Overpopulation and the Carrying Capacity of the Earth March 27

If everyone in the world lives like we in America do, we would need 3.3 worlds to have enough natural resources. A sustainable limit would be about 2 billion people (we now have 7 billion). If everyone on the planet just used what they needed, the earth could support 40 billion. Obviously we need to simplify our lives.   http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/green-science/earth-carrying-capacity.htm 

What effect will climate change have on the carrying capacity? If climate change reduces the amount of fresh water, droughts will eliminate much farmland, the oceans become less productive, will we still be able to feed an additional 3 billion more people?  http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2011/10/15/343264/beyond-earths-carrying-capacity-climate-change-population-boom-bust/

There are three different factors controlling birth rates and the maximum possible population considering the carrying capacity of the earth. One is Religions object to birth control. Two is economic. Third is environmental. If the environment is destroyed, and the resources used up humanity will collapse. All of the economic systems count on continued growth. growth in population, growth in consumption and growth in energy. Clearly in a finite world with finite resources continued growth of everything is not possible. Resources will end and, the population will crash with massive starvation, disease, and war for the last of the resources.

A more rational alternative would be to intentionally limit our own birth rate and bring the population down. Fortunately this seems to be happening. As people enter the middle class, become educated, and get access to birth control, they naturally limit their birth rates.

“Nowadays, it costs between $170,000 and $300,000 to raise a child through high school in the United States or Europe. And as urbanization has proceeded rapidly in many less developed countries—some 50 percent of the world’s population now live in cities—fertility rates are collapsing everywhere. Also putting downward pressure on fertility rates is women’s desire to work, which has delayed childbearing and thus narrowed their “fertility window.””

“The resulting population dive will be breathtaking. Japan’s population, projections say, will decline by about 21 percent over the next four decades. South Korea’s population, which swelled by two-thirds over the last 40 years, is estimated to shrink by nearly 10 percent in the next 40. Europe’s population will peak in about five years and contract by between 6 and 16 percent by 2050, led by big declines in Germany (down 14 percent), Italy (6 percent), Poland (16 percent), and Russia (22 percent).”

“Plunging birthrates will significantly slow population growth in many less developed countries as well. Mexico, which more than doubled, to 110 million people, over the last 40 years, could see flat population growth in the next 40. Thailand’s population, which has grown by two-thirds since 1970, will probably increase by no more than 6 percent by 2050.” http://www.investorsinsight.com/blogs/forecasts_trends/archive/2010/02/16/falling-global-birthrates-threaten-prosperity.aspx

In some developed nations the birth rate has declined so that it is below replacement level. Some countries like Russia are paying women $9200 to have a child. (That is equivalent to $36,000 here in America.) http://www.slate.com/articles/business/moneybox/2006/05/children_for_sale.html

By 1979 the global fertility rate was 6.0, and now it’s 2.52, according to UN data. All first-world countries are already below a 2.1 rate, the “replacement level” needed to keep a population constant, and fertility rates are plummeting throughout developing nations as well. “Today,” writes Last, “only 3 percent of the world’s population lives in a country whose fertility rate is not declining.” The UN projects that world population, currently around seven billion, will peak over the next eighty-five years between ten billion and twelve billion people before starting a long and inexorable decline.” 

“In Last’s account, all roads lead to the same cul-de-sac: Birthrates are falling everywhere and will eventually lead to financial collapse as the population first ages and then declines. Not only will economies shrink, but older people will be less likely to invent the sorts of new businesses and technologies that goose living standards. Old-age entitlements such as Medicare and Social Security, already well on their way to insolvency as the number of beneficiaries increases and the supply of contributors shrinks, will simply “disintegrate.” No nation, he writes, “has experienced long-term prosperity in the face of contracting population.”” http://www.bookforum.com/inprint/020_01/11232

Nevertheless although birthrates are declining population will continue to grow because the existing masses of people are at childrearing age. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/population/la-fg-population-matters1-20120722-html,0,7213271.htmlstory

If population decreases, our existing economic models which are dependent on continued growth will not work. We need sustainable economic models not dependant on growth. http://www.etu.org.za/toolbox/docs/development/sustainable.html

There is a new movement – the Voluntary Extinction Movement that thinks that the human species is the one that needs to move towards extinction before we destroy the entire planet. http://www.vhemt.org/aboutvhemt.htm

Youtube TED talk Paul Gilding: The Earth is full http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZT6YpCsapg

TED talk Hans Rosling: Global population growth, box by box http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTznEIZRkLg

The Science of Overpopulation 10:17 min https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dD-yN2G5BY0

The Effects of Overpopulation 3:30min.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7wiU_o4UlA

Overpopulation – The Human Explosion Explained 6:39 min  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsBT5EQt348

Overpopulation facts – the problem no one will discuss: Alexandra Paul at TEDxTopanga 8:36 min.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNxctzyNxC0

Overpopulation: the mother of all problems ( part 1 of 2 ) 9:21 min  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-v0ry7uFuWk


About altruist1

I am a raging progressive and a writer. I received Bachelors degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Arts with a Secondary teaching certificate and a minor in Physics. I taught for about ten years, then did various jobs including welding,fabrication and traffic engineering, and am now retired. I am interested in science, energy, the environment, and architecture.
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