Currently there are many theories about the course the rise in population will follow, but in the end, only two count: either society will continue to grow without bound and eventually pack itself out of existence, or it will curb the rates of growth on its own and insure a gentle decrease back into lower population numbers. So, the issue now is not whether or not humans will outgrow themselves and run out of space, but rather if we will be able to curtail the growth rate before it is forced upon us by overcrowding.
The United Nations is beginning the necessary action of lowering the growth rate by actively attempting to reduce the birth rates in third world countries. It is accomplishing this by promoting birth control devices and drugs as well funding nations which have laws restricting the amount of children one family can have. So far, they have met much resistance and have yet to have much of an impact, but at least their goals are in the right direction.
There are numerous groups in the U.S. as well which are striving to do something about the frightening increase in world population. One of these groups, the ZPG (Zero-Population Growth) seeks ways to stabilise the world's population and insure that we don't exhaust all of our earth's resources by overconsumption. An even more intensely devoted group is the NPG (Negative-Population Growth) which actually envisions a slow decline in the world's total population over the next few decades. Whether this is feasible or not remains to be seen, but they are certainly out there trying their best to get the message out.
It seems the single most driving force behind these groups' ideals is Malthus's eerie prediction that nature will eventually right itself and contain this unnatural growth. Humans are afraid of that which they can not control, and no one can stand in the way of overpopulation.
Back to the population home page
Last Modified 4/18/96 by the authors.
Mail comments to Teddy Byrd