didn't call Thomas Malthus the "gloomy prophet" for nothing: his visions
presaged an overpopulated world wracked with the resulting problems of
famine and privation. His theories later fell out of favor, but with some reports
tagging the unrest in Tunisia and Egypt to a spike in global food
prices, it's worth wondering
whether the globe is already experiencing
some of the early affects of overpopulation. An article by John Yemma
the Christian Science Monitor points this out, and raises some relevant questions. By 2050, for example, the world population will hit 9.2 billion, according to the U.S. census bureau. "Because of declining
birthrates, population specialists believe that will be the peak." But "can the planet carry another 2.3 billion people, the
equivalent of another India and China?" And "where will the food come from? Agricultural specialists say that Africa....may be the next breadbasket."
Yemma cites a separate Monitor report
that examines this, noting
"how rich nations from China to Germany to Saudi Arabia are looking at
the Guinea Savannah and other areas of Africa as a source of food and
biofuel for their voracious populations. This is causing inevitable
tensions, since African agriculture is made up of millions of small
plots where families do subsistence farming. Africans are rightly wary,
considering their history. The 21st century could see a new form of
colonial plantation displacing indigenous farms."
"Our species can still prove Parson Malthus wrong,"
Yemma says. "But it won't just take wiser management of land, water,
energy, and population. We'll need a wiser form of humanity this time in
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