How to Prevent Overpopulation

by maurane on February 22, 2018 - 11:34pm

The article “How Many People is Too Many People?” by Hannah Gais inform us about the danger of outstripping resources with our growing population and gives solutions to prevent this problem. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the main cause of resources depletion is the outgoing expansion of the population. Consequently, since the world population is estimated to be 11 billion at the end of the century according to United Nations, Natural resources will be insufficient for the number of people living.  Also, Emissions, climate change, unemployment and regional instability due to resource insecurity are also consequences of population growth. Alan Weisman, an award-winning author, journalist and former University of Arizona professor, argue that human ingenuity and technological development will not fix the problem since this development requires resources and there are exhausted. Instead, Weisman proposes that family planning development initiatives and women's empowerment would be better solutions. He highlights the fact that the intervention of the US in Costa Rica in 1966 to lower birth rates by providing them contraceptive is one of the greatest decision his government has made and he hopes that the US will continue to take this issue seriously.  Another solution by Weisman for lowering birth rate is education, especially women education. He explains that education has the effect of empowering citizen and at the same time lowering birth rate. Finally, Gais believe that the U.S should continue to treat population growth as a national security issue.

In my opinion, even if the article was written five years ago, it is still relevant today since that the problem of overpopulation is still an important issue that is still not resolved. Also, I agree with Weisman when he proposes that education could be a solution. By educating women, they stay longer in school, it gives them knowledge it gives them the opportunity to pursue a career which makes personal goals priorities instead of having big families. Personally, I believe that government of developed countries should help less-developing countries where education for women is rare since overpopulation is an issue that will affect everyone and by only educating people in their own country won't change anything.


What makes this article summary so appealing to me is how you brilliantly promoted education of women as a means to counter overpopulation. While I agree that education of women has many positive consequences leading to restriction of population growth, I think that we could go as far as to state that education of the worldwide population (not just women) is needed to prevent overpopulation. Paul Ehrlich explains that humanity must realize the urgency of the Earth overpopulation, of the food crisis, and of the unsustainable agricultural exploitation leading inevitably to environmental deterioration. Once people educate themselves about how threatening overpopulation is, there will be no half-hearted attempts to sweep the problem under the rug. Ehrlich lists the ultimate call to action as follow, “stop expanding land area for agriculture (to preserve ecosystem services); raise yields where possible; increase efficiency in use of fertilizers, water, and energy; become more vegetarian; reduce food wastage; stop wrecking the oceans; significantly increase investment in sustainable agricultural research; and move feeding everyone to the very top of the policy agenda.” Education at the international level would greatly reduce denial of that call to action. Lastly, many politicians and economists are feeding the idea of unlimited economic growth to their nationwide populations. Even “educated people” believe in this myth; they fail to see that exponential economic growth in the past few years does not entail long term growth (especially on a planet with limited resources). Consequently, education is also about putting an end to the propagation of these misconceptions. All in all, education of all people (not just women) would be the right wake-up call to take action against overpopulation and to debunk any false beliefs about population growth.

Ehrlich, P. R. (2013, November 5). Overpopulation and the Collapse of Civilization. Retrieved from https:/ /mahb -and-the-collapse-of- civilization/

I chose this article because of the rich detailing of the concerning issue. One piece of information that never accrued to me, is that our pollution will increase by a minimum of 6 billion by the end of this century. Estimating the fact that our resources are coming to an end, additionally, we will face issue that will slow the productivity of our resources. This may be the recipe to a disaster. Moreover, “Emissions, climate change, unemployment and regional instability due to resource insecurity are also consequences of population growth.” These aspects are the main issue seen in any subject cover at Planetary Challenge course. We must take seriously the sign given to us and start taking action where we can. For example, around 150 million Americans use nonrenewable ground water everyday (Population Growth Puts Dent in Natural Resources, 2008), instead of using filtering water, or uncleansed water in our bathroom.

Washington University in St. Louis. (2008, October 10). Population Growth Puts Dent in Natural Resources. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 23, 2018 from

About the author