I recently finished reading the best book I’ve ever read: Dan Brown’s Inferno. The plot revolves around Harvard Symbologist Robert Langdon waking up in a hospital without any information on how he got there. Long story short, he has to stop a plague from being released and killing most of the population. This plague has been created by a scientist who knows that if the population growth is not controlled, the human species will go extinct by 2100.
This got me thinking about overpopulation. First of all, is it real? You would say: “Of course it is! We’re being taught about it in school!” Let’s assume for a moment that it is real. Please keep an open mind as you read my views. Human population is increasing exponentially, and by the end of this century we will run out of resources. But that is only if our technology hasn’t advanced in tandem by that time. I mean, 2100 is a long way ahead. We already have the technology to 3D print houses!(http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/ultratravel/the-next-big-thing/10110195/The-worlds-first-3D-printed-house.html http://www.wimp.com/printerhouse/) It’s hard to believe that we will still be dependent on fossil fuels in the next 40 years, let alone 80 or 90 years. We will probably have managed to harvest the sun’s energy much more efficiently, and maybe use anti matter for electricity. But for the sake assume that we will still be dependent on fossil fuels for electricity (note that mining uranium also requires fuel so nuclear fission is still dependent on fossil fuels) then yes, we will die out, or at least scientifically go down the evolutionary ladder. But humans have a way of pulling through, and I strongly believe that due to our mental superiority we will eventually go back to our current status, and maybe even to a more advanced stage of civilization. Of course, this may take hundreds or maybe even a thousand years more than if we found an alternate source of energy. And we will need to find a budget friendly way to convert salt water to fresh water. But this is only if the risk of overpopulation is real.
Sure, it may seem like that now, and the last time there was a risk of overpopulation, the plague struck. But because of the plague, the Renaissance started. Humans don’t pay attention until a serious and grave catastrophe strikes. This is an element of Darwinism and nature’s way of keeping the population under control. Another disease like the plague will show up, except this time it won’t be quarantined so quickly. In any case, another world war is imminent and if the superpowers play a major hand, there will be a nuclear winter. If the U.S and Russia launch enough nukes then we will go into nuclear darkness. (http://www.nucleardarkness.org/warconsequences/deadlyglobalclimatechange/), and we will go into an extreme ice age, which will surely cause the consequences I have explained above, if not total annihilation of the human race. Say that a miracle occurs and there is no war, but even then there would be widespread panic owing to depleting resources. Fuels will be expensive, and countries with a large population will pass strict laws in favor of population control, so as to support their citizens. A similar thing is happening in India now. With a population of over 1,000,000,000 (I put the number for effect), you can’t throw a stone without it hitting a corrupt cop or politician. This is causing the rupee to fall to Rs.60=$1. In 2008 it was 40 to 1. As the population increased, the economy crashed. As a result, commodities are more expensive to import and the country needs a smaller population to support or it will go bankrupt. There is another barrier for population: as prices of food, water and electricity go up, jobs will be harder and harder to find, and people will realize that having kids is too expensive, and this will affect population growth negatively.
These are two valid arguments, they both have an equal chance of occurring. In the end, is overpopulation a real threat or a myth taught to us in schools? It is too early to say, but if you ask me I think that there is a really small chance that we will go extinct, or run out of resources.