**(Suggested) Rules of this thread: Please read!
I had half a mind to start this new thread on Great Debates because so many questions that appear neutral in character and content turn out to be minefields of liberal/conservative, right/left, Catholic/non-Catholic, socialist/capitalist controversy.
I am not unaware that this question is connected to a wide range of other debates regarding contraception, environmental issues, etc.
But while I am not a moderator, I wonder if I could ask the cooperation of both moderators and posters in maintaining a Socratic dialogue? Your cooperation would be apreciated.**
Let us start by agreeing that if we use the word “overpopulated” we must mean “populated above and beyond a certain desirable or perhaps crucial point”.
So by what standards or with what measuring tape do we judge a planet to be overpopulated by a given species (in this case homo sapiens)?
First, I believe we can agree that sheer lack of space cannot be the benchmark we will use. We cannot say “The planet is overpopulated when there is no longer be enough land for everyone to stand on.”
Here is an interesting statistic. If you gave every one of the six billion humans (IS it still six billion?) a square metre to stand on, you could fit them all easily on an Island the size of Jamaica and still have almost half the Island left over.
Don’t believe me? Do the math. A square km. is 1000 metresX1000 metres=1,000,000 square metres. So every square km. would hold one million people, right? And a thousand square km. would hold a billion, right? Well, Jamaica has 11,000 square km. , or enough room for 11 billion people!!!
Now of course, this is purely a mathematical game to show that we humans as individual animals do not take up as much room on Earth as we suppose. But it could not work in reality. The problems of just feeding and sewage disposal of six billion humans standing on Jamaica would make it impossible to put even a fraction of those numbers on that Island.
But there are standards other than sheer physical space.
Most public rooms contain notices that “Occupancy by more than ____ persons is unlawful.” I assume this is put up by the Fire Department, and is based on something like how many people can mak it out the door in a given time?
Lifeboats on ships have maximum occupancies. This may be based on the number of seats, but it may also be based on the amount of water and emergency rations stored on the lifeboat, etc.
SO HERE IS MY GREAT QUESTION FOR MY FELLOW DOPERS:::::(Drumbeat and trumpets):
What measure would we use to determine whether our good old planet Earth is overpopulated or not?