Recently we’ve had two wonderful articles posted here on FoK dealing with the delicate subject of human (over)population. One article took the stance that human population needs to be controlled, while the other argued from a more “spiritual” viewpoint that we are all created for a reason.
I’d like to add my own thoughts to this debate, hopefully to bring at least another viewpoint. But as likely as not, my words will probably just stomp around like a mad elephant, smashing down blindly on everyone’s toes, adding pain and chaos but certainly not clarity. Oh well … best get on with it.
1. Human population needs to be controlled.
If we add the phrase, “else quality of life will inevitably deteriorate”, then I totally agree. But from a practical point of view, human population WILL be controlled; it just depends on whether we will CHOOSE to do it, or whether population reduction will be FORCED upon us.
Why is this so? Because the biosphere, (the natural world, Mother Nature), is a self-regulating system. As a species overpopulates, other life forms arise to live off of it. No life form, big or small, intelligent or lacking all cognitive ability, is allowed to solely exploit the resources of this planet.
As a species multiplies, and through its success reduces or eliminates other species, it becomes more and more of a food source. That should be obvious. Suppose you’re a carnivore adapted to eating dodo birds. As dodo birds begin to become extinct, you had best find other sources of food, else your continued survival is in peril. If dodo birds are being displaced by turkeys, start preying on turkeys!
But what if dodo birds are being displaced by … hairless “intelligent” apes with tools powerful enough to kill you?
We like to think of ourselves as the apex predators of the world, and our tools are extremely impressive. But don’t underestimate Mother Nature! Sure, we can kill off the lions, tigers, and bears, but what about the billions of bacteria and other nasties slowly mutating to make us their meal of choice?
On the weather channel there is a recent article about yet another influenza variant that has jumped the species barrier from chickens to humans. Will one of these variants give rise to another Spanish Flu type epidemic? And what about the warnings we keep hearing that the days of cheap, highly effective antibiotics are over? I’m not sure how they do it, but apparently bacteria can share genetic material across species. Thus, when a harmless bacteria develops immunity to our drugs, it may pass it on to one of its deadly “cousins”.
Don’t believe that the biosphere is a match for human ingenuity? Okay, how about this: it’s becoming more and more mainstream for the “cure” to climate change being population reduction, as we seem absolutely unable to wean ourselves off fossil fuels. Choose NOT to control our population, and our planet will become much more of a hostile place to live, requiring us to use MORE fossil fuels to survive, and the cycle continues in a downward spiral of increasing misery.
2. We all exist for a reason.
I am not an atheist; I believe that the universe does exist for a purpose, even if that purpose will never be known. But I don’t believe that any one of us is necessarily any more important than a speck of dust in the fulfillment of that purpose.
Now having said that, I do hope and pray that we are all precious, irreplaceable critters in the mind of the creator(s). I just don’t insist that this must be so.
But for the sake of argument, let’s take it as a fact that each and every one of us exist for a reason. If we overpopulate, that reason may simply be to provide bacteria, (and maybe even higher life forms?), something to eat. This would be Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” on steroids, I suppose, where ALL of humanity is a potential meal. That’s not a lifestyle I would choose!
3. Our population will eventually settle to sustainable levels.
Whether we actively work to bring it about or not, our population will eventually settle at numbers the biosphere can maintain. Are we at that level now? Have we exceeded it? Have we yet to reach it? Who knows, but over time, all living populations stabilize.
Sure, we’re a bunch of smarty pants, and we manipulate the heck out of our environment to support ever growing numbers of us. But eventually we’ll be too clever for our own good, and one, (or more), of our “tweaks” will lead to disaster.
Look at what has happened in the Philippines recently. Do you think that terrain and climate can support the number of people who attempt to live there? What is it going to be like in the rest of the world as our population reaches levels like that of Asian countries? The Philippines is close to Taiwan, where various strains of chicken flu keep infecting humans. Suppose a deadly, infectious flu were to hit the Philippines now, with the huge numbers of people struggling to survive? Do you think a people who have been so savagely battered are primarily concerned right now with the proper use of antibiotics to keep pathogens from developing immunity?
I’m going to end this article with a sentence from the beginning. Human population will be controlled; it just depends on whether we will choose to do it, or whether population reduction will be forced upon us.
Originally posted by us on FullofKnowledge.