This conversation is closed.

Why is everybody concerned about "how to solve the problems of 10 billion humans" instead of "how NOT TO REACH that amount of people"?

We know human overpopulation is the base of practicaly all the problems our planet faces today, how it comes nobody seems to care about it, instead of how to satisfy the needs of more and more people?

  • thumb
    Sep 12 2012: i would revoke everyone's commenting rights if have not seen hans rosling's talk:
    • Sep 12 2012: How about this great talk by Albert Bartlett, professor emeritus of Physics at Univ of Colorado-Boulder:

      Now, what time is it? Do we have another bottle?

      PS: I did not know you could do that (to revoke other people's rights)...
      • thumb
        Sep 13 2012: and how does it apply? does the exponential function says us that the earth is large enough to feed 3 bn, but not 10? cite your sources that the earth can not feed 10 bn.

        no, i can not revoke such rights. pity.
        • Sep 13 2012: Presently it's not about the world not being able to feed enough people, at present food production is actually in surplus, it's more about the distribution of food rather than production. The same applies to most natural resources (including water), distribution is the issue.

          That said, distribution is only the culprit at present. If humanities population continues to grow I believe we will eventually hit a ceiling whereby we start to cause extinction on a more noticeable scale (not only the cute animals but also essential habitats too). As well an inability to produce enough food for the population due to these decreasing biodiversity levels, soil quality, and not to mention that old foe, climate change.

          Areas that currently act as breadbaskets (e.g. the USA, which produces about 40% of the worlds maize) are suffering from increasing levels of desertification, which in turn decreases agriculture yield = less food. All problems that would be exacerbated if you imagine another 3 billion people.
  • Sep 16 2012: People that confront problems solve them and the people that don't won't understand.
  • Sep 13 2012: If you check out this talk by, the always entertaining, Hans Rosling from the 10 minute mark you can see that world population is very likely to hit the 10 billion point given that we already have a population of 7 billion.

    I think the main problem is one of over-consumption rather than over population. It's all about the impact we have on our surroundings, if every human had as little impact on the environment as we did before our industrial period then our current problems would be a lot less pressing. Of course without this industrial period we wouldn't have 7 billion on the planet as we wouldn't have the machinery and infrastructure to grow for and supply that many people, which we just about do even though it's done rather badly and un-equally...

    I remember hearing an interesting fact recently that over the last 30 years energy efficiency had increased in Germany by 50%. However the savings this could have had in terms of energy consumption had been wiped out by economic growth. I would argue that the current economic contraction we're seeing in Europe and other areas is actually a good thing for the planet provided technology innovates to keep making things more energy efficient and products become more durable and repairable.
  • Sep 13 2012: An interesting idea, given that the 10 billion figure is largely based on projections of current growth it almost appears to have become fact, rather than a potential future (some of the climate change projects make assumptions that the earths population will plateau and then decrease in the late 2080s).

    The key i think would be to think about what it is that causes population growth. For example:

    A woman and a man have a single child, the child grows up, the parents pass away, we are now net -1 person on the planet.

    Add a second child and we break even, add a 3rd and we are net +1 person, and so on (I'm excluding the people who do not have children for whatever reason).
    I recall reading somewhere that based on statistics those from lower income backgrounds are more likely to have more children. An example given was a farming family, whereby having more children meant there was more free labour (also linked to low education levels). You would also have to look at maternal and infant health issues, religious beliefs etc.
  • thumb
    Sep 13 2012: The root of all economic problem is immigration control.
    • thumb
      Sep 13 2012: Ehiss,can i ask a Q?

      Is Africa's education level rising? Is Africa's development being stunted by outside influence and it's own resources being siphoned off?
      • thumb
        Sep 13 2012: Ken - Africa is still under colonial rule – and she can never develop under that circumstances. The best way to define colonization is ‘external political control of a state’.

        British colonization of the Americas was conducted by ground officials, directly, through the use of imported officials and military force. Americans revolted because it was so glaring - so when they came into Africa 100 years later, they learned from that experience. They applied indirect rule through cultural structures. In my country they have only a handful of officials dealing with traditional rulers. This way the ordinary man did not know that he was been colonized by the British.

        Now, if you are from a different planet and I put forward the following explanation, surely you can infer that in another 100 years’ time colonization will take a different form – possibly, one with the appearance of freedom.

        That is exactly what we have in Africa. If you study the economic calendar of Sub-Saharan Africa, as I have done, you’d realize that most countries did well in the 60s and 70s. It was the decade of adjustment (80s), when World Bank and IMF took over the affairs, that everything went bad. IMF and World bank are the causes of the problems we have in sub-Saharan Africa - nothing else.
        • thumb
          Sep 13 2012: Thanks Ehis,i wanted to hear it from someone who is concerned with the old girls future rather than a passing comment dropped here and there,i thought China was a pressing worry?
  • thumb
    Sep 13 2012: The Danger in Equality:
    Simple concept; let's say every human on earth had equal rights and equal access to resources. Without new restrictions the population will continue to swell and eventually there will be a shortage of something; let's say water. If distributed equally we'd all run out of water at the same time, die at the same time, and the entire species would be extinct. In order to preserve our species we would need a repository of chosen members to be preserved and protected by the un-chosen. The Elite are a necessary evil.

    The Inevitability of Eugenics
    Our current societal institutions and organizations are structured to maximize quantity of human life by preserving it universally (Human Rights). We are quickly reaching an impasse for this policy as the planet may already be overpopulated. When you have an excess in quantity of anything tangible it would be wise to assess the quality of your stock before deciding what to keep and what to discard. When applied to humans this shift from quantity to quality is called eugenics.
    • thumb
      Sep 13 2012: This is Abhorrent but we will see everyone entertain this at sometime in their lives.

      Original gene stocks are a must in picking for this rather than an educated elite based on,well,education.The western nations are sadly a bad clean gene system as they head more into the processed diet system and the false notion of old mother syndrome,having babies late rather than earlier when their genes are more pristine for both partners.I'm discounting genetic research as it won't apply to everyone that hasn't got deep pockets and it probably won't come in time.

      What do you think? any modification? or totally unrealistic as it is total speculation.
      • thumb
        Sep 13 2012: First let me say that my previous comment was copied from an email exchange in which my friend and I were challenging each other to play devil's advocate to popular opinion (preservation of earth, women's rights, rape, ignorance, etc. Good times.) I posted it here because it related, and I sometimes get a kick out of stirring the pot.

        I think that the larger and more diverse the stockpile, the better. Beyond that things like IQ, family medical history, and overall vitality would be prudent areas of consideration. Also arranging them in mating pairs based on HLA compatibility wouldn't be a bad idea.
        • thumb
          Sep 13 2012: It doesn't matter EE, people are people,it starts with what Jesus has beem pointing out,in my own country we are almost at each others throats over the so called poor having too many babies,it may look like just moaning and groaning but i think they are reacting a little too fearful and that's just over more ingenious ways to tax us.we only have 4 million pop,it can go to 10 million before apathetic erosion sets in.

          I don't know much about compatibility but i do know that you need original mastercopy stock as well as a good majority of mongrelized humans to ensure 9 out of10 survival rates,i'm with you on all races genes being saved but i discount everything technological and try and see it through the "Marooned" scenario,something to think about while i'm on the job.I see things through the eye's of the geographically isolated as that is what my country is,nz,we can't just roll over to a refugee camp across a border,we have to make do with what we got and at the moment we're at the mercy of nature and it's unpredictable moods.I wonder if she will kill a lot of us off giving the rest of us a breather.
  • thumb
    Sep 13 2012: 10 billion? I don't see a problem with that.I wonder why there is so much attention on Africa? What about India? South America? If Africa explodes then it's their continent,not mine,not yours,not anyone's.1st one must examine oneself before you go off on a tangent,I wonder why it's always the Africans?
  • Sep 13 2012: Jesus Salazar makes a good point. I believe that Isaac Asimov explained it best in an essay in Roving Mind. I feel another good way to look is like at Humpty Dumpty. If we break it it may not fit together again. Eventually population growth will stop. In fact, mayube it will decline in ways we don't want it to stop. Part of the prfoblem is that some people can't understand carrying capacity. Rock on Jesus. The earth is not flat.
  • Sep 12 2012: Because we failed to do so with 4, 5, 6, and 7 billions... and counting.
    Besides, my argument is not about wether it is possible or not, but about switching the way we think: If we know for certain that overpopulation is the ground for several problems facing the world today (may be all of them), then why are we not thinking on solving that core issue?
  • thumb
    Sep 12 2012: and why would it be any better? if we can find ways to make room for 10bn, why would we want to stop that?
    • Sep 12 2012: Because we know overpopulation leads to poverty, over explotation of natural resources, ignorance, a lower quality of human living and very bad times for the rest of the species on Earth. Ethically that must be enough reason, Do you agree?
      • thumb
        Sep 12 2012: your argument in a nutshell is that if possible to make room for 10 billion, there will be no room for 10 billion. i'm not convinced. what if we can make the earth a comfortable home for 10 bn? how do you know it is not possible?
        • Sep 13 2012: The amount of innovation necessary to solve the problems of air and water quality, human waste, heat, etc, will not come before the people do. We can't even agree to phase out, let alone ban, combustion engines. By the time we are 10 billion the earth will be a pile of garbage where everyone is wearing a gas mask and boils their water- at best. We do not have infinite resources. Not everyone on earth is even eating decently now. What then?