Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Conversation with Somebody Who Does Not Think Human Overpopulation is an Issue

This is a fictional conversation with a person who does not think human overpopulation is an actual thing.  In reality I think the non-believers really don't want to hear anything we have to say.  They are either in denial out of fear that this is an actual concern, or they want to have lots of children and do not want to consider that doing so might be one of the worst things for the planet.

Them "Prove to me that humans are overpopulated.".

Me "Look around you, what do you see?"

Them "I see the city, the buildings."

Me "Right, so what was there before?"

Them "It was farm."

Me "Right, and what was there before it was a farm?"

Them "It was a forest I guess..."

Me "Right, and that proves we are overpopulated.  At one time all this land was a forest, nature lived here.  We had species here that are now extinct, such as the passenger pigeon.  There was a swamp with animals, there was a forest, and from year to year things pretty much stayed the same.  Then we overpopulated where we (humans) were living and we needed food, so we cleared the area and made it into a farm to grow food for ourselves.  Where did nature go?  Then our population grew more and we needed to fill in the swamp and take over the farm to turn it into a city."

Them "But we still have lots of open spaces where we could fit more people."

Me "Don't you get it?  Every time we fit more people, we displace nature, we displace trees, we displace birds, we displace deer, cougars, and everything else that lived here before."

Them "We can fit all the people on the earth into the state of Alaska and each person would have 2000 square feet of space!"

Me "So go live in Alaska and hope your 2000 square feet of space is not on a mountain, and good luck growing enough food for yourself in that space, as well as housing yourself, and disposing of your waste."

Them "Well we would have to grow food elsewhere and dispose of waste elsewhere."

Me "So what was the point of saying we could all live in Alaska if you have to grow food elsewhere and dispose of waste elsewhere?  If we have to do that then we are not just living in Alaska and you still forget that a lot of the space you mention is not inhabitable at all."  Pause "You are forgetting that the human population does more than just take up space...  we deforest areas for things we think we need, such as coffee, gold, and diamonds.  We deforest space so we have lumber for houses and to make way for more and more farm land, and our pollution has rendered some areas uninhabitable for humans or other animals.  We have reached a point where we rely on non-renewable resources and are consuming renewable ones at a rate faster than they can be renewed." 

Them (getting defensive) "Well, if we are overpopulated you should just fix it by killing yourself."

Me "Saying we are overpopulated does not mean we need to resort to killing ourselves or killing others, we just need to be more responsible and not have kids when we are young, and not have more than one child per couple, and even that is growth as our children do not replace us when we are still alive."

Conversation ends.. I have been blocked.. hung up on.. or walked away from.

Typically people who think that human overpopulation is not an issue do not want to take into account that other species have a right to live here (on the planet) too.  They tend to think that "food" is the only issue in regards to concerns about human overpopulation.  They often have very little worldly experience, and refuse to consider what might happen in the future due to population concerns. 

Monday, June 27, 2016

My Rant About People in Denial in Regards to Human Overpopulaton

To me it makes no sense to deny that there is a human overpopulation problem.  Most of the people who say overpopulation is a myth are those who already have a few kids.  They throw up stupid arguments like "Everyone on the planet could fit in the state of Alaska and we would all have 2,000 square feet of room each", but fail to explain how each person would produce enough food (clothing, etc) for themselves in that 2,000 foot space, where their waste would go, and if they would be willing to share that space with their kids, grandkids, and so forth.

The over population deniers spout crap like "The earth provides enough for everyone's need, but it is just not being distributed fairly".  Which is only partially true and it negates the fact that most people are over consuming... if everyone lived like the average American, we would need 4 or 5 earth's to sustain us all!  Perhaps the earth would provide enough for everyone's need, if everyone in the developed nations did not consume as much as they do now (not just food, but other resources too).  However, when I see somebody saying that the world is not overpopulated they represent the typical first world person; living in a roomy house, driving a newer car, owning electronics and things that are otherwise not true "needs".  They have no idea what a mess the world would be if everyone had an equal amount of stuff as they had.

Aerial photos show that this area was once a thick forest, now the only trees that remain are a thin band separating one farm from another, primarily to serve as a windbreak and nothing more than that.   The loss of trees in North America was one of the contributing factors in the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon, a bird that once numbered in the billions.

Deniers don't see the obvious things as signs of overpopulation.  I refer to farmer's fields and other avenues of agriculture.  Do they think that farms have always been where farms are now?  Does it not occur to them that in some cases that land used to be a rich forest?  As soon as the very first forest was cleared and that land turned into a farm, we impacted the earth negatively. 

As soon as we drove another species to extinction, either because of habitat loss, or because we over-consumed it, we were a problem.  As soon as our waste started to pile up we should have clued in that we were a problem.  Why can people not get that?

Are they so wrapped up in their own reality that they fail to see the global picture, or are they just in denial because they have to be in order to justify pumping out kid after kid?

I rarely bother to argue with ignorant deniers any more.  I have conceded that in most cases they will not be swayed, especially if they already had kids and have to maintain the fact that they are not contributing to a potential major concern.  Instead I will focus on educating the youth, with subtle comments here and there, in hopes that they have open minds and will absorb some of what they are told and will go forth to expand on what I tell them.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Where a Farm Used to Be, A Lesson on Urban Sprawl and Overpopulation

Howdy boys and girls.

I know a lot of you are in denial about human overpopulation, you don't think it is a real "thing".

I suppose some of you might even be shocked to learn that human overpopulation has been talked about for many years, even over 100 years ago when Reverend Thomas Malthus suggested that war and famine was God's way of punishing us for overpopulating the earth.

I am over 50 years old, and in my time the earth's human population has more than doubled, many forests have been destroyed, rivers polluted, the Aral sea has almost vanished, and hundreds of species have gone extinct.  YES human over population is a real thing!

Please watch the video above but mostly listen to the words!

In my lifetime I have observed the urban sprawl of many cities, mostly the one where I grew up, Edmonton, Alberta.

I remember as a child driving out to a place in the country to take our cat for boarding when we went away.  That place is now a parking lot for a shopping area, and it is at least another 10 minutes drive to get out of the city.  When I was a kid all that are was farm land.  Before it was farm land I suppose it was natural area, perhaps forest, or other wilderness area.

Years ago North America was home to a bird that numbered in the billions.  This being the Passenger Pigeon.  Those birds have gone extinct in part due to hunting but mostly due to loss of habitat as they needed certain large forests in which to congregate and nest.  Those forests were destroyed to make way for farm land.

I do not understand how anyone more than 30 years of age can deny the changes they should have been seeing in their own lifetimes, unless they just do not get out of the city much and have not seen how things actually have changed, or have not read the news about how fast some animal species are going extinct due to habitat loss.

Ask yourself what used to be where a farm used to be?  Hint in the background!
Where a farm used to be there is now a parking lot, mega shopping structures, housing, and hundreds more people.  Nonetheless what is very important to remember is that something used to be in the spot where the farm used to be too.  As soon as we needed to clear trees to have a farm, at that very point, we entered an area of being an invasive species, we became overpopulated, not necessarily to the point it hurt our own species, but to the point that it hurt others!

Monday, September 28, 2015

What if Each Family Only Had One Acre?

Why are people considering living on Mars?

The answer is simple; it is because we are overpopulating and destroying our own planet and need more room! 

Imagine if each couple were delegated 1 acre of land to live on, and could only use resources from that plot of land (catching rain water as needed).  All their food had to come from that acre, all their waste had to be disposed of on that acre.

They build a house using all the trees and rocks.  They plant a garden and have some chickens.  They have a goat for milk.  If they are lucky they have a pond for fish.  They are perfectly sustainable on their land.  Then one day they have a baby.  That baby needs things.  They re-purpose older clothes for baby clothes, but food eventually becomes an issue.  At first they can produce enough to feed the child, but eventually the child needs more food and it gets tough with the parents eating a bit less just so the child can have more.  Then they have another child.

At one point their small house starts to feel crowded, but they have no more trees to use to expand their home, and do not wish to take away any more land from what they need to produce food.

On land that previously supported two people, they are now trying to support four.  What do they do?

Vege patties, spinach, cucumber, tomatoes.  A meal for two.

They find ways to cheat on food production.  They pump the goat with hormones so it produces more milk.  They water the garden more so it produces larger vegetables and fruits, but even though the fruit is larger it contains only the same nutrition as would be in a smaller vegetable.  Combined with the fact that the land has been used so much that it contains less nutrients than in earlier years, and we see how the family has barely enough food but the food itself has less value. 

This is where the human population is now.  Although we feel like we have unlimited space and we technically produce enough food for everyone, the food we are producing today has less nutritional value than it did even 20 years ago.  Dairy animals in some nations are pumped with hormones to produce more milk but the side effect of the hormones on the humans that drink the milk are dangerous, and the dairy animals themselves have shorter lives as a result of being stressed in that way.

Our farmers are producing big strawberries, but have you tasted one or compared it to the small strawberries that grow wild?  The huge berries have little taste in comparison.  

Think of the earth as the one acre homestead.  We cannot expand it.  If we keep adding people to it, and resources are limited, we have to find ways to cope.  We can cope by cheating with the resources, but to what end?

Additional problems come about in that some people are not happy with their meager one acre and insist on having more, thus forcing others to get by on less space, or poorer land. 

If you had to live on one acre, and could only produce enough food for two people, would you have kids?  How many?

I should note too that food is not the only issue we need to consider in regards to human overpopulation.

Sending people to live on Mars is not the answer.  Killing people off is not the answer either!

The answer is for people to be more responsible.  Having children at a later age (no younger than 25) and limiting oneself to only having one child is a good solution to prevent further population growth.  It is also vital that people adapt sustainable skills, and stop demanding unnecessary things (useless home decor items, and other luxury items). 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

How Do We Know if the World is Overpopulated

Agreeing on if the world is overpopulated or not is based on more than if we produce enough food for all the people on the planet. Indeed deciding if there are are too many humans is not just about the humans, but is about all other species as well as the earth itself.

For thousands of years the human population stayed pretty steady around 1 to 2 billion people, shooting up only recently with improvements to health care and industrialization. When the human population was lower we were still causing some impact on the planet but in no way as great as we are doing now that our human population numbers over 7 billion.

If you talk to somebody who is in their 50's or older they will probably tell you how they can remember farms in areas that are now built up and urbanized. Indeed the human population has more than doubled in the last 50 years and we have lost a lot of farm land as well as natural forests due to the growth rate. Farms have become more “efficient” at producing more food on less land, and typically this results in food that has less nutrition, but again food is not the focus...

The oceans all have gyres of human garbage, large pits and quarries destroy the landscapes in many areas. Deforestation has lead to landslides on many mountains. Toxic ponds of industrial waste pollute many areas. Giant mounds of human garbage occupy many acres of land worldwide. Thousands of species of animals have gone extinct in the past 200 years and yet some people still claim that the human population is not too high.

Studies done on rats and mice years ago by John B. Calhoun suggested that many social problems are the result of overpopulation. In his experiments the animals were cared for medically and were well fed but their population was allowed to grow. At a certain point the formerly social animals became anti-social, random acts of violence became common, and parenting skills declined drastically to the point that eventually the young animals did not survive.

Humans have long been known to be violent towards one and other but the acts of violence were rarely random as they are today. People walk down busy streets without making eye contact, they walk past those who are suffering (homeless) as though they did not exist. Compassion to our fellow man is being lost as we become more and more overpopulated.

This development (in Edmonton) used to be farm land, and prior to being farm land it was a forest.  How is this "better" than a forest?   How is this being in harmony with the planet?

Although some people have suggested a sustainable human population is 5 billion (and others have suggested 500 million) there is probably no definite number of what the maximum sustainable population is. In part it relates to how sustainable we chose to live our lives. Five billion people who live lives of excess are not nearly as sustainable as 5 billion people who live modestly (small homes, consuming only what they need, few luxuries).

Sadly it is impossible, therefore, to give an exact number at which the human population is considered to be overpopulated. Most certainly, due to our impact on the environment, and other species, we have surpassed that number. As long as we rely on non-renewable resources, and consume renewable ones up faster than they can be renewed, and as long as we displace, or destroy, other species, we are overpopulated.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

People Overreact When I Mention Human Overpopulation

I am a bit behind the times; I only recently joined Facebook!   I have often mentioned human overpopulation on Facebook posts, such as when a person references pollution, or whatever.  Typically I am met with responses that are not only very defensive, but often a total overreaction to my comment.  Specifically some people jump to the conclusion that I am suggesting we kill off a bunch of people!

I have never suggested solving the concerns of human overpopulation by killing people.  

To that end I am actually afraid that at one point the world will be so overpopulated that killing people (much as we do with other species to control their growth) will be something that is talked about more openly.  I grew up watching shows such as "Logan's Run" and movies like "Soylent Green" in which overpopulation was a real concern and society had its own way of dealing with this.  

I absolutely do not want the human population reaching a point where our lifespan is decided for us.  Heck no!  That is why I warn about human overpopulation now and point out that we cannot bury our heads in the sand and pretend it is not a concern.  That is why I tell people that one child is plenty, and that putting off having kids until you are at least 28 is a very important thing to do.

Look around, human overpopulation is not about food, it is about what we are doing to our planet just by being here.  We have destroyed forests, we have driven thousands of other species to extinction, we have caused the destruction of many ecosystems, polluted rivers and lakes, and yet some people still insist we are living in harmony with the planet and that our numbers are not too large!

The city used to be farm land, the farm land used to be a forest... as soon as we destroyed the forest, we were overpopulating the area.  This is the city of Edmonton, Alberta.

I am not talking about depopulating the planet by killing people.  I am suggesting we realize that we are killing the planet by allowing our population to grow uncontrolled (we have eliminated many things that kept our population controlled, such as diseases, and predators).  We are living longer than ever before and that is in fact the problem because the birth rate is actually going down in many countries.  However the population grows because infant mortality is down, and (as mentioned) we are living longer so several generations of the same family are alive at the same time, whereas in the past the older generations would have died off, allowing for room for the younger generations.

Please do not put words into my mouth, I am not suggesting we kill people, I am just suggesting each one of us would be reproductively responsible and not have more than one child, and not have that child before we are over the age of 28.

I am sure that most people who talk about human overpopulation are met with the same overreaction by others who assume that just because you talk about there being too many people that you are automatically suggesting we eliminate some!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Dumb Thing Said by a Pro-Lifer

I am not pro-life, I am pro-choice.  I think if a woman wants to have an abortion she should be allowed to do so,  however I do feel that it would be better if women who do not want kids would take measures to avoid pregnancy in the first place.  Nonetheless I realize that unwanted pregnancies do occur.

On an anti-abortion post on Facebook recently one pastor made the ignorant comment "They should just wait until they get married before having sex".  This comment is ignorant on so many levels but mostly because it implies that once people are married they want kids and will not have abortions.

In Ireland abortions are illegal.  One married woman was pregnant with a ectopic pregnancy that meant that her baby had no chance for survival, and nor did she.  She was denied an abortion and died.  This occurred in October 2012.  The anti-abortion laws in Ireland were subsequently changed to allow abortions when the mother's life is at risk.

It is religion that largely fuels the "pro-life" movement but I rarely see those who are against abortion line up to adopt drug addicted babies, or those with other issues.  I rarely see them hand out free condoms or offer to pay for birth control.  Instead they simply tell people to wait until they are married before having sex.

Marriage is no guarantee that people wont have abortions, it is no guarantee that they want kids.  So telling people to wait until they get married before having sex is not going to stop abortions.  Empowering people to be able to prevent unwanted pregnancies will!

All these pro-lifers who think they are holier-than-thou need to open their eyes to reality.  If a woman does not want a baby and happens to get pregnant and is told she cannot abort, she will likely not care for her unborn child throughout her pregnancy, and may come to hate it, she may drink, smoke, do drugs, and fill her self with anger and rage directed towards the unborn child and we know that a mother's mood during pregnancy does affect the unborn child.

I wish women could avoid getting pregnant if they know they do not want a child, but I also know the reality for some women does not make this possible.  To be ignorant and tell people to wait until marriage and assume that somehow being married makes people fit and ready to be parents is a joke!  Married people, can, and do, have abortions too.