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Overpopulation: The Ultimate Exploiter

Negative Population Growth


All are welcome and all are invited – especially those who care about leaving the world in better shape than we found it. Every problem is affected by this great exploiter. Overpopulation diminishes our resources, landscapes, water supply, and the ability of our climate to regulate itself. Our poor and disenfranchised are overwhelmed by this issue, as it swims in ridiculous taboos.

Overpopulation stares us in the face, it glares at us from every shocking news story – but few dare to say its name. They prefer instead to work on the problems it creates, what I refer to as “downstream issues.” It’s so much easier to kick the very notion of overpopulation down the road and put it on the next generation’s plate – or assume that the handful of population groups can do it by themselves.

In today’s political and cultural discourse, it is deemed more politically correct to focus on all troublesome issues except the one that could truly permit success. Overpopulation has become the great taboo – both because some deliberately hid it under the rug, and because others let them get away with it. That has to stop, but only if we want to be successful in our downstream activities. This invitation to move upstream is only for those who want to be successful in bringing about a more sustainable, just, and peaceful world. Everyone else can stop reading now.

For those who seek a true solution to overpopulation, we must first realize how overpopulated the U.S. is relative to our resources. To continue to promote population growth is to stress those resources and endanger all who live within our boundaries. We must be informed – and that information must make us steadfast, fearless, and thorough in our quest. We must reframe the issue to be about already-stressed resources, and not play ball on “their” playing field. The naysayers will criticize us for espousing racial, intellectual, or nationalistic superiority. We must remain clear about our objectives: to focus on the way resources should inform U.S. policies. It is an ecological perspective which knows no prejudice.

In the mindset of many Americans, overpopulation is an “over there” problem. While it is true that Africa and India have growth projections which are frightening, it doesn’t mean that we are problem-free. Our problems lie in our extreme consumption and the overpumping of our aquifers. In a time of climate change, our water resources are a particularly limiting factor to how many people the U.S. can hold. Here, we face an urgent (and a particularly uphill) battle – but our commitment to reversing population growth is especially vital. With less than 5% of the world’s population, Americans are responsible for consuming a disproportionately larger share of global resources. (For example, in 2014 the U.S. share of global energy consumption was 17.8% – an increase of 1.2% from the year before.) And we are continuing to grow by an average of one person every 13 seconds – adding over 2.4 million new residents each year who will consume ever-more resources.

If we are to preserve a livable future for our children and grandchildren, we must be steadfast in our mission to move upstream and reverse population growth. Time is running out...

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