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15 October 2007 14 comments

Urban Warfare - 2003
Acrylic and Jute on Canvas
Kim Barker


Some members of the Australian environmental movement, notably the organisation Sustainable Population Australia, believe that as the driest inhabited continent, Australia cannot continue to sustain its current rate of population growth without becoming overpopulated. The UK-based Optimum Population Trust supports the view that Australia is overpopulated, and believes that to maintain the current standard of living in Australia, the optimum population is 10 million (rather than the present 20.86 million), or 21 million with a reduced standard of living.

Effects of overpopulation
Some problems associated with or exacerbated by human overpopulation:

Inadequate fresh water for drinking water use as well as sewage treatment and effluent discharge. Some countries, like Saudi Arabia, use energy-expensive desalination to solve the problem of water shortages.

Depletion of natural resources, especially fossil fuels

Increased levels of air pollution, water pollution, soil contamination and noise pollution. Once a country has industrialized and become wealthy, a combination of government regulation and technological innovation causes pollution to decline substantially, even as the population continues to grow.

The chronic inability of many of these countries to escape from the "Malthusian trap" via economic growth exceeding population growth. Many Third World countries simply lack the economic or infrastructural base to provide a rising standard of living for most of their people, especially in Africa, the Arab world, and parts of Latin America.

Deforestation and loss of ecosystems that sustain global atmospheric oxygen and carbon dioxide balance; about eight million hectares of forest are lost each year.

Changes in atmospheric composition and consequent global warming

Irreversible loss of arable land and increases in desertification Deforestation and desertification can be reversed by adopting property rights, and this policy is successful even while the human population continues to grow.

Illegal (and legal) immigration to the developed world on an unprecedented scale, creating an unprecedented demographic and political problem in Europe and the United States. Even the controlled and legal migration of talented and well-educated people from the Third World to the developed world denudes it of its limited skills base.

Mass species extinctions from reduced habitat in tropical forests due to slash-and-burn techniques that sometimes are practised by shifting cultivators, especially in countries with rapidly expanding rural populations; present extinction rates may be as high as 140,000 species lost per year. The IUCN Red List lists a total of 698 animal species having gone extinct during recorded human history.

High infant and child mortality. High rates of infant mortality are caused by poverty. Rich countries with high population densities have low rates of infant mortality.

Increased incidence of hemorrhagic fevers and other infectious diseases from crowding, lack of adequate sanitation and clean portable water, and scarcity of available medical resources.

Starvation, malnutrition or poor diet with ill health and diet-deficiency diseases (e.g. rickets). Famine is aggravated by poverty. Rich countries with high population densities do not have famine.

Poverty coupled with inflation in some regions and a resulting low level of capital formation. Poverty and inflation are aggravated by bad government and bad economic policies. Many countries with high population densities have eliminated absolute poverty and keep their inflation rates very low.

Low birth weight due to the inability of mothers to get enough resources to sustain a fetus from fertilization to birth

Low life expectancy in countries with fastest growing populations
Unhygienic living conditions for many based upon water resource depletion, discharge of raw sewage and solid waste disposal

Elevated crime rate due to drug cartels and increased theft by people stealing resources to survive

Conflict over scarce resources and crowding, leading to increased levels of warfare

Over-utilization of infrastructure, such as mass transit, highways, and public health systems

Higher land prices

In 1729, Jonathan Swift wrote the satirical essay A Modest Proposal where he suggests one solution for both the problem of overpopulation and the growing numbers of undernourished people in Ireland: cannibalism, particularly the raising of infants as food

Source: Wikipedia

Linky Love: Boyd, Renny, Deborah, Fruity, Lisa, Lynda, Graham


14 comments: to “ Overpopulation so far...

  • Anonymous 15.10.07

    It is a world that seems to be unraveling at an ever-increasing speed. The U.S. is worried that in 10 years the population will actually start decreasing yet they continue to slaughter children by the millions. Unbelievable!

    A thought provoking article.

  • Kim 15.10.07

    it is horrifying Boyd....
    and it seems that the lines between Science Fiction and reality seem to be more and more blurred as each decade passes.....
    thanks for dropping by... :)

  • Anonymous 15.10.07

    What a readable and thoughtful post and well documented too. But isn't that a problem in most industrial countries now?

    Btw: Thanks for supporting my 2008 Peace Price nomination and I wish you a great week ahead!

  • Anonymous 15.10.07

    An excellent and thorough write-up Kim!

    I wasn't aware that even Australia was overpopulated by such a high degree.

  • Fruity 15.10.07

    This problem will never end. It is always greener on the other side. The poor needs the rich.

  • Kim 15.10.07

    thanks Renny
    yes the problem is I realised when I started my research.....
    It was a pleasure to stop by and read about your nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize...
    have a great week too :)

    thanks Deborah...
    me seems that everyone wants to live in the cities along the coastline despite the fact that we have immense wide open spaces nearly everywhere else

    hi Fruity
    and vica versa.......what a shame that the wealth is not more evenly distributed eh ??

  • Lisa Lorenz 15.10.07

    Hi ya Kim! Beautiful art work. Have never seen this one! Its gorgeous. Interesting write up. I never knew this either. Hope you are doing well mate! xoxoxo

  • Kim 16.10.07

    hey Lisa
    you're back :-X.......looking forward to seeing all your pics mate....thanks for the lovely comment on my artwork :)

  • Lynda Lehmann 16.10.07

    Very informative and timely post, Kim!

  • Kim 16.10.07

    thanks Lynda...
    have a great day :)

  • Graham 16.10.07

    Ha, Malthus...I majored in Applied Economics (Third World Development) and I believe that Malthus is the most underrated of the Classical Economists. The fact that, even today, his theory of population growth is continually "broken down" speaks volumes. The crunch is economic growth. Not enough space to do justice to the occasion here, but, continued global growth, which is what it is all about, will inevitably cause long term population and environmental problems. The scenario of negative growth, to restore the balance is not considered an "acceptable" option, as this implies a regression of standard of living.

  • Kim 16.10.07

    that's very interesting information about be honest I wasn't aware of this term before I did this post.....
    thanks for the explanation Graham... :)

  • Anonymous 16.10.07

    You've got to quit it, one of those paintings has a curve in it!:)

    Beautiful paintings Kim, it is a treat to watch your great experiments of creativity bloom into masterpieces.

  • Kim 16.10.07

    LOL Boyd...are you sure?....I think it might be one of my special 'straight curves' done with lots of short straight lines.... :D

About The Author
Kim Barker is a Visual Artist (Diploma in Art and Graduate Diploma in Education). She is also a fully trained Reading Recovery Teacher. She has taught RAD (Royal Academy of Dancing) and Cecchetti Ballet Syllabii. Kim also manages the Top Artist' Directory and PoeARTica as well as her blog laketrees She lives with her family on the Eastern Central Coast of Australia. Follow Kim at laketrees on Twitter for updates and news