From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

This Environmentalism related article has not received a brainstar for quality. Please consider expanding the article appropriately. See RationalWiki:Article rating for more information.

Editorial notes


This entry fails to present any scientific evidence or references to show that the human population is now in a state of "overpopulation." Given this lack of evidence, it is impossible for there to be "denialism." Douglas Watts 02:42, 26 January 2009 (EST)

Nowhere does the article say the human population as a whole is in a state of overpopulation at the present; indeed it points out that those in the past who have made such assertions turned out to be rash and premature. At the same time, ecological carrying capacity of any given area, with limits to growth due to scarcity of resources, is an established scientific fact. That this carrying capacity can be increased due to technological advances (such as the Green Revolution increasing food output, and the availability of various energy sources) is also established scientific fact. What the denialists seem to be denying is the fact of carrying capacity itself, not whether or not humanity as a whole is currently overpopulated. Then you have people like Pat Buchanan decrying the low birth rates in Europe and Japan as being some kind of demographic disaster - it is not - and linking it to being a natural consequence of feminism and the secularization of society - which is true, reference the demographic transition model. Localized instances of human overpopulation have undoubtedly occurred, such as the Irish potato famine, and the question of whether there is human overpopulation today would likewise appear to be limited to some localities, mostly in the less developed world; in sum it isn't a "global" problem right now. Since this is a wiki you are more than welcome to add to or edit the article. (Hmm...on the matter of denialism maybe there should also be a section on "green revolution denialism" for those who don't accept that science and technology can increase the carrying capacity...) Secret Squirrel 08:25, 22 February 2009 (EST)

Bronze these baby shoes?[edit]

What does it take? It reads pretty well, seems like a good article to me, but I haven't been down this road much, or at all... Agamemnon (talk) 05:24, 5 December 2010 (UTC)

This article seems really outdated[edit]

Check this out instead. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 15:10, 23 December 2016 (UTC)
@Reverend Black Percy Good video. A little too optimistic, however. Nerd (talk) 04:27, 4 April 2018 (UTC)

One issue I have with this article[edit]

"individuals who do not reproduce obviously cannot pass on their genes to the next generation"

That's an over-simplified view of evolution. To semi-coherently ramble at 6am in the morning with no sleep: Individuals that don't reproduce actually can pass on their genes if those genes are not the result of a mutation. How does that work? Quite simple: The genes didn't come out of thin air. They exist in the population, even if they don't express that phenotype. A population with genes possibly resulting in homosexuality would see both a decrease in children dying as a result of their parents dying, and a decrease in resource competition. These genes would get passed down. Even if it doesn't provide a benefit at the time, the genes still get passed down. Not saying that it's what happened, but it is a way for an individual's genes to get passed down without the individual reproducing, and it points out that the above statement is inaccurate. Narky SawtoothNarky.png (Nyarnyar~) 11:29, 5 April 2017 (UTC)


From the section Solution, I have removed the sentence:

"exclusive homosexuality is a deleterious trait from the standpoint of evolution, as individuals who do not reproduce obviously cannot pass on their genes to the next generation."

Because evolution does not work only on the individual level, and a deleterious trait of an individual can be very advantageous for the species. In particular, although the causes of homosexuality are still unknown, one theory says that homosexuals may have more sisters than the average, so that, even if they do not reproduce, on the overall they are advantageous to the reproduction of the species. — Unsigned, by: McLaghing / talk / contribs 11:42, 15 December 2017 (UTC)

One Doubt[edit]

I would argue that the criticism "They argue that it is classist because some hard green activists who support the stereotypes fail to consider the excesses and byproducts of capitalism in developed nations, which is incredibly vague and meaningless," isn't exactly untrue because there is plenty evidence that there is enough food for 10 billion on the Earth at a current moment but a lot of it gets straight up wasted or feed to animals meaning that there is something wrong with the way food is distributed now. I get why this was put in because the article since it is supposed to be neutral but at the same time taking the centrist position does not automatically make one right and it might want to be noted that this is usually what the left means so to not misrepresent or distort the point being made. Not only that but, one should take into account that the further enviromental issues like climate change goes along the more that the far right will adopt environmentalist talking points to justify their ideas. Otherwise, we wouldn't be seeing the rise of people like the Christchurch shooter as well as plenty of Neo-nazi groups adopting pseudo-ecological talking points as a weapon minorities and poor people. A lot of said talking points usually relies on Malthusian theory to argue that brown people are reproducing to the point that when they immigrate into first world countries not only will they destroy the white race but they will also destroy the environment. This isn't to say that overpopulation will never be a problem since this article isn't arguing that it is now but I think these previous points should be taken into consideration to make the article more accurate but to also make sure that information like this does not become abused by the kinds of people I mentioned here. — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs 5:37, 29 June 2019 (UTC)

The 'far-right' doesn't adopt real concerns about overpopulation though since they don't support decreasing fertility rates of 'white' ethnic groups. The Christchurch shooter was telling white people to breed more and increase their TFR (total fertility rate) to 2.1 - the complete opposite of neo-Malthusians who want to decrease TFRs to stop and reverse unsustainable population growth, not increase them. Gigantes (talk) 17:53, 29 June 2019 (UTC)
Well that section of the far-right is all about more white people, and genocide for everyone else, so any attention they may give to this topic is really mere lip service to hide their ulterior motives of making the planet ~~Nazi~~ white. — Dysk (contribs) 20:33, 29 June 2019 (UTC)
I do feel the left-leaning criticism section is full of weak strawman arguments (it's pretty obvious "excesses of capitalism" means developed nations have a much larger carbon footprint unless you're being willfully obtuse) and needs to be rewritten. Plus, labeling relatively mild liberal / social democrat level criticism as "extreme left" makes us sound like the Daily Mail or other regional right-wing rag equivalent. Colossal Squid (talk) 04:44, 9 November 2019 (UTC)
Okay, I've rewritten the section to explain why people may be unnerved by overpopulation rhetoric due to historical context. Colossal Squid (talk) 09:08, 1 February 2020 (UTC)

Umm... Major Problems![edit]

First of all, where in the hell does this article present any legitimate scientific evidence that human overpopulation has happened or is happening? I mean, if we're talking a very small country like Bangladesh with a crazy population density, you have an argument. But worldwide? Not even friggin' close. So, why the hell is there a "solutions" section when in previous sections, it admits that the carrying capacity of our planet can be increased through technology and innovation (e.g. the Green Revolution)?

It would seem to be the logical conclusion, then, that the solution to Bangladesh's issue is innovation in urban planning and food distribution, not lies based on outdated research that was faulty in the first place and asinine assumptions derived from it. It seems to me that there can't be "solutions" if there isn't really a problem.

The worst offense is the section titled "Optimism." How in God's name can you be optimistic about effectively destroying the First World's social safety nets and old-age pension systems by having fewer young workers (and fewer taxpayers)?! Who the hell thinks that's a good thing? Any "optimism" about that happening would only be held by fucking psychopaths! The celebratory tone of this section about declining worldwide fertility rates is creepier than a Stephen King novel.

I would suggest fixing this by drawing a distinction between scientifically proven overpopulation of animals in certain environments (e.g. whitetail deer in the U.S.) and the hypothetical human overpopulation (which, again, on a global scale, is not a goddamn problem!)

Sorry for my tone here. I just... the lies have to stop. It's not conducive to solving actual problems if there isn't a shared concept of reality.

Love, --SaneConservative52 (talk) 09:38, 3 January 2020 (UTC)

Overpopulation is a local issue. It manifests as famine sufficient to reduce the local population. It doesn't even apply conceptually as a global issue because there is no global shared pool of the resources that constrain human population growth. And yet, it's often presented as such in Western countries. Consider whether the people who would benefit from that impression have the means and opportunity to cultivate it. It's largely become an ideological issue (see the article) where it serves as a post hoc justification for desired positions or policies. As such, the technical details of the situation are beside the point for much of the discussion that goes on. 192․168․1․42 (talk) 11:38, 3 January 2020 (UTC)

"How in God's name can you be optimistic about effectively destroying the First World's social safety nets and old-age pension systems by having fewer young workers (and fewer taxpayers)?!" Money, and the value it represents, doesn't come from workers... it comes from production. As we produce more efficiently due to new technology (typically reducing workers needed per unit of production), supply increases and/or cost decreases. Both result in deflation, allowing the printing of money to use as government revenue. The pyramid scheme of funding old people with growing population of young people is unsustainable. People are resource processors, not resources producers. Eventually you run out of resources to process. Meanwhile a major leap in technology of AI is impending/ongoing. Nations that can afford it will be the first to get a taste of technology that will accelerate the crisis of technological unemployment if we do the wrong thing (such as increase the number of working age people who will just collect more unemployment checks, or split a full time job with 2 other part timers). Increasing or even maintaining population will cost the safety net more, degrowth is free and already happening in developed nations. (talk) 00:40, 25 October 2020 (UTC)

Population as a function of food supply?[edit]

The article does not mention the causes of population growth. One of the causes might be the growth of global food production, it seems. See more: [1] and [2] (talk) 16:52, 17 July 2020 (UTC)balazs