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  • Writer's pictureAryan Shah

How do we solve the population problem?

What is defined as the 'carrying capacity'? It is the maximum population size of a biological species that can be sustained by a specific environment. With 7.8 billion people on this very planet, in my opinion, we have exceeded Earth's carrying capacity.

There, I said it!

There is no reason to believe that we still have a long time to go before we face any crisis level difficulties such as food insecurity, overhousing, famine, increased tectonic activity and severe global poverty. But, you know what, we are already in this phase! As our numbers increase exponentially we can see these things happening right in front of our eyes. We can see the increased food insecurity and shortages in Ethiopia and The Democratic Republic of Congo, who yearn for a green revolution. We saw famine in China in the 1950's due to the incredibly large population there, calling for an anti-natal policy to be put in place. We see increased tectonic activity in places like Nepal that experienced Earthquakes in 2015. We can see global poverty everywhere from the Favelas in Rio de Janeiro to Mozambique with a GDP per capita of $429 USD.

Some suggest that we fly to Mars and inhabit its' barren landscape, but what about the killer radiation and the lack of food? Can we really rely on Andy Weir and Matt Damon's depiction of growing food on Mars? Well, it's a bit trickier than that. I think we could become moles. Yes, you heard that right, MOLES. The solution is to colonise underground. That way, if we colonise at least 5 metres underground, we are protected from the radiation and there's a chance that we can hunt for water sources down there too! It's an interesting concept considering the volatile landscape and atmosphere. We would even need a way to purify the atmosphere there with comfortable levels of Oxygen, which is difficult indeed. It's a hard one, but many experts are considering it.

What about ditching the land and becoming aquamen and women? We could colonize our own seas, but it is very unchartered territory, especially given that we have a complete map of the moon, but not of our own oceans! This could even out the distribution of people on land and underwater, with the LIC's (who make up for most of Earth's human population) above land, as the costs of living underwater would be crazy high and probably affordable by the most affluent individuals.

In addition, constructing aqua buildings would have to be storm resistant and could cause sea-levels to rise, maybe even completely wiping out the land and sending it underwater for millenia?

These are some tricky options to solve the housing issue, but what about the high food insecurity? You could try lab-grown food. Although, it should be sustainable and beneficial to the environment, otherwise there really is no point in anything. One problem with this, is that many subsistence farmers in the LEDC's just farm to put food on their plates or their family's plates, suggesting that the companies endorsing the lab-grown meat and food must find a way to make it accessible to the poorest of people, even if it means reducing the price significantly.

As we saw in the One Child Policy adopted by China in 1979, this prevented 400 million, yes you heard that right, 400 million births! The Chinese suffered great famine in the 1950's, resulting in 15 million deaths. The government were forced to impose this policy on their people, especially with the birth rate at 6.4 at that time too. This was arguably a good example of how to reduce your population because of a crisis, but the execution of it was not as ethical or productive as it seemed as there were 336 million abortions, a significant portion that were forced.

Our population is increasing at a terrifying rate and it's scaring a lot of people around the world. Really, we should be doing something about it, like looking to the stars (Man of Steel reference) and in our case Mars to see if we can start to balance out the population of Earth between the two planets. We should look for a new way to create food, removing the heavy amount of time, effort and energy spent on livestock and crops. We should also look for ways to utilise our seas and its abundance in an effort to reduce crowding on land. But hey, most of us won't be around to see this happen...

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