"We are burdensome to the world; the resources are scarcely adequate for us." Tertullian, 200AD
We often hear from population doom-sayers that the the world is facing a catastrophic apocalypse because of a global population increase. We hear it all the time, that overpopulation is the primary cause of the world's environmental ills. Many respected thinkers such as Stephen Hawking and David Attenborough, argue that our efforts to fight climate change and other environmental perils will all fail unless we “do something” about population growth. Attenborough gave a speech to the Royal Society of Arts in which he urged leaders to combat the problem of overpopulation. His main point was that we need greater awareness about all the problems it causes when people have too many kids. Hawking declared that, “in the last 200 years, population growth has become exponential… The world population doubles every forty years.”
Overpopulation is one of those issues that many people think might lead to the end of our civilisation as we know it. It seems to make commonsense in simple logical terms: The more people there are consuming natural resources, the greater a threat humanity poses to exhausting them if we have too many people, we will exhaust our resources, leading to famine, war, and many other devastations. Socialists may share the doomsters devotion to environmentalism but we also respect reason. Matt Ridley, the author of The Rational Optimist, pointed out, the world's population is not "exploding" but growing at 1 per cent a year, and the actual number of people added to the figure each year has been dropping for more than 20 years. Despite the warnings of doomsayers, there is no modern example of famine caused by “overpopulation” per se. Today, the population has been multiplied and instead of collapsing, the standards of life have significantly increased. The concern about a population explosion has itself been exploded.
Why does the overpopulation myth persist worldwide, even though it’s typically demonstrably false. Countries with a fertility rate (FR) below replacement level (2.1 children per woman) now number more than 80 worldwide — and the number is rising. The overpopulation disaster story is peddled in the media yet is not true. We cannot blame the world’s poor for the environmental damaged caused capitalism.
According to the United Nations Population Information Network, if current population rates hold steady the population of the world will stop growing between 2050 and 2075. At that point, the world population will begin to decline. Yet, we are already witnessing a declining population. Europe is actually losing more than one million people per year, and will lose nearly half of its population by the year 2100. Radical “deep green” environmentalists are pushing to completely de-industrialise the world, reversing a trend that naturally lowers family sizes people have. As industrialisation swept through what is now the developed world, fertility fell sharply. When people became more economically secure, families got smaller; and as families got smaller, people got more prosperous. A similar event is happening in today's developing countries. Fertility is falling and families are shrinking in places that people think of as teeming with children. The planet’s carrying capacity for prehistoric human hunter-gatherers was probably no more than 100 million. But without their Paleolithic technologies and ways of life, the number would be far less — perhaps a few tens of millions. The rise of agriculture enabled even greater population growth requiring ever more intensive land-use practices to gain more sustenance from the same old land. The idea that humans must live within the natural environmental limits of our planet denies the realities of our entire history. Humanity has not only survived but thrived. Each time a prediction is made, the one making the prediction calculates using future projections of population growth against present food production capabilities. The only problem is this: The rate of food production isn't static, because the human mind develops newer and more efficient ways to increase production.
Humans are special. Each baby born is not just another mouth to feed, he or she is also a potential inventor, scientist, innovator that will help the rest of humanity to adapt, survive and grow. There is no environmental reason for people to go hungry now or in the future. There is no need to use any more land to sustain humanity — increasing land productivity using existing technologies can boost global supplies and even leave more land for nature — a goal that is both more popular and more possible than ever. The only limits to creating a planet that future generations will be proud of are our imaginations and our social systems. The cry “there are too many of us” is a tragic shortcut that dodges the real issue: that we are not efficient at sharing our resources. That we get into wars that disrupt the food supply and that no good at allocating the food surplus to those that are hungry, be it at home or overseas. But by trying to pin the blame for world hunger on overpopulation, we take the easy way out. The fact is that humans are very good at producing food. There is enough of it.
Attenborough said that there is a “strange silence” in general society about the population problem. The Socialist Party says that the silence is about the cause of the planet's problems and the solution – socialism.