Over-population is not just a problem of poor countries


Think of what it takes to sustain human civilisation at the standards of living we believe that everyone is entitled to. Have we stopped to think what it would mean for a billion Chinese people, say, to have access to a standard of living equivalent to that enjoyed by Western Europe and North America today?

If every Chinese household owned at least one car, think of what that will entail, how much roads, parking lots, garages, and the factories to make these cars will need to be built? Worse, how much fuel will all these cars burn?

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There’s more.


Vast tracts of land, immense quantities of petroleum-based synthetic fertiliser, and gas-guzzling farm machinery are required to cultivate the growing demand for energy-rich crops in industrial farms.


Sprawl brought about by the space needed to build homes — and bigger ones, as affluence elevates personal standards — and the roads needed to connect them to commerce is a direct consequence of affluence and population increase.

Many animal and plant species lose their natural habitats to the relentless encroachment of human dwellings on nature.


Huge volumes of water are used to transport solid and liquid waste from human dwellings and workplaces to their processing sites.

Systems to process and “treat” human waste are imperfect and are often overwhelmed by the sheer amount of it generated by human consumption and the throwaway culture brought about by increasing affluence. The environment usually exhibits the progressive effects of this abuse in subtle steps but tends to also whip up perfect storms that wreak catastrophic havoc in sudden violent bursts.

Consider then…

If we think that the solution to the problem of a large population is simply growing the economy, think again.

There are limits to growth. A world economy whose vitality is fueled by energy-dense substances of finite supply, the combustion of which irreversibly warms the planet cannot grow forever. Something’s gotta give. And it ain’t gonna be Mother Nature. Human civilisation is less than 10,000 years old, and the species Homo Sapiens has roamed the planet for less than a million years. Dinosaurs ruled the Earth for tens of millions of years. Yet they simply disappeared.

What makes us so sure that humanity will persist in time scales beyond the next hundred odd years?

19 Replies to “Over-population is not just a problem of poor countries”

  1. Hey…Dude…the Dinosaurs had large bodies, but had small brains…We as Human Species have large brains….We are even learning to use of our multi-sensory perceptions…that is…perceptions beyond our usual five senses.
    Human Species will prevail…we have sufferings…but we will endure and survive. We will advance in our civilization; as we gain more knowledge about our own selves and the universe…Religions and False Concepts of Beliefs are our present impediments in our advancement…

      1. We will have different ways of life…as we advance as multi-sensory beings…the present Religions will be gone…changed by a new Awareness of our own Beings and different concepts on our Divine Source…call this: God, Universe,Creator, etc…

  2. The Catholic Church persistently denies any responsibility for the crying, empty mouths that represent the poverty that wracks the Philippines. “It’s the economy,” they argue. Its leaders see absolutely no connection between the astounding Philippine birth rate and poverty.

    They can’t look out at the families at baptisms and see the large families packed into a pew . . . six kids, seven, eight, nine, ten . . . and understand how their preaching has destroyed any notion of moderation and humility.

    How does the economy ever catch up to provide jobs to the over-birthing masses? Why do so many Filipino adults pedal tricycles for a living? FOR A LIFETIME.
    The Catholic Church sees no connection between its distant arrogance and all the deadbeat dads who scurry off when faced with a real live child to care for. The Church is absolutely deaf to the cries of teenage mothers who have never been given a fair chance to be something other than a mama cow . . . never an education about cleanliness during sex, or ways to prevent pregnancy, or what the responsibility for raising a child means.

    No, the Catholic Church has no responsibility for the condition of the Philippines at all. None whatsoever.

    1. That’s because the Catholic Church lacks a key ingredient in the accountability equation; and that is allowing itself and its dogma to be subject to critical scrutiny, critical evaluation, and critical challenge. Without that openness to input, it cannot complete the full feedback loop out of which accountability emerges.

    2. “The Catholic Church sees no connection between its distant arrogance and all the deadbeat dads who scurry off when faced with a real live child to care for.”

      point of clarification: what is the connection between the church’s position and the deadbeat dads?

      1. Of course, you are entitled to your “curiosity”. But then, curiosity has many flavours, GabbyD. Which one of them do you think best describes yours? 😉

      2. plain vanilla! like… plain. basic. simple.

        havent you heard that expression? plain vanilla? whats the corresponding australian expression?

        1. Let’s say for argument’s sake that I haven’t heard of the term. Are you able to define it a bit more categorically?

      3. GabbyD, by “distant arrogance” I mean the Church has a tendency to preach but not listen to the cries of the children who are not properly tended to. Why is the Church not as incensed about people abandoning their children as they are about condoms? I detest deadbeat dads. Do you think I am wrong to feel that way? Or is it more important that I connect abstract dots for you?

      4. thanks joe. see, B0? wasnt hard, was it?

        btw, speaking of connecting the dots, you should tell B0 what “plain vanilla” means. explain it to him real well. really slowly.

        actually, my question was about the connection between the church’s “distant arrogance” and dead beat dads.

        i dislike distant arrogance and dead beat dads as much as the next person. but i wonder what the connection is between them?

        i actually think the focus should not only be on the women, but on the responsibilities of the men. the church should look at men also.

        but i dont know/think that the dads are deadbeat because of the church. the church tasks men to love their wives and families, not be irresponsible jerks.

        what i HAVE heard is men using the “go forth and multiply” line to justify their horniness. (i.e. pacquiao)

        that phrase means SOMETHING, and its not what they think it means.

  3. GabbyD, and thank you for the thoughtful comment. I agree that the Church strives for responsible parenthood and does not like jerk-dads any better than you or I. But I think the lack of societally endorsed methods of preventing pregnancy contributes to the lack of choices available to both men and women, and the production of a great many unwanted, unfed, unschooled kids. It is just easier to be a jerk, I suppose, when there is no education available and no tools at one’s disposal.

  4. That’s Malthusian theory for ya. Pero ang daming kritiko ng ganitong teorya. Well, na kay Sir Malthus ang huling halakhak.

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