RELIGION: The myth of overpopulation

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60 years ago, when I was 16, I heard about overpopulation problems. We were going to run out of food, we would have to reduce the number of cars and ration water within 20 years.

I found it interesting that these reports were generated by people who live in densely populated cities like London, Paris, New York and Chicago. They had apparently not traveled much of the world.

I just read a report that the world’s population will reach around 8 billion by mid-November – probably by the time you’re reading this thought. That’s a lot of people! But when I stopped to do a little math, it didn’t seem like much after all. Look at these numbers.

There are approximately 268,601 square miles in Texas. At 640 acres in a square mile and 43,560 square feet in an acre, there are 7 trillion, 488 billion, 166 million, 188 thousand, and 400 square feet of space in Texas. Divide that number by 8 billion, and the entire population of the world can fit in an area the size of Texas. Even more interestingly, each person would have their own 936 square feet of walking space.

Planet Earth has approximately 57,268,900 square miles of land mass, so with the land population in Texas, the rest of the world’s 57,000,299 square miles would be empty of humanity. I guess the earth has not yet reached a critical mass of humanity.

Have you ever wondered how many people the world can support? Here are some numbers I read in a report published by the Australian Academy of Sciences in 2017.

A quick look at 67 studies done over the last few centuries is quite interesting. The lowest estimate of the number of people the world can support was 500 million. Thirteen studies believe that 2 to 4 billion was the limit. Twenty studies give the limit of 8 billion, and we have reached this point. A report by the Christian Science Monitor thought the population could reach 13 billion by 2100.

Twenty other studies give a range of 16 to 32 billion, and the last 12 studies push the limit from a wild estimate of 64 billion to over 1 trillion people. (A trillion people would fit in an area the size of Texas, each getting 78 square feet to themselves.)

Quoting a 2020 study from the University of Chicago, “People have worried about overpopulation on Earth for centuries, and climate change has only recently accelerated that fear. But a new study has found that feeding 10 billion of people on Earth is not only possible, but it could also be done in a sustainable way.”

Coming back to the present, what does it take to feed everyone? Here are several things we need to consider.

I found massive waste taking place in our stores. Employees of one of our country’s largest chain stores told me that state and local regulations require them to throw away thousands of pounds of food every week simply because the food has reached its expiration date. We should give this food to those who need it.

We should desalinate water from the oceans, as other countries are doing, for drinking and irrigation. We have the technology, and it can be implemented if Congress didn’t waste time, effort, and resources talking about it to the death.

Next, we should STOP paying farmers to NOT grow food. We can be more efficient about what we grow and how we grow it. Pay farmers to grow whatever they can. So we should give FOOD as foreign aid… not bombs, planes and money.

We have many ways to achieve higher yields while reducing environmental impacts, and we can improve those methods a lot more.

We can find ways to generate more electricity. A study is already underway to cover California’s 4,000 miles of canals with floating solar panels. This would save up to 60 billion gallons of water per year through evaporation and potentially produce 13 gigawatts of energy per year.

We don’t have an overcrowding problem; we have a problem of waste and inefficiency.

But there is a bigger problem. No matter how many people the earth can support, we will all die one day. Will you be with Jesus in heaven, or somewhere else? God will ensure your eternal peace and security if you choose to live for the Lord now. There are no problems to solve in heaven because God has taken care of everything.

— S. Eugene Linzey is an author, mentor and speaker. Send your comments and questions to [email protected] Visit his website at www.genelinzey.com. The opinions expressed are those of the author.

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