Look at each of the world’s most threatening and pervasive problems and their cost projections. Would a subset of them be able to bankrupt a major national (or regional) economy? Will the coming population explosion cause major problems when those nations that still have funding for problem mitigation run out of money?
Famine represents the biggest single threat to humanity. If changes in climate, wars, or other problems such as a shortage of farm workers in “bread basket” countries cause widespread food shortages, will enough aid funding be available to address the problems?
The second candidate for global disaster is pestilence. If a drug resistant disease begins to churn through the human population, infecting millions and killing a significant percentage of sufferers, will funding be available for vaccine development or other countermeasures? Will funding and resources (people) be available to fight the spread of the infection?
The environment we have been abusing for centuries has just about had enough. Recent years have seen many high temperature records and the disappearance of sea ice at both poles. If the Ross ice shelf should fall or a large mass of the Greenland icecap slide into the ocean, oceans could rise a couple of feet in days, shutting off container terminals for most of the world, among other things. Will the stoppage of food shipments for weeks or months while those terminals are renovated cause food shortages? Will the funding and equipment be available for the renovation of those terminals? Will millions of tons of food spoil at sea when container ships can’t dock? Will energy supplies come up short where they are being imported via sea? Will factories have to shut down for lack of supplies and raw materials?
In short, many people talk about future problems, but you don’t hear coherent, well-worked-out scenarios or plans to deal with them. Companies are worried, too, but far less frequently discuss such issues publicly even though many of them are investigating the possibilities and developing plans to stay in business in spite of major global/regional problems.
There is hope: global awareness of overpopulation is increasing. At least we are seeing a larger and larger proportion of people starting to face the fact that the human population cannot expand indefinitely, and the global economy could fail us under many overpopulation scenarios. Nobody wants to see that, yet … who is talking specifics about our risks and mitigation plans?
Everyone needs to face the coming population explosion and all the many outcomes from it. Birthrates are falling, the news tells us, but I do not doubt it is not falling fast enough to save us from major problems. Stay alert, keep learning, and be ready, folks.
Thanks for reading — Tim