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Is over population the problem?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Studies have shown that many animals when subjected to over population, spontaneously develop individuals in the group that become violent, suicidal, and unstable. Many of these studies are done on rodents (mice), but there are other well known species that exhibit more or less some sort of "population decimation" phenomenon. I've read about one interesting example a while ago, it was a type of salamander. When over populated, one or a few in the group will undergo a physical transformation. They're heads become broader, they grow more husky, and they become voracious cannibals, devouring anyone in their vicinity. After the salamander population has been sufficiently reduced, they revert to their normal physique.

Do humans have such a mechanism too? Are all these suicide epidemics, genocide fanatics, and violent outbursts from individuals in the past the cause of such a mechanism?

IMO, this is what we are seeing. People are becoming stressed out, unstable, violent, suicidal, because we are over populated, and it's nature's way of population control when there is no natural predator to do it. Should we look into this and try to avert this potentially disastrous problem? Should we conduct a few thorough tests to determine what population density is safe? Should we look into some measure of population control?
post #2 of 12
That's an interesting concept. In a way cats do the same. How many posts have we seen in here about having problems in homes because there are too many cats in too small an area?

I can't commit an opinion other than agree with you that the world is overpopulated right now and that is stressing our planet. Whether that is causing some level of human evolution to ward off the problem would be a great study. I personally feel that when things get totally out of control, ma nature is going to set up her own version of population control and that is not going to be pleasant.
post #3 of 12
It IS an interesting concept and makes a lot of sense in theory...I'd like to see some studies and read some articles on something like this!
post #4 of 12
Okay, I hold no responsibility for the rest of the site - but I wanted to show people this one statement.

Quote:
If the entire population of the world were put into the land area of Texas, each person would have an area equal to the floor space of a typical U.S. home and the population density of Texas would be about the same as Paris, France.
http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_ID=13087

I don't think that overpopulation, per say, is the problem. There's plenty of areas where people have more than enough room around them. But you have a point - there are places in this world where we are overcrowded, and there are many of us who have way more than we need (and I include myself in this), while others go without. What we need is better distribution, of materials and other resources.

There was actually a very interesting article on elephant behavior and the growing aggression in elephants. Let me see if I can find it.

Edit:
Here's an article on the subject of growing elephant aggression due to the disruption of the elephant social hierarchy from the New York Times.
post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandtigress View Post
There was actually a very interesting article on elephant behavior and the growing aggression in elephants. Let me see if I can find it.

Edit:
Here's an article on the subject of growing elephant aggression due to the disruption of the elephant social hierarchy from the New York Times.
That article is fascinating. It's incredible how many parallels there are between humans and elephants. I know some sociologists have theorized that the disappearance of the extended family in many cultures has led to increased crime and violence.
post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandtigress View Post
Okay, I hold no responsibility for the rest of the site - but I wanted to show people this one statement.



http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_ID=13087

I don't think that overpopulation, per say, is the problem. There's plenty of areas where people have more than enough room around them. But you have a point - there are places in this world where we are overcrowded, and there are many of us who have way more than we need (and I include myself in this), while others go without. What we need is better distribution, of materials and other resources.

There was actually a very interesting article on elephant behavior and the growing aggression in elephants. Let me see if I can find it.

Edit:
Here's an article on the subject of growing elephant aggression due to the disruption of the elephant social hierarchy from the New York Times.
I think the world is getting more and more crowded and we are becoming more and more isolated as individuals. And I don't think its necessarily just physical space...rather, there is more competition for "resources"...think about the competitions for jobs, how many people are in debt and can't afford to keep up with the Joneses, how overlooked individuals can be by a very impersonal "system"...I feel like these are symptoms of overpopulation iin a way...

And I like the Elephant article...interesting!
post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by lionessrampant View Post
I think the world is getting more and more crowded and we are becoming more and more isolated as individuals. And I don't think its necessarily just physical space...rather, there is more competition for "resources"...think about the competitions for jobs, how many people are in debt and can't afford to keep up with the Joneses, how overlooked individuals can be by a very impersonal "system"...I feel like these are symptoms of overpopulation iin a way...

And I like the Elephant article...interesting!
I think we have to look at it on a global level, too, for example, the unequal distribution of water, a resource we can't survive without.
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
I was also wondering about temporary crowding as well. For example the rush hour madness (both for workers and school children). Or college dorms, or how about classrooms? The subway system in NYC can be pretty hellish during rush hour and I felt many days where I just didn't feel like dealing with it and went to work 2 hours early and left 2 hours late.

Thanks for the elephant article! It was a very interesting and thought provoking read.
post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandtigress View Post
Okay, I hold no responsibility for the rest of the site - but I wanted to show people this one statement.



http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_ID=13087

I don't think that overpopulation, per say, is the problem. There's plenty of areas where people have more than enough room around them. But you have a point - there are places in this world where we are overcrowded, and there are many of us who have way more than we need (and I include myself in this), while others go without. What we need is better distribution, of materials and other resources.

There was actually a very interesting article on elephant behavior and the growing aggression in elephants. Let me see if I can find it.

Edit:
Here's an article on the subject of growing elephant aggression due to the disruption of the elephant social hierarchy from the New York Times.

I agree completely... it's not really overpopulation, but overpopulation in effect because of unjust distribution and unwise use of resources. The end result is the same as if we all only had 800 sq feet of land to live off of.

P.S. I admit I thought that quote was bunk, and I just spent a half hour researching and crunching numbers for a bit, and basically, it was an understatement! This also brings to light how selfishly and wastefully we use our resources.
post #10 of 12
Quote:
If the entire population of the world were put into the land area of Texas, each person would have an area equal to the floor space of a typical U.S. home and the population density of Texas would be about the same as Paris, France.
There is no physical possibility that this can be true. None whatsoever. You cannot fit six billion people into Texas.
post #11 of 12
Try it, the math works - we did it in class once. Of course, the point of the example is not to say that we should try to fit all the people in the world into Texas, but simply to say that the problem with "overpopulation" is not that the planet is too small, but that we have a problem with the distribution of resources, including land.

You have lots of places with people crowded right on top of each other so they can barely breathe, and then other places that have very few people at all. Plus you have people who own enormous houses just for themselves or maybe a small family, while others are fitting many into small shacks.

There is, obviously, no easy solution to the problem, but each of us could do a small bit at a time to bring on a revolution - not just of resources but of thought, that could eventually change the world.
post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandtigress View Post
Try it, the math works - we did it in class once.
That is surreal!!

Quote:
Of course, the point of the example is not to say that we should try to fit all the people in the world into Texas, but simply to say that the problem with "overpopulation" is not that the planet is too small, but that we have a problem with the distribution of resources, including land.

You have lots of places with people crowded right on top of each other so they can barely breathe, and then other places that have very few people at all. Plus you have people who own enormous houses just for themselves or maybe a small family, while others are fitting many into small shacks.

There is, obviously, no easy solution to the problem, but each of us could do a small bit at a time to bring on a revolution - not just of resources but of thought, that could eventually change the world.
Now that's my kind of talk!
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