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What can be done about world overpopulation? Is it really a problem?

      Many of our recent discussions have suggested that overpopulation causes, or at least contributes to, problems such as global warming and economic disparity.  Is this accurate?  

      The world population was 3 billion in 1959.  It reached 7 billion in 2012 and is projected to top 9 billion by 2042.  Although the rate of growth may be slowing, especially in western countries, the total global population will have tripled in less than 100 years.

      Does Earth have enough resources to support all these people?  Will we run out of clean water?  Will the carbon footprint of each of the 7 billion+ continue to destroy the environment?

      Can anything be done to stem the tide?  How can the U.S. influence nations with rapid growth to take action?

world population growth graph

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  • A former member
    A former member

    Quality of life will control population, but only if it exists. Extortion destroys quality, so populations will self-destruct, as life has correctly dictated.

    April 30, 2015

  • Karen A.

    Sorry that I was not able to keep everyone on topic tonight. I think that from now on we will need to time responses so that everyone gets equal time.

    However, everyone had interesting perspectives on why we have the population problem and what can be done about it. Thanks to everyone for your thoughtful discussion.

    For those of you who weren't able to make it, most of us agreed that religions play a big part in encouraging followers to procreate at increased rates. Some suggested that money interests influencing politics also play a role - producing more consumers without regard for the environment or sustainabilility.

    Solutions were a little more complex. Empowering women, increasing economic growth in developing countries, and education were suggestions.

    2 · August 18, 2014

    • Karen A.

      So Brent, I guess you mean religious wars will take care of excess population?

      August 19, 2014

    • Brent

      Well, they would if we secularists would keep our noses out and stop trying to broker peace, lol!

      August 19, 2014

  • Bharat P.

    Quote from Paul Ehrlich " There is no condom for consumption"- His rule I= PAT ( Impact, population, affluence and technology exacerbated by time)- He is the author of " The population Bomb" -1969 , which was postponed by Norman Borlung( green revolution) and China's one child policy.

    August 19, 2014

  • Ken I.

    +Karen, Thanks for moderating...tough job!

    August 19, 2014

  • Karen A.

    Lots of trouble staying on topic.

    August 18, 2014

  • Neil C.

    Got jammed - can not make it tonight - early go in the morning - please share the takeaways ... thanks Neil

    August 18, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hey hey

    August 18, 2014

  • Karen A.

    If you can, come at 6:30 for greetings, voting on topics, and other business.

    1 · August 16, 2014

  • Karen A.

    As Humans Expand, Some of Earth's Smallest Citizens Disappear:
    A new study found that, in the past four decades as human population has doubled, 67 percent of the world's invertebrates have plunged in population by an average of 45 percent. "The richness of the animal world of our planet," said study co-author Rodolfo Dirzo, "is being seriously threatened by human activities." Think about that. Insects, spiders, worms and other amazing invertebrates rarely get the attention that endangered species like wolves and grizzly bears enjoy, but without them, as Dirzo puts it, we face a "very impoverished planet." Not to mention that our lives depend on them -- for example, 75 percent of the world's crops need insect pollination.

    1 · August 16, 2014

  • Karen A.

    Great article Bharat.

    August 13, 2014

  • Neil C.

    Who is predicting after 2025?
    What is the USA population optimum capacity?
    What is China's, India's optimum?

    August 9, 2014

    • Brent

      What do you mean by "optimum?" And who gets to define it? It's like saying "____ is a great vocalist!" I might be thinking John Kay, my Dad might think Frank Sinatra, nephew might be more into Axl Rose, his wife more Lady Gaga, and their daughter thinks Justin Bieber is cool! (Hasn't developed any taste yet!)

      August 9, 2014

  • Neil C.

    What would be Tampa Bay Metros optimum population capacity? and when will we reach it? Note NYC was rated the Coolest City...

    August 9, 2014

    • Brent

      Rated by WHO? Helps to give a source, demographics. In January, I'd believe it, but I don't want to live in a shoebox for $2000 a month!

      August 9, 2014

  • DDay

    Do something to address human overpopulation, consumption, destruction, and pollution. At least provide free contraceptives to people WORLD-wide and give people that choice. Then perhaps we can avoid family size limits becoming mandatory, as eventually caused by the obvious negative consequences of doing nothing. Favor programs that include free birth control, and say no to 'feed and breed' programs.

    1 · August 9, 2014

  • Neil C.

    We - Camelot Florida - an all volunteer, Community based, public interest think tank - Hq in the Tampa Bay metro - we developed the C2M - the Clean Millennium Movement. The C2M was developed at the USAF Clean Energy Research Center. It helps explain the future dynamics of Population and Pollution ... FMI/Q&A neil at [masked] or leave a msg at[masked]-4669...
    FEI The membership requirement to be in the think tank is a good solution to a pressing problem in Tampa Bay, the USA or in the world and/or a commitment to work on our current projects.

    August 1, 2014

    • Neil C.

      Brent - we agree population growth is relevant. As an all volunteer, community based, public interest think tank - we would like to contribute to solutions - to the growing population issue. What have been the top solutions offered to-date?... we would like to review them. Are there others subjects you are dealing with? And how can one start a new TBT subject? i.e. How do we <> Tampa Bay Metro <> go from 1st class to world class? P.S. Dave Scooter is a good man means well , but is not in any way associated with Camelot Florida.

      August 9, 2014

    • Brent

      The message board has a "Suggested Topics" section. Look at past topics and how they're posted. I'd suggest defining terms - what, exactly, determines the difference between "1st class" and "world class," how would it affect the average citizen, and is it even something desirable? Would it benefit the few wealthy people while bringing more traffic, higher living costs, etc.? What are examples of "world class" cities, do we desire to be like them? (New York? Los Angeles? A definite no, for me.)

      August 9, 2014

  • Karen A.

    In a talk last week, Dr. Parag Parikh (from our Medicare for all meeting) suggested that data shows there are several events that successfully reduce population: 1) empowerment of women, especially with access to birth control 2) economic development so there is not a large difference between the wealthiest and poorest 3) decrease the number of males with a high level of testosterone. His "easy-to-implement suggestion was to offer free vasectomies. Perhaps we should all bring one suggestion to the meeting for ways that we can influence population control, especially in areas of rapid growth?

    August 8, 2014

  • Bharat P.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-28616115- Not relevant to the topic but worth reading!

    August 4, 2014

  • Bharat P.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/03/books/review/malthus-by-robert-j-mayhew.html?ref=books
    Will He be proven right after all, or will He go the way of Phrenology?

    August 3, 2014

  • Karen A.

    Wow, Neil. This sounds like a great organization. Please be sure to tell us more about it at the meeting.

    August 1, 2014

  • Karen A.

    This site has some interesting articles about population issues, including a running total of the world population:
    http://www.overpopulation.org/

    August 1, 2014

  • Karen A.

    Human overpopulation is among the most pressing environmental issues, silently aggravating the forces behind global warming, environmental pollution, habitat loss, the sixth mass extinction, intensive farming practices and the consumption of finite natural resources, such as fresh water, arable land and fossil fuels, at speeds faster than their rate of regeneration.
    www.everythingconnects.org

    July 8, 2014

  • Bharat P.

    There are 8 parts to the earlier link on Exponential growth!
    Here is one that is more up beat ww.youtube.com/watch?v=MG_nOddk01E
    By ray Kurzweil at the google I/O 2014

    July 8, 2014

  • Karen A.

    Thanks for the video Bharat. It gives the mathematic explanation to the graph added above.

    July 7, 2014

  • Ken I.

    Bharat, Thanks for this link!

    July 7, 2014

  • Bharat P.

    The following link is about Exponential growth which will be relevant to this topic

    1 · July 7, 2014

  • Karen A.

    Momir, many believe the world is already overpopulated for the resources that exist. So any growth, even a declining growth rate, is too much.

    Others suggest that using our resources/environment more economically can support the growth: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/14/opinion/overpopulation-is-not-the-problem.html?_r=0

    July 6, 2014

  • Momir F.

    Just so I'm clear on the topic... the world's growth rate has been in decline since the 60's or 70's - is the premise of this discussion that we need to to lower it further? Below zero (lowering total population)?

    As a general rule of thumb, biological organisms are pretty much programed to increase in population until they start reaching the environment's carrying capacity. At that point, growth naturally declines as there simply aren't enough resources to divert towards larger family / litter size. Obviously, humans have the ability to use technology to drastically alter that capacity (genetically modified crops, pesticides, climate change, etc), but the concept should still apply.

    July 6, 2014

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