Friday, November 22, 2013

Food is NOT the Issue with Overpopulation

It always pisses me off when some ignorant person mentions food whenever human overpopulation is mentioned.

You know the ones, as soon as you say that the world is overpopulated they jump in and say "There is not a shortage of food, we produce enough food but it is not getting to the people who need it."

Wait, who said anything about food?  There are hundreds of concerns related to human overpopulation concerns and I would not even say food is in the top ten.

In experiments done in the 1950's and 1960's John B. Calhoun proved that food was not an issue.  He did experiments on rats and mice, providing them with an ideal environment, one in which food was never denied.  The populations grew and then collapsed.

In his experiments, Calhoun observed that as populations grew at first the subjects became more violent, had increased sexual behavior (including more sexual aggression), and some became anti-social.  He noticed mother animals became less nurturing and even started to show aggression to their own young, sometimes killing them.  Eventually the mother animals stopped mothering their young altogether, and the males stopped showing interest in the females, the animals behaved more like zombies than rats or mice.

Universe 25 photo source
In fact in Calhoun's Universe 25 experiment on mice, after 600 days the mice no longer produced any surviving litters and even as their population started to fall the surviving mice never produced any young, they effectively became "extinct". All this while their health was cared for, they were given ample water, and food, the only thing that was limited was space.

Anyone who is interested can read up on "Behavioral Sink" which is the term Calhoun gave to his observations.

The point being that food is not necessarily an issue with human overpopulation, and that when we reach a point of being overpopulated there are other concerns - such as increases in anti-social behavior and violence (wait, haven't we reached that point?).  So, to anyone who is ignorant enough to still think that just because we have enough food we can continue to pump out babies, I suggest you open your eyes!


The 2006 movie "Children of Men" explores a future in which humans have also reached a point where they are no longer able to produce young. This movie was based on the book "The Children of Men" by P.D. James who most certainly must have been familiar with Calhoun's studies.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Root of Many Activist Issues is Human Overpopulation

I am a member of a great activist type site, Care2.

On Care2 people can find activist petitions to sign, they can vote up causes they believe in and can even make their own petitions. One thing I have noticed though is that many of the petitions have a similar root problem.

  • One of the petitions calls to stop clearing part of the rain forest to make way for a place to produce and process palm oil
  • One petition calls for stopping the round up and potential slaughter of wild horses in the United States.
  • There are petitions against killing seals, dolphins, and wolves.
  • There is a “Save the Rain Forest Frogs” petition!
  • You can find petitions against cruelty to pigs, dairy cows, and battery hens.
  • Another petition demands a halt to an oil pipeline, another asks to prevent a gold mine in a nature sensitive area.
  • There are petitions to end urban sprawl.
  • There are petitions to end GMO crops and various "Cheats" farmers use to produce food.

Of course I do sign petitions that I support, and you can pretty much find petitions for anything. 

You name it there is probably a petition for it, but if you look at all of these petitions they are just addressing a small part of a greater problem. It would be better to address the driving force behind the problems that these petitions try to solve.

In some cases there is a place to make a comment, and I try to make a comment reminding others that if you want change, it is not the problem itself you have to consider but why the problem has developed in the first place.

Why do we need more palm oil? Growing human populations.

Why are wild horses being rounded up? To make room to graze cattle to feed the growing human population.

Why are rain forest frogs at risk? Because more people means more trees are needed, and more land must be cleared to grow crops.

Why are seals and dolphins being killed? Because they eat “our” fish, we need fish to feed the ever expanding human population.

Why are wolves being killed? Because they threaten livestock, the same livestock we want to kill to feed our own population.

Why is there cruelty to livestock? Because people want to eat, more people means shortcuts are taken to warehouse more livestock animals on less land, and transportation is pushed to get the animals to where they need to go while reducing costs.

Why do we need an oil pipeline? A growing, and greedy, consumer driven population demands more oil.

Why do we need another goldmine? Again because more people are demanding more gold, and nations need income from gold to grow.

Why are cities expanding? Urban sprawl is the result of continued growth.

Why are farmers using GMOs and other "cheats" to produce food? A rapidly growing population means farmers have less land on which to grow food, and are pressured into producing more food in less time.

As you see nearly every problem faced by the world today is human overpopulation and population growth. Some people ignorantly think that if they have 2 kids they have maintained a steady population; but 2+2 = 4! If you have two kids you have doubled your immediate population, doubled the needs of your family.  Chances are that your kids may have kids again before you have even died...

Two good ways to reduce the population growth are for couples to put off having children until they are in their 30’s and to restrict themselves to one child only.

Most governments do not like this, they want more people, more workers, more consumers, more soldiers, and more tax payers. Governments are not looking out for the future of the planet, only for the future of themselves.
The human population has more than doubled in the past 45 years. Huge natural areas have vanished forever. We are using renewable resources up faster than they can be renewed. We are killing other species only for our own continued survival and continued rape of the planet.

China is not everyone’s favorite country, and is often linked to animal cruelty, but at least they were smart enough to see the problems with unchecked population growth.

Other Reading:
About Care2 and How You Can Earn Credits to Spend on Things You Care About!