You have heard it said so often it’s like a mantra.
The world is overpopulated – dangerously so. In fact, if we believe the press, therein lies the source of our worst problems. Case closed – right?
The overpop theory seems reasonable enough if you take a look at any footage of the slums of Calcutta, Nairobi, Rio – or the London Tube at rush hour. No doubt about it: it’s getting crowded around here.
Oh my God, I remember when my Dad told me there were 4 billion of us, about the time I started high school. The world already sounded like a big mosh pit back then!
In the old days, when the queues got too long and people started to quarrel over stuff, some got on their bikes in search of new lands more peaceful and promising. But those days are over. You can’t pack the globite and migrate like grandad and grandma did, not today. No brave new worlds left. Where are we going to go to avoid elbow hockey with our neighbours? Patagonia? The Falklands? Antarctica?
So, to all scaly green aliens plotting invasion; don’t bother to re-fuel the UFO. This planet is full.
Some facts just seem so, um, ‘factual’; that you don’t even think of questioning them anymore – at least not in public. Well, I’m going to stick my neck out here and make the case that overpopulation is not the problem many people think it is. But wait, there’s more. I’ll propose there are vested interests with a stake in your blinking acceptance of this myth – and they don’t want you asking questions. There is a ton of moolah to be made and hoarded if we all dance to the piper on this particular tune. The myth of overpopulation is a handy conversation-stopper; for those who benefit from a mollified public. I’ll say more about who benefits from this bogey-man later.
But first, just to be clear: there is a biiiiiiiiiiiig difference between overcrowding and overpopulation. No question, there are hundreds of spots around the world that would earn us a sardine’s pity. That is; up until the planners fix some woeful infrastructure problems. When does crowding feel overcrowded? When planning really sucks. Shitty planning and inhuman development does not mean the world is overpopulated. Dig into shitty planning, and you’ll find greed and corrupt politics at its core. So then: is the problem about numbers – or about bad behaviour?
I believe there are several myths related to the concept of ‘overpopulation’. Each of these myths is ripe for explosion. In fact, these myths have already been exposed, and so have those who profit form the overpop myth. So, can we hold those plans to terra-form Mars, and freeze the fund-raising for that Lunar colony? Whoa there! Maybe there is better use for the megabucks – let’s find out!
Next week, I will post Part 2 of this series, where we will look at the first of four commonly held myths related to ‘overpopulation’. See you then!