Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Myth of "Overpopulation"


The world is not overpopulated.
Myth #1: 
"The world is teeming with people, and we don't have enough room on this planet!"
Wrong-o. This one is easily debunked. The entire population of the earth can fit easily in the State of Texas, leaving the bulk North America and all remaining continents empty. Even population control zealots can't (and don't) deny the math. The world is not "bursting" with humans who are practically falling off the planet. In fact, people take up hardly any geographic space at all. If you don't believe me, fly over the United States and look down. You will see mostly vast, empty spaces. Most of the world is vast, empty spaces.
Myth #2:
"But people are breeding exponentially, and the population is rising much more quickly than ever!"
Not exactly. The worldwide fertility rate has dropped dramatically in the past 40 years. The effects of that drop have been masked, at least temporarily. Why? Because people are living much longer these days, so tens of millions of people are “staying” on Planet Earth longer than ever before. Fewer people are being born, but fewer people are dying as well. However, in the next 30 years, the world’s population will peak, then decline
In fact, the real disaster on the horizon is underpopulation. Even today, most developed nations are not reproducing to replacement levels. With fewer young people to work and greater numbers of elderly people, we are in for a catastrophic economic meltdown. The natural population pyramid (many young people, fewer old people) has been inverted. Demographers have been warning of it for years, and now panicked nations* have started paying women to have more babies...without much success. I remember years ago when Nightline with Ted Koppel did an entire expert-riddled show exposing “The Birth Dearth.” I thought for sure the rest of the mainstream media would get on board. But instead they backed Al Gore and his climate change hype (which comes with predictable cries for depopulation).
*Russia, Britain, Japan, Germany, Australia, Estonia, Lithuania, and Austria to name a few....
Myth #3:
"Okay, but even so, we don't have enough resources to feed everyone even today!"

Wrong again. The World Food Programme says, “There is enough food in the world today for everyone to have the nourishment necessary for a healthy and productive life.”  The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization says "The world currently produces enough food for everybody, but many people do not have access to it."
Why don’t people have access to the overabundance of food we produce on this planet?  After all, we have the technology it takes to build sound infrastructure and to provide clean water and nourishment to everyone on earth. Why can’t that technology be accessed and used by every nation? Well, because of things like civil war, power-hungry warlords, corrupt governments, and inept leadership. Even human ingenuity cannot overcome one thing: sin. As long as governments choose to starve their people, and as long as evil lives in the hearts of warlords and their minions who use food as a weapon, we will see more famine. 

So, just how did the myth of "overpopulation" come about? Check out this cute little video for the facts:





Be sure to check out the other videos in the series, too. And, go here for even more facts and research.


Remember, there is someone formidable who hates human beings and wants to see them gone. Do you know who it is?  Hint:  It's not God.







57 comments:

  1. Ooooh....like the last 3 lines! How true.

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  2. Bravo. This was a nice, concise breakdown of the hr-long presentation we just saw at the AAFCP meeting. There, the presenter went into specific replacement rates for certain populations of people, and in general. As it stands, ALL populations will begin to decline in #s in about 10+ yrs, while Africa and the Middle East are expected to FOLLOW SUIT in 30+ yrs. That's because of the increase of contraception and sterilization being peddled out to these areas of the world.

    I have some other notes on this, I'll come back and share them after work.

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  3. Excellent post, my friend!!! Did you ever see Demographic Winter? I've wanted to, but never wanted to spend the money! I love those videos that you posted- and the fact that you pointed out it's corrupt governments who prevent the food from reaching their people. Government is the PROBLEM not the answer! Can anyone say STALIN???

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  4. This was an interesting video, that raised a lot of interesting ideas. I think the other video on this website- the Food video, is more important.

    Namely, the fact that the entire population of the world could comfortably fit in Texas is a meaningless bit of math-magic. Yeah, sure, I did the math, and each person would get about 1000 square feet. Of course that is plenty of room for one person to occupy, but whether or not we all "fit" does not address whether or not we can all "live" (eat, drink, move about), and of course we know that the entire population of the earth could not survive in Texas. It is a fascinating bit of meaningless mathematical division.

    The important question is- What is the carrying capacity for the earth, where we can continue to live sustainably?

    Yes, we can easily feed the world, and the barriers of war, infrastructure, and politics are the only thing standing in the way right now. But if those barriers were removed tomorrow, could we continue to feed the population sustainably? Can we consider monocultures and feed lots and our current ocean fishing methods to be a long-term solution to world hunger, just as soon as we remove the other barriers to food distribution? Is shipping food from agriculturally rich areas to agriculturally poor areas sustainable?

    Our planet's "design" is such that certain regions require a more sparse human population, others can sustain a much heavier human population. For some strange reason, we seem to have totally screwed this up, and put all of the people in regions that don't have adequate climates for crop growth, and left the US midwest completely empty, so that the only possible way to grow food in the region is through monoculture, rather than sustainable small family farming.

    Is the overpopulation crisis a myth? Yes and no. The more accurate problem could be titled "Population distribution crisis", which sums up both the problems of over-populaiton in food scare areas and underpopulation in food rich areas. (Food scarcity and food richness, of course, being relative terms based on the population...)

    I am all for striving for world peace- so that food, water, shelter, and medical aid can be distributed to those in need. But I don't think food shipments are a sustainable answer to regional overpopulation. It seems that maintaining regional populations at regional carrying capacities makes more sense.

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  5. Rereading my comment, I'd just like to clarify that I am not trying to discount the entire video based on the absurd and useless example that we can all have a house in Texas. On the contrary, I really do think the video clears up a lot of misconceptions on population growth.

    My point is, can we try instaed to achieve regional population levels that are consistant with regional carrying capacities? And if you believe human innovation will always push up the carrying capactiy, can it do so sustainably and while allowing for quality of life in addition to simple quantity?

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  6. Hi Monica! Yes, I understand your points, but first I want to say that I know that the example about all of us fitting into Texas is silly. The point was not to say that we should do that, or that we would ever need to. The point was to show, simply, that people are not falling off the face of the earth.

    When I was a high school student, I just assumed (like many fellow citizens) that the earth was so crowded that we were running out of space. Why did I believe that nonsense? Because that was the image presented by the population control crowd. I am sure I am not that only one who thought that. So, the point of the "Texas" numbers is merely to allay that silly fear.

    I wish all people knew that the world is not overflowing with bodies, but since they don't (thanks to pop-con propaganda), it's necessary to show the public that we've got plenty of room to grow (like, the entire planet). That erases one of the scary myths that we have been fed.

    I hope that makes sense.

    As for your other points, I'll be back (gotta give the masses breakfast).

    I appreciate your input as always!

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  7. PS: I purposely keep these types of posts short. First, because I want to make the info accessible and easily digestible, and I know a lot of folks won't keep reading if they think it's too long. Also, I know my peeps will pipe in with more information in the comments section (can't wait to hear more, TCIE!).

    Hopefully the links to more research and scholarly papers will help fill in the blanks for those who want to keep delving.

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  8. I saw this a while ago and it stuck with me. Pop-culture, yes, but still...how many celebrities would say this nowadays?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yRh5NNiFG0

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  9. Alishia, thanks! I actually agree with John and Yoko! Imagine! (No pun intended.)

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  10. Interesting post and comments! I think the core of solving this issue is recognizing that starving people aren't "the problem"... lack of food, poverty, corruption, sin etc are the problems that need tackling. It really makes me shudder when people start talking about "reducing population." Reduce hunger? Great! Reduce people? Errr... now we're on dicey ethical territory.

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  11. Sarah, exactly! People are hungry? Get rid of the people! That's the mindset that we must fight. It's perverse. We spend so much money on population control measures in the Third World, when we should be spending it on infrastructure, farming, medicines, food, maternal health care, etc.

    It's been noted ruefully by some Third World doctors that they have shelves full of free contraceptives sent from the West, but have no basic medicines. Outrageous!

    People are not the "problem," but the solution.

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  12. Leila... funny you should mention Third World doctors! A friend of mine who is a nurse just told me the other day that when doing missionary work in a 3rd world country, she was disgusted that they couldn't offer very basic care to save children's lives due to a shortage of medical supplies but they had rooms overflowing with more contraception than could ever be used. The message was "it's better to avoid life than be poor." Sadly, the diminishing population in this country is causing increased poverty because families need large families to keep their farms going.

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  13. Sarah, that's the kind of story that makes me feel physically sick (and yes, enraged). I hope you will blog on that. Disgusting.

    And Hillary Clinton hinted recently that new food and aid to poor nations will be contingent on their acceptance of "reproductive rights" .... i.e. abortion.

    In other words, we rich nations will feed you poor folk, as long as you agree to abort your children and sterilize yourselves.

    Makes me want to vomit.

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  14. Good idea - I'll see if she can blog on it for me! She knows the situation in-depth. And um, whoa... Clinton said that??? PUKE!!

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  15. http://hotair.com/archives/2010/06/26/hillary-let-the-babies-starve-until-we-fund-abortions/

    Sarah, that would be great! Above is more info on Hillary's comments.

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  16. OK, so I just went to check my notes (And Lauren, it WAS Demographic Winter that was presented to us!) and I didn't take any. Doh! The one note I had was the "universal" replacement rate which is currently 2.5 children per woman on the earth. In the US I believe it is already down to 1.5.

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  17. Boy...I just learned a whole lot from this post. IT's sad that families are getting smaller and smaller by choice...and some couples are choosing not to have children at all (or even get married!)...and some couples would love children and can't have them! I could see there being an issue with "underpopulation" in years to come...as the old start passing and no one to replace them.

    Definitely interesting information. Thanks for writing about this subject!

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  18. As always I've learned so much from you. Of course I knew the world can't become overpopulated...but just hearing the points you all made that I can use should the dicussion come up will be so beneficial.

    Thanks for sharing. My family is doing our healthy part by the way...my grandparents had 10 children. Their kids have had a total of 41 children. Those kids have had 15 children so far in addition to 3 current pregnancies (and that's with only 7 of the 40 of us first cousins being married so far)! Take that population control crew!!

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  19. So.. at this rate, I wonder how many years until pro-life non-contracepting Catholics take over the world?

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  20. PW, that is awesome!!

    AYWH, I know! It's a numbers game, ultimately! I love how in the Old Testament, Pharaoh was incensed by the out-of-control population of the Hebrew slaves. It was a threat to him. It's kind of like the secular culture today which is so anti-Catholic.... We Catholics who "breed" like crazy make them sick. Lots of folks would like to see a limit to how many babies we can have.

    One other note: It's the Muslims who are actually populating rapidly. They are having tons of babies, while the once-Christian population is rejecting babies. Sad, because you can see the inevitable outcome. Europe will be Muslim eventually, without a war or a coup. It will just be that they accept life, and we don't. Sad and alarming for us....

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  21. Great post and I learned so much. Loved the video.

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  22. Great post! It drives me crazy when people talk about overpopulation when so much of the world is below replacement rate and the birth rate is declining everywhere.

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  23. Excellent! Thank you for posting this!

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  24. Great post! I'm definitely going to have this debate in my classroom and I might even tie in some of your ideas:) THANKS

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  25. I have to laugh because with all the hype about doing our part to save the planet etc, you would think that people would be encouraged to do their part to help sustain the population. I do think that the world is starting to wake up. The fact that Italy, like you said, is having to pay women to have babies is ridiculous!! Ironically, with all of its previous efforts with population control, the UN is listening to the numbers, and they are trying to sound the alarm, but the question is if anyone will listen before it's too late.

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  26. Do the math, indeed. Anyone who has done some gardening knows that plants "overpopulate" far quicker than animals or humans.
    How many grains are there on a stalk of wheat?
    The problem has always been one of getting the food to the hungry. Somehow the PopCon people manage to get condoms to the hungry far sooner than food and medicine.

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  27. Gabriel, you said that better than I could. And your last line is brilliant.

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  28. I find in reading those sites that say that population problems are a myth that their evidence is very sparse and inconclusive. Recently I read Book 1 of the free e-book series "In Search of Utopia" (http://andgulliverreturns.info), it blasts their lack of evidence relative to their calling overpopulation a myth. The book, actually the last half of the book, takes on the skeptics in global warming, overpopulation, lack of fresh water, lack of food, and other areas where people deny the evidence. I strongly suggest that anyone wanting to see the whole picture read the book, at least the last half.
    The outdated fertility replacement rate of 2.1 is also clarified.

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  29. Gulliver: As a mother of eight, I have a long list of books I need to read but can't quite get to. Could you do us a favor and directly address (and refute) the points I have made in this post? I myself could have provided reams of research and tons of books to support my position, but I condensed it so that we could get to the bare facts of things. Can you address those facts in a clear and simple manner? Thanks!

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  30. Monica, I think the distribution problem you point out was acknowledged, though termed "access."

    Arizona is a desert. But it has thriving cities and metropolitan centers. Why? Infrastructure, science, ingenuity, democracy. Not enough water? We'll irrigate. Can't grow enough food? Import it. And the means are there.

    The fundamental problem for most starving countries (many African nations come to mind first) is usually political and sociological.

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  31. Hi Ken

    Yes, the fundamental problem is political. Having said that, using Arizona is an excellent example of what shouldn't be done. Irrigating a desert? There are plenty of temperate places to live. The water brought in to Arizona is so salinated by the time it reaches Pheonix that it is considered unfit for aquariums and baby bottles. Drink up! Diverting fresh water to cities which do not have their own means that certain rivers no longer even empty into the ocean, that Mexico does not recieve the water that California essentially "steals", and the reason why water has turned into a commodity for sale. There are many, many way to live sustainably, and to support a much larger population than earth currently holds. Irrigating deserts and shipping food around the world with fossil fuels is not one of them. Throwing more technology at a problem rarely solves true human problems.

    Changing political stances, geographical borders, government systems... are all excellent ways of moving people to where the resources are, and then allowing those resources to be distributed fairly.

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  32. Hi Monica,
    This is Leila's husband, Dean. We live in Phoenix, which is of, course the desert. Arizona has one of most aggressive water conservation policies in the world. Any water withdrawal from the ground must be replenished in some fashion. Yes, we do obtain much of our water supplies from the Colorado River via a 100-mile man-made canal. The water is treated to remove nitrates, but compared to other water supplies systems in the world, it is certainly potable. All of this possible because of prudent planning, cooperation with other states and technology.

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  33. PS: This is Dean again. I am familiar with water regulatory issues in Arizona. I have some water companies as clients (I'm in the water and energy policy business).

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  34. Hi Dean,
    I'm glad that Arizona has an aggressive water conservation plan- it *should* have an aggressive plan, since it's a desert. (Compare this, to say, California, where unfortunately, we still waste water on nice green lawns for each and every house...(I'm from CA)) Nonetheless, an aggressive water management plan has still not stopped the water table from falling in almost all of the southwest, Arizona and southern CA included. Pheonix, Los Angeles, Reno, Las Vegas... none of these cities are (self) sustainable, not even for the most basic of resources.

    I am not suggesting that the government force a massive migration out of the deserts, but if people actually paid the true cost for their resource consumption, people would move to temperate climates all on their own. I think the idea that we can live wherever we'd like on the globe, and that government should just find a way to ship us the necessities of life is short-sighted at best. The over-reliance on technology as our savior from ourselves is an idea that I think touches on a lot of the subjects presented here on the Bubble blog, and one that I personally am very interested in, especially now that I have kids.

    I really appreciate your comment, and I mean no offense. When I speak of "you" or me, and our choices of where we settle down to live, I should actually be using words like "city planners", "developers", etc. I don't hold the people of Pheonix personally responsible for draining the groundwater tables and rivers north of them- we all need to drink- but if we were simply to remove certain price barriers, people would naturally move to where the water is.

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  35. Sorry, my comment posted twice for some reason.

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  36. Funny how God works! A friend just sent me a link to your blog, a totally different entry about imperfect mothers. Before I had taken time to look it up, I did some reading on the EarthSky website. I subscribe to them for night sky info, but happened to see a headline about population and, being as it's a hot topic with me, started reading what they had to say. *BLECH* I came away feeling overwhelmed and sickened. How can you reason with people like them? Seeking comfort, and wishing to distract my mind, I went to my friend's email link to you...and instead of finding her article, found this wonderfully encouraging post! I've heard it all before, but I really needed to hear it *right now*!! Thank you! And I think I'm going to enjoy reading your blog on a regular basis. : )

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  37. robbie, that is awesome, ha ha! I love it! Welcome!!

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  38. All of your myths seem to be "solved" by unrealistic means.

    Everyone could fit in Texas? Yes, standing shoulder to shoulder with no space, no ability to actually live, thrive, and be healthy. Are you also disregarding the importance of the ecosystems that we continually destroy? Are humans the only important creature? Newsflash: We wouldn't survive if that were true.

    It is rising exponentially despite a decrease in fertility rates. I don't think you quite understand the math-- we have more people than before, and if you think underpopulation is a problem, you need to come out of your shell and realize that industrialized nations are not the only issue. I've done significant research on the topic and it disappoints me that you would spread these myths-- yes, you are creating myths.

    We don't actually have adequate resources at this rate due to our pollution, excessive emissions, and several other sources that hurt damage and drain our water resources. Right this very minute, we could feed everyone, but with our rising water issues and overfishing/hunting it won't really matter in a few years for many areas of the globe. Water is the most important...and please don't tell me that you're one of those people who look at a map and think, yeah look at all that water, we're fine! No, we aren't fine...and people who get all hyped about desalinization, most people wouldn't be able to afford it even if that were to become more popular.

    I came to your blog after seeing the guest post on a "Gay, Catholic, and Doing Fine" or whichever title that was. I thought you would be more enlightened and open, but after seeing this, I am sorely disappointed.

    Geography student checking out.

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  39. Ariana, you miss the basic point I made in #1, so let's start there, and I will simply cut and paste what I wrote in response to Monica, above (Monica later became a fervent Catholic, by the way, praise God!):

    "...I want to say that I know that the example about all of us fitting into Texas is silly. The point was not to say that we should do that, or that we would ever need to. The point was to show, simply, that people are not falling off the face of the earth.

    When I was a high school student, I just assumed (like many fellow citizens) that the earth was so crowded that we were running out of space. Why did I believe that nonsense? Because that was the image presented by the population control crowd. I am sure I am not that only one who thought that. So, the point of the "Texas" numbers is merely to allay that silly fear.

    I wish all people knew that the world is not overflowing with bodies, but since they don't (thanks to pop-con propaganda), it's necessary to show the public that we've got plenty of room to grow (like, the entire planet). That erases one of the scary myths that we have been fed."


    If you care to comment on this (or affirm that you understand), then we can go on to the next issue. Thanks!

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  40. Monica here! Still fervently Catholic a few years post-conversion. I must still be subscribed to the comments on this post, because Ariana's popped up in my email this morning (European time).

    Just to say a few things, although Leila knows this subject better... I actually DID do the math- area wise for that whole "fit in Texas" thing because it sounded so absurd. A quick google of Texas land area, divided by world population, and what you get is that we would not be standing shoulder to shoulder like sardines in a can. We would each be on a QUARTER ACRE LOT! My favily of five would have over an acre. Now, of course, one acre of land, especially arid Texas land, is not enough to sustain a family of five, but that's wasn't the point of the statistic, as Leila as just explained in her response.

    If you don't believe that world population is stabilizing and predicted to begin a decline, why not visit the website of the UN and look at their document World Population 2300? They give high, medium, and low predictions for population dynamics for the next 300 years. Their report is based purely on statistics- that is- they are not taking into account the absolute push of secular culture to defavorise the family and life, especially imposing this "culture" on third world countries who DO NOT WANT IT and who are strongly pro-life (see Leila's open letter from an African woman to the world). You could argue that the high predictions show a crazy explosion of population, but if you look at the mid-line predictions, it is for stabilization, and the low predictions, which I think are more likely given our culture's new way of "valuing" children is a tanking population- 2 billion by 2300.

    Catholics are not for overpopulating the world and destroying all natural resources. In fact, the GRAND majority of Catholics I know are part of the new "Crunchy Con" movement of conservatives who are nevertheless attempting to be good stewards of the Earth. What Catholics want is for people to stop holding up the flimsy straw man argument of "Overpopulation!!!" to protect barbaric, inhumane practices like abortion, forced sterilizations (yes, just ask Joe Biden his opinion on China one child policy), condom distribution instead of REAL help to struggling nations, and other morbid means of "protecting" the Earth. Catholics want people to stop criticizing them and accusing them of ruining the planet simply because they are open to life.

    Please don't accuse people of not "doing the math" when you don't actually know your audience. Or the math. It is my research following posts like this that removed a veil over my eyes and converted me to Catholicism. Thanks Leila. :-)

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  41. I don't think population matters make me a non "fervent" Catholic, as a note.

    I would like to comment on this. First, the fact that it is silly makes it useless in a serious argument about the realistic situation. Fitting into Texas would not allow for a yard, as the video states; more like a one or two bedroom apartment at best-- about 1000sqft. It is fearful for us to be put in such a close position, that doesn't calm my fears at all. Think of the rapid spread of disease and such! Anyway, that aspect is the least of my concerns. I know that we could shove everyone together and such, but the hyperbole in itself is silly.

    Clearly the world is not "overflowing" with bodies, but it is tight. A large amount of the world is uninhabitable, so we have to take that into account when thinking about how much space we truly have. If people can't live a sustainable life in terms of the most basic needs in an area, it should not count as room to grow in. I feel that the amount of habitable space we have is grossly overestimated.

    So I do understand what you mean and what it was supposed to represent, but I disagree with the claim that there is "plenty of room to grow."

    Water resources must be accounted for as well. People are barely getting by in the West/Southwest in the US (nevermind impoverished nations) because of the lack of water. Places like Tuscon or Las Vegas are not natural places for humans to live and the only reason they have water is because it is rerouted from Lake Mead, which is slowly running dry-- quite visibly over the past decade. Yet, people continue to move to these areas and spread. At some point, people will just lose access to water and be forced to move into areas that have the luxury of sustainability-- and I say luxury because most areas are not sustainable, particularly in terms of water availability-- though I firmly believe that it should be commonplace, without rerouting and draining (in the long term) our precious God-given resources. It is disrespectful and He gave us these resources to enjoy, not to destroy and exploit.

    So, please go on with your further points. I do understand the analogy and your explanation-- but feel free to reply to this as well.

    I hate to be negative and such, but working in the field has numbed me to be able to repeat reality in resource matters.

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  42. Monica-- Not sure why our posts aren't in the correct order if you look at the time stamp, but I will reply to you.

    What you said about arid Texas is exactly my point…refer to prior comments.

    Trust me, I know the statistics-- These take into account the fact that we will overreach our carrying capacity, and people will not be ABLE to have more children due to other variables. Again, limited resources...not only this secular culture. Condoms and sterilization as they are today would not lead to that drop. Industrialization of nations aren't just about having more access to contraception, it is having more access to education for women, which leads to a delay in having children, which then leads to less children per women. It's a choice, not a push. If you honestly think that this is some crazy liberal secular attack that would bring our population down to 2bil, you are crazy. It's all about diminishing resources and carrying capacity, as well as our natural ecosystem. I don't think our culture devalues children, but some people have a different definition of children when it comes to early pregnancy statuses-- and I'm not talking about the few sick outliers that will do the extremes at 7-9 months or whatever...rational people have different views, and that is their perspective; it is their choice to act on this. I don't know of any woman that chose to have an abortion because society told her to do so.

    I didn't say Catholics are "for" exploitation, I just think it is worthy of mention due to its importance in the conversation; as if human life is the only important life. Overpopulation of humans is happening, and that's a fact. I have, in no way, said that it is a reason to "promote" abortion or whatever. Condom distribution helps stop unwanted pregnancies for women that may have chosen less safe methods of abortion had the situation been different. Abortion has always happened, and always will happen-- but if that can be prevented by the use of a condom, I would very much prefer that to an abortion. Not everyone has Catholic values, and I wouldn't expect a woman attempting an unsafe abortion in a developing nation that may have shamed her family or whatever due to her situation, to not abort the child because of MY religious values. Odds are it would happen anyway, and I won't be there to do anything about it...so why is contraception a bad thing? Some people do not have the means to care for a child or are in a dangerous situation-- similar concept. So, please, do not think I support forced sterilization or abortions, because the thought of such sickens me. Contraception isn't the same thing at all...otherwise we need to rethink what happens during a women's "time" and what many men do on their own time...

    Seriously though, I would love to help other nations in ways beyond whatever you say is currently being promoted, and people ARE helping. There are thousands of organizations and millions of people devoting their lives to the aid of those who struggle. I don't think anything should be forced to do anything when it comes to their bodies, including the lack of contraception options. If you don't want to force people to not have as many children, you can't possibly support forcing them to have MORE children than they want. People have free will and we should support their right to choose. There are many ways to protect the earth, as well as life, and education on these matters is the answer-- not forced values.

    "Catholics want people to stop criticizing them and accusing them of ruining the planet simply because they are open to life. "
    You are criticizing people for choosing the other side, so I don't see how that is much better. You're right and everyone else is wrong, therefore you don't deserve criticism? That's sooo hypocritical and arrogant, and I'm not going to assume you intended to come off that way; just looking for clarification.

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  43. Ariana, I am so happy to respond to your points about water in the desert, and sustainability. I grew up in Tucson, and have lived twenty-one years in Phoenix. My husband lived his teen years in Vegas. Today, my husband is a consultant for several water companies here in Arizona (as well as previously having run the state agency that regulates private water companies), and so I would qualify him as an expert on the issues you raise of water adequacy. In his words:

    "Recognizing the importance of water sustainability, the State of Arizona in 1980 established a fairly comprehensive water policy for its most populous areas, which includes the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas. This policy places strict requirements on replenishing aquifers and ensuring that new developments have a 100-year water supply. Over the years, the State has mandated water conservation measures on many communities. Cities, such as Tucson, have also imposed ordinances for even higher water conservation standards. Yes, water is precious resource in the desert, but Arizona has been on the forefront of water management across the world. In Arizona, as agriculture land is retired and develop for homes, the water situation actually improves. Crops require heavy water conservation; people, on the other hand, much less."

    He said he could get much more technical and detailed if you'd like (he's still talking about it over my shoulder), but that is the general gist. In 100 years' time, we certainly will have advanced exponentially with regards to water conservation, water quality, potability, infrastructure, distribution, efficiency, zeroscaping, management of pool evaporation, and a thousand other things that are being planned and implemented. There is no end to human ingenuity and innovation. Can you imagine what technology will hold a century from now? God is so good!

    The point is that we humans never would all have to live in close proximity. We would never have to live in the State of Texas (even though there is plenty of room). There is no lack of space (surely you have flown over the nation and looked down? Vast empty space for the most part). As for resources in the world, there are plenty of resources. Africa alone has an incredible abundance of resources. It is a rich and fertile land. God provided us with all we could ever need and more. It is sin (evil warlords, corrupt governments which are ofentimes Marxist in nature) that keeps those resources from the people. But the idea that we will "run out" of resources due to their supposed scarcity on this planet is simply untrue. Do you deny that a continent like Africa is resource rich? God provided us with vast amounts of room and all the resources we would need, plus the intellect to be more and more innovative and efficient as we went on.

    Just revisit this, for more clarity: You erroneously mentioned the necessity of living "shoulder to shoulder" in Texas if we were all put there, but we are much less populous than that. We could actually all fit in one big city if we were shoulder to shoulder -- meaning our physical bodies inhabit one tiny dot on the massive globe. No one is proposing that of course!! But we are not "tight" on this earth as you claim. As for disease spreading if we all lived in Texas, think of this: If the entire world lived as densely as the folks do in New York City, all mankind would fit in Texas. So, is that type of density a detriment to NYC residents? Are they all rapidly dying of dysentery? Last I checked, they are not.

    http://flowingdata.com/2011/07/27/if-the-world-lived-in-a-single-city/

    And I missed it I think (my apologies), but what is the field in which you work? And could you comment on Monica's discussion of the UN stats for future population growth?

    I would be happy to answer any more questions you have. It's a worthy discussion.

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  44. I do agree with everything that your husband has said, and I'm very aware of the situation-- but it was done out of necessity, and with the rest of the world lagging behind what water management techniques Arizona is working on, there's still a problem. Even Las Vegas is starting to have worse issues than it could have expected because people keep moving there for some reason unknown to me, given the situation. Might I also add that while the crops may not be from there, they are still being grown elsewhere or there would be no food.

    Relying on technology is extremely risky and is likely to falter at some point, which is the least conservative approach to the matter. I do believe we will develop amazing technologies, but everything will come at a cost at some point, and not enough clean investments are being made on a larger scale, sadly.

    About the space thing-- in order to live outside of our small plot of land, we would basically be shoulder to shoulder, as is happening in many Asian nations-- look at Tokyo, Japan. People wear face masks on the bus systems to avoid disease because it is so close. When diseases hit cities, they spread, and they spread VERY quickly. With the diversity that would inter-mingle and different immunities, disease would catch on and have dire effects. The Native Americans were spread out and far from the European grasp, yet 80-90% died off from lack of proper immunizations to European diseases. Isolated regions of the world would be devastated by the onset of new exposures. We may fit in a certain space, but we cannot thrive this way...many people aren't doing much more than fitting even now in many impoverished urban areas in developing nations. It's not so simplistic as you describe. What may seem fine where we have money to solve our problems is not the case elsewhere.

    About Africa...are you implying that when we run out, we should take these resources from African peoples? That defeats the purpose of local sustainability. If we were to all live in Africa, those resources wouldn't be quite so abundant-- industrialized nations have far greater resource demands than those of the nations currently residing there.

    Also, you should go read up on Marxist readings because Marxism is very opposite of what you are describing. The former Soviet Union may have operated in such a way, but that is in NO way Marxism-- which is based off of a society of abundant and shared resources. Americans define Marxism as something far different from the reality and it really is a shame...though I can't claim to be supportive of Marxism by the American or historical/true definition. That's rather irrelevant to this topic though.

    I feel the need to mention that there are other species that exist on this world that keep our resources rich and available. All of the space on this earth is not open for the taking by people, otherwise our ecosystem would collapse. We may be dominant, but that doesn't give us any right to overpower thousands of species to their extinction by the exploitation of their habitats, even though humanity continues to do so. They can't live like we do in dense cities, animals and plants need A LOT of space to thrive and repopulate-- which is for our benefit! That's something I feel that keeps being pushed aside. We can't just take as much as we need, delicate ecosystems really do not work that way. We can't ignore the needs of the environment!

    I'm a research assistant and student of geography and water issues/scarcity due to human growth & exploitation.

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  45. In response to Monica, I had a long-winded reply...basically addressing some of the points above in a different fashion. Population growth isn't only about a secular attack on families, marriages, children, etc. There are many other factors that need to be considered-- resources, location, disease, carrying capacity, industrialization, education, climate change, etc, etc. Sterilization and contraception distribution isn't the largest factor, although it may seem to be so on a shorter term scale. In most cases, we have followed the high path in terms of our growth and emissions-- I see no reason why one of the smaller factors would change this. Religion is religion, and although it may seem to be losing ground in the West, those values and traditions of the major religions with regards to children stand strong, and that is not predicted to realistically change anytime soon.


    I'm sorry, this did not fit with the other due to length.

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  46. Sorry, the comments on old posts are on moderation. That may be why they are out of order.

    So much to reply to, Ariana, but obviously we just disagree on so much. You state that overpopulation "is a fact". I completely disagree. Now what?

    I fear we are talking past each other. No one has suggested that we all live squished up together (I keep stating that the world is practically empty… we have not even begun to take up the space on this earth). People gravitate to large cities for many reasons, mostly economic. But those cities are few and far between if you look at the earth. They wear masks in Tokyo, but they don't in NYC. Both places have incredibly high abortion rates, so no worries about overpopulation there! I think forty percent of babies in NYC are aborted (if I remember correctly). People want to live in NYC (I have no idea why, ha ha). As for Japan in general, there is such a birth dearth there that in a few generations there will be no Japanese left. I find that terrible, but it should make folks less worried about the crowds in Tokyo, as they will abate.

    There is death and disease in sparse areas, and there is health in dense areas. Some of the richest pieces of earth are the most densely populated, and some of the most poverty-stricken, diseased places on earth are not dense at all. The only way to eradicate disease is to eradicate people. Otherwise, yes, there will be disease as part of the human condition. Dense and sparse, populated or not.

    I never implied that we "take" resources from Africa! We have plenty here! Our God is a God of abundance. I would hope and pray that the people of Africa would be able to benefit from their own rich resources. My point in bringing it up is that you seemed to be speaking from a scarcity model, when in fact the earth is full of resources! That is my only point, and I fear you missed it, as you missed the point about the physical space that people occupy on this massive globe. Perspective, truth, that is all. We cannot keep using scare tactics to advance a pop-con philosophy. We must tell all the truth, and that is that people are not falling off the earth, and we do not lack resources.

    As for condoms or any contraception preventing abortions, it's simply not true. In every society that has accepted contraception, abortion inevitably follows. Even the liberal members of our own US Supreme Court said as much, which you can read about here:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/01/contraception-leads-to-abortion-come.html

    And yes, while we love and care for animals and plants, and are expected to be good stewards of these great gifts, we cannot place animals above human beings. Human beings are made in the image and likeness of God, and a boy will always be more innately valuable than a pig. That is a very basic Christian understanding of the right order of creation.

    Sorry I can't type more now. I really need to hop in bed. Thanks, and blessings!

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  47. PS: Then can you show me the "reality of Marxism" as it has played out in a nation or society on earth? I honestly am not familiar with Marxism as it was intended, if it actually exists. I'm only familiar with Communism and how it has played out in real life.

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  48. Sorry, another PS: You are right that Vegas is worse than AZ. My husband says that they have been very poor planners, unfortunately.

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  49. To clarify for you- First, I did not mean to imply that I was putting certain opinions or words in your mouth. I was speaking generally, of why people oppose Catholic teaching on family and children, and why this post and its conclusions belong on a Catholic blog like Leila's which I think was one of your original criticisms.

    Second, I absolutely criticize those who choose "Culture of Death" policies to limit population growth- in that category, I place abortion and forced sterilizations. I do not place the use of BC in that category because I believe many women use it not knowing that it is an abortificant and most without any exposure to the *why* behind Catholic teaching on it. I hope women WILL wake up to its carcinogenic label, and it's "secondary" action as an abortificant. I used BC myself for 5 years before realizing it was an abortificant. Even prior to being a Catholic, I would not have taken the pill had I known of this action of the pill.

    I don't expect the whole world to be Catholic, or even to abide by Catholic moral code. However, I think the protection of innocents is a universal moral principle that many people have forgotten or have chosen to ignore, but that we as a civilization need to uphold.

    You mentioned women's education leading to smaller family size- yes, absolutely- this can be done without forcing Western "values" like abortion-as-contraception on nations who don't want it. Blessed Mother Teresa did this by teaching natural family planning in her clinics with good success.

    Ultimately, we can debate for years on land area, resource availability, etc. We could all bring statistics to the table to *prove* our point that there either is or is not enough food, water, land, and that there either is or is not a trend towards pop growth, stabilization, or decline.

    I am not criticizing people for wanting to protect the planet, or even for wanting to limit their own family size. Both of these can be very responsible, moral decisions. My criticism is for those who support policies which are fundamentally inhumane in the name of these causes.

    I don't' see any problem with anyone, including a "fervent Catholic" to say, "I am so concerned by these issues that I have chosen, with my spouse and after prayer, to not have a large family." The Catholic Church does not have a problem with this either, I think this could be certainly a "grave reason" for many people. My problem is only with the means of achieving it.

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  50. Ok, me again. Because of the comment moderation thing, I can't remember exactly what I typed a few minutes ago, but had a few more thoughts that I wanted to add regarding these problems from the Catholic perspective.

    For all decisions, we can qualify them as either a moral question or a question of prudential judgement. Leila and I probably still disagree on a number of political issues (much less than we did a few years ago, haha) that fall into the zone of questions of prudential judgement. This is why Catholics can be all over the place on various social and economic issues, including the environment.

    Catholics can confidently vote yes or no on green roofs or tax rebates for low-water yard plants or fuel efficient cars or what have you. There is plenty of room to disagree.

    Where we must stand united is on basic human rights- the most basic of which is the right to live. As Leila already mentioned, there is no argument from any side that "pregnancy suppressing" methods lead directly to an increase in "pregnancy terminating" methods or reproductive "freedom".

    The health and survival of humanity as a species is not dependent on us finding efficient means of killing our offspring, but on recapturing the holistic nature of human sexuality. 100 years ago, there was significantly less confusion on this point because there were no reliable means of avoiding parenthood.

    Many people hold up environment issues as a reason for the NECESSITY of bc/abortion/sterilization. I'm not saying you do, I'm saying many do. This is simply not true, whether one is a green party member or a tea party member. Catholics have to stand together against this faulty line of reasoning that goes against not only our faith, but the basic human ethic of protecting life. We cannot claim utilitarian means as moral means to protecting our species.

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  51. "The health and survival of humanity as a species is not dependent on us finding efficient means of killing our offspring, but on recapturing the holistic nature of human sexuality."

    Whoa, Monica, I could not have said this better! Excellent point. And yes, we Catholics are free to disagree on many things, policy-wise (we can disagree on how best to tackle the world's problems and environmental issues), but we are never free to transgress the moral law, which is universal and applies to everyone on the globe.

    Ariana, I meant to direct you to one other Bubble link which may interest you and give a new perspective, from a young woman who worked with the poor in the developing world:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/06/no-food-or-medicine-but-plenty-of.html

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  52. Ariana--about Japan: I lived 5 minutes outside of Tokyo for 2 years. People wear masks when sick there as a cultural thing, not because of the dense population. They are very polite and want to protect others from getting sick. They also stay home from work when they get the sniffles. Japan has one of the highest (if not the highest) life expectancy rates in the world. This article from ABC shows how Japan is the world's healthiest nation http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2012/12/13/japan-tops-list-of-healthiest-countries/. So being crowded does not necessarily mean more disease.
    I also vacationed in China and took a 30-hour train ride through the country. i was surprised to see mile after mile of empty countryside in the world's most populated country. Now I don't know how good that land was for farming, etc., but it was clear China still had lots of room to grow.

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  53. Connie, I hope that Ariana will address that point. Thank you!

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  54. I grew up in a not very densely populated area. I moved to an even more remote area when I grew up. When you have a half a mile between you and your nearest neighbor (unless you count cows) you have a different paradigm. On our property alone, we could fit a shopping center and an apartment complex. But, don't count on it, we like our space ;-)

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