This idea has been kicking around in my soft head for a while. Hypothetically, if you could be President of the world for a day, what kind of laws would you put in place to control overpopulation? Would you do anything at all?
It’s a thorny question because reproductive rights are entwined with almost any solution. Do we go the way of China and allow only a one child limit per family? Do we make it more difficult or expensive to raise more than one child? Do we enact some law that makes parents apply for a license before they can have kids?
I suspect most of us would balk at any of these solutions, yet overpopulation is becoming a real threat. It’s not so much a space problem but a resource problem. It may look crowded where you live, but there is plenty of space for more people. Look at Canada for example, with its huge land mass but sparse population – the entire countries population could fit within one of America’s cities.
The problem is that there is only so much food, fresh water and fuel. If you’ve ever been on a plane, take a look out your window when you’re going over a forest devoid of people. Before you land, take a look at a city. The city looks like a cancer. Smog, pollution and the wiping out of animal life is what we humans do best. We’re like locusts that swarm and eat everything and if it continues, there won’t be enough to sustain us.
According to Steve Jones who is the head of the biology department at University College London: "Humans are 10,000 times more common than we should be, according to the rules of the animal kingdom, and we have agriculture to thank for that. Without farming, the world population would probably have reached half a million by now." The world’s population has significantly increased in the last 50 years, mainly due to medical advancements and substantial increases in agricultural productivity.”
According to the UN, the world population is growing by approximately 74 million people per year. They think the population (now at around 7 billion) will reach 9 billion by 2050. Oddly enough, a lot of that growth will happen in underdeveloped countries. India, Pakistan, Nigeria, the Congo, Bangladesh, Uganda, Ethiopia, China and the United States contribute to the most population growth.
As humans continue to pollute, destroy and strain the world’s resources, should we be looking at measures to control population growth or should we just enjoy the ride until the roller coaster slides off the tracks?