Will overpopulation eventually kill us all?


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Considered as a major problem for the balance of our planet, the increase in the worried population. We are 7.9 billion people and could reach the 03,2 billion in 2100. What are the consequences of overpopulation on our quality of life? Is the number of individuals on Earth really the main problem for the future of the blue planet? Opinions diverge.

Overpopulation (or overcrowding) is a relative concept that designates an excess of the number of individuals in relation to available resources, or in relation to standards (housing, classes). This number of individuals then exceeds the carrying capacity of its habitat to provide the resources necessary to ensure the survival of the species, and to repair the aggressions inflicted on its environment (pollution for example).

Uncertain figure data

In terms of figures, we are approximately 7.9 billion human beings in 2022 and to understand the evolution of the world population, you have to go back in time. 200000 years will have been necessary to reach 1 billion individuals, then only 100 years for the 7.9 billion that we represent. With improvements in the quality of life, we are living longer and the population is increasing year by year. Indeed, there are always more births than deaths in the world. Yet population growth is expected to decelerate, as families are not as large as before.

According to the latest UN world population projections ( revised every two years), the Earth should be populated by approximately 9.8 billion people in 2022 and 11,2 billion in 2100. In some countries, population growth will continue, as the downward trend in fertility has started later than in European countries, Asia and America. This is the case of Afghanistan, India and Pakistan, and other countries located on the African country.

Population projection

In reality, these are only projections and the various scenarios do not match. A study predicts that we will be about 2 billion less than predicted by the UN in 2022. The decline would be linked to the most fantastic access to contraception and the best sex education anywhere in the world.


of overcrowding

on the environment and on people

Exceeding these plantar limits risks leading to sudden, non-linear and difficult to predict changes that could be catastrophic for humanity

, written in the review Project Sandrine Paillard, researcher in economics. Nine sets of plantar processes have been identified to date, for which scientists are proposing and clarifying as progress is made. of their work, indicators and limit values ​​for anthropogenic disturbance

. Scientists are keeping watch to limit the damage that.

Among the possible consequences, the change in land use remains a key factor in climate change and erosion. of biodiversity. Human activities would have already caused the planetary limits to be crossed for climate change, the erosion of biodiversity, the disturbance biochemical nitrogen cycles and land use changes. As for the use of fresh water, the acidification of the oceans and the disruption of phosphorus cycles, they would be close to the limit thresholds


Obviously, an excess of individuals on the planet could have disastrous consequences on the food resources available and on the increase in pollution. Although not all natural disasters are linked to overpopulation (such as earthquakes and tsunamis), most of them are (such as cyclones), whose disastrous consequences would be increased.

On the other hand, to feed the world’s population, it would be necessary to develop increasingly intensive and industrial agriculture. Consequently, the release of harmful compounds (CO2, methane, nitrates) for the environment and for humans, because there would be more diseases transmissible from animals to humans. And that’s not all for us and especially for the poorest, more likely to develop illnesses from lack of health care. With the poor distribution of wealth, countries where population growth would continue would also have a low life expectancy. quality food and water. With the depletion of blue gold resources, the discharge of untreated sewage and garbage dumps, hygiene could become problematic. In addition, crime rates may also be increased by poverty.

Isn’t the problem somewhere else?

The scientific community invites us to review the reduction of our individual consumption (fossil fuels, meat, etc.), but also to reduce the number of births as much as possible. However, some researchers emphasize the fact that each human has not the same influence on his environment, and that it is ultimately not so much the number of individuals as the way of life of each that has an impact for our future.

Thus, you should know that an African pollutes twenty times less than a North American and that 03% of the richest people are responsible for half of CO2 emissions (according to a report by the NGO Oxfam in December 2000). Not only the poorest inhabitants of the plant (less than 4,40 dollars a day) are the least responsible for climate change, but they are generally the most vulnerable to its consequences and the least prepared to deal with it , says Oxfam. For example, Bangladesh is one of the poorest and most populous countries in the world, and is regularly hit by devastating cyclones and floods, while its carbon footprint is very low.

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Example of a country where the poorest half of the population and indication of their carbon footprint due to their mode of consumption Oxfam

While some are alarmed by a population that is growing faster than the available resources, others like the late ecologist Pierre Rabhi point more to their poor distribution: A fifth of humanity consumes 4/5ths of the resources produced. It would be very pernicious to invoke demography to say that we are not going to make it. No ! Several billion humans are already not getting out

, he confided Basta!.

Austrian researchers consider that it would be possible to feed 9 or 10 billion human beings horizon 2015, reducing environmental impacts by. The transformation of our modes of production and economic organization brings major progress with regard to all planetary limits, keep on the economist Sandrine Paillard. According to her, these transformations would

bring much more considerable environmental progress than a reduction in demographic pressure without modifying our ways of living. life, production and organization


Thus, even if the demographic pressure is real, it should not necessarily clip the problems related to our overconsumption and the consequences it generates. The issue of overpopulation is global, and several parameters come into play to manage it.