July 6, 2008

The Population Bomb Trumps All Others

In reference to David O'Connell's June 16 letter, "Editorial's erroneous Malthusianism":

Having read Mr. O'Connell's complaints about a Journal editorial from May 19 titled "Too many people,"' I can state without fear of contradiction that virtually every single statement made by Mr. O'Connell is factually incorrect. World population growth is the most fundamental problem facing the world today, and has been for the last 30 years!

No matter what issue you care to name in the world today, its ultimate source is overpopulation. War in Iraq? It's a battle for the control of oil, exacerbated by the enormous growth in world consumption, which has been brought about by a huge increase in the population. Codfish stocks crash on Georges and Grand banks? Too many people catching fish. Global warming? Overuse of fossil fuels by an ever-burgeoning population. Food-price increases? Bad weather, drought and other "natural" disasters largely brought on by global warming (see above) destroying crops. Then there are the crops used to make ethanol (because of the limited availability of oil, see above). Loss of rain forest, and multiple species extinctions? When humans and wildlife compete for resources, wildlife always loses. Increasing human populations means wildlife is under increasing pressure the world over. Frankly, I don't care what difficult issue is brought forward, if you delve deeply enough, overpopulation is the fundamental problem!

Yes, technology can "overcome" many of these problems temporarily (in fact, it has arguably been the entire source and purpose of technology for the past 100,000 years!). But each time such a problem is "solved," it merely raises the stakes as the population is once more able to grow to meet resource availability, and instead of dealing with the root cause and issue at hand, it merely postpones the inevitable and at the same time, something else is always as a result.



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