Are there too many humans? Will there bee soon?
Ooverpopulation is a hot
topic among many and it could have dire consequences. But, more
humans may also be the only hope earthly life has.
Human population has exploded, to be sure. Peace is
one of our biggest "problems." Improved health care another although the
wealthiest cultures have turned that around and slowed the growth—a
trend that's expected to continue. In the U.S., for example, nationals
are dying at about the same rate they're being born. We're
only growing from immigration, good or bad.
But is population growth bad? I propose that it is not only good, but
necessary. Here's why.
We know that our planet will end in a crispy cataclysm caused by the
sun's expansion. A billion or so years hence there will be no
atmosphere, let alone life. If our species has not gone to greener
pastures long before then, it will be forgotten.
Space travel is tough. It requires forethought and expenditures that
offer little immediate gain. It requires a vibrant economy whose excess
can be channeled into endeavors that will eventually provide knowledge
of inhabitable places and the means to reach them. Space travel is our
This is where I'll acknowledge a possible quandary. If the population
were to continue at its present rate for a million years then we would
indeed overwhelm our food production capability. Technology will
undoubtedly improve efficiency that I suspect a trillion humans could be
supported. That's about 100 times the 2007 population total of
nearly 10 billion. Even allowing such a huge number, if the population
were double every hundred years, we'd hit that trillion in less than a
thousand years. What of a million years?
Fortunately, growth is slowing. The best accounts that I've seen
suggest population growth will completely level off in a few hundred
years which obviously negates the problem.
What to Do
Since I see humans as a required asset for escaping their home's
eventual demise, I suggest we do nothing to inhibit population growth.
Moms, dads, keep making those babies!
Of course there are some places where the area can't support its
present population let alone more. That's not because of the areas
inability to grow food but because instability won't allow it—a
completely different story. I don't spite the individuals in such places
but do despair in their predicament. How sad to live in such a fertile
land like much of Africa but where violence prevents growing food.
On the other hand, there are vast populations in relative stability.
China, for example, could easily be part of the solution. They have the
largest populace living peaceably under one government. Being a
totalitarian system makes it somewhat of a wildcard but, if they
continue with free-market growth and are able to direct resources
towards space exploration, they'll eventually have more to spend on it
than anyone else. If space faring nations can work together in the long
run, I believe there's hope. It's almost ironic that the very thing they
seek so powerfully to limit, human births, are what would eventually be
the species salvation.
Thankfully, we've got a few million generations to figure it out but
many aspects of long term survival require very, very long term actions.
For example, we can delay the our planets fiery demise to gain another
few million years but must start really early. And that will only
delay the inevitable. We must eventually explore, find habitable planets
and learn how to move there en-masse.
With enough humans set to the task maybe we can pull it off.