I'm taking two classes this year that are actually very similar: AP Environmental Science and AP Human Geography. APES is an applied science, focusing on how we USE biology, chemistry, and geology in our interactions with the environment. AP HuG is not as much physical geography, but where people are in relation to each other, the study of culture and the impact it has on our use of land/resources and interactions with one another. I'm not normally a science person, but I am a government person. I am LOVING these classes! I basically am learning the science behind the policy issues we hear about all the time, like poverty, pollution, water use, energy, language, religion, terrorism, and population. It's SO COOL! (And it makes learning about biogeochemical cycles more bearable. Seriously, "bio"-"geo"-"chemical"... That includes EVERYTHING! Geez.) What I'm thinking about right now is a sensitive issue, as we just reached another mile stone- 7,000,000,000. Yup. I'm talking about population growth.
Here's a cool video by National Geographic about Baby 7 Billion.
Now, you all know I'm a pro-lifer, but I'm also a skeptic. I can't take information at face value. There is more to the story. (That's another reason why I love history.) Malthus' theory of population growth is no different. Thomas Malthus was alive at the time of English Industrial Revolution, and he saw the growing difference between the rich and poor. He also saw cities that were crowded and DIRTY. The death rate was falling while the birth rate was remaining high. His thought was that it would continue that way until there was not enough food for everyone on earth. Well, he was right to be concerned, but here is a video of the Demographic Transition Model. Malthus was alive in Stage 2 Britain. Today, most developed countries are in Stage 4/Stage 5. Malthus took a good guess, but he wasn't as good of a fortune-teller as he thought the world would be out of food by 1890.
Here is a video by the Population Research Institute about our global growth rate. They've got one of these good news/bad news deals. Good news: we are not going to run out of resources due to OVERpopulation. Bad news: in 25 years, our population with peak, and by the end of the century, we will be to losing 1 billion people every 20 YEARS! Wow! With individuals living longer lives AND our growth rate shrinking, we cannot afford to lose the most valuable resource - human lives. We will end up with more adults that are unable to work than young people able to support them.
If our world CAN support all of us, then why is there hunger? Again, the PRI made a great video about both hunger and poverty. I hope that we can try our best to solve REAL problems, not imagined ones. Can we please build infrastructure and reduce conflicts to insure the access of food? Can we not give government handouts, but provide job training to those in poverty? The "Overpopulation Theory" is a form of eugenics - "There needs to be less of YOU so there can be more FOR me."
This also gets into the issue of women's rights. Does she have the right to have children? Does she have the right to have girl babies? Does she have the right to be here at all? But I'll save this discussion for another post. (Now you're all dying to know where I'm going with this, aren't you?)
We've got a lot of problems on this world, but overpopulation isn't one of them. But, greed, abortion, war, and lack of mature discussion are.
Think about it.