Please write a few words on “Overpopulation”

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The following quotation by Sir David Attenborough, (English broadcaster, natural historian Patron of OPT/Population Matters) summarises very succinctly what needs to be said on the population problem : - -

“I have not seen a world problem that wouldn’t be easier to solve with fewer people, or harder, and ultimately impossible, with more.”-


Our current Global human population level was not planned. It has largely arisen as a result of man’s natural evolution over the millennia.
Human carbon emissions and climate change are big issues at the top of the news agenda. And they do pose a substantial threat, among others discussed below. But population growth is almost entirely ignored. Which is odd, since it is at the root of the environmental crisis. The statistics are quite remarkable. For most of the two million years of human history, the population was less than a quarter of a million. The advent of agriculture led to a sustained increase, but it took thousands of years, until 1800, before the planet was host to a billion humans. Since then growth has accelerated – we hit 2 billion in 1930, 3 billion in 1960, 4 billion in 1975, 5 billion in 1987 and 6 billion in 1999. Today’s grand total is estimated to be 7.8 billion, with a growth rate of over 80 million each year.
To what can we attribute such a dramatic rise? Impressive increases in the food supply, yes, but the underlying driver has been the shift from societies in which energy was drawn from beasts of burden (including humans) and wood, sometimes water or wind: to a fossil fuel-based world in which most of our energy is obtained by burning coal, oil and gas. This transition has fuelled the changes in quality of life associated with modern technology, especially the major advances in hygiene and medicine since 1850. Although (unfairly) distributed very unevenly, these bounties have seen life expectancy double and a corresponding reduction in mortality rates.
But success in reducing mortality has NOT been matched everywhere by sufficient lowering of the birth rates. It is reduced mortality not the myth of an increase in birth-rates in settings of poverty that created the imbalance and hence the 7-fold increase in population in 200 years. The truth is that until so recently in humanity’s history (and this remains true in some settings) mortality meant that a couple had to have 5-plus children to be sure of having two to survive and replace them. As noted by Malthus, who at the end of the 18th century was the first to foresee the problems of population growth, such growth can accelerate rapidly since every individual has the capacity to produce many offspring, each of whom can in turn produce many more, and the process will only cease when something happens to bring birth rate and death rate once more into balance.
The total population level could even exceed 12 Billion, before it perhaps stabilises in the next century. As it approaches that unbelievable number, this level of population will undoubtedly greatly worsen resource-driven problems such as food, water and energy scarcity, particularly in the continent of Africa (whose population is expected to exceed 4 billion by 2100), but will also boost migration northwards into Europe especially from the increasingly arid Sahel region. Migration levels have already reached record highs. It is well recognised that violence both between and within countries (including genocide) is also enhanced by population growth. Moreover, massive human-caused habitat destruction threatens all non-human life (the current and ongoing disastrous 6th great extinction of the world’s biodiversity).
Given major advances in science and, in particular, media communications, it should now become possible to compute theoretical population levels which, unlike now, would be sustainable and in keeping with man’s natural environment. Such a population level might be defined as an ‘optimum population’. Although this term is probably best applied on a global scale, a country’s upper limits to ‘optimum population’ is more easily computed in those countries where there is already a self-realisation that the government of this country consider themselves overpopulated i.e. optimum population of China. Population Crisis thinks that the reluctance of the UK Government politicians to talk about its own overpopulation is symptomatic of self-denial.
If this film can achieve recognition from its viewer’s that their own country would be better off, stronger and more sustainable at a lower defined population level then this would be a major breakthrough in communicating the message of sustainable populations e.g. China has a current population level of 1.48 Billion but the country would have a higher standard of living and be less environmentally damaging at a population level of 750 Million. Equally Great Britain and Northern Ireland has a current population level of 66 million but could have a better standard of living for its citizens at 20 to 40 million.
This documentary aims to demonstrate that through advances in technology, education and media communication, coupled with non-coercive, facts-based but always also rights-based and women-centred voluntary family planning policies, population levels can be altered to levels with at least a chance of long-term sustainability. The film would like to point out that the benefits and advantages of a smaller population outweigh the advantages of a larger population.
Many business people and economists might argue that decreases in population are not necessarily a good thing for an economy. This film aims to dispel this myth by showing that decreasing populations with fertility rates, for instance, such as 1.8 will have an imperceptible impact on their economies if proper policies were properly put in place.

How will a positive reduction in global population come about?

Nobody yet knows what will happen on a global scale. However, one thing is for certain. There will certainly be much heated debate over this issue!
Hence, Population Crisis conjectures that in order for there to be a smooth positive reduction in population numbers there needs to be at least the following: –
“global political awareness about the problem of overpopulation, workable economic policies to help cushion economic disadvantages of decreasing populations, carbon free energy generating technology which will help improve the environmental quality of life, a comprehensive education for all, international co-operation, comprehensive health policies, advances in satellite technology, universal access to fast broadband and achievable policy goals.”

Film Content Breakdown


The main aim of this documentary is to convince the audience that: –
“Many of today’s environmental & socio-economic problems could be more easily solved if the current global population was between 2 to 4 billion, Not its current 7.8 billion and most certainly Not its future estimated population size of 10 to 12 billion.
Population crisis thinks that the task of reducing population would be much more straight forward if the majority of people on this planet could be convinced that this world, in its current state, is overpopulated”.
The full documentary film “The World’s Last Taboo: Overpopulation” is extremely complex and its completion will require a myriad of skill sets.
The film content will need to be broken down into segments with each component part exploring driving factors of population change and, in particular, focusing on overpopulation.
Some of these driving factors to be examined in detail are as follows: –

Fertility Rate

The lowering of the long-term fertility rate to below replacement level of 2.1 is key to reducing population.
There are still more than 100 countries that still have fertility rates above replacement level.
The population crisis team will try to focus on demographers & those population experts who have a particular interest in overpopulation and fertility rates. A deeper examination of this topic might shed light on why certain countries still have high fertility rates and why others such as India, which has known about its population problem for a long time, has had such difficulty in reducing its own fertility rates.
Countries with Reducing Populations.

There are some countries that already have shrinking populations. This is the first time in human history that population reduction has been achieved without war, famine or disease and furthermore without coercion. As a biological species we have come a long way and if this trend continues, then we might be able to even, for once, give ourselves a pat on the back.

However, those countries with shrinking populations face an entirely different raft of socio- economic problems to those with populations that are still increasing. The question which is so often raised by people fearing such a situation is, “How to take care of their elderly when there are fewer young alive to pay and look afer them?”
Abandoned Houses In Japan
One of the more unusual side effects of a positive reduction in population is the surplus building capacity which exists in the market e.g. the millions of abandoned houses in Japan. Japan has a fertility rate of 1.4 which is particularly low. Fertility rate in a modern democratic society is often seen as a personal decision so there must be socio-economic reasons for this steep decline in fertility rate. Population Crisis would like to examine some of these factors i.e. does modern social awareness and expectation of certainliving standards play a major role in family size?

Political Awareness

Political intervention could help facilitate the reduction in Population size.
A peaceful positive reduction in global population could be greatly facilitated through political awareness. To date few global political leaders, who are in privileged position do something positive about overpopulation, have ever mentioned global overpopulation could be the root of the planetary environmental problem, let alone attributed the contribution of the size of their own country population as a part of this problem.
There are a few notable exceptions to this statement. If China had not endured the one child policy which it implemented last century, it is computed that there would have been 400 million more people living on this planet today. In India the Assam State government has enacted a bill which will introduce a two-child policy for government employees as from January 2021. Nirendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, did mention the curse of rapid population growth in his Independence-Day speech in Aug 2019 when he called for families to be patriotic by limiting their own family size to two.
Political views on overpopulation held by prominent politicians are often divided on this issue of the population problem. Most politicians find this topic of overpopulation too hot to tackle and would prefer to concentrate on day to day issues rather than a topic which might end their political career.
Also, governments, all too often, prefer to leave the practical implications of this debate to government departments and other specialised organisations which they feel will conveniently deal with this sticky issue on their behalf.
Population Crisis believes that a “good politician” should put population at the top of their political agenda and will never side step this issue. Political will-power could greatly help raise awareness on overpopulation especially if backed up with clear policies will lead to a sustainable population goal. Hence Population Crisis will seek to interview politicians who are prepared to talk about the topic of global overpopulation in a transparent and constructive way.
It is the view of population crisis that this planet needs many more balanced, & non-biased political leaders to speak up coherently on not only the problem of overpopulation in their own country but also on global level.

The UN

This institution is the world communicator to which we all look-to for global leadership and action on developmental issues as well as keeping the globe a peaceful place. Most of us see this global institution, not only, as a constructive talking shop but more importantly as a great implementer of global policy. We know that this United Nations has a role of collating information and trying to implement practical policies and action plans to combat rising human population.
Population crisis would like to examine more deeply the role of the United Nations in combatting overpopulation and why it has not had more success than it currently has in reducing fertility rates world-wide.


Education. Education. Education!
The right to an education is not only a basic human right but it is also the root to lowering fertility rates. Educating the young for our future society is our most important challenge. If children can be kept in education up to secondary level and beyond, then they, not only tend to live more fulfilling lives but tend to reduce the number of children which they will have in the future.
The most recent Demographic and Health Survey in Pakistan, conducted in 2006–07, shows that highly educated women are at the forefront of the fertility decline, with a total fertility rate (TFR) of 2.3 children, in contrast to a TFR of 4.8 for women with no education. For women who go onto tertiary level education the fertility rate is even lower.
Population crisis would like to know if advances in satellite communications which bring broadband to even the remotest areas of the world will be that holy grail we have been waiting for in order to improve literacy rates and education level of the poorest and the most deprived children in the world. If access to fast broadband does prove to be a useful tool then this could be the global communicator which will ultimately help reduce global fertility rates.
The placing of low earth satellites into space should make broadband available to everywhere and on the globe at internet data transfer speeds which are comparable to earth-based broadband. However, in order to increase broadband coverage, there will need to be a lot of satellites in orbit. Up until recently a satellite construction might take a couple of years to build from scratch. Now two satellites can be manufactured in a day! Hence companies such as SpaceX have plans to launch 12,000 satellites into space in the next few years. With other companies such as Amazon, OneWeb, Eutelsat, and the Chinese Hongyun Project all sending hundreds of satellites into low orbit the sky could see as many as 30,000 low earth orbit satellites going into space in the next 10 years. This should bring broadband availability to 100% of the globe.
Population Crisis would like to examine the potential benefits of universal availability of high-speed broadband, document the in-the-field educators, skilled development workers and education consultants in order to find out if this, in their view, will be the panacea and the breakthrough which the world has been waiting for in order to reach out, educate, and transform everybody’s lives.
Family Planning
No film would be complete without examining family planning practices. It is surprising, given all that we know about family health care in conjunction with family planning that there are still so many places in the developing world which do not have access to this service
One of keys to lowering fertility rates is the access to family planning, healthy fulfilled lives, the formation of supportive women groups. Much of this can come through supportive and reliable medical service which can bring help to all. Most of the countries with lowest rates of contraceptive use, highest maternal, infant, and child mortality rates, and highest fertility rates are in Africa. Only about 30% of all women use birth control, although over half of all African women would like to use birth control if it was available to them.
The main problems that preventing access to and use of birth control are its unavailability, poor health care services, spousal disapproval, religious concerns, and misinformation about the effects of birth control.
According to the UNFPA “Access to safe, voluntary family planning is a human right. Family planning is central to gender equality and women’s empowerment, and it is a key factor in reducing poverty. Yet in developing regions, an estimated 232 million women who want to avoid pregnancy are not using safe and effective family planning methods, for reasons ranging from lack of access to information or services to lack of support from their partners or communities. This threatens their ability to build a better future for themselves, their families and their communities. Most of the countries with lowest rates of contraceptive use, highest maternal, infant, and child mortality rates, and highest fertility rates are in Africa”
According to the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization started in 1968 that works to study, educate, and advance sexual and reproductive health and rights to fully meet the cost of both modern contraception and maternal and new-born care would cost $54 billion or $9 per person in developing regions.

Resources Driven Indicators of Over-Population

Population Crisis believes that anthropogenically led climate change is largely symptomatic of planetary overpopulation. It seems bizarre that the human race should be tackling the problem of climate change without, at the same time, reviewing human population numbers. Population Crisis believes that both population and climate change need to be tackled simultaneously if humans are to take control of the situation.
The damage to the environment and our way of life is not normally just caused by one factor. It is a combination of factors acting simultaneously. However, Population Crisis believes that the “Vector” overpopulation is probably one of the most important factors in this real time saga and we neglect this at our peril!
An example of where overpopulation combined with other factors to cause a real time human and environmental disaster is the current tragedy which we see unfolding today in the area which stretches from Syria through to Afghanistan known as the Fertile Crescent. Research scientists have computed that the years between 1998 to 2012 were the driest on record in Syria over the 900-year period. These droughts have naturally occurred historically but it has been concluded that the recent exceptional severe drought due to a 13 percent drop in average rainfall was caused by climate change.
In Syria we can note that the juxta-positioning of many factors had a devastating outcome. Firstly the anthropogenically caused drought forced one million Syrian farmers to abandon their farms and move to towns, combine this with the influx of Iraqi refugees over the previous 10 years, and then add the massive increase in the Syrian population from 5 million in 1950’s to 23 million in 2010, plus further declining supply of water due to over extraction of ground water plus increased surface temperature, and finally add to this the poor governance of the Syrian Assad regime all came together to cause the “Urban Shock” which acted as a catalyst for the civil war and the current refugee crisis.
The effect of overpopulation could also be said to have played a major part in the human tragedy of Rwandan genocide in 1993. Here overpopulation led to over exploitation of the land available for growing food and hence starvation and rebellion. It is true that a country can trade in order to feed itself but the building up of trade takes time, bureaucracy and administration. Population crisis believes that there is a balance of what an expanding population can withstand before it rebels.

These two cases are extreme examples of overpopulation.

Population crisis believes, in order for a country to have the highest quality of life which its citizens may expect today then that country needs to look at whether the underlying resource deficiencies are the factors reducing quality of life of its citizens. This then re- defines overpopulation as not only a state where famine, drought cause tragedy but also where overpopulation reduces the quality of life for its citizens.

The argument for overpopulation can become tangled and complicated if unravelled.

For example, the UK would need to have a population in the region of 20 to 30\ million if it was to supply its population with wood and similarly India would need to have a population of 700 million. Hence both these countries need to trade in order to supply their wood requirements. India, on the other hand would require 5 to 10 times more energy if it is to raise the living standards of its citizen to the supposed subjectively judged high standards of the UK. But India might be able to meet this energy need through renewable energy in order to meet its climate change obligations. However, the UK, with its high standard of living, will need to theoretically reduce its population by at least half so that it could supply, wood requirements and its energy requirements from non-fossil fuel and fulfil its climate change obligations. These two factors above, supply of wood and energy when included with the obvious current high “ecological footprint” of a UK citizen and the future expected high “ecological footprint” of India, would tend to indicate both countries are overpopulated.

India need dozens of these!

Kurnool Ultra Mega Solar Park is spread over a total area of 5,932.32 acres (24. km2) 1 Giga Watt capacity (1000 MW)
In this above example we have only included three factors, wood, energy and ecological footprint. This does not consider the countless other factors playing in expected quality of life such as requirement for living & recreation space and the space for wildlife all of which need to be considered for a modern high quality of life. Population crisis believes that because India and UK both trade, both are inextricably globally linked and both are overpopulated.


Population Crisis believes that the world is overpopulated.
What do you think?