Uzoamaka Okafor: It’s Time To Talk About Over-Population
Stephen Hawking was deeply concerned about two things: Artificial Intelligence or AI for short, and human population. Both disturb me, but I am more concerned about the latter, without undermining the relationship which exists between both.
Stephen Hawking was not the only person concerned about the exponential increase in human population. Remember Thomas Malthus in our secondary school economics? As far back as 1798, he too was concerned. He voiced his concern about the steady increase in human population, explaining that at a stage, the world will be unable to feed itself. This is captured in what is referred to as The Malthusian Theory of Population. This theory explains that the rate of increase in human population is geometric, while that of food production is arithmetic, and without conscious appropriate measures, human population will be threatened to extinction because of hunger. The Malthusian Theory of Population is a theory of exponential population growth and arithmetic food supply growth.
Even if you’ve been living under a rock, you will know that we are already threatened by food shortage in the world. This has led to the constant increase in prices of agricultural products and their by-products. Shortage in food supply is not primarily caused by the advent of ‘white collar jobs,’ but by the uncontrolled increase in human population.
The exponential increase in human population accounts for a lot of things that are new under the face of the sun. Diseases which their pathologies are unknown even in this time of scientific progress and discovery, climate change and global warming, greenhouse gas effect, etc.
Every day, people are born. Every day, people die, too. But there are more people birthed than buried daily. Take your family, both nuclear and extended, for example: compare the births and deaths recorded in your family since you were born. Which is greater? Except your village people are planning on deleting your family from the village’s history, it should be birth. You may even be pregnant with a child right now and praying for twins. The earth may make certain compromises to adapt to this, but she is not elastic. The size of the earth is constant.
Every day, we are presented with the negative effects of over-population. I will use events which should be familiar to us. If you are working or schooling, you must have noticed how much extra time to have to put into your work or studies to first catch up and then pass the standard set for you. Standards are higher. Competition is tougher. Money does not last anymore, not because you are a spendthrift, but because there are a lot of things to do with money. All these are because there are so many people in the world and you have to do much more to stand out. Nowadays, the patient dog gets no bone at all. My sister-in-law now has to work weekends too. Already, the 8-6 she works during the week is very demanding. She does not spend enough time with her child. Her case is even better. Let’s think about market traders and hawkers who sell from morning through night, every day.
On the 3rd of August and 4th of September, 2018, we learned that Apple and Amazon are presently worth over a trillion dollars. Trillion! Making them the first and second companies respectively in the world to amass such net worth. You must be delusional if you think they will rest on their oars. They will even double their efforts at this point. Other technological companies nko? A new standard has been set for them, and they will work even harder to reach and beat this standard. All to the detriment of the workers. Why do they have to do this? To be seen. To be heard. In the midst of billions of people, they need to stand out.
What I am trying to explain is: the exponential increase in human population has put so much stress on humans, strained human relationship, and made humans take extreme measures for them to survive and stand out. Toward the end of our lives, we will realize that we never had time for ourselves. To live and love. Except when we were not burdened with cumbersome expectations, when we were babies and old adults And at those points, we were and will be incapable of living, left only to exist.
Movie makers, authors, and people in the creative industry have contributed to bringing to our attention the dangers of the uncontrolled increase in population. Valentine in “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” which was played by Samuel L. Jackson, helps us understand the similarities between the human body and earth. The earth, when infected with a virus, develops a fever, which is an increase in the normal temperature to fight the virus. Its fever is what humans experience in terms of natural disasters, change in climate conditions, diseases, etc. Valentine, therefore, felt mandated to save the earth by wiping off the human population with the exception of the elites whom he believed would be to start a new era of humanity.
In another movie ‘What Happened to Monday?’ Glenn Close, who plays the role of Nicolette Cayman, also had a similar approach to curbing population increase. Every family was to have just a child, and families with more than one child had the child forcefully taken away and ‘burnt to lack of existence’.
The question to be asked therefore is: what has been done and what can be done to curb this menace?
China, in 1979, adopted the policy of ‘One child per family,’ though it has been adjusted to two children per family. The World Health Organization has often preached the use of contraceptives. This could be because one of the causes of over-population is unwanted pregnancy A.nd we all understand that konji na bastard. Some people cannot control themselves when they get horny. The Centre for Family planning and Birth Control has also taught family planning to mostly married couples. (Kindly mention any other population control measures that have been taken both locally and internationally in the comment section.)
However, there have been other ignoble methods used in the control of over-population. Some of which we have seen in the movies referenced above. In Dan Brown’s “Inferno,” we are informed of the possibility of the creation of artificial virus as a means of curbing population increase. A virus was created which made it impossible for those infected to procreate. We have often heard it said that HIV was artificially created. I don’t know, but for people to postulate that, it could be true. Same has been said for Ebola. It has also beat the understanding of people why a cure has not been found for HIV, cancer, etc, with all the progress made in Science and Medicine. I am not trying to say these speculations are right, but calling to mind that there is usually an element of truth in every rumor.
As individuals, how can we help to curb over-population? I’d advice we start in our homes. It is heart-warming to have children, but let us have children we can train comfortably and not tell to call their uncles and aunties that are abroad or ‘doing well’ as this contributes to what Trevor Noah refers to as ‘the Black tax’ in his book “Born a Crime.”
While having children, consider the world, too. I have tried to understand why poor people have more children than they can take care of. I haven’t. I would have added that having children is not by force and you could actually adopt, but why would I want to discard all the plans you have made about having children borne of you? The aim is not just to have children you can train, but considering the contribution the number of children you have makes to the world population.
Until we find a lasting solution to the problem of over-population, I’d like to encourage us to be tolerant of each other. As Yanni said in his concert titled “Tribute“: As our population increases the planet grows smaller and smaller. We should, therefore, learn to accommodate each other.
What is your take on overpopulation? What other suggestions do you have to curb the exponential increase in human population? Kindly drop a comment below and do well to share, too.
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