Is the concern from overpopulation a racist concept?

Headlines asking, ‘Can we live in a world of ten billion?’ both in the media and in scientific articles are widespread. They portray a kind of dystopia world where houses are stacked on top of each other whilst the population manically consume the entire world’s resources. The reality, in fact, is just as bad, but population isn’t the main issue.

Here I show two things. Firstly, that our lifestyles have much more of an impact on the world than population size. Second, that the focus on overpopulation in the media is inherently racist, as it tries to place blame on developing nations, avoiding the elephant in the room that actually, countries with the least population growth are consuming the most.

One example is the often stated problem of how we are going to feed 3 billion more people by 2050. Actually, those 3 billion more people only account for a third of the extra food we need to produce. The other two thirds come from people eating a more meat heavy and exotic diet.

Another, is the fact that Indonesia is the fourth most populated country in the world, yet only contributes to 1% of greenhouse emissions. Moreover, India has more than three times the population of America, but only consumes half as much.

So clearly, having more people on the planet doesn’t matter as much as what they do, so why does western media kick up such a fuss?

Well, if population rise is seen as the worst of the world’s problems, then so is Africa and Asia. To this extent, blaming population over and over is just a way of saying, ‘look at Africa and Asia, their population is growing so fast we won’t be able to cope!’. And if we can blame the Africans, the west can continue to fly on holidays, own huge homes and cars, and unfairly monopolise the planets resources.

So next time somebody stresses about the population increase in Africa and Asia, question why they think they can consume so much, but the rest of world should stay the same.

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Just two ordinary guys, talking about extraordinary science

7 thoughts on “Is the concern from overpopulation a racist concept?”

  1. I fully see where you’re going with this and you made a very valid point about media blaming other countries, but personally I think there is a population issue, but it is global. I’m in the U.K. and we are currently incapable of supporting our own population on our land mass. It might be possible if the whole country switched diets (I don’t know how much land that would free up) but I think once a country can no longer sustain itself, you have to admit that population is an issue!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That is true, (I am also from the UK), and I do admit population is an issue. Also I think it’s a good point you make because the UK population isn’t growing, but only because it has already grown exponentially. However, as you point out we could save the land needed by switching diets (a hell of a lot actually). If then you consider we could save space by preventing millionaires having huge areas of private land and having the top 20% of wealthiest people consume (general consumption, not just food) the same as the average person, it is possible for the UK to sustain itself. You’re right though, population is definitely an issue. However, my view is that the rate of consumption, especially by the richest, should be the focus, not population. Especially when you consider population in the UK has started to decline, but the impact on the planet is still rising exponentially.


      1. I can’t find anything to suggest that the U.K. population isn’t still growing – the growth rate has slowed but it seems to be growing still, happy to be proven wrong though. Regardless, you make very valid points and I think this is a really good way of approaching our consumption issues, so I’m glad you wrote this! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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