ANYONE ELSE OUT THERE THINK WE HAVE TOO MANY PEOPLE?
by Whit Gibbons
October 22, 2006
this year I wrote about the top 10 environmental problems facing America
and the world. Last week the data came in showing that one of them, overpopulation,
is a growing concern: The U.S. population reached 300 million people.
Are we trying to catch up with China, which has 1.3 billion people, or
India, which recently passed a billion?
am missing some important clue, so if anyone can come up with a valid
reason for why having almost twice as many people around as in the year
I started high school is a good thing, I want to hear it. That means every
two people an American sees today were represented by only one person
when I was a teenager. One reason given for why more people is a good
thing is that more workers are available to develop a strong, industrialized
country. That may have been true in 1806 or even 1906. But we had a strong
industrialized country back when we had only 150 million folks walking
the streets. That argument just doesn't work in 2006.
is a simple ecological concept that is defined as a demographic state
in which the numbers of a species exceed the carrying capacity of its
environmental situation. Overpopulation always solves itself in the animal
world. Disease and starvation increase when a species becomes too abundant.
And guess what, humans are animals. We are subject to the same natural
laws as other animals.
Most Americans cannot visualize the disease and starvation that are plaguing
many other countries. But eventually even the United States could be susceptible
to nature's solution for overpopulation, and our quality of living unquestionably
declines as population density increases. Think about this. Then recognize
that we can avoid the consequences of overpopulation by controlling our
birth rate and our immigration rate.
we passed the 200 million mark in the United States. Since that time,
by one report, more than half of the latest increase of 100 million people
living on U.S. soil is a consequence of immigrants and their offspring.
Many of these arrived without an invitation. With more people we have
more pollution, less native wildlife and livable space, and increased
poverty and crime.
about demographic statistics is the first step to realizing that overpopulation
is a problem and then doing something about. To appreciate the rate of
overpopulation on a global scale, figure out how many people were on the
planet when you were born. 1927? 2 billion. 1960? 3 billion. 1974? 4 billion.
1990? 5 billion. We now have more than 6.5 billion! That's way too many
people for this ecosystem we call Earth, but our population is still increasing.
the changing population rate in the United States, consider that a baby
is born every seven seconds, but someone dies only every 13 seconds. Meanwhile,
every 30 seconds an immigrant arrives to stay. So about every minute we
increase our population by half a dozen people. Consider further that
at least 4 billion people in the world would rather live here with us
than where they currently live. Too many are able to find a way to get
here, and as they arrive, our environmental problems increase.
birth control for women who do not want to have a child and of family
planning for those who do is a simple solution to control overpopulation
and thus alleviate many of the world's increasing environmental problems.
Global birth control efforts would reduce overpopulation worldwide and
help address our own immigration problems. Meanwhile, devising an enforceable
plan to curtail illegal U.S. immigration and limit legal entry seems like
a reasonable step as well.
In my opinion
any U.S. politician who fails to address overpopulation by supporting
birth control measures and trying to solve immigration problems has a
self-serving agenda that does not include what is best for the country.
Sadly, I know of no elected official who even acknowledges the basic problem:
too many people. Until we recognize the problem, we can't begin to solve
it. And if we don't solve it, Mother Nature will eventually do it for
us. She's already working on it in some places.
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