The world's resources are finite.
If we don't reduce the population we're all going to die.
Die? Of what? Lack of food? No, that can't be true. We have vast food surpluses. In the West, where farmers are paid not to grow crops, over half the food that is brought to market is thrown away.
I've never forgotten the famous declaration: "There's enough protein in the dog and cat food sold annually in Western Europe to feed the entire Third World for a year."
No, there is no shortage of food. The reason 14.6 million people died of starvation last year was not due to lack of food. These 14.6 million people died because they didn't have money to buy food. There isn't a food shortage, there's a money shortage.
But what about other resources? The world's resources are finite, right? If the global population continues to grow, we're going to run out of essential raw materials.
Oh yeah? Like what?
Oil! We are going to run out of oil!
A few years ago, the media was bursting with "peak oil" stories. We were told to panic because the oil was running out! Today, there aren't any more stories about "peak oil" - probably because independent researchers discovered there was no such thing.
The "peak oil" story turned out to be a commercially motivated hoax. It turned out there's enough oil in Texas alone to supply the needs of the USA for the next 90 years. What's more, surveys discovered oil deposits in the Gulf of Mexico so vast they rival Saudi Arabia. And this isn't even the biggest oil reserve in North America. That honour belongs to Alaska, which has so much oil and gas, it's embarrassing. Just one oil field on the North Slope in Alaska (owned by BP) flares off enough natural gas each year to supply the entire European Union.
Why do they burn off the gas instead of piping it to tankers to ferry to Europe? Because this would have a disastrous effect on prices. There's too much abundance.
As we know, the more scarce an item is, the more people will pay for it. Scarcity equals profits, abundance does not.
But the big oil companies now have a bigger problem than the abundance of oil - which they restrict by closing down refineries and having the government ban drilling. This problem, which the Russians have been excitedly telling the world about for the past ten years, is abiotic oil.
Have you heard of abiotic oil? My guess is, you haven't. Its discovery has been largely hidden.
Russians, drilling super-deep wells in Siberia, found massive amounts of oil and gas three miles below the surface of the earth. When they looked at it under the microscope, they found it contained no fossils. It was crude oil, yet it wasn't a fossil fuel. Clearly, the conventional wisdom of how oil was formed (from ancient Mesozoic forests etc) needed to be revised. It appears the complex molecular composition that is crude oil is created below the earth's mantel by unknown chemical processes. The Russians theorised that over time, this abiotic oil is pushed (by pressures within the earth) towards the surface. It seeps up through fissures and fractures, picking up fossils of plants and shellfish and trees as it goes, until it pools in underground basins within reach of the oil barons.
Does this mean crude oil a renewable resource? If so, you'd expect to see some of the old, drained-out oil fields filling up again. And guess what? They do! Check these links to stories about oil wells refilling. http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig5/crispin8.html
Okay, so we're not going to run out of oil. But what about the other important resources that over-population will destroy. What are they? Well, there's stuff like iron, lithium, manganese, bauxite (aluminium), copper, silicone, platinum - all kinds of minerals we need for our technologically advanced modern civilisation. They're not renewable are they?
Well, yes they are.
Do you know how much of our steel comes from iron ore mined out of the ground? Less than 6%. Over 94% of our steel is recycled! It comes from crushed up cars and trucks and ships and thousands of other products containing steel. The same applies to all the other minerals. Yes, there's some wastage but not much. These materials are worth money and the waste management industry makes a fortune out of them. Very little is destroyed. Raw materials are taken out of the earth, refined, made into products and then endlessly recycled.
We have abundance.
But, even so, if the world's population grows too big, won't the demand for minerals exceed supply? Okay, there are two issues here:
1) Human inventiveness.
2) Why do we think the population will grow 'too big'?
Necessity is the mother of invention and the inventiveness of human beings is staggering.
If we need something, we find a way to invent it. We even invent lots of things we don't need, like pogo-sticks and rubik's cubes. We've invented mobile phones and DVDs and Sat-Navs. We've even invented a car that runs on water. (See links:)
We now construct tall buildings and bridges using carbon compounds stronger and lighter than the toughest steel.
We've invented multiple ways to generate electricity:- hydro-electric power, geothermal power, wind power, wave power, solar power and hydrogen power to name a few. Maybe Fusion Power will work? If we ever did run out of oil or natural gas or coal, there are many inventions already waiting in the wings to replace them. But we're not going to run out of these commodities.
For example: the United Kingdom's estimated coal reserves are 45 billion tonnes - enough for the next 300 years.
We really don't need to worry about running out of 'finite resources' because the earth is so abundant, most resources are renewable or recyclable, and we are so inventive.
2) Why do we think the population will grow 'too big'?
What's too big?
Many population-watchers have had fun with this one. You could put the entire population of the world - all 6,628,218, 568 of them - into Australia and give each individual more than one square kilometre of land each. You could comfortably fit them all into the United States. You could even put them all in Texas, although they'd be a bit cramped and probably start shooting one another. Sure, 6.6 billion is a lot of people but there's no shortage of space on God's green earth.
How fast is the population growing?
This is a sensitive question. The over-populationists claim it's growing so fast that every country needs to make like China and impose a one-child policy. But let's look at the facts.
The populations of many Third World countries are increasing, it's true (Bangladesh has a 4.9 birthrate). But the populations of other countries are declining.
The birth-rate (or fertility rate as it's officially called) of the European Union is 1.53. (See link:) http://www.oeaw.ac.at/vid/datasheet/download/European_Demographic_Data_Sheet_2008.pdf
To replace Europe's population you need a fertility rate of 2.1 children per mother.
So, Europeans have a fertility shortfall of 0.57. This represents a 27% decline in population growth. The convention is that 25 years = one generation. On that basis, the population of Europe (currently 493 million) will be 360 million by 2035. By 2060, if the rate stays the same, the population will be 263 million. By 2085, it will have dropped to 192 million - by which time the Italian population (fertility rate: 1.3) will be below 14 million. Seventy five years after that there will be no more Italians.
Europe is dying.
The fertility rate for the world as a whole is now only 2.56. The CIA's estimated global growth rate is 1.133%. We are close to the tipping point. If nothing changes, the world's population will soon be in decline.
So: human population growth is on a downward trend, human inventiveness is undiminished, the earth is abundant, resources are plentiful, and there's lots of space for everyone. Our only problem is how to share the wealth.