Who is willing to frankly discuss whether there are too many people on planet Earth?

August 15, 2012 | By | Reply More

Population Media Center is willing to discuss the elephant in the room–that number of human animals appears to have exceeded the ability of the Earth to sustain them.   It’s not that simple, of course, because the number of people combines with the type of lifestyles they are living to determine carrying capacity.  Here is the Mission of PMC:

Our mission is to collaborate with the mass media and other organizations worldwide to:

  1. Bring about stabilization of human population numbers at a level that can be sustained by the world’s natural resources
  2. Lessen the harmful impact of humanity on the earth’s environment

The emphasis of the organization’s work is to educate people about the benefits of small families, encourage the use of effective family planning methods, elevate women’s status and promote gender equity.

Who else is willing to speak frankly about this critically important issue?   Global Population Speakout.    The GPSO home pages states:  Population Seven Billion:  It’s Time to Talk.   Here is the GPSO mission:

The United Nation’s Population Division reports that on October 31, 2011, world population reached the 7 Billion mark. The U.S. Census Bureau says it will happen in April, 2012. Regardless of the exact moment, each and every day world population grows by 227,000 people. That means we are adding more than one million people to the planet every five days. The implications for people, posterity, and the planet are of global importance.

Because the population of the world ultimately affects most of the issues that we all really care about, the 7 Billion: It’s Time to Talk campaign is working to open up the conversation on population to new audiences around the globe. When everyone recognizes that there is a need to talk openly about population growth and the importance of family planning, the empowerment of women, and reproductive health and rights, we can more easily find the solutions to issues like global hunger and the environment. When people discover how a rapidly growing world population affects them and their hopes for the future, we know that more people, particularly young adults, will want to lend their voices to the global discussion.

I recently attended a lecture by Dr. Peter Raven, who also directly addressed the issues of overpopulation and carrying capacity of the planet.  This is an excellent presentation, which begins at the 6 min mark (and see here):

I would add this challenge. Listen for the dozens of euphemisms for “there are too many people.” Here are a few of them: A) This species of animal is endangered because of disappearing habitat, of B) Food production is going to need to increase dramatically, or C) There is a shortage of housing, or D) We’re going to need to find new sources of fresh water, or else people will be endangered.

I’m not convinced that more is better. Your house can be over-crowded. Your car can be over-crowded. Your school can be over-crowded. Your planet can be over-crowded. There are many signs (see Dr. Raven’s talk, above) that we are well in excess of this planet’s capacity to sustain people in the manner to which they seek to live their lives. We need to turn our focus to sustainability and to start thinking of humane and fair ways to quit over-crowding the planet with human animals.


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About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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