Mother nature always curbs runaway populations, sooner or later. How that occurs depends on many factors, and the ways it can occur can be simple or extremely complicated. One or more diseases could arise that would reduce the birthrate, for example, and that may have saved other overpopulating species from catastrophic collapse before. Now the Zika virus is reported to reduce fertility in men, and that introduces the idea that maybe the population explosion will be softened a bit if viruses like Zika significantly reduce the human global birthrate. It is also helpful that Zika does best in warm, tropical climates, as those conditions are prevalent in the parts of the world currently having the highest birthrates.
The Zika virus could make our future slightly less difficult. In a couple of decades humanity may be grasping at straws as its infrastructure and resources are crushed under the weight of 9 billion people (heading for 10 billion … like a rocket). Now we know that those “straws” may include viruses that spread easily and reduce human fertility.
The future is still and always an unknown. It is unclear, of course, whether Zika can make any real difference as we rush to make a terribly polluted and overpopulated planet, but if enough mitigating factors all take hold at once maybe the inevitable disasters won’t be quite so bad.
Let’s hope we get to choose how we level off the skyrocketing population curve and recover our already-damaged planet, as opposed to having Mother Nature choose for us. Thanks for reading — Tim