At 7.113 billion people, the Earth reached its capacity for human population and then just kept growing. Not only is this number larger than it has ever been in history, it shows no signs of stopping.
While most species on the planet have natural predators, unfavorable climates or shorter life expectancies, the human population has no such predators, changes the climate to fit its needs and has a life expectancy well beyond the bounds that the Earth can handle.
We are at a point in history where there is very little time left to fix the damage that is being done. It has come to the point where it is necessary to make a stand and create policy that will reroute the current course of our species.
Many methods have been tried to correct the overpopulation issue, whether it is increasing the availability of contraceptives or putting a limit on the number of children that are being allowed in urban settings.
The problem is that this is not working. Perhaps on a local level there is a minor slowing of the population, but over the global scale, there is rampant growth with no signs of slowing.
According the United States Census Bureau, there is a net growth (including all factors, births and deaths) of one person every twelve seconds. This unprecedented growth is constantly accelerating as more and more people have children.
It may seem horrible, but the answer is population control.
Throughout history there have always been factors that have controlled populations that were too large. In many cases it is larger predators such as the fox to rabbit populations. As rabbit populations rise, soon after the fox populations do as well. As soon as the rabbit populations drop, the fox do as well because of the lack of available resources. In other cases, biological factors come into play, whether it is the spread of disease or the transient gender of some fish species.
To some extent, the human population had these as well. When living in large numbers, the spread of disease was rampant and the populations were held to a fairly low level. The problem that we are facing today arose when humans used ingenuity to defeat the natural factors that would save the planet.
Having no natural predators, limited vulnerability to climate change or disease and apparently no personal restraint on reproduction, the only answer is to go to a large scale population control on a global scale.
Perhaps one of the saddest things about our society is that, in attempting to fix global problems such as the spread of disease or lack of food, the United States is actually contributing to the increase in population. In third world rural societies, there is a much higher birth rate due to the, also much higher, infant mortality rate. These two statistics balance one another out and allow for limited population growth. Because of American interference, there is a much lower infant mortality rate which in turn creates huge booms in population.
Unlike many first world nations, these countries are jumping steps in technologies which would allow for a slow progression to slower population increase as technology in turn improved. Instead, with accessibility to food and modern medicine from foreign aid, we as first world nations are actually creating a detriment to the global theatre.
In many ways, this phenomenon can be reflected in the ways that we are interacting with nature. Floods and forest fires actually benefit ecosystems in allowing for a revitalization of the soil and therefore the entire system. By human intervention to suit our own needs, forests become inhospitable to many forms of plant life that require the sustenance provided by the forest fires and floods.
As such, we are creating an inhospitable environment on a much larger scale by eliminating the bonds that control population such as hunger, war, natural disaster and lack of access to medicine.
While this is not to be misconstrued as saying that huge populations should be killed to save the planet, I simply mean to say that without natural boundaries, we must make a conscious effort to create artificial ones.
These means can be anything along the spectrum of availability of contraceptives, policy control over number of children, or perhaps some other means that has not yet been explored. Through a conscious effort to inform the masses on a global scale, governmental policy and an intentional step towards eliminating exponential growth in human population, there may be a chance that the planet can be saved.
Isaac Morley is a sophomore business and English education double major. In his free time – who are we kidding, he has no free time. Follow him on Twitter @Isaac_Morley. Letters and feedback can be sent to email@example.com