The myth of overpopulation

Mosher October 1, We are contacted all the time by people asking for how they can refute the arguments of those who believe that the world is overpopulated. Overpopulation describes a situation where the number of people exhausts the resources in a closed environment such that it can no longer support that population.

The myth of overpopulation

How many humans can earth sustain?

Does "Overpopulation" cause hunger? — Global Issues

In ecologist Paul Erhlich became famous for his book The Population Bomb, which argued that in the s and s hundreds of millions of people would starve to death because of ecological catastrophes caused by overpopulation.

After all, world population was rising rapidly and showed few signs of slowing. For instance, a game manager maintaining a population of deer in a reserve will want to know how many deer could be supported on that patch of land.

Having an idea of carrying capacity would tell him, as a rough guide, whether his land is underpopulated in which case the population would be expected to grow or overpopulated, which could happen if too many deer were competing for the same resources.

Overpopulation, for a wildlife manager, would indicate a risk of disease or damage to the resource base from overgrazing. The game manager might decide to allow hunters to harvest some of the animals in order to bring the population back down to a sustainable level; the carrying capacity.

Would this happen through natural means, like the outbreak of disease or the depletion of resources?

Where next?

Could interventions be made to manage the human population intentionally? Like all dreams of technological utopias, population control had the potential to go horribly wrong.

These sorts of questions were entering public discourse at the same time that pharmaceutical contraceptives were developed.

The contraceptive culture as Malcolm Muggeridge called it gave many a sense that through technology, enlightened managers could control the destiny of humanity in new and previously unimagined ways.

Like all dreams of technological utopias, this one had the potential to go horribly wrong. The Chinese experiment InAmerican anthropologist Steven Mosher became the first American research student to visit mainland China to conduct social science research for his doctoral dissertation at Stanford University.

The Chinese government had taken to heart foreboding forecasts of economic and ecological doom as a result of a rapidly growing population, and set in place policies to bring its own population growth to a halt. In China Mosher found a coercive population control program that included repressive fines for childbearing above a birth quota and even cases of state-sanctioned forced abortion.

The idea of population control continued to raise its head on occasion, but the specter of repression kept those ideas from becoming mainstream in the environmental movement.

They found another home. Environmentalists split with population control advocates While population control ideas have not come to the fore, neither have they disappeared. Only a few oddball individuals even attempt to defend the Chinese policies.

Written mostly for the community college market, they are authored mainly by end-of-career scientists still fixated on the nonexistent population bomb. Typically, only two kinds of environmentalists are talking about overpopulation: In fact, advocates of population control did not find a home in modern environmentalism.

Besides making a strong case against helping the poor, he promoted population control and euthanasia, eventually committing suicide together with his wife when they were in their 80s.1) I would suggest that the land area illustration is only meant to address one particular myth, and that is the myth that there is simply not enough room on the earth for everyone.

In the ’s there were pictures of the globe with people falling off it. Jun 13,  · The myth of overpopulation first put forth by Malthus, coupled with Darwinian theories that promote propagation of the “fit” and reduction of the “unfit,” has been instrumental in legitimizing abortion, forced sterilization, government subsidized contraception, and, in the most extreme cases, eugenics as practiced by the Nazis and Occupation: Christian Post Guest Columnist.

If you want to learn more about the Overpopulation myth, Kurzgesagt also did a video on the topic.

The myth of overpopulation

This video was made in cooperation with Our World In Data, an excellent . This part of the global issues web site reproduces chapter 3 of the highly acclaimed book, World Hunger: 12 Myths. This chapter is titled Myth 3: There are too many mouths to feed. The overpopulation myth has been around for decades.

The Tragedy of the Commons, by Garrett Hardin ()

It even predates the holy grail of modern liberal environmental orthodoxy: global warming. With liberals today, the overpopulation myth (as with most everything even remotely tied to the environment) is typically predicated upon the myth of man-made global warming.

While flood myths are common to practically every culture on the planet, they differ significantly in detail. This article describes hundreds of flood myths originating from cultures all over the globe.

Debunking the Myth of Overpopulation - PRI