Posted by: grokscience | July 30, 2014

Crowded Planet

stephOverpopulation affects not only humans but also wildlife.  On this episode, Stephanie Feldstein discussed the crowded planet.

Need another earth… 😉





  1. To say that some parks are crowded because of overpopulation is like saying the climate isn’t warming because it was cold yesterday. I did some digging few years ago on population, and overpopulation scare is misplaced.

    To put 7B people into perspective, if you put all 7B people shoulder to shoulder, they would fit in Los Angeles county. Obviously, people can’t live that way. But if you have everyone living in population density of Hong Kong or Singapore, it would take about the land the size of state of Texas + California to fit all 7B people. People do ok in Hong Kong and Singapore.

    Population is not growing evenly everywhere. Most developed nations have slowed, stopped growing, or shrinking. There are many reasons for this: too expensive to have kids; not needing kids to help around the farm (or house chores); overpopulation guilt (see; improved infant mortality; and many other factors. But almost all of those factors are due to wealth and luxuries that come with them. Best way to reduce population is to have more wealth, which is progressing in most of the world.

    Wealth also brings people closer geographically. Rather than living sparsely in farms, most people of developed nations live in cities, many in high rise buildings. That will decrease demand for land, which in turn will increase habitat for wild life by politicians who want to artificially boost land prices with open space preserves and zoning laws.

    In US (may be others as well), half the food is thrown away. When consumption and production are made more efficient, that would also reduce demand for land, which would increase wild life habitat.

    So the focus on overpopulation is completely misplaced. It should be about brining people wealth and resource use efficiency. But of course, there could be big problem with not having enough young people to pay for social security for the ever-longer-living elderly, but that’s a different discussion for political “science”.

    Hans Rosling has some interesting youtube videos showing population and wealth in developing nations.

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