by Fons Jena, February 22, 2022
Before you start to talk about something you must first define it.
That logic must certainly be applied to the topic of overpopulation,
because much of the fierce resistance against recognizing
overpopulation comes from the fact that people use a wrong or
limited definition of the concept.
Most definitions we can find are partial definitions, as they limit >themselves mainly to the criterion of carrying capacity (including
ecosystem services) and rarely mention two other criteria, biodiversity
and quality of life, as separate and equally important criteria.
Only a definition referring to these three fundamental criteria does
justice to the concept of overpopulation. A definition that does not
refer to the criterion of biodiversity is too anthropocentric, while
one that only or mainly refers to the criterion of carrying capacity
for humans leaves out the many effects of overpopulation on quality
of life (both material and immaterial aspects).
Additionally, this three-faceted definition counters the common >misunderstanding that overpopulation is solely a problem of shortages
of food or other resources, or that it can be solved by technological
means alone. The negative effects of overpopulation on the quality of
life (peace, democracy, liberty) and biodiversity can at best be
limited by technology. A hundred windmills or vegetarians will always
leave more room for nature and humanity than a thousand of them.
Thus overpopulation can be defined as a condition where at least one
of the three following conditions are met:
When a population exceeds the carrying capacity of its environment
(the ‘sustainability’ criterion).
When other species are not given enough space to survive (the
‘room for nature’ criterion, in which other species and their
habitats are taken into account).
When there is insufficient room and resources to guarantee every
individual a high quality of life (the quality of life criterion).
By consistently referring to these three conditions we can expand
the debate and strengthen the case for tackling overpopulation and
promoting smaller populations.
|Location:||Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, UK|
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