Clarification: When I write, I don't prepare or organize my ideas, I just write what I would say if I was talking to you in person, so sometimes my blogs end up a little messy. I don't even proof-read what I write before posting it so you may find grammatical mistakes and poorly written sentences. Sometimes I'll read my blogs a day or two after publishing them and I may re-write things that weren't too clear and any embarrassing grammatical mistake. Also, English is not my first language, so I apologize if reading my blogs become a struggle. Of course, if this is the case, I would imagine you wouldn't continue reading.

Jan 3, 2013

Overpopulation: A Problem or a Myth? (Part I)

This was originally published on Dec. 3, 2012, but I decided to "unpublish" it to add a few things, in fact, I wrote so much that I now have to publish this as two separate blogs.

Not too long ago I became very concerned about the numbers of human beings on this earth. This was triggered by a couple of things I read/watched online, things that not only seemed legit, but that made complete sense to me. Overpopulation became much more harmful than I previously thought, it became enemy number one. Worst of all, convincing people to stop having kids for the sake of humanity's future (that includes their own children) is not very realistic, which makes overpopulation an enemy that's virtually impossible to defeat. After freaking out for a couple of days I wrote a blog where I mention overpopulation and its possible disastrous consequences if we don't do anything about it now. It's nothing more than a useless collection of poorly written ideas, but all of you, my dear 3 or 4 readers, probably already knew that. I even had an idea for a t-shirt design related to this subject. The t-shirt would say Your Children Are Fucked.

I know not everybody agrees with that perspective, but because all the previous arguments I'd heard about "the overpopulation myth" were kinda weak and because half of the people in this country are Republicans who believe even crazier shit that comes from Fox News, I never thought about researching this other perspective. Until yesterday, that is. To my surprise, a quick Google search with the terms "debunk" and "overpopulation" showed me quite a few links with what appear to be great arguments against population control, not just some shitty article with an obvious political agenda. (OK, I'm not 100% sure about this, it gets rather tedious having to research everything you read, on or offline, so I will leave it to all the kind people out there with a superiority complex to correct me if anything I say is ridiculously wrong or just plain stupid). Some of the arguments not only state that there's no such thing as overpopulation at the moment, but that we actually would benefit tremendously from a few billion more people in this world, and to my surprise, their arguments were not crazy, but seemed reasonable, which is very crazy, I mean... shit, you know what I mean.

Let me attempt to summarize in just a few poorly written sentences that point of view, it goes something like this: "you people should chill the fuck out, alright? Yes, we're 7 billion people, 7 billion who decided to live uncomfortably in the big cities for the same reason most people decided to buy an iPod back when they sucked instead of a better and cheaper mp3 player from another brand: to be cool. Yes, and also for the job opportunities and the potential of better quality of life, but there's a shitload of empty space out there. In fact, this planet can hold many more billions of us, and whenever we reach a population of 10 or 11 billion in the future, you bet your ass their quality of life will be better than yours. But even if you think this is bullshit, let me inform you that birth rates have been steadily going down for decades, and what's actually going to happen is that the world population will peak around mid century and probably decrease a bit after that. And we'll be able to feed everyone easily if we organize ourselves. In fact, today we produce enough food for everyone, we just happen to be really bad at managing its distribution, so a whole lot just goes to waste. More people means better life, not the other way around, human resources is the most valuable resource we have. It's gonna be cool, yo!". This is a very dumbed-down way to describe the pro population growth reasoning, and perhaps this is not fair, even when I wasn't trying to make fun of them, so I would encourage you to research and read more about this subject before reaching any conclusion. Meanwhile, here's a short video that explains in a much intelligent way their perspective:

So now what? Are we too many or is 7 billion awesome? Which is it? I don't want to sound neither like a conspiracy theorist nor like an uneducated Fox News fan. Since I've just started looking into this other perspective, I really couldn't make an educated intelligent choice about this subject. Buuut... since this blog is not really about educated intelligent anything, I'm just going to go ahead and explain why, so far, I'm still inclined to say there are way too many humans on earth and why you shouldn't have (many) kids, unless you don't mind the fact that they may be fucked.

The term overpopulation may not be the proper term to describe the issue, I think it tends to be associated with physical space and space is not really the problem. Overpopulation doesn't refer to a future where we all have to live on top of each other in tiny cubicles that can only fit our beds. And it's not about unemployment, hunger, poverty, or chaotic human behavior either, but I think all these things are the first ones that come to mind when we think about that term. Makes sense since overpopulation just means "too many of us". I propose we find another term like Human Footprint, or better yet, Human Poopprint. There is plenty of space. The problem isn't related to the resources available either, temporarily, at least, but it's about balance. I'm not saying we should live like New Age hippies and reject progress in order to live more "naturally", like "we're supposed to", fuck that. What I mean is that our greed and lack of a plan may be disrupting the our ecosystem's balance way too aggressively. The way this will affect us is yet to be seen, but there are plenty of indications it won't be pretty. I mean, look at how the world population grew before and after the Industrial Revolution:

Some will argue the incredible fast pace of progress we are currently experiencing is a direct result of this population growth. This may be a valid point, however, it doesn't mean this is ideal. It's not only that there are a shitload more humans, but about the way we decided to use, or misuse, our resources. Many think that economic growth creates a magical protective shield and that if we let the laws of economics do their thing we'll be fine. Hey, it's worked for the past 100 (200?) years, right?

I get it. In the case we start running out of oil, for example, which will drive prices up potentially messing up the whole world's economy and our holy growth, some genius among our 7 billion, will figure out a way to create the energy the world requires from an abundant, or maybe renewable resource. Or maybe someone will invent a car that uses garbage as fuel. Why, because that will make him filthy rich, famous and will get him more pussy than Steven Tyler. So, since this is kinda what has happened for the past 100 years, it's safe to assume it'll happen again. We'll always figure out a way. OK, not always, but as long as there's lots of sweet cash involved, we're golden. I get it, cash makes us invincible. Just relax and drink your latte, we have it all figured out, here, watch some American Gladiators (yes, yes, I know you know who Bill Hicks is).

My opinion, useless as it may be, is that we never took into account the future. Even today many don't give a shit about the future consequences of their choices and actions, as long as they have their big comfortable houses and their big comfortable cars. I can believe this world is capable to hold several billions of human beings, perhaps even more than now, I just don't believe we are prepared to do this now, not without some major shit happening. Perhaps we have enough energy and we'll learn better ways to produce energy in the future, perhaps we produce enough food to feed everyone, perhaps we could afford to provide each human being with decent quality of life. I can believe that, I mean, mathematically speaking. In reality, I don't think any of this will happen any time soon. I don't think we're ready I think we're fucked.

But hey, overpopulation or not, if we're indeed disrupting some kind of balance, things will fix themselves in the end, I think. I mean, I just read about this piece of news yesterday. It's all over the place, so you may have read it too. Unlike overpopulation, global warming is undeniable (to everyone except Fox News fans), not that climate is changing but that it's changing as a direct consequence of us humans. Our ignorance will be the most efficient way of population control. Scary.

I may design that t-shirt I talked about earlier, after all.

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