Allow me to vent a bit of my frustration about a critically important issue which is almost completely absent from popular debate these days: the population explosion. While it can easily be seen to be at least a key factor at the root of our pollution, climate change, resource shortage, economic, and even political problems, I’ve heard not one political candidate, and not one news report, refer to it, and at some levels I wonder why, while at others I think I understand. Is it such a troublesome topic that nobody has the guts to touch it?
Here are some things I’ve learned in the past few years (which I won’t attempt to attribute now, but may in the future). The planet is currently supporting in excess of 6.5 billion humans, and adding another billion every 13 years. A survey study by demographers and scientists I read around 1999 estimated that the planet can provide food for approximately 7.5 billion humans, and that estimate might have included the use of plankton. The developed countries have the lowest population growth, in general, with some having level or even declining populations, especially when immigration is taken out of the estimate. That tells me that, within ten or fifteen years, serious famine should begin to appear in the least developed countries, and areas of others with the most dense and rapidly growing populations.
So why is nobody talking about this, let alone developing political approaches to the problem? Only China, to my knowledge, has taken any substantial action to slow population growth, with the result that India will soon pass them in total population (if it hasn’t already). (Incidentally, I have seen mention of a measurable economic benefit to China from the slowing of their population growth.)
Are we humans lemmings? Or bacteria, to proliferate until there mother nature steps in to “cull the herds”? For all of the high opinions we have of ourselves as a species, are we only just intelligent enough to see the crisis coming, but not smart enough to do anything about it?
Remember Zero Population Growth, a nonprofit organization from perhaps 30 years ago? They’re still around at http://www.populationconnection.org/, and provide a wealth of information there.
Who else is actually speaking out about this problem? Is anyone developing any approaches to this huge challenge?