# News Over population

1. Jul 18, 2011

### edpell

Is over population an important issue? Can any actions be taken? Should any actions be taken? Can it be addressed locally or does it require a global approach?

2. Jul 18, 2011

### Staff: Mentor

I'd say overpopulation is something we definitively have to worry about. I'd reckon it is a global issue, and not just a local one. As the wikipedia article here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birth_rate states, the highest birth rates are typically in the least developed countries. Those with lack of education and contraceptives. It looks to me like a country will go through various birth rates as it develops, with the least occurring once it reaches developed status.

Hopefully, we can reach a good medium, where the birth rates about equal the death rates per year. However I know this tends to have consequences too, but more to do with the workforce and who takes care of the elderly and such.

3. Jul 19, 2011

### skippy1729

Mother Nature will address the problem in due course. It might not be pretty.

4. Jul 19, 2011

### Ken Natton

The answers to your questions are yes, yes, yes and probably a combination of both local and global policies would be required.

I would hate to seem like a doomsayer, the reality is that how it will all turn out is far from certain, but just how high the stakes are can be made clear by this point. In the population studies that were part of the foundations of chaos theory, the phenomenon of populations that rise exponentially and then collapse to a small fraction of their peak in repeated cycles was shown to follow a quite simple mathematical formula. One of the parameters of the formula is one of these coefficient values whose maximum value is 1. It is an expression of the current population as a proportion of capacity of the active circumstances. Understand, we could be talking about goldfish in a pond, or rabbits in a warren, or whatever. Given the prevalence of predators, of disease, of available food and of liveable space, there is a figure that might be regarded as the capacity of organisms for those circumstances, and the co-efficient number is the active population as a proportion of that capacity. So the population may cycle as high as values of greater than 0.9 and collapse to values of lower than 0.1. But all such studies reflected one universal truth. If the active population ever reaches a value of 1, the result is not the collapse of the population, but its complete annihilation. I’m not sure what today’s human population of planet earth is as a proportion of what would be capacity, but the fact that the population continues to rise as fast as it is doing has to be a concern. There are those studies that have suggested that, though it is still rising, the rate at which it is rising is decreasing. This suggests that we might be approaching the top of the curve. But if infant mortality falls and life expectancy increases without a concomitant reduction in the birth rate, population pressures are only going to increase. It cannot but be a worry.

5. Jul 19, 2011

### SixNein

I think a better question is what is the optimal size of humanity to achieve maximum quality of life?

6. Jul 19, 2011

### edpell

I went to the "Biophysical Economics Conference" at the SUNY college of Environmental Science and Forestry a few months ago. One of the presentations by a Prof. Jack Alpert made the case for a maximum sustainable human population of 100 million. This is the smallest number I have ever seen suggested. He made some good points in support things like soil erosion rates and soil regeneration rates.

He has a youtube video

Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
7. Jul 19, 2011

### Char. Limit

Yes, I'd say so. We could possibly fix it with a zero population growth idea, but I doubt that could be implemented.

8. Jul 19, 2011

### Staff: Mentor

The video doesn't give any way to achieve what he proposes or what he's basing his claims on. Most of Canada can't sustain crops or people. That goes for a lot of the land in the world. Water is already a problem, he forgets people need water, all those crops and animals need water. How much polution would 100 million humans produce? We can't handle waste management in most populated areas and waste is being shipped off by land and by sea to other areas.

Does he have a solution for where these people are going to find jobs? We can't employ the people we have now. And we can't afford to support them. Sustainable does not equal practical, affordable, or even reasonable. I think the world's population is too large right now.

IMO, that video was ridiculous. He's more correct with the number of humans needing to be less than 1.6 billion.

Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
9. Jul 19, 2011

### mheslep

That narration is nonsensical and fallacy ridden. From his bio:

Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
10. Jul 19, 2011

### edpell

??? That is 100 million a factor of 70 few than today. He agrees with you. How many do you think are sustainable?

Last edited: Jul 19, 2011
11. Jul 19, 2011

### edpell

The soil erosion rates and soil formation rates seem pretty prosaic. How many do you, mheslep, think are sustainable?

Last edited: Jul 19, 2011
12. Jul 19, 2011

### edpell

I agree. I think that is why we have moved this conversation from what should we do to what would be an ideal number. That latter requiring no action plan just philosophical discussion.

13. Jul 19, 2011

### drankin

Everytime I fly I marvel at how much unused land and fresh water there is. They idea that the world is overpopulated begins to sound real rediculous. Another, "The sky is falling", story all over again. They only thing I have against the population increasing is that we will end up with more people making up things to complain about.

14. Jul 19, 2011

### Char. Limit

[PLAIN]http://images.sodahead.com/polls/001489107/4cee47acfa0be107d9652bce296f46eb_xlarge.jpeg [Broken]

Seems like people agree with you there.

Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
15. Jul 19, 2011

### Staff: Mentor

oh good lord, I was thinking 100 billion, and I was thinking he was completely out of his mind. (we had some really whacko population threads in social & earth sciences, but this one's my fault and a doozie!)

(wipes spray off of keyboard and monitor)

NEVERMIND THEN!!!

I keep saying I'm severely sleep deprived.

16. Jul 19, 2011

### mheslep

17. Jul 19, 2011

### Andre

Incidentely, it appears that his narration is based on economics only. Maybe that the total accumulated testosterone level is also somewhat important for determining the maximum sustainable population.

18. Jul 19, 2011

### edpell

Maybe as the population density in these countries decreases the quality and ease of life will increase and at some point they will reach an equilibrium of population (births equal to deaths).

19. Jul 19, 2011

### edpell

Let's not get stuck on Alpert he is an extremist. Do we have any more moderate calculations for sustainable number?

20. Jul 19, 2011

### mheslep

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