global catastrophe and die-off. The rate of increase demands that SOMETHING be done. I would prefer that all people collectively agree to manage their reproduction and hopefully gradually reduce the number of people on the planet. Unfortunately, I think that is a very remote possibility. Right now I fear that a few very influential people have already enacted a plan that will over time literally kill off a huge percentage of the population by lowering income and standard of life, reducing access to health care and personal property ownership, food additives and GMO foods designed to lower fertility if not actually lower lifespans directly. The ultra rich, (Koch Brothers, etc.) see themselves as the naturally selected winners of societal evolution, surrounded by masses of the "useless eaters", replaceable and disposable humanity that don't contribute to society, but are a burden on it. U.S. and world governments have been co-opted by the rich to pursue and agenda that will slowly crush the working class, lowering their lifespans and ability to protect themselves. A series of economic, health and resource crises will erode the lifestyle of billions of people until all wealth is literally in the hands a few, who will rule like the aristocracy of old. In their minds, the rich justify this plan as necessary to save the Earth as a whole while they become infinitely wealthy off people who would be soon dying of their unbridled consumption and anyway. Financial markets will strategically fail to take the money of the working class, wages will become lower and union representation abolished, healthcare will be priced beyond their reach, liberal political parties will be bankrupted and cease to exist, food supplies will be monitored, altered and dispensed by government agencies overseen by co-conspirators in on the plan.

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      real danger

    • KandDMarketing 4 years ago

      Over population is very, very real. Humanity's track is similar to a virus, which uses up all the resources, then tries to spread to the next space. Unless we develop the ability to go out and plague the universe with our foolishness, we, as a species must learn to control ourselves, or the earth WILL cleanse itself of us, as it has over 90% of all species that have ever lived.

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      Yes, overpopulation is real. Its not so much land surface compared to each person and limited supply of crops. Although a potable water shortage may be a real issue, it's how we push ourselves through in masses. More rural living is diminishing and becoming more of a ghostly retirees oasis as the cities around them drains the old community. Usually turning these small towns over to government dependency such as food stamps and medicaid, as well as low wages across. (Unless you don't mind a commute) and with gas prices who wouldn't... In Houston Texas when hurricane Rita barely missed. Nearly the whole entire city evacuated and caused more damage than the hurricane probably would have. This was a good example on how a large group of people can influence just about anyone to act in the same way. With more people I think you have a slightly less independent way of thinking.All the stores quickly became empty. You couldn't buy hardly anything, nothing was on the shelves. First time I saw mega giant stores like HEBs and Walmarts almost empty with nothing added to the stock. Hour lines at gas stations, only to get there and all the gas was used up. (this happened even when it was being regulated) Sure we may have a large supply just as long as our roads aren't heavily congested. Bringing up this hurricane evacuation is much different than our everyday flow, but for something that never came to cause this very quick complete drainage has to make you wonder.Folks that say overpopulation isn't real probably have never been stuck in traffic for an hour with the accident being on the other side of the freeway. Only simply because the number of curious heads have to take a glimpse of the scene. When your congested it doesn't take much to only have 0 control of the situation. Your decisions are limited. I say the fix would be for more companies to build rural vs always targeting cities. There should be a huge tax break for these organizations. Manufacturing is a great start, something other than oil and gas for a change. Not everybody wants to be a life on the road never come home roughneck. Wages would be cheaper and we could grow more jobs back in this country. Small local services would eventually grow as well. There's a fix to almost anything unfortunately the need to make the green the easiest always wins. And with this being said more people = more greed.

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      I've read the "Overpopulation is a myth" material, but still I don't agree. The issue they carefully avoid, is when 80% the population in emerging countries, copies Rich-world living styles, will that be sustainable. No way. We're stuck or else we have to radically redefine "happiness" not as a resource-crunching rat-race, but as... what?

    • cmadden 4 years ago

      I strongly suspect that the cause of Homo Sap's eventual extinction will be Homo Sap - whether by combining overbreeding with unsustainable resource use or by careless and/or malicious use of technology remains to be seen.

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      Yes, the population is getting very big, and the earth stays the same size. Just because we can have kids does not mean we should. Adopt, it helps kids in need and the population issue.

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      Yes. I think the idea behind the birth rate solution is to prevent the inhumane poulation crash (death rate solution) that will occur when the human race exceeds the carrying capacity of it's ecosystem

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      There is no way North Americans can downgrade their lifestyle in order to make room for more people. At the same time other parts of the world thrive to have the North American lifestyle. Some say that if we use your resources the right way, we can feed around 30 billion people comfortably. This is so not true. I don't think people understand the problems that associate overpopulation such as waste and deforestation, etc. And has anyone even thought about our fresh water supply?

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      When I grow up I am going to do something about it

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      Overpopulation is a VERY real threat and the cause of almost every problem we have, from unemployment to world hunger. The Myths that XX% of the earths land surface is not populated and thus there is plenty of room for more people are horribly flawed, those are places like the Sahara, Gobi and others places that are simply NOT capable of supporting human life. The system, cultural, economic and social, that we currently live by is shortsighted and extremely fragile. It is based on selfishness and greed. The Joke in all this is that Overpopulation is easy to fix, I'd rant about how but honestly I have just about given up that anyone will ever listen, if anyone -is- interested in finding out how to cure overpopulation email me at gysbert_visser@yahoo.co.uk "When all the world is overcharged with inhabitants, then the last remedy of all is war, which provideth for every man, by victory or death."Thomas Hobbs-1651

    • PTurner56 5 years ago

      We are already in trouble. Too many starving, too many unemployed, too many criminals relying on the wealth of others, too many murders, too many divorces, too many homeless, too many living in poverty, and too many broken people. That's just in THIS Country! And all the Republicans are concerned about is outlawing abortion and birth control. I think that speaks volumes.

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      yo i didn't even need to think about this but one of the leaders in my youth group said it was a myth i just think hes a stub-earn dumbass.

    • Cinnamonbite 5 years ago

      Not only are we overpopulated (remember life before subdivisions covered every square inch of undeveloped land and people had these things called, "yards?") we're becoming the movie, "Idiocracy." People shouldn't be allowed to breed unless they pass competency tests.

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      We are already way over the carrying capacity of Earth. The only reason we've been able to continue adding people is by destroying the natural environment with fertilizers and pollution. I only hope that cheap oil collapses before we completely compromise our planet to the point where humans can't survive at all. Earth and some inhabitants will continue but it remains to be seen whether we will be among them - and frankly we have not earned a place.

    No way, there is no such thing as overpopulation and there's no reason to worry about it!

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      • anonymous 3 years ago

        it`s a myth!! Just get on aeroplane and fly around the world and have a look at the vast open uninhabited land that is out there. Even in countries like the UK where they have a considerable amount of people for the size of the land there is still vast land available. Water can never be a problem either as desalinating sea water is possible and so is harvesting water from air. It`s a plot by the illuminatti to control the earth and the inhabitants of it.

      • anonymous 4 years ago

        Overpopulation is a sad state, but said "overpopulation" would only be temporary.The ones who overpopulate without financial backing will go hungry and dry, succumbing to various ailments as malnutrition and disease, death by hunger and thirst and various other horrible and inhumane things.The worst part is, all these people cannot be saved. They will die, billions ofchildren will die and we will twiddle our fat fingers and be desensitized by this. All the foreign aid in the world isn't enough now, and it never will be.The world balances itself, as it is not sentient, especially not capable of any sort of empathy, just a binary collection of ands and ifs, positives and negatives. Whole species of animal have come to an abrupt end due to overpopulation, but we can just elevate ourselves and say "we can farm food". We can harness and manage resources for many a person above this earth, but in no way can we support billions of people, the worst type of resource-hoarding land-pillagers alive, above the theoretical maximum.Or then, someone will make the extremely hard decision of ending it once and for all in the most grossly inhumane manner possible. Every option is on the table when we could face self-extinction, sadly.A sad and depressing thought to think we are but mere animals breeding to the collapse, but the reality is worse; we have the power to stop it.

      • anonymous 4 years ago

        I don't believe in this crap didn't you hear? Superbugs are now coming & just recently E.Coil is now resistance to antibiotics & much more superbugs are on the way & cancer is on the rise. I never believe in this crap & never will. It is fake beyond all reason! Truth is anything can wipe us off for all we know the YellowStone Volcano can erupt or an asteroid can hit us at ANYTIME! Think about it people nature will have a chance it has done many times in the past with Smallpoxs, Spanish Flu etc. Possibly SARS may come back with a vengeance WE DON'T KNOW! Don't panic anything can happen in 20 years from now!

      • Edutopia 5 years ago

        Overpopulation only becomes an issue if we limit the boundaries of the population to the surface of the Earth. There is no reason why we can't expand into space using already known technology today other than a lack of political will.

      • anonymous 5 years ago

        actually the global population is on its way to a steep decline. consider this: it used to be tripling every decade, then doubling, then it began growing by 1 billion per decade while the number seams high, it is only a small growth from a global perspective. we have only grown by the lowest predicted estimates for the last 80 years. If this trend continues then we are actually headed towards a decline within about 70 years we should be lower than 7 billion. The global population appears to be growing out of control, but global fertility rates have been falling drastically. Falling from 5 to 2.47 in a decade. people are simply living longer worldwide. overpopulation is a myth. we produce more food on less land than ever before. According to the U.N. Population Database, the world's population in 2010 will be 6,908,688,000. The landmass of Texas is 268,820 sq mi (7,494,271,488,000 sq ft).So, divide 7,494,271,488,000 sq ft by 6,908,688,000 people, and you get 1084.76 sq ft/person. That's approximately a 33' x 33' plot of land for every person on the planet, enough space for a town house.we also could feed the whole world using only part of The African continent. Overpopulation hysteria distracts from real problems.

      • anonymous 5 years ago

        Unfortunately, this "overpopulation panic" seems to overlook issues such as inequality and bad infrastructure as the real problems, and it sees people as just consumers and not producers. There are actually many reasons to celebrate 7 billion. This milestone proves how ingenious we are, that we're better at keeping more people alive longer now than ever before, and we have more brains to create and develop more useful technologies and innovations to accommodate a growing population. Yes, there are still problems of starvation and lower standards of living for many on the planet, but neither history nor mathematical logic bears out the conclusion that population pessimists reached of resource scarcity. Where there are these problems, we need to go about creating more for everyone rather than curbing our numbers. In the Victorian times, the world's population was a small fraction of what it is now, yet there was still poverty. What changed and improved our lives in the West was not going down from 1 billion to less, but improving sanitation infrastructure, healthcare, our general standards of living, and taking advantage of scientific breakthroughs. We should see humanity as a solution and not the problem. I came across a spoof recently that parodies the many ridiculous overpopulation fears and paranoia - it is hilarious and brilliant! http://www.worldbytes.org/get-off-my-planet-happy-...

      • anonymous 5 years ago

        no.because the growth is in developing countries which are following a natural pattern of development which was earlier followed for developed countries that are now below replacement levels

      • anonymous 5 years ago

        i say don't worry bout this

      • anonymous 6 years ago

        If this is true, why there are only two countries that has over one billion people (them together would make something close to 3 billion)?! I mean, the US doesn't even have 350 million, and is the THIRD most populated country. I'd say that the world population is not properly distributed, but there's plenty of room in this world for everyone.

      • anonymous 6 years ago

        Overpopulation and Global Warming are myths. Plutocrats controlling the media have beautiful rhetoric stating otherwise. When humanity grows up and puts people's needs before profit margins, the technology that has been around for decades will finally be utilized. This planet can sustain at least double the amount of people there are now; if our Earth's resources stopped being raped, and renewable ones are implemented on a planetary scale. Global warming is just as big a myth as well... How come nearly every other heavenly body in our Solar System is experiencing the same phenomena as well? (Ask NASA)

      • anonymous 6 years ago

        WHO CARES ABOUT THIS STUPID HW.

      • anonymous 6 years ago

        any population has a carrying capacity limited by its environment. as technology advances, more resources are discovered, and existing resources are used more efficiently for more purposes. there is no such thing as overpopulation, because when the capacity of an environment (food supply, housing, money) is met, mortality rates increase and there is no net increase in population.

      • anonymous 6 years ago

        Absolutely incredible how many people believe what the MSM tells them. GOOGLE IT! Overpopulation is a MYTH. A LIE. GOOGLE IT! Watch the videos, they explain where the myth came from and why/how it is being used to justify killing and starving millions of people needlessly.

      • anonymous 6 years ago

        No Overpopulation is a myth, a fraud, a scam used by the globalists to justify their eugenicist agenda, don't believe the hype!

      • Carolan Ross 7 years ago from St. Louis, MO

        Myth! Our world contains many real dangers. Overpopulation is not one of them.

      • anonymous 7 years ago

        No. Read "Population Control: Real Costs Illusory Benefits" by Steven W. Mosher. Mosher is president of the Population Research Institute and is recognized as one of the leading authorities on population studies.

      • anonymous 7 years ago

        No

      • anonymous 7 years ago

        i don't care about others opinion just give me the facts . thank God for the internet

      • anonymous 7 years ago

        my jesus says what you say is wrong. my jesus tells me to have kids and teach them the truth and let them go unto the world to save the lost! my jesus tells the planet what to do. my jesus can change climate and generate more resources (remember the fish and loaves???). FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON!!!! if having children is bad, then why did god send his son? how else would the human race survive? this is crazy!!!!

      • Bellezza-Decor 7 years ago from Canada

        Overpopulation is a moot point as with any organism that expands to the parameters of its existence it will implode upon itself. Mother Nature has a way of culling excesses; let's not give anyone any funny ideas about taking matters into their own hands.The question "Is overpopulation a real danger" is a dangerous question, because it compels one to question if some see too many useless eaters now! Dangerous ideas for dangerous minds.I say live and let live and what will be, will be.

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      Stand Up and Be Counted! Give Your Opinion on Overpopulation

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          sekoiasan 3 years ago

          A huge part of the world is already living in hunger and yet the population is still growing. Isn't that a huge sign? And yes some people consume much more than they need and could give it to the poor but that is only if the population number remains as now. The fertility rate of the world has to remain at 2 so there is no more growth and we handle the overflowing problems we already have, without even knowing whether we can take on more. Anyway, we simply have to raise awareness and make educational organisations because a lot of the families with too many children have a lower education or are ignorant of the Earths decreasing ressources.

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          anonymous 3 years ago

          I do believe we're headed toward the overpopulated danger zone. At the same time I have to admit that I feel a little selfish whenever I make a statement like that. After all, I'm a part of this overpopulated planet and am enjoying every minute of it. Who am I to say how many children a couple should or shouldn't have? It's seriously something to think about, isn't it?

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          KandDMarketing 4 years ago

          Like a virus, the human species consumes, consumes, consumes and has no thought of the future or the possibility that what it is consuming will run out. IT is a fundamental flaw in our species. Some would say, "well, let's go to the stars", others would say "let's limit the number of children" yet I would say, let's find a way to repair the fundamental flaw in our makeup that makes us the mindless viral creatures we are.

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          ron-buck-5811 4 years ago

          Overpopulation is a myth. most countries now are depopulating. Women should have at least 4 babies each as a minimum.Be fruitfull and multiply, girls!

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          Edutopia 5 years ago

          Constraining your solutions to Earth is a major hindrance for yourself. We can and should expand beyond the atmosphere and once we've done so the whole issue will pretty much solve itself.

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          Cinnamonbite 5 years ago

          If only people had the sense to not breed if they can't provide for kids, but we live in a generation where people live in apartments and work all hours yet insist on having big dogs as pets. Sometimes more than 1! But it's ok, now they've invented this pet pad so the dog can use the toilet inside the apartment and you never have to be responsible.

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          johntaves 6 years ago

          We must all understand that a birth rate above two causes children to die. If we maintain a birth rate of 3 for example, 1 in 3 children will die. This fact is must become common knowledge.

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          ZazzleEnchante 6 years ago

          A thought provoking, serious but interesting duel! And it plays its part in addressing its issue and encouraging a good debate! Thumbs up to it!

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          csnyder lm 6 years ago

          My idea to solve world problems is to teach EVERYONE to be objective thinkers. Thinking objectively or understanding the difference between what we believe and what is true would allow people to understand that having too many children is not good in so many ways. It would also solve other things that have plaged mankind in modern times like racism for people would understand that people are all human no matter what color or religion.

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          VivekS 6 years ago

          Even if it's a myth, this is a great place to bust them and look things from a fresh new perspective. Good piece for reading.

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          LoKackl 6 years ago

          Concern about overpopulation hasn't led to much in the way of remedies. Important discussion and an effective job at promoting discussion. That's where it starts, after all. Squid Angel Blessed.

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          Carolan Ross 7 years ago from St. Louis, MO

          Thought provoking page, well-done. 5*s!

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          EmmieAnna 7 years ago

          Interesting topic, though I do not agree with your statements. I am from a place with declining population even though I am eldest of several children. I would like to say that it is likely that women with higher education have fewer children. However I know several women with at least one graduate degree that have at least 3 children. This level of education would seem to indicate they would have two children or less.

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          mitchking 7 years ago

          I do not see how we can continue to grow and still feed and provide clean drinking water for everyone. True part of the problem now with the food and water is it is not distributed well, but this is not going to get easier without the costs involved with moving these things.

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          Deb Kingsbury 7 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

          Excellent, thought-provoking lens, Kylssa!

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          norma-holt 7 years ago

          Great topic and important points raised. 5*

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          Linda Jo Martin 7 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

          Very timely topic, well presented! 5*, blessed. We all need to be concerned about this issue and the shenanigans perpetrated by world leaders to control our population growth. Education is the answer... that, and science.

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          HorseAndPony LM 7 years ago

          Great Lens. We are very interested to see what kind of responses you receive.

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          justholidays 7 years ago

          This is a topic that is important to me as a History passionate! Our present and our future are history. Look at the history and you'll discover why overpopulation is dangerous and also why having too many children isn't necessary any more. Well, all in all, I would say you did a great lens. Hope many people will stop by and contribute!5 ***** and favorite from me!Dom.

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