In my opinion, there are a lot of other problems indeed, but I disagree that overpopulation is not in any way related. From my point of view though, overpopulation is not only a cause, it is also a symptom. A symptom that we’ve overridden the capacity of the earth and not been able to listen to the natural “instincts” that most small scale populations had about the planet’s limitations, western civilization mostly forgot about that, we’re not as connected to our senses as we should be.
The problem is partly that we’ve constructed a paradigm where being rational has replaced feeling, and we destroyed most civilizations that organically regulated themselves through their beliefs, attitudes and limitations toward/in their environment. It served us well (mostly western civilization), indeed, because we got a lot of confort out of it, but in doing so we got confronted to the limits of our ecosystem in welcoming us and we failed to acknowledge them. The systematic problem in climate change, and capitalism, is our society’s reliance on the idea that we have unlimited resources (thus unlimited growth) while they are limited; in conjonction with the belief that we’re rational actors while we have an incapacity to envision long term consequences to our actions (both individually and as a society). Despite our self-assessed intelligence, we seem to be lacking in terms of imagination. We live in an era where some mothers have forgotten how to behave in front of their newborn children.
I’m of the opinion that many of our ways are not fit for the planet. What was the world’s population naturally “regulated” to ? I think I heard it was about 500’000 people, we’re well past that. Think of all the problems that first arose when we got past that ? Plague; because we’re not naturally made to survive in the density of a modern city. I heard that Paris would be autonomous for approx. 24hours if there were to be a transportation shortage. How did we get to 7 billion ? By overriding the system, being cooperative and creative through technology that’s mostly bound to disappear (fossil fuels). The main launchpad we relied on to make most of the progress we benefit from today is basically a short-term exploit that’s about to disappear, yet it seems that we’re unable to learn from that. What solutions do people envision ? More of the same. Most renewable energy systems rely on fossil fuels all the same to be built, and maintained. When thinking (hoping) of solutions to that anthropocentric problem, we, once more, place our hopes in technology and human science to save us, while the answer lies in sacrifice of many of the stuff that came to define the advancement of our species, because they are not in accordance with the boundaries of the world we live in.
Now, please tell me, how would we get the energy necessary to feed all of us without fossil fuels on which we rely on for about 97% of the production of anything, with our pesticides ridden soil, with our more and more lifeless oceans. And that’s not even speaking about the climatical conditions we’ll have to confront at the same time. How do we un-globalize the world which is now based on globalization for most of the goods we have ? How do we incentivize a single country to change if the others don’t follow ?
There are many many incertainties. I don’t advocate for a massive genocide or anything else, but I think it will happen naturally, whether by war (because of the race to the favorable resources and environment, mostly), whether by the climatic conditions, or by both. A collapse will happen, it may be sudden, it may be slow, it may be in suffering or not, but it will happen, because the system (of which we are apart of) is bound to regulate itself. In the mean time, we just have to work on being cooperative and creative in problem solving once again, but with the limits of the environment in mind, and to hopefully preserve as much as we can of ourselves and our history.