Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Population Issues

I have written before about my opinions regarding over-population. I have commented that over population is as big an issue as green house gases in global warming.

TreeHugger.Com has a new article The Elephant in the Room: OverPopulation. In the artical they discuss the issue from some interesting perspectives. They quote the movie "The Matrix":

Agent Smith to Morpheus: "Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment. But you humans do not. "You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area."

I challenge anyone to find evidence that this isn't true.

The article goes on to quote Alan Wiesman of The World without us:

" If we don't control ourselves, nature will do it for us. Every species that eats itself out of house and home experiences a population crash."

The question is how many other species will we take with us?

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saraeanderson said...

"Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment..."

See, I find it counterproductive to rely on The Matrix for determining my political positions. How do animals "instinctively" develop a "natural equilibrium?" A natural equilibrium is just that - natural. It happens because that's how it has to happen. There are mutually-beneficial relationships between predators and prey, between organisms and their environment, but that's because it's what evolutionary pressures demand. Obviously, evolutionary pressures affect humans differently than any other organism, but it's a bit of a stretch to imply that deer have outsmarted us by existing in such a way that their offspring often fall prey to wolves. I wouldn't feel very smart if my baby got eaten by a wolf.

wolf21m said...

Sara, good point. In nature it is rarely the prey that chooses to control its reproductive numbers, its the predator that controls the numbers. The wolf helps the elk (primary food source for wolves although they do eat deer on occasion) from over-populating its environment, not the elk itself. Unfortunately for this planet, human predators are not keeping up with our evolutionary development. The result is that resources, not predators will put an end to that growth. This is also a natural process. We might have an opportunity that the elk does not have. We know it is happening and we can make choices to influence the direction. Maybe the elk in the absence of wolves knows that it is happening too, but I suspect not.
This is not to say that we have to stop all reproduction either. That would also put an end to our species. Population and resource utilization can be sustainable with a reproduction rate of 1.8 for a while, moving up to 2.1 over time.
BTW, I didn't get my philosophy from the matrix, the quote resonated with me pre-existing beliefs.
Thanks for reading.

Anonymous said...

Maybe just plain less folks is the answer, and downsizing voluntarily would probably be less painful that downsizing catastrophically.
See The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement ( for some provocative thoughts.