Friday, November 12, 2021

What Overpopulation? (2)


There is no existential global overpopulation problem.

Who says so? Those experts who have been studying the demographic data for years. It is their conclusion.

Those who are attending COP26 support the scientific agreement on the planet’s climate crisis. Albeit perhaps with less consensus but still the majority of opinions also agree with the experts’ advice on the pandemic.

We have to then ask why so many environmentalists are apparently reluctant to accept the informed findings of those with proficient knowledge and still insist that the number of people on the planet is too many.

The world currently produces enough food to feed 10 billion people, and there is not yet 8 billion of us. But hunger and food insecurity still stalk the land in many places

The world has an abundance of resources and could provide for everyone’s needs.

That is another fact which researchers confirm.

Professionals working in the field for such as Oxfam or War on Want explain that there is hunger in the world not because resources are scarce, but because poor people don’t have sufficient money nor own land. 

Poverty and inequality cause hunger, not overpopulation.

But those who know are wrong, remains the claim of some green activists.

They point to the continuing growing world’s population. They point to the over-crowded mega-cities.

Indeed, it is because of what in demographics is called the population momentum. A transitional delay occurs because it is not only the number of children per woman that determine population growth but also the number of women of reproductive age. Eventually, when the fertility rate reaches the replacement rate and the population size of women in the reproductive age bracket stabilises, the population achieves equilibrium and population momentum comes to an end.

Population projections is not an exact science and assumptions are made when determining approximate figures and the further into the future the forecast, the greater the margin for error.

Nevertheless, a 2004 UN report titled “World Population to 2300” presents one scenario that if European fertility rates fail to rise above current levels:

There are some who oppose immigration who declare that some countries are already overcrowded and the population density is too high to accept newcomers.

Again the statistics do not bear out the interpretation that there is no more room for an increased number of people born or the arrival of newcomers.

There is plenty of space available in the world. Is the well-being of the Dutch suffering because of the proximity of other people to one another in their cities and town?

Many countries have a very low population density but it has done little to increase their prosperity. In fact, those who reside in the rural idyllic countryside lack many of the amenities and services of urban dwellers.

Instead of looking for illusory quick fixes such as GM agriculture, how about criticising the actual values behind our system and ways in which it promotes inequality for the benefit of the few? How about challenging the belief that opportunities and abundance can only exist when money flows.  

The reality is that we live on a spacious planet, one that could provide for everyone if we were to use its resources rationally and constructively.  

In farming, agro-ecology and permaculture are less environmentally destructive ones and hold the benefit of being even more productive than the present industrialised system of intensive agriculture.

 Instead of simply pointing fingers and blaming people society could instruct city planners to develop sensible and sustainable housing projects. The options are as endless as our imaginations.  For example, every home can come with one or two greenhouses that grow crops year-round, no matter the climate. Apartments can have shared communal allotments.

This means that people can feed themselves with only the plants growing locally.

Neighbourhood fish ponds and chicken coops can also be built for each house if vegetarianism isn’t adopted by everybody.

Hunger is NOT just an “inevitable” part of life.


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