Monday, June 10, 2013

The Truth Behind Overpopulation

Chances are that all your life you've heard about how overcrowded the earth is.  It's a basic tenet of militant environmentalists, who always seem to talk about saving life on Earth by destroying humans - as if we're not a native animal on the planet.  It's basic to Agenda 21, the massive UN program.   From the story in that link I posted two years ago:
Central to the plan is the idea of being carbon neutral.  That's right, "global warming" or "climate change" or whatever they call it this week, is the basis for mass murder on a scale that Mao, Pol Pot, or Hitler could never aspire to.  You see, to quote from this piece at End of The American Dream, the population must be reduced:
  • CNN Founder Ted Turner: "A total population of 250-300 million people, a 95% decline from present levels, would be ideal."
  • Dave Foreman, Earth First Co-Founder: "My three main goals would be to reduce human population to about 100 million worldwide, destroy the industrial infrastructure and see wilderness, with it’s full complement of species, returning throughout the world."
  • Maurice Strong: "Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?"
Gee, the moderate guy only wants to kill off more than 95% of the human race.  See the current world population is around 7 billion people.  For Dave Foreman, 100 million out of 7 billion is 100 out of 7000 or 1.4 %.  At 300 million, Ted Turner would generously let 4.3% live.
So how bad is the overpopulation that we need to kill off billions of people?  John Robb at Resilient Communities runs this graphic of how large an area the population of the world would consume if we housed them in the style of six different cities.
This shows, for example, if we housed every single person on earth with the population density of Paris, they would fit into the area of three states: Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas.  If we used the population density of New York City, the entire population of Earth could fit into the area of Texas.  Likewise if we used more generous the suburban spread of Houston, the whole population of the planet would fit in the middle states of America.  I concluded the talk of genocide with this speculation:
Around 20 years ago, I heard that the entire population of the world would fit in Jacksonville, Florida, without resorting to vertical high rise buildings.  It would be austere, but they would fit.  ...  Even today, you still could fit every man woman and child in the world in the area of Jacksonville, but each person would only get 3.5 square feet, so it would pretty much be shoulder to shoulder.  According to the Wiki, the area of the state of Florida is 65,755 square miles.  Given the 7 billion people in the world, if you spread them evenly across the state, every person in the world would get 261.9 square feet.  Not a big room (unless you're in NYC), and small by US standards, but generous compared to much of the world.  Of course, the infrastructure would take room, so you'd probably need to spread them out, but I suspect everyone in the world would fit comfortably in the southeastern US.  And we need to kill off 95% of them because they're taking up too many resources? 
Sure, there's more to providing for a population than putting them in these areas, which is Robb's whole point.  His whole blog is focused on developing communities that provide their own food, water and energy and therefore need minimum help from today's global web of imports.  But any of these colored areas is a tiny fraction of the land on the planet.  It's true that there are many areas on the planet unfit for farming or cultivating - or that we wouldn't want to.  The next time that some greenie starts rambling about needing to have fewer children to save the planet, patiently explain the entire population of the world could fit in Texas and live comfortably.  See if their head explodes.


  1. And, there is a lot of land just being sat on and left vacant by speculators. What they're waiting for, I'm not sure - maybe for the crypto-eugenicists to come up with a plausibly deniable way to wipe all the helots out, or maybe for the next highway exit to get built so they can, um, make another sort of killing.

  2. I think the majority of people are idiots. You have people spawning like locusts and they can't even feed themselves then they want us to feed them and their spawn. Meanwhile, I am planning for retirement and hoping that by saving for decades I will have enough to self-sustain ..... but the commie government is likely to take it all away some day in the name of ‘social justice’ (BS). Prosperity is based on the ratio of arable and resource bearing land vs. headcount. Simple math. Compare Canada to India for example. At the same time, modern economics has relied on runaway population growth to fund the future. That is not a sustainable model so we do need to figure out how to find a balance …. somewhere between the bong smoking environmentalist wackos and the 3rd world breeders.

    1. I think George Carlin said something like, "You know how stupid the average person you meet is? Half the people are dumber than average". Which is approximately true.

      Problem is, like driving, where 86% of people think they're better drivers than average, too many people think they're smarter than average.

  3. Back in '68 a Brit named John Brunner wrote a great novel called "Stand On Zanzibar". The title was taken from the premise that everyone on Earth at that time would easily fit on the island of Zanzibar.

    BTW, the book was full of really clever definitions, such as "ART: a friend of mine in Oklahoma. There are a lot of pseudos out there taking his name in vain."

  4. Carbon neutral? Since carbon is an element, seems to me that no matter what one does the same amount of carbon exists today as it did at the time of creation. No more, no less. Can't be changed.

    but heh what do i know about climate?


    1. You must be one of them de-niers. Heretic.

    2. There's more carbon being made every single day! Most any star of a certain age is making some.

      Not that much of it is being delivered to earth, mind you, but more is still being created.

  5. Perhaps you like living like a rat, on top of each other, but I certainly don't.

    And the choice should be mine - not yours - or anybody else's.

    The problem with overpopulation isn't density, or wealth distribution, or hunger, or poverty or anything most pundits including you, try to argue.

    The problem is homo sapiens simply consume too many resources. It's clearly unsustainable and leading to collapse. We're running out - precisely because of too much.

    Too many people = too much consumption. Too much development. Too much growth.

    This also means too much pollution. Too much toxicity. Too much of everything - too much city, too much development, too much control, too much government, too much oversight, too much restrictions, too many laws, etc., it's an endless list of "too much".

    Life sucks (for everyone else who must bear these onerous burdens) because of "too much" when you weigh it all out. Freedom becomes fascism (State control). Liberty becomes (obtain) license (for everything). Too many, too much becomes far more then just "too many people" - it spawns everything else (that we hate), including punk rock, Botox and fat ladies.

    I've always found it interesting that people allege to "care" about "how many people are allowed". It's a highly hypocritical position that is not supported by the real attitudes / life experiences people actually live by.

    Nobody cares. They're still sending their sons and daughters off to die, right? Or aborting babies? Or living next to toxic landfills? Or engaging in suicidal behavior (drinking, drugs, promiscuous sex, etc.)? They risk life - and they squander life, including their own - because they don't care about life or how many people are around. They don't even care about themselves.

    And of course, lest we forget, they don't care about anybody else either. Let's just bomb the shit out those we don't like! We prefer war - not preservation of life. To claim that we do is an utter lie, exposed by what we actually do.

    Life is cheap, proven by how we treat each other, all over this fucking planet. We don't care about people, or how many there are, so why engage in this stupid fucking line of reasoning? You're a fucking hypocrite to do so, everybody is.

    Personally, I don't give a flying fuck what people do with their lives (except to leave me the fuck alone). But I also don't give a flying fuck about their stupid opinions about "how many" they claim "matter". It's all a fucking lie. You're all lying and you not bright enough or honest enough to admit it.

    1. That is so epically wrong that I don't have enough bits to correct it.

      It misses the point of the article. It misses the point of the prior article I link to. It mis-characterizes the message, mis-characterizes my views, misses pretty much every point and is filled with every Luddite, anti-progress talking point there is.

      It's magnificent in its fail.

      So I will leave it.

    2. He forgot to mention all those mentally ill people, but it's probably a topic that hits a little too close to home...

  6. I do agree there is too much overpopulation of all the wrong type of people.
    Middle class working people in industrial countries are at )% population growth
    while non-producers and parasites are creating unsustainable population growth.
    I don't think even you can deny that.

  7. What I don't understand is why when I put up a post about the stupidity of the greenies, and how some of them want to kill you for no good reason, you think I have that view.

    I'm warning you that real people with real power in the UN (see that link about Agenda 21 up there??) have said it's a good idea to kill off 95% of the people on earth. I'm trying to show how wrong they are.

    I'm not saying I want to force anyone to anything - I don't. I didn't say I want to live in a place with the population density of any of those places. I just pointed out that all the people in the entire world could fit in those places. Doesn't seem to me that the people who want to kill off 95% of us are aware of that.

    What did I write that makes you think "Middle class working people in industrial countries are at )% population growth while non-producers and parasites are creating unsustainable population growth. I don't think even you can deny that."? I didn't say a thing about what I think about population growth.

    And assuming you're the same "anonymous" as the other day, I don't think I've written anything in the 3+ years I've been blogging that sounds anything like what you're responding to.

  8. Hi....A colleague just sent me a link to this post. We were both intrigued by the notion that city like Paris, offers such density and really does not exceed and average of 5 to 6 stories in height. That's a mighty liveable city...and walkable, with 5 stories generally being considered the maximum height for people to use stairs instead of an elevator.

    I'm compelled however to inquire more about how you correlate density of the worlds population with sustainability. I, like you, do not agree with such statements like Ted Turner who basically hopes for an apocalypse to set the world back in balance. However, in all my assessments and learning as a practicing architect, I understand that it is not merely the are space we take for ourselves that matters, but the additional land that is necessary to provide the raw materials to support a particular lifestyle. This is the notion of a "carbon footprint". In other words, there is a certain amount of forest felled to supply us with construction material, paper, etc. There is a certain cubic feet of mountain (when dug) or acreage (when strip mined) needed to provide us with the ore necessary to heat homes, make computers, etc. I have NO idea how they go about assessing this, but it certainly seems like a rational means to understand the true amount of area that we occupy globally. My head just about explodes thinking about how you integrate the impacts of consuming goods and the impact of having to address the waste from those products (whether it be in terms of a landfill, polluted waterways, etc.)

    You seem to infer all this with your last paragraph, but I'd be interested in a follow up (maybe you already have done one?) in which you expand the diagrams and show the net difference between area "serviced" by the present population and what remains. Do you know if there's ever been an analysis completed and diagrams created that are as easily apprehended as Robb's?

  9. JZ - sorry for the delay - I moderate comments on posts over two weeks old and this one is 9 months old.

    The short answer is that I don't think I did a followup to this post. And the problem is absolutely getting resources into and waste out of the city where everyone lives. I'm not aware of diagrams showing how that expands to cover farming, mining and so on, but those aren't simple questions.

    You might be familiar with a fundamental principle called the "pyramid of biomass", which relates to how much food is required to keep a population going. For a simple example, let's say you personally eat one chicken every day (work with me here). Of course, that means you'll eat 365 in a year. That's something like a thousand pounds of chicken, and they'll, in turn, need more than a thousand pounds of food. Turn that into acres of production. Just to support you.

    Examples like this are good abstractions that help visualize situations, but I certainly didn't intend it as a model for how the world should be! If you drive around the US, you'll find lots of land that doesn't seem to be used in food production or other things to support the population.

    I think the feeling that the planet is overcrowded comes from favorite getaway places being crowded. If someone goes to their favorite lake and there are too many people, we're overcrowded. Doesn't matter if the next lake over, which maybe isn't quite as pretty, has nobody on it. It's another aspect of the famous social science "rule" that everyone's version of a normal world is what they personally saw and experienced when they were between four and six years old. History didn't exist before then.