Overpopulation Is The Real Problem

Trying to understand John Zernan (“From A to Zerzan,” EW 11/11) is like riding on a merry-go-round and trying to figure out which ride is the front.

Ötzi “the iceman” was murdered 5,300 years ago, so apparently they didn’t get along so well back then after all. But it was heartening to see Robert Bolman (Letters, 11/18) acknowledge “population overshoot” — the understatement of the year — which, in fact, is our primary problem.

If two million people normally get 40 inches of rain a year that satisfies all of their farming, industrial, and domestic needs, at what point will an increased population cause a “drought”? That’s where we are today, even without rainfall pattern changes. 

Sustainability is only possible when all the parts mesh. The only things human beings need to survive on Planet Earth are food, water and shelter. The energy necessary to fulfill basic needs is proportional to the population. Ötzi didn’t need electricity, radio, television, phones, newspapers, magazines, motion pictures, processed music, organized sports, concerts or plays to survive.

Today, all of that and modern medicine are nice options, but it is impossible to produce all that stuff, batteries, wind or solar devices or electric vehicles, without fossil fuels.

There are people who live, unhappily, without all the things we take for granted and it is human nature to want our standard of living. If 4 billion people could live with all the creature comforts we have on a reasonably sustainable basis, how can 8 billion people achieve the same goal without massive amounts of fossil fuels?

Greg Williams


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