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Abler Minded: Is the earth overpopulated?

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The answer to the question, is the earth overpopulated, depends on one’s perspective and what measures one might use to come up with an objective assessment.

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Strictly speaking, the answer is no. There is enough room for everyone now living and a lot more. If we include where people live versus where food is produced and clean water is available, things become a bit more relativistic and less clear.

A couple of columns ago I mentioned a few types of the many Chicken Little wannabes who vie for our attention for their pet crusades for or against one cause or another. I recently discovered I had overlooked one of the more popular and totally misguided groups of folks — those who think, are convinced or have a visceral belief that the size of the world’s population and its exponential growth are the source of all of our problems and will lead to our eventual ruin, implosion or destruction.

They, like so many others of their ilk, do not think with their gray matter, do not understand true cause and effect, or want something to be so … and so it must be so — the end.

I think I read somewhere that most of the earth’s population lives within plus or minus 30 degrees of the equator. That would probably stand to reason since that is the relatively temperate climate zone.

And a lot of people live along the equator where it is too hot and humid for my taste, but the advantage is you don’t need a source of heat for your comfort. The heat does create other comfort issues.

Overpopulation is relative in other areas. Both China and India have more than 1 billion people each. I think that’s somewhat under one-third of the entire population of our dear planet.

However, China has a large land area and India does not. One appears far more crowded than the other, and if you visit any large city or metroplex in most countries you might say there appears to be far too many people there. If you’ve ever been in a Tokyo subway or on a Los Angeles freeway during rush hour (7 a.m. to 9 p.m. or thereabouts) you’d be convinced we’re overcrowded.

The true issue is related to resources and logistics. There is enough food produced on earth to feed all the people on earth if we human beings would dedicate ourselves to doing just that. We just passed a farm bill to pay some farmers for not growing any crops. I think that’s because they are trying to stabilize prices of certain commodities. It’s certainly not because the food can’t be used elsewhere. And it is because someone else somewhere can’t pay for it.

A lot of food is already shipped to other countries to feed the poor, but in more than a few cases, tinhorn dictators, corrupt government officials and self-appointed warlords take over distribution and keep the food for themselves and friends or sell the food instead of giving it away.

And our government simply does not have the resources or the will to keep that from happening. And thus enters the other 900-pound simian issue — politics.

In Africa, South Asia and Latin America most hunger deaths are not the result of famine, earthquakes, floods or mere lack of food. Those deaths result when people lack the opportunity to earn enough income, to be educated and gain skills, and to meet basic health needs.

We appear to be far more adept and dedicated in providing military intervention than in helping governments develop their own resources and define a path that will lead to sustainability. Too often we rely on the United Nations and non-governmental organizations to carry the humanitarian torch for us.

And before you donate your money in response to the emotional television ads, please check the Charity Watch or similar websites to ensure you are donating to a responsible organization that spends most of the funds on the people they purport to help.

The earth is not overpopulated, except perhaps with too many people who think the earth is overpopulated.

One last unrelated thought for your consideration. Our national debt is more than $14 trillion. There are approximately 7 billion people on the planet. Doesn’t that equate to $2,000 for every person on earth?

And guess what the median income is for the world? It’s $2,000. Of course, since “we” own all the debt, our individual share approaches $120,000 each! And our true indebtedness far exceeds the first figure, so it’s a lot worse than we think.

Maybe our country is overpopulated with politicians who can’t seem to spend responsibly.

Well, that’s the way I see it.

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