Over-Population + Climate Change = Ecosystem Collapse + Starvation

Over-population and climate change are relatedYet again we are warned that climate change and increasing population will cause massive starvation [more | search]. It is appalling how few people are aware that soil, land and even the atmosphere's waste absorption potential are finite resources. The root cause of climate change and virtually all aspects of the global ecological crisis is too many people consuming beyond the carrying capacity of ecosystems to absorb and regenerate from their impact. The population bomb has exploded and some 6.5 billion people now live on a planet that can probably only support well one billion or less (the population about 125 years ago). How this grotesque overshooting of the biosphere's ecological systems is unwound will have profound impacts upon the quality, and even possibility, of continued human existence. Will just and equitable measures be taken to reduce human numbers through population controls, as China has done somewhat successfully, or will ecological collapse do it much less mercifully? Humanity has reached the limits of technology and the biosphere's ability to put off over-population's impact being fully felt. Now may be a good time to buy a small piece of land and take up gardening.

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18 Responses

  1. R. Gates says:

    Dr. Barry,
    Once more you probably have stated things pretty clearly, but I wonder if you're not just speaking to lemmings who are running head first off a cliff, and have no possible way of stopping, even if they wanted to. Honestly, if the earth can only support a billion people or so, that means that close to six billion of us need to leave (i.e. die). Who wants to listen to that? Rather, maybe just Party til you drop!?
    RESPONSE: I refer to it as aggressive truth-telling, letting the chips fall where they may. I also believe that instinctively the survival of the family and species is very strong.

  2. Moses Sedler says:

    Dr. Barry,
    I disagree that the earth can only sustain 1 billion people. If we humans would use appropriate technology, renewable energy sources, and if we would spend our time helping each other rather than fighting each other, I think we could support 6 billion people on this garden planet.

  3. J.Bates says:

    I agree, there are too many people on this planet. It takes an objective individual to make this statment about their own species. Those whom don't agree need to look at what we have today and what we will have in 10 years. Will Indonesia's rainforest's be left? Amazon? or will the human species invaded in what little we have left. The decline in species diversity hasn't been highlighted enough in comparison to alternate ethical/world dilemas.
    We cannot turn back time. The debate is null and void as Mother Nature will make the choice for us.

  4. Jonathan Terry says:

    You absolutley right to raise this issue, however unpalatable it is. I agree with your comments. How much worse does environmental instability have to become before people wake up to this truth?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Dr.Barry
    If it takes shock value methods to raise awarness on such a crucial issue then i give you my full support, i also belive that in cases such as this where people do not want to listen pointing out the hard facts is the only way to draw the attention of others.

  6. Julia Carter says:

    Two things would help reduce Earth's population over time. One of them is the U.S. reinstating family planning programs around the world and funding and staffing them well. The second thing that is needed is for aid to developing nations to be given to women's organizations in many cases. There are many places around the world where women control much of the local economy. When aid from the west is given to men to manage it upsets this balance. One of the results is the women no longer have “leverage” with their husbands and lovers who are intent on having lots of children. I am generalizing to a great degree, but this is something the U.S. needs to be sensitive about.
    Of course in the U.S. where we consume a hugely disproportionate share of resources we need to be leading the way on family planning and limiting the size of families. This needs to become a cultural value.
    I think we could have about half as many people on Earth as there are now and things would be easier for everyone.
    I “volunteered” in my early 20's not to have children. Luckily there was no man in my life when my niece was born, so I have no biological children. I don't regret this. But lots of people treat me differently since I don't have children of my own. Sort of like I'm not quite as good a human and must know nothing about child rearing, even though I'm a great baby-sitter. So this points to a cultural value which needs to change to meet new needs.

  7. Demesure says:

    Dr Barry,
    If there should be ecosystem collapse, whatever it means, be sure the Chinese will finesse to have it happen ABROAD, for example in Africa or Borneo or Amazonia. They have amassed enough technology, skill, cash, goods, industrial plants, high sea boats, progress in medicine & life expectancy… thanks to globalization to attain this goal (I'll call this “escape”) so don't count on them to collapse first, you'll be deeply disappointed.
    See what had happened at a mini-scale for Taiwan and you'll have an idea of where China is heading.

  8. manoj Kharian says:

    Please send me about Globle Warmming causes, measures, and how can we can saved us from this

  9. John Burton says:

    A reduction of population is essental in the long run if we are to avoid a disastrous level of the carbon dioxide emissions causing global warming. The U.S should heavily fund family planning programs everywhere.

  10. xzantit says:

    SWAN SONG
    Have destroyed our home and set it ablaze,
    and fast approaching are the end of days.
    The grass is brown and the snow is black,
    it's easy to see something's out of whack.
    With the dirty air and the waters drying,
    and so many empty stomachs sighing.
    Animals gone and never to return,
    and natures tough lessons we're about to learn.
    We just don't get it we abuse so much,
    and with reality we've lost touch.
    Really foolish indeed to ruin our place,
    knowing full well it's now extiction we face.
    With so much greed and quest for power,
    even in this, the earths last hour.
    Its just a matter of time for destruction looms,
    because more and more the human flame consumes.
    We are the worlds worst disease,
    for we take and we take and do as we please.
    We have been unchecked for way to long,
    and I now hear the earth playing our last swan song.

  11. xzantit says:

    The earth is full of so much gloom,
    causing the feeling of impending doom.
    Weakening the knees with strength that caves,
    because of the floods, quakes, and massive waves.
    Violent storms and tornatos fierce,
    and every sense of peace these terrors pierce.
    Knowing full well it is but a taste,
    a warning that there's no time to waste.
    For I know its brewing a great and mighty force,
    because to cleanse itself is just natures course.
    And things look bleek and the future grim,
    and afraid I am for chances seem slim.

  12. vikash says:

    population is ofcourse da route cause or mother of all da problems but its causes are intrlinked with each other . and anyways what we r doing for . just nothin
    now is the time we should better wake up otherwise who knows we would b too late fot maintaining our ecological balance

  13. Anonymous says:

    Overpopulation is the main issue. Humans mean well, but we have become a plague on the earth. Assuming that we all mean well, how about appealing to people's better nature in reducing earth's population? It is time the population debate came out into the open. We need an inspiring world spokesperson to encourage us to go through all the hardships this war against overpopulation will entail, basically, having either no, or less, children, until the population is at a sustainable level, and then keeping it at that level. This would be very tough, but humans always rise to the occasion in a war situation, especially when praised and given medals for their bravery.
    Waiting till the earth's resources collapse around us, disease-ridden, starving, and fighting for food, is the main alternative, or horror of horrors, some mad scientists letting loose fatal viruses wordwide without our say. The fact that the topic has not become headline news yet is because of fear. Fear of what leaders will have to ask of people. I think they underestimate us. Unpalatable is not impossible.

  14. Anonymous says:

    We should definitely do something about this. All nations, no matter their rank in the global economy should stand as one and attempt to change our misguided ways.
    I am not very religious (yes, I am bringing religion into this), so I know that it is up to us to do something – and not to just pray. Although many should do that, just in case. The stakes are high in the end, which ever path we choose. Life? Or death?

  15. Nathaniel says:

    There is NOT an overpopulation cause for Global Warming.
    Global Warming has been caused by greenhouse gases being put into the air (and surface carbon cycle of the Earth). This is done mainly in developed nations which are often the same ones with the lowest birthrates.
    China, thanks to its population control program, has had a declining birthrate while the amount of pollution it puts out has been rising. Many couples are limited to 1 child per couple while the Chinese are building 1 new coal power plant per week.
    Global Warming is all practices not population levels. Limited population levels doesn't appear to do anything to slow Global Warming.
    We should be talking about the global economy (for the environment's sake), not overpopulation (which we don't have).

  16. John says:

    To state that “There is NOT an overpopulation cause for Global Warming.” defies all reason. Sure, in the short run one area or another will have more or less dramatic impacts on the environment, but in the long run More people will need More stuff. You know, like food and water and air……
    Are we really so collectively dumb that we have to wait until the planet degenerates beyond repair until we face the seriousness of both too many people and poor environmental practices.
    It is the unwillingness or inability to look ahead that has gotten us into the mess we are now in, but these problems are not really so hard to grasp, unless, perhaps, you base you science and thought on 2000 fairy tales…..

  17. Prof Bob says:

    Have you read the free ebook series on overpopulation and its related problems? Check: http://andgulliverreturns.info It looks at the many problems caused by overpopulation and suggests some solutions–in a sci-fi and non-fictional genre.

  18. We witness the immense struggle of wildlife to survive in an increasingly hostile, modern world, invaded and destroyed by the human species
    The Human race is guilty of conservational, ecological and environmental crimes. What we are doing to all other species is murder! It is ecocide!
    In less than 100 years of so called civilisation using technology, we have managed to destroy what took more than 3 billion years to evolve. Entire species are being wiped out. We kill everything we touch,have run out of space, land, soil, air, water and landfill sites. The only thing we haven't run out of, unfortunately, is people. 7 billion and rising fast !
    The main culprit of this ecological disaster is religion, Christianity being the worst, as it keeps the prolific uteruses busy, spitting children out at a fast rate. And when they can't procreate naturally, in-vitro fertilisation is there, readily available, speeding up the breeding process, revving it up to turbo breeding.
    http://helpingthem.co.uk/index.php/topic,114.0.html

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