An overpopulated planet is not necessarily doomed. What matters most is how those billions of people choose to live.
A few years ago, I attended a dinner party where a friend of the host launched into an exhaustive diatribe about the problem with “breeders.” In his view, couples with children are selfish, narcissistic, and irresponsible, contributing to overpopulation. What he didn’t know at the time was that I was expecting.
I’ve heard this opinion many times before. Several friends and academic colleagues vocally opt not to have kids in order to “save the planet.” To them, population numbers are a simple input and output equation in which more people create more problems. Thankfully, it takes more than math to understand the mechanisms that shift the balance of life on Earth.
Here’s the part that’s not up for debate: Some of the greatest challenges we face globally stem from our current predicament. Too many people are squandering ever more limited resources including food, water, energy, and more. Climate change exacerbates these problems.