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Overpopulation is Still the Problem

October 4th, 2013 |

By Alon Tal

See: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alon-tal/overpopulation-is-still-t_b_3990646.html

Overpopulation remains the leading driver of hunger, desertification, species depletion and a range of social maladies across the planet. Recently, a spate of op-ed essays have filled the pages of some of world’s top newspapers and blogs — from the Guardian to the New York Times — challenged this view, declaring that overpopulations is not, nor has ever been, a problem. To make progress in the most recent round of the age-old debate between technological optimists and Malthusian realists, it’s important to establish criteria and characterize consequences.

On what basis are these newest cornucopian assurances made? In the New York Times piece, for instance, Ellis Erle asserts that after studying the ecology of agriculture in China and talking to archaeologists, he reached the conclusion that technologies have always been able to overcome any anticipated exceedance of carrying capacity. A key corroboration marshaled for this view refers to a retrospective assessment of Chinese farming by archaeologists. It purportedly claims that new and more efficient technologies invariably enabled local farmers to overcome any anticipated exceedance of carrying capacity.

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Comments

3 Responses to “Overpopulation is Still the Problem”

  1. Bernard Cronyn Says:

    An excellent article. I have often wondered what the pay-back is for the so-called scientists that produce those articles that promote endless and non-consequential population growth. In order to promote and buy in to this ideology the writers and their acolytes have to both ignore and/ or modify the conflicting facts as required. This is not the first time nor probably the last that I have seen the devastating famines of China before the introduction of population control being conveniently ignored by “experts”.

  2. Rick Eliot Says:

    Pogo and Dylan

    “We have found the enemy and it is us.” – Pogo

    Our environmental problems are defined by scientists. However the solution depends, not on science, but on what humans see as most important. Historically survival resulted from our immediate action. Whether escaping a jungle predator or a reacting quickly on Wall Street, it is day to day short term action that leads to personal success.
    Putting selfish interests aside for the moment, look at how short term thinking can have an immediate detrimental effect on individuals.
    Our world is changing fast enough so that a person can see today’s large “catch” will result in his own job failure when the fish run out. The difference between lobstermen of today and the natives of Easter Island is that we know the cause and effect nature of our actions. The facts are irrefutable. Whether we listen or not is a whole other matter. And a lot of people don’t like what they hear. “My mind is made up; don’t confuse me with the facts.” It seems that we are locked into the evolutionary habit of living for today, and not worrying about tomorrow.
    Saving the planet requires dealing with this mental-emotional-psychological shortcoming. We need to find ways of freeing ourselves from this harmful mind set. That is not the task of environmental scientists; it is in the domain of the social scientists.

    “The answer is blowing in the wind.” – Bob Dylan

    “How many ears must one man have, … how many times must a man turn his head … Pretending he doesn’t see?” The human failing is common and is certainly not a new one. Ezekiel 12:1-2: “They have eyes to see but see not; ears to hear, but hear not.”
    But at least humans have the intelligence to recognize what is happening. It is the remedial action that needs work. I suggest that this approach be recognized, accepted, and psychological organizations step up to meet the challenge.
    The Social Scientist community may be able to, literally, save the world.

    Rick Eliot

  3. indigo jute Says:

    Hi

    Thank you for your blog, I appreciate your effort to get the message out.

    I created lyrics to a song about 5 years ago, called ‘Earth’s Plea to Humanity’ which just about covers all the topics you are blogging about. I found a singer who then found a composer and put this track together for me. I then created a video and uploaded it to youtube.

    I would like you to have a listen before you include this comment on your blog and if you like it and it is on song with your message then I would appreciate it, if you could help me spread the word.

    Here is the link http://youtu.be/LAtozBBaUCg

    Kind regards, Indigo Jute

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