Overpopulation & The Science Behind It!
No one knows exactly how many people are there on earth, it’s hard to trace; It’s a big planet. About seven billion people currently live on earth. And they keep getting born all the time. In fact, for every 2 people who die, about 4 are born. Every second there are about four babies who introduce themselves to this world and there are less than two people who say goodbye to it.
7 billion people, it’s actually hard to get your mind around how many people that is but if you wanted to sit back and count up to 7 billion, that would take about 200 years or so. There is enough room for them on the earth. If you take 7 billion people and stand side by side, those 7 billion people could fit into an area the size of Los Angeles. We can fit on earth. There is a place for all of us.
So even though there’s room for all of us, what’s the problem with 7 billion people?
People thought about it for a long time it turns out that around 1800 when the world first clocked 1 billion people. Well, at that time, all world economies relied on agriculture. How many things could we grow with human hands, livestock, maybe hair and plows, or something like that. This type of technology was literally pushed by a billion people. And the first great thinker to have a grip on it was a British economist named Thomas Malthus. Thomas Malthus calculated that the human population tends to grow exponentially, whereas the ability of people to feed each other tends to grow more linearly. So our growth as a species tends to outperform our ability to feed everyone. And when that happens, it’s pretty clear what happens, you get famine and starvation. And for other people who don’t die from these things, they get taken by disease and war. In essence, Malthus believed that the natural state of humanity was to be cruel, wretched, pathetic, and sniveling in a pile of dirty trousers.
In his essay on the population principle, Malthus states … “The vices of mankind are active and able ministers of depopulation. They are the precursors in the great army of destruction and often finish the dreadful work themselves. But should they fail in this war of extermination, sickly seasons, epidemics, pestilence, and plague advance in terrific array, and sweep off their thousands and tens of thousands. Should their success be still incomplete, gigantic inevitable famine stalks in the rear, and with one mighty blow levels the population with the food of the world.”
Diseases also have an easier time taking control, and of course, hunger can kill a lot of people. Even though he’s made some pretty good points, humans are very kind as long as humans eat well. When hunger threatens the life of your family, you will do many things to get food, including war.
So the question is, when do these numbers exceed our ability to feed everyone on the planet? It turns out that the question is not how many people the earth can accommodate, but: how many rich people can the earth have? Because people, in general, tend to demand things like oxygen, water, and food for their survival. But rich people have different expectations. For example, we in America have a lot of agricultural crops and we have to use a lot of freshwater to water those agricultural crops.
Want to guess the number one irrigation crop in the United States? Unless you’ve heard this statistic before, you were wrong! It’s grass! It takes more water to make lawns than it takes to produce all the corn in America. Even though this is a fairly scarce resource, we can use less than one percent of the water on our planet. Most of it is saltwater, which we can’t use for drinking or watering plants, and 70 percent of our freshwater is frozen in glaciers. So clean freshwater is non-negotiable and scarce.
The current combined food output could feed about 11 billion people, but still there are about 1 billion people who need food. Yes, this is one of the saddest and most annoying things on our planet. So if there is enough food for 11 billion people and there are 7 billion people and a billion of them are hungry, then who eats all that food? Food eats up all of that foods. Most of the food we grow in America is in turn eaten by livestock.