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RELIGION: The myth of overpopulation

by By Gene Linzey | November 9, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.

Sixty years ago, when I was 16, I heard about overpopulation problems. We were going to run out of food, we would have to reduce the number of cars and would have to ration water within 20 years.

I found it interesting that those reports were generated by folks who live in densely populated cities like London, Paris, New York and Chicago. They apparently hadn't traveled through much of the world.

I just read a report that the world's population will reach about 8 billion in mid-November -- probably when you're reading this reflection. That's a lot of people! But when I stopped to do a little figuring, it didn't seem that much after all. Look at these numbers.

There are about 268,601 square miles in Texas. At 640 acres in a square mile, and 43,560 square feet in an acre, there are 7 trillion, 488 billion, 166 million, 188 thousand, and 400 square feet of space in Texas. Divide that number by 8 billion, and the entire population of the world can stand in an area the size of Texas. Even more interesting, each person would have his/her own 936 square feet of space to walk in.

Planet Earth has approximately 57,268,900 square miles of land mass, so with earth's population in Texas, the rest of the world's 57,000,299 square miles would be void of humanity. I suppose earth has not reached a critical mass of humanity yet.

Have you ever looked into how many people the world can support? The following are a few numbers that I read from a report that was published by the Australian Academy of Science in 2017.

A quick look at 67 studies made during the past several centuries is quite interesting. The lowest estimate of how many people the world can support was 500 million. Thirteen studies think 2-4 billion was the limit. Twenty studies give the limit of 8 billion, and we've reached that point. A Christian Science Monitor report thought the population could reach 13 billion by 2100.

Twenty other studies give a range of 16 to 32 billion, and the last 12 studies stretch the limit to a wild guess from 64 billion to over 1 trillion people. (One trillion people would fit in an area the size of Texas, with everyone getting 78 square feet to themselves.)

Quoting from a 2020 study from the University of Chicago, "People have worried about overpopulation on Earth for centuries, and climate change has only recently accelerated that fear. But a new study found that feeding 10 billion people on Earth is not only possible, but it could be done sustainably as well."

Coming back to the present, what is needed to feed everyone? The following are several things we need to consider.

I've found massive waste that takes place in our stores. Employees in one of our nation's largest store chains told me that state and local regulations mandate that they throw thousands of pounds of food away every week merely because the food reached its expiration date. We should donate that food to those who need it.

We should desalinate ocean water, as do other countries, for drinking and irrigation. We have the technology, and it can be implemented if Congress wouldn't waste time, effort and resources talking it to death.

Then we should STOP paying farmers NOT to grow food. We can be more efficient about what we grow and how we grow it. Pay farmers to grow everything they can. Then we should give FOOD as foreign aid ... not bombs, planes and money.

We have many ways to achieve higher yields while reducing environmental impacts, and we can improve those methods much more.

We can find ways to generate more electricity. There's already a study underway to cover the 4,000 miles of California's canals with floating solar panels. That would save up to 60 billion gallons of water annually through evaporation, and potentially produce 13 gigawatts of energy annually.

We do not have an overpopulation problem; we have a waste and inefficiency problem.

But there is a more important issue. No matter how many people earth can support, we will all die someday. Will you go to be with Jesus in heaven, or to the other place? God will assure your eternal peace and security if you choose to live for the Lord now. There are no problems to solve in heaven because God has taken care of everything.

-- S. Eugene Linzey is an author, mentor, and speaker. Send comments and questions to [email protected] Visit his web site at www.genelinzey.com. The opinions expressed are those of the author.

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