A look at sustaining current practices.
| Many countries have noticed and implemented ways of dealing with over-population. The most well known example is China's One Child Policy. This program incentives families having only one child rather than many, so as not to put a larger burden on China's already poor agriculture production. To many Americans, the idea of a government playing this kind of role is unheard of and unfathomable. But the truth remains that at some point in the future, there will be too many humans for the earth to support. In order to protect our planet and its people, steps must be taken to ensure that humanity does become too large for the earth to support.
At present only about 11% of the earth's surface is used for agriculture. At the rate that humanity is expanding, this will not be enough. Developed nations want, and require, land for other purposes: industry, recreation, or ownership. This means that at some point there will be too many consumers to be supported by the meager amount of land set aside to provide for not only the entire human race of approximately 7 billion, but also livestock. The numbers do not add up, there is no way that humanity can support this huge, and rapidly growing, population.
My opponents would argue that all that simply must be done is create a slight shift in the world view of people living in first world nations. And while this would help in the short term, it would not in the long term. You might be able to reduce the amount of land needed to support one person, but the amount of land needed to support the society and culture is far greater. Nutritiously speaking a human does not need that much to sustain life, but first-world cultures are based on technology. In order to mass produce the technology demanded of developed nations, you have to take resources away from agriculture. To ask them to relinquish their technology would not work, society is too dependent on it to function without. Not to mention humans are selfish. As a species, we became the dominate life form because we were able to take what we needed. This translates to today in that no one wants to give up what they already have. Individuals cannot be trusted to put aside their own interests in favor of benefitting people they do not know.
Without intervention, there will come a time when the earth cannot support us any longer and we will descend into anarchy fighting over every scrap of available resource. The solution to the problem is quite simple. The technology to humanly and painlessly ensure results already exists. Advances in genetic manipulation could allow researchers to develop a pathogen that would limit the rate of reproductively fertile females. Scientists were capable of creating a highly contagious weaponized form of the bird flu with five mutations, if we could focus a group of well funded researchers on the less deadly goal of human preservation imagine what they could accomplish. Instead of creating a plague that would kill off humans, they could synthesize a safe solution that would simply help slow the exponential population growth. Of course prior to its use the new pathogen would go through extensive testing by a multi-national conglomerate panel of experts. And only after its passing of said tests would it be released on the pre-designated areas.
These pre-designated areas would, in my opinion, be third-world nations. The reason for this is that countries with the poorest standard of living tend to have the highest fertility rate. Families living in poverty tend to have upwards of 5 to 7 children, which means that there is now even less available to the family as the resources to support 3 or 4 are stretched to support 5 or 6. This pushes these families even farther into poverty, and adversely affecting the rest of the people in the same socio-economic class. As more people are born into poverty, the same phenomena that occurs to a family occurs on a larger scale. If each family has more kids than they can support, then that means that the next generation will have an even worse position.
Many people would be in the position that releasing a engineered pathogen on people would be inhumane, and while this is a ethically gray area think about how much worse off humanity would be if the tipping point is reached. If humanity came to the point that over-population became a world wide crisis, there would wars, famine, and complete unraveling of civilization. All technological advances would be halted. Anarchy would run wild as neighbors killed over scraps of food. Whole nations would go to war over isolated patches of crops. These wars would be so high stake, that WMDs would likely be used. When this doomsday is compared to the idea of a harmless virus that simply reduces the exponential growth of humans this scenario seems much worse.
It is a simple matter of doing what is best for the world. Humanity can either idly sit by and watch as the earth marches towards barbarism, or steps can be taken now to ensure humanity's well being. Controlling our population would improve quality of life everywhere, and for a long time. The choice is simple, but can you make it?