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Scientist, Teacher, Naturalist, Photographer
11:48 PM on 11/15/2008
Finally someone focuses on an important problem. Malthus was of course right. The fact that technological innovation and the industrial revolution has allowed us to escape his prediction is only a temporary escape of what is inevitable unless limits are put on population growth.. Even technology has its limits and just being able to feed people doesn't account for all the stress & damage that dense human population would put on the environment. Overcrowding is degrading the environment rapidly and fu,ture population density and poverty could lead to the rise of hitherto as yet unknown communicable infectious disease of catastrophic proportions. If people wants to test fate they will regret it. Less people living among the available resources will always give us a chance for a higher quality of life.

It's sad to say that some world leaders and politicians like president Bush and the conservatives
have a total ignorance about environmental issues. In fact , their appreciation of the importance of environmental and scientific issues, as well as that of birth control is one of the great delusions among present day mankind. Such conservative values belong in the dust-bin of history
11:48 PM on 11/15/2008
Educate women.

Every time women get control of their own bodies, and the means to care for the children they do have -- so that they don't have to bear 5 children to see one survive to adulthood -- the birth rate goes down.

Educate women. Give them access to birth control.

And educate men so they don't believe the biggest measure of their manhood is the ability to get a woman pregnant.

Of course there are too many people living on the planet. But you won't find many volunteers ready to leave, so the sensible thing to do in the meantime - besides giving women education and control over their own bodies -- is to stop teaching waste and start teaching conservation.

"Faith-based" solutions are just a delusional form of denial. And we don't have convenient planets out there to colonize... so we'd better get real and get busy.
Call on God, but row away from the rocks. HST
11:00 PM on 11/15/2008
In the future, if Man gets there, the human race will move off the planet, at least this can be argued. In the mean time, yes, people have to control their numbers somehow. Feminism as the writer suggests, choice in reproductive matters, will make a huge difference....also beyond population control, lifestyle changes will make it possible for more people to coexist with nature. Live better, consume less. All these things are going to be a part of tomorrow, if we are here to see it happen.
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10:57 PM on 11/15/2008
Thank you, thank you, thank you!

At last the real answer to many of our current, worldwide problems has fought and kicked its way out of the media no-fly zone and turned up on the pages of Huffpo.

Of course there are too many people. Unfortunately and perhaps terminally, capitalism is taking over the planet and capitalism lives or dies on growth. As long as we have capitalism, we'll have a culture that promotes population growth and stifles any voice trying to point out that it's a recipe for mass extinction.

I don't have an answer to the situation, but like most things in life, we can only start the cure once we're aware of and accept the problem.
10:57 PM on 11/15/2008
Mr. Hari seems a little blinded by romantic thinking with the thought that soon there will be more people alive at one time than the sum of those who lived in the first 17 centuries after Christ. I say this because he seems to cast a romantic, superior eye to those who have lived before us, as if they were innocents, really, children, who were blissful in their ignorance. How else can you explain his bald assertion, "Two centuries ago, nobody could have conceived that the sun's rays or the waves in the ocean were a resource to be used".

Before Christ was born, solar energy was a resource harnessed to light kitchen fires all over the world, using a burning mirror. It was also used before Christ to fight wars, for example, Archimides used solar power as a resource against the Romans in the Siege of Syracuse.

The first patent issued on a wave energy pump was filed in Paris in 1799, more than two centuries ago...
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Yer enemies know what yer friends can't believe
01:31 AM on 11/16/2008
You just reenforced his argument and do not even realize it. He was being kind. You've just proven that our ingenuity goes back for centuries, but our ignorance is timeless.
10:05 PM on 11/15/2008
YES! FINALLY!! YES!! The toughest and biggest problem our species will face.
09:04 PM on 11/15/2008
This sounds like Ebenezer Scrooge, who wishes the surplus population would be gone.......and that upon being visited by ghost of Christmas past sees the two waiffs, "Ignorance" and "Want". I think it IS ignorance, where the wealthiest nations don't distribute to the rest. As far as the eco-system being drained, I thought the rabid enviromentalists believe that the world adjusts itself with natural disasters and keeps the populations under control.

I personally believe God has it under control. Those fearful globalists might need a good visit from the ghost of Christmas one of these nights!!
11:43 PM on 11/15/2008
God helps those who help themselves.
12:54 AM on 11/16/2008
Oh really? And just what else does he have under control?

The HIV/AIDS crisis? Genocide in Africa?
The global economy?
Rampant dogmatic stupidity?

I guess we should just sit back and see what he has in store to fix those annoying little problems he sent us, huh?
Libera Nos a Malo
08:50 PM on 11/15/2008
Since I was born, the human population has tripled. That kind of growth of one species is cancerous. We either need to take responsibility for our birth rate or nature will do it for us. We are a very irresponsible species and alot of that irresponsibility is being fed by outdated patriarchal religions.

It's way past time our species grows up; match our intelligence with emotional and TRUE moral standards; realize the humbling truth that we are merely a part of the web of life and not the master race of it. Only then will we be able to take gently and give willingly.
08:07 PM on 11/15/2008
If every one in the world now had middle class Americans standard of living the world would be destroyed!
And everyone in the world wants or will soon want our standard of living in the US because of the media. Forget about food shortages- lack of clean WATER is the biggest problem facing the world right now. Wars will be fought over water like they were fought over oil, but we can live without oil but not WATER!
02:31 AM on 11/16/2008
We can safely guarantee that not many people will ever ascend to that "standard", but many will live better while maintaining a smaller footprint. The Europeans and the Japanese are examples of people who live considerably better with half the waste.
07:59 PM on 11/15/2008
I've done my part. Never been pregnant. Many women I know get pregnant for ALL the wrong reasons, even though they are not even sure they want kids. Societal expectations, the desire to feel like a woman, provide grandkids, etc. I am grateful I never succumbed to any of that, especially given the present dire world circumstances

. I think people should be encouraged to have no more than two children.
11:25 PM on 11/15/2008
I have found that most people can readily produce a list of all the wrong reasons for having kids.
I have also concluded that most people's reason for having their kids, although rarely acknowledged, is on that list.

And there's been many a child's spirit crushed by its parents to ensure that the unspoken objective for their being will be fulfilled.
10:01 AM on 11/16/2008
I never got pregnant either. It fascinates me that most people my age (mid-50's) envy me because I did so many interesting things with my life instead of raising children. This was not what I expected. Haven't regretted it yet.
06:29 PM on 11/15/2008
Yes! Perhaps, we could make dent in the problem if we not just permit gay marriage, but actively encourage it. :-)
06:23 PM on 11/15/2008
How about revising the tax code to reward childless men & women who submit proof of sterlization ?
08:11 PM on 11/15/2008
Why insist on sterilization? Just childless should be enough.
I'm Just Me!
06:17 PM on 11/15/2008
The current world population is kicking the heels off 6.9 billion, the earth cannot support many more!
Livin' the Dream
09:45 PM on 11/15/2008
The world cannot support the 6.9 already here. Overpopulation is the last, great, ugly truth.
just follow the $$$
04:41 PM on 11/15/2008
"and we will only get there by freeing women to make their own reproductive choices."

04:39 PM on 11/15/2008
It comes down to personal responsibility.
Sometimes it comes naturally, and other times it must be forced on the individual.

Those who are ignorant of the dangers of overpopulation will continue to procreate without ceasing.
Impoverished countries continue to multiply their numbers, thus harmong those of us who are responsilbe enough to NOT reproduce.

We cannot allow them to continue procreating and reproducing without consequences, as we (who are responsible) will also suffer from their lack of consideration.

If you cannot afford a child, you should not be allowed to have a child.
Especially if it burdens others.

People should need to acquire a license to reporduce.

There is something wrong with a world which lets those who could never support another human being, create another human being.

This is fundamentally wrong.

We all suffer, and it's time we hold those irresponsible breeders accountable for their lack of responsibility.
05:12 PM on 11/15/2008
Can anyone talk to the Mormons about this?
02:03 PM on 11/17/2008
Why are their children so well-behaved??
08:21 PM on 11/15/2008
I think you missed the point. The article is making the point that if these overproducing women had a choice in the matter they wouldn't be producing.

There is no need for anything as draconian as licenses to reproduce. If you can't afford to have a child you shouldn't be allowed to have a child, but have you considered that these women have no choice? In fact, with Bush's order not to give aid to clinics that provide birth control information we are forcing these women to have babies they don't want?

Finally, personal responsibility can not be forced on people. That is what the pro-lifers are trying do.

The real problem is that our cultural conceptions haven't caught up with our technological progress. It used to be that a large family was necessary to ensure that enough children would survive to work the farm and support the family. Good medical care, good nutrition, good public health services such as sewers and water treatment plants, improved technology to eliminate a lot of the "grunt" work has decreased the need for large families.

Instead of being judgmental why don't we start helping people to develop the skills or products they need to be responsible?