The overcrowding is a state population characterized by the fact that the number of individuals of a living species exceeds the carrying capacity of its habitat, that is to say its ability to:
provide the necessary resources to ensure the sustainability of this species;
to repair the aggressions (pollution, disruption of the natural ecological regulations) inflicted by this species on its environment.
This notion can be considered at the scale of a territory (which can be local, regional, national, continental) or of the planet Earth itself. In this case, the demographic limits to be taken into account include, in addition, the safeguarding of global regulation processes (regulation of the temperature and chemical composition of the atmosphere and oceans, rains, marine currents, etc.), which tend to keep the Earth system in a state conducive to life.
The notion is sometimes applied to the veterinary field or livestock (animal population) or to geographical or social subunits.
Proposed solutions and mitigation measures
Several solutions and mitigation measures have the potential to reduce overpopulation. Some solutions are to be applied on a global planetary level (e.g., via UN resolutions), while some on a country or state government organization level, and some on a family or an individual level. Some of the proposed mitigations aim to help implement new social, cultural, behavioral and political norms to replace or significantly modify current norms.
For example, some government has put policies in place that regulate the number of children allowed to a couple. Other societies have implemented social marketing strategies in order to educate the public on overpopulation effects. “The intervention can be widespread and done at a low cost. A variety of print materials (flyers, brochures, fact sheets, stickers) needs to be produced and distributed throughout the communities such as at local places of worship, sporting events, local food markets, schools and at car parks (taxis / bus stands).”
Such prompts work to introduce the problem so that new or modified social norms are easier to implement. Certain government policies are making it easier and more socially acceptable to use contraception and abortion methods.
Scientists and technologists including e.g. Huesemann, Huesemann, Ehrlich and Ehrlich caution that science and technology, as currently practiced, cannot solve the serious problems global human society faces, and that a cultural-social-political shift is needed to reorient science and technology in a more socially responsible and environmentally sustainable direction.
Human population planning is the practice of intentionally managing the rate of growth of a human population. Historically, human population planning has been implemented with the goal of increasing the rate of human population growth. However, in the period from the 1950s to the 1980s, concerns about global population growth and its effects on poverty, environmental degradation and political stability led to efforts to reduce human population growth rates. More recently, some countries, such as Iran and Spain, have begun efforts to increase their birth rates once again.
While population planning can involve measures that improve people’s lives by giving them greater control of their reproduction, a few programs, most notably the Chinese government’s “one-child policy and two-child policy”, have resorted to coercive measures.
The first measure that comes to mind to reduce birth rates is to improve access to contraceptive methods and sterilization. It was not until the 16th century that the first condom herbal invented by Gabriele Falloppio. At that time, we will also experiment with different methods. In general, we prefer to speak of reserved embraces and postcoital maneuvers. In 1661, Madame de Sévigné speaks in her “Letters to her daughter” to use “restringents” or to make a room apart.
The promotion of population control (partly supported by international organizations such as WHO) led to the spread of contraception in countries with high population growth after the agricultural revolution and the medical revolution.
On the other hand, some countries have implemented birth promotion policies, usually on the basis of nationalistic motivations: this is particularly the case in France under the Third Republic, as well as in fascist Italy and France. from Nazi Germany. These policies remain in force in France in the form of family allowances granted only from the second child, the family quotient system and many similar provisions that directly encourage parents to have large families. These devices appear to be widely supported by clergy and family associations.
Education and empowerment
One option is to focus on education about overpopulation, family planning, and birth control methods, and to make birth-control devices like male and female condoms, contraceptive pills and intrauterine devices easily available. Worldwide, nearly 40% of pregnancies are unintended (some 80 million unintended pregnancies each year). An estimated 350 million women in the poorest countries of the world either did not want their last child, do not want another child or want to space their pregnancies, but they lack access to information, affordable means and services to determine the size and spacing of their families. In the United States, in 2001, almost half of pregnancies were unintended. In the developing world, some 514,000 women die annually of complications from pregnancy and abortion, with 86% of these deaths occurring in the sub-Saharan Africa region and South Asia. Additionally, 8 million infants die, many because of malnutrition or preventable diseases, especially from lack of access to clean drinking water.
Women’s rights and their reproductive rights in particular are issues regarded to have vital importance in the debate.
Egypt announced a program to reduce its overpopulation by family planning education and putting women in the workforce. It was announced in June 2008 by the Minister of Health and Population, and the government has set aside 480 million Egyptian pounds (about $90 million US) for the program.
Several scientists (including e.g. Paul and Anne Ehrlich and Gretchen Daily) proposed that humanity should work at stabilizing its absolute numbers, as a starting point towards beginning the process of reducing the total numbers. They suggested the following solutions and policies: following a small-family-size socio-cultural-behavioral norm worldwide (especially one-child-per-family ethos), and providing contraception to all along with proper education on its use and benefits (while providing access to safe, legal abortion as a backup to contraception), combined with a significantly more equitable distribution of resources globally.
Business magnate Ted Turner proposed a “voluntary, non-imposed” one-child-per-family cultural norm. A “pledge two or fewer” campaign is run by Population Matters (a UK population concern organisation), in which people are encouraged to limit themselves to small family size.
Population planning that is intended to reduce population size or growth rate may promote or enforce one or more of the following practices, although there are other methods as well:
Greater and better access to contraception
Reducing infant mortality so that parents do not need to have many children to ensure at least some survive to adulthood.
Improving the status of women in order to facilitate a departure from traditional sexual division of labour.
One-Child and Two-Child policies, and other policies restricting or discouraging births directly.
Creating small family “role models”
Tighter immigration restrictions
The method(s) chosen can be strongly influenced by the cultural and religious beliefs of community members.
Overpopulation can be mitigated by birth control; some nations, like the People’s Republic of China, use strict measures to reduce birth rates. Religious and ideological opposition to birth control has been cited as a factor contributing to overpopulation and poverty.
Sanjay Gandhi, son of late Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi, implemented a forced sterilization programme between 1975 and 1977. Officially, men with two children or more had to submit to sterilization, but there was a greater focus on sterilizing women than sterilizing men. Some unmarried young men and political opponents may also have been sterilized. This program is still remembered and criticized in India, and is blamed for creating a public aversion to family planning, which hampered government programs for decades.
Urban designer Michael E. Arth has proposed a “choice-based, marketable birth license plan” he calls “birth credits”. Birth credits would allow any woman to have as many children as she wants, as long as she buys a license for any children beyond an average allotment that would result in zero population growth. If that allotment was determined to be one child, for example, then the first child would be free, and the market would determine what the license fee for each additional child would cost. Extra credits would expire after a certain time, so these credits could not be hoarded by speculators. The actual cost of the credits would only be a fraction of the actual cost of having and raising a child, so the credits would serve more as a wake-up call to women who might otherwise produce children without seriously considering the long term consequences to themselves or society.
Another choice-based approach, similar to Arth’s birth credits, is financial compensation or other benefits (free goods and/or services) by the state (or state-owned companies) offered to people who voluntarily undergo sterilization. Such compensation has been offered in the past by the government of India.
In 2014 the United Nations estimated there is an 80% likelihood that the world’s population will be between 9.6 billion and 12.3 billion by 2100. Most of the world’s expected population increase will be in Africa and southern Asia. Africa’s population is expected to rise from the current one billion to four billion by 2100, and Asia could add another billion in the same period. Because the median age of Africans is relatively low (e.g. in Uganda it is 15 years old) birth credits would have to limit fertility to one child per two women to reach the levels of developed countries immediately. For countries with a wide base in their population pyramid it will take a generation for the people who are of child bearing age to have their families. An example of demographic momentum is China, which added perhaps 400,000 more people after its one-child policy was enacted. Arth has suggested that the focus should be on the developed countries and that some combination of birth credits and additional compensation supplied by the developed countries could rapidly lead to zero population growth while also quickly raising the standard of living in developing countries.
Various scientists and science fiction authors have contemplated that overpopulation on Earth may be remedied in the future by the use of extraterrestrial settlements. In the 1970s, Gerard K. O’Neill suggested building space habitats that could support 30,000 times the carrying capacity of Earth using just the asteroid belt, and that the Solar System as a whole could sustain current population growth rates for a thousand years. Marshall Savage (1992, 1994) has projected a human population of five quintillion (5 x 1018) throughout the Solar System by 3000, with the majority in the asteroid belt. Freeman Dyson (1999) favours the Kuiper belt as the future home of humanity, suggesting this could happen within a few centuries. In Mining the Sky, John S. Lewis suggests that the resources of the solar system could support 10 quadrillion (1016) people. In an interview, Stephen Hawking claimed that overpopulation is a threat to human existence and “our only chance of long-term survival is not to remain inward looking on planet Earth but to spread out into space.”
K. Eric Drexler, famous inventor of the futuristic concept of molecular nanotechnology, has suggested in Engines of Creation that colonizing space will mean breaking the Malthusian limits to growth for the human species.
It may be possible for other parts of the Solar System to be inhabited by humanity at some point in the future. Geoffrey Landis of NASA’s Glenn Research Center in particular has pointed out that ” cloud-top level, Venus is the paradise planet”, as one could construct aerostat habitats and floating cities there easily, based on the concept that breathable air is a lifting gas in the dense Venusian atmosphere. Venus would, like also Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, in the upper layers of their atmospheres, even afford a gravitation almost exactly as strong as that on Earth (see colonization of Venus).
Many science fiction authors, including Carl Sagan, Arthur C. Clarke, and Isaac Asimov, have argued that shipping any excess population into space is not a viable solution to human overpopulation. According to Clarke, “the population battle must be fought or won here on Earth”. The problem for these authors is not the lack of resources in space (as shown in books such as Mining the Sky), but the physical impracticality of shipping vast numbers of people into space to “solve” overpopulation on Earth. However, Gerard K. O’Neill’s calculations show that Earth could offload all new population growth with a launch services industry about the same size as the current airline industry.
The StarTram concept, by James R. Powell (the co-inventor of maglev transport) and others, envisions a capability to send up to 4 million people a decade to space per facility. A hypothetical extraterrestrial colony could potentially grow by reproduction only (i.e., without any immigration), with all of the inhabitants being the direct descendants of the original colonists.
Rights of women
Overcrowding is closely linked to male dominance and the denial of women’s rights: the 2013 United Nations Population Fund report on “Mother-Child” provides revealing statistics:
about 19% of young women in developing countries become pregnant before the age of 18;
every year, in these countries, 7.3 million girls under the age of 18 give birth to a child;
According to 2010 estimates, 36.4 million women in these countries aged 20 to 24, including 17.4 million in South Asia, reported having had a child before the age of 18; this was particularly the case for 28% of women aged 20 to 24 in West and Central Africa, where the percentage of deliveries of girls under 15 is the highest: 6%;
some 70,000 adolescent girls die each year from pregnancy and childbirth causes in developing countries;
despite the almost universal commitment to eliminate child marriage, one in three girls is married before the age of 18; this practice is generally more common in situations of extreme poverty: thus, this proportion reaches its maximum rate (75%) in Niger, one of the five poorest countries in the world
in developing countries, one in nine girls is forced to marry before the age of 15; in Bangladesh, Niger and Chad, this rate exceeds one in three;
Of the 13.1 million children born to mothers aged 15-19 in the world, only 680,000 are born in developed countries, including 329,772 in the United States in 2011.
One of the strongest motivations for procreation is the concern to “ensure one’s old age”. Even today, advocates of natalist policies argue about the need to have children to finance pensions. A fortiori, in countries without pension systems, the only way to ensure end-of-life means of livelihood is to have several children who can provide for it. No birth reduction policy can be effective without the creation of pension systems and / or old-age insurance to mitigate this fundamental motivation.
Despite the increase in population density within cities (and the emergence of megacities), UN Habitat states in its reports that urbanization may be the best compromise in the face of global population growth. Cities concentrate human activity within limited areas, limiting the breadth of environmental damage. But this mitigating influence can only be achieved if urban planning is significantly improved and city services are properly maintained.
In the manifesto signed by 15,364 scientists from 184 countries, published by Le Monde on November 13, 2017 and in the journal BioScience, to warn humanity against the environmental risks related to its behavior, overpopulation is cited as a of the main dangers: “the scientists who signed the previous declaration of 1992 argued for a stabilization of the human population, and explained that the vast number of human beings – increased by 2 billion additional people since 1992, an increase of 35% – exerts pressures on the Earth that could negate efforts to secure a sustainable future elsewhere “;”We are putting our future at risk by refusing (…) to realize that rapid and continuous population growth is one of the main factors of environmental and even societal threats”. The manifesto lists “effective and diversified measures that humanity could take to make the transition to sustainability,” including: “further reduce the fertility rate by ensuring that men and women have access to education and training. family planning services, particularly in areas where these services are still lacking ” and”To determine in the long term a sustainable and scientifically defensible human population size while securing the support of countries and world leaders to achieve this vital goal”.
According to Claude Lévi-Strauss, “overpopulation is the fundamental problem of the future of humanity”.
Captain Cousteau said: “A land and a humanity in balance, it would be a population of one hundred to five hundred million people, but educated and capable of self-sufficiency. The aging of the population is not the problem. It’s a terrible thing to say, but to stabilize the world’s population, we need to lose 350,000 people a day. It’s a horrible thing to say, but say nothing is more “.
René Dumont, agronomist and first environmental candidate for a French presidential election, in 1974, began his televised speech by: “I am going to talk to you tonight about the most serious of the dangers that threaten our future: that of overpopulation, both in the world and ‘in France’.
MEP Yves Cochet said: “Today, the more children we have, the more we touch. I am proposing that a family continue to receive support for the first two children, but that this aid will decrease significantly from the third” and: “There is no question of an authoritarian program of birth control, but of a neutrality of the French State or the European institutions, that is to say a reduction in family allowances from the third child. ”
Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations (1997 – 2006) said: “If we continue in this direction, if we do nothing to stop population growth, we will pay the price, we will find ourselves in an overpopulated world. Demographics have an impact on economic development, the environment and the limited resources of the Earth. ”
In an interview with the Australian newspaper in 2010, the famous Australian virologist Frank Fenner, winner of smallpox, predicted the disappearance of humanity: “Homo sapiens should disappear, perhaps in 100 years. I think it’s too late. I try not to say it too much because there are people trying to change things. Reduction efforts slow things down a bit, but there are already too many people [on Earth] “.
In an interview given to the newspaper Le Soir, Christian de Duve, Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1974, spoke in favor of a “very strict birth control” by saying that “the problem” is the demography. “(…) In my lifetime, the population of the world has quadrupled, exceeding natural possibilities. So we are, by our increasing number, making the world unlivable. (…) So far, contraception, birth control has been condemned by the Vatican. This is scandalous, because the only hope for humanity to survive is to not continue its expansion. “, and in his bookOn Science and Beyond: “The apocalypse predicted by Malthus has been delayed for two centuries. But we are getting dangerously close (…). All threats to the future result from a cause: we are too numerous in relation to the resources of the planet (…). Human survival is at stake “.
Nicolas Sarkozy declared May 3, 2016: “There is a phenomenon that we have never known (…) it is the global demographic pressure that will bring us from seven billion to eleven billion and a half in 2100, tomorrow morning. (…) Republicans are calling for an annual world conference on global demographics, the need for family planning and the definition of a demographic strategy on the planet “.
Emmanuel Macron said on July 3, 2018: “When you are a poor country where you leave the population galloping, you have seven or eight children per woman, you never get out of poverty”; it recommends promoting family planning and the fight against forced marriage.
Since the concept of overpopulation suggests both conceptual and substantive, there are too many people, it is considered by some to be inhuman. Laws of biology would be transferred to the social sphere in an inadmissible way. It is doubted that the carrying capacity of the earth is already exhausted; rather, social, economic and environmental problems are caused by political mistakes and a poor distribution of sufficient resources.
In 1984, Germaine Greer’s book Sex and Destiny: The Politics of Human Fertility, which was also a violent public controversy. Based on her experiences in her travels to the Third World, she criticized the western attitudes towards the nuclear family: the world was only overpopulated by Western standards. She called for a return to the ideals of family life and modesty rather than limitless consumption. She drew a positive image of the woman as the mother of the extended family and propagated chastity as a potential means of birth control. With that, she baffled parts of her readership. Both parts of the women’s movement and academic feminism criticized their new position as revisionist and considered it part of the backlash.
The exemplary comparison of Germany and China shows that alleged overpopulation does not have anything directly to do with poverty, hunger or the prosperity (GDP) of the country. Germany’s population density is about twice as high as in China, yet China is often said to be overpopulated, while Germany does not say so. A comparatively more efficient and modern use of resources and environmental policy in Germany is helping to curb problems that poorer, supposedly overpopulated, countries are still struggling with. Also, the population in Germany is distributed comparatively cheaper than in many countries that have population problems. Here, many people are usually spread over a few metropolitan areas. Geographic factors also play a role,
The concept was accused of serving to calm the conscience of the rich in the face of poverty. For example, Jean Ziegler, the left-leaning former UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, argues that the concept merely distracts from social inequality and political mistakes that are the real causes of the world hunger.
The connection between poverty and high numbers of children is also interpreted differently. Thus, as a criticism of the overpopulation concept is cited that not a high birth rate is the cause of poverty. Rather, poverty leads to a high birth rate because it is usually associated with poorer education and less access to contraceptives. Surveys show that many pregnancies are unplanned and women in developing countries want fewer children than they actually give birth to (see also family planning as a human right). Another reason could be that in poor regions of the world, the only way to make a pension is to have many children. In addition, the influence of traditional life pictures tends to decrease with increasing prosperity – this too contributes to a decline in the birth rate.
In the movie Population Boom (2013), the creator Werner Boote argues that the fear of overpopulation is unfounded. The earth has enough food and enough space for additional crops to feed more than 7 billion people. The film argues that this “fear” is based on a different fact: there is not enough living space available or planned for these people, because the Earth’s surface is not available to all humans equally for use, but rather a relatively small amount of living space “Owners” claimed and used (for exploitation).
The supply bottlenecks are not due to the fact that there is no supply, but that the areas to be served do not meet the requirements of the capitalist system: a country that can not afford food can not be supplied with food. In order to do this, it would have to borrow. That would put it in the vicious circle of indebtedness. The shortage is thus rather the inability or the unwillingness of the prevailing system to find a solution.
Regarding climate change and other environmental issues, George Monbiot says demographic growth in developing countries is insignificant compared to the consumption and emissions of developed and international corporations. Seeing population growth as the main cause of environmental problems means ‘shifting the guilt from the rich to the poor’. The industrialized countries, whose population is hardly growing any more, have a greater ecological footprint than the developing countries. Some organizations, such as the Optimum Population Trust, say these countries are really overpopulated.
The largest ecological footprint had in 2010 on average, the inhabitants of the United Arab Emirates with 10.68 gha / person, the residents of Qatar with 10,51gha / person and from Bahrain at 10.4 gha / person. At 8.00 gha / person, Americans also have a big ecological footprint. In contrast, the inhabitants of Germany and Switzerland are in the international midfield with 5.08 and 5.02 gha / person, respectively. The lowest had the inhabitants of Bangladesh with 0.62 gha / person, East Timor with 0.44 gha / person and Puerto Rico with 0.04 gha / person. (gha global hectare is a unit that equals the amount of yield of a specified value)
The decisive factor is not just the number of people, but also their resource consumption per capita. People in developing countries consume significantly less resources, but are most affected by the consequences of environmental problems.
It is also often ignored that birth rates have fallen in many developing countries (see above).
Furthermore, the Pro-Life- Organization Population Research Institute argues that past predictions of overpopulation and resulting disasters have not come to fruition.
However, the latest “theories of overpopulation” assume that there is a limit to the number of people on earth, but this is not fixed but positive (eg due to new technical possibilities) and negative (eg. through resource destruction). Where the carrying capacity of the earth has its limit is and will be the subject of intense discussion.
The major differences in the carrying capacity of the earth are mainly due to different living standards (lifestyle, ecological footprint):
Load capacity = usable surface of the earth / standard of living as an ecological footprint.
Source from Wikipedia