Overpopulation – The Root Cause of Our Problems – Why Is It a Taboo Topic?

(This is a reprint of a recent posting in my personal blog that I think is quite appropriate to share here.  Please comment if you like .  Thanks for reading. – Tim)

Why is overpopulation taboo? It is incredibly frustrating to see so many people and organizations thrashing around over climate change and related issues when none of those problems would exist if we weren’t overpopulating the planet. The problems of epidemic and famine that will emerge over the next two or three decades will compound our relatively new problems with weather and increasing sea levels, and it is likely that at least a few billion people will die untimely deaths before the end of this century, all attributable to the human population explosion. Isn’t a focus on reducing birthrates worldwide what we really need? Are we putting ourselves at risk by addressing the more superficial issues and ignoring the root cause?

The population explosion is here now, and it is causing problems. In fact, we are experiencing many population-driven problems now. Immigration problems are stimulated by many things, but primary among them are the crime that crops up in increasingly crowded areas, scarcity exacerbated by decreasing ratios of resources to consumers (demand beginning to exceed supply), and the increasing difficulty of managing huge, fast growing and fast changing national economies effectively.

Many countries have the added problem of maverick corporate entities with huge financial power influencing their politics and laws, stripping their natural resources, and manipulating and bribing officials, unconcerned that their actions and policies create poverty and economic imbalance. When conditions deteriorate in small countries as corporate domination, government corruption, and cartel/gang activity (enabled by misguided American drug laws) increase crime and poverty, people become increasingly desperate to leave.

Initially immigrants leave to look for better opportunities and life styles, but as conditions worsen they leave in an attempt to not be killed or injured by criminals and to escape poverty. (Most people like to eat!) When conditions are bad it may not be possible to move a whole family as one, so one or both heads of the household often go abroad to try to make enough money to initially help those back home and eventually bring the family to a better place. The United States is currently experiencing a situation in which young children are risking death and hardship in the most extreme circumstances to join their previously emigrated parents. Overpopulation makes poverty worse and increases the drive to emigrate.

Overpopulation creates scarcity, and scarcity creates conflict. Wars and political conflict are increasing, driven by the need to secure resources including energy sources, land, and water. That need is demand and it is driven by population growth more than any other factor. As the human population explodes over the next thirty years national economies will find themselves in increasingly tough battles over land, resources, and energy sources, and often those battles will become wars.

Root cause analysis is not rocket science. Anyone can analyze causality by simply looking at something and asking why it is way it is. Then, when some answer has been found, that answer must be questioned about why each of its parts is the way it is. This process is sometimes called “the 5 whys” because if you keep asking why until you have gone through about five levels of causality you usually understand what is going on and why things are the way they are pretty well. If you use this technique to analyze human problems – plenty can be found on the front page of any news site – you will find that a majority of them, possibly a vast majority, lead back to overpopulation.

So why is overpopulation not mentioned in the media? Are journalists and politicians afraid? Certainly the topic is frightening, especially as one starts looking at the status of our natural world and how it is changing. It is clear that, within a few decades, our children and grandchildren will have some huge and terrible issues to deal with. But shouldn’t we be talking about the root cause of our problems NOW? To be effectively dealt with, shouldn’t problems such as immigration and war be addressed in full recognition of the contributions of overpopulation? Shouldn’t birthrate reduction be a prominent topic for public discussion, world-wide? Won’t our problems just get worse the longer we fail to consider the impact of overpopulation in the development of their solutions?

I hope you will join me in asking these questions more and more loudly, and asking them of people who we elected or who are otherwise responsible for our lives and environments. Thanks for reading. – Tim


5 responses to “Overpopulation – The Root Cause of Our Problems – Why Is It a Taboo Topic?

  1. Well said Tim.

  2. Interestingly, when one of my American right wing colleagues reads this article or something similar, they start asking me extreme questions like “so what percentage of babies do you want to kill?” At first I thought this was just the way American conservatives “attack” a lot of issues, they go to the extremes. While this may shut down the conversation at the moment, it does nothing constructive about the problem. It has occurred to me, however, that they may just be in the denial phase of grieving. After all, the thought that humanity is overpopulating the globe enough to soon cause major disasters is a frightening one. I can’t blame anyone for shying away from such a topic. I’ve written several posts about denial of the population explosion and how the 5 stages of grieving are involved in the way people are struggling with the population explosion, and here is one: https://timprosserfuturing.wordpress.com/2008/04/30/what-is-behind-the-denial-of-climate-change/. Keep pushing this topic, folks. I can’t think of anything more important, nor more neglected, than the overpopulation.problem.

  3. Mother Nature may decide for us with an extinction event.
    But I agree, over-population is the root of many of the problems in the world today!
    No one is saying anyone else gets to decide who lives and who dies.
    But responsibility lies with the individual. Individuals can choose whether to have one, two or ten children.
    And the delusion that humans are exempt, can prevent or control the effects, well, it’ll just aid Mother Nature to cull the herd.

  4. I agree with you completely. I just don’t know what became of the scientists and environmentalists that were warning as far back as the 60’s that overpopulation was reducing the quality of life on the planet….they have grown silent. I wish more people understood that this many-headed menace is the root cause of our problems.

  5. Everyone – please watch Hans Roslings lecture “Don’t Panic” on YouTube and educate yourself. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FACK2knC08E&t=1528s

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