I've come across somewhat of a trend over the years of badgering family members, friends, as well as internet-folk about the perils of climate change...
"The REAL problem, though, is that there's just too many people!"
The most common response that I hear, while has significant truth, just never sat right with me. Maybe there's too many people to sustain indefinite life on earth, and perhaps bigger problem is that of course, our population is growing. By 2050 experts are expecting 9.6 BILLION of us to be running around this planet, and 11.2 Billion by 2100.
This is obviously... a whole lot of people. But in all reality, it's not the sheer number of people living on the planet which is the problem. Realistically, it's the amount of resource each person uses. An interesting article stated that one American uses up the same amount of resources in terms of carbon emissions as about 20 Indians, 30 Pakistanis, and 250 Ethiopians. This is probably quite intuitive when you consider the obsessive ways in which we in the western world consume and use resource-intensive products like cars, food, MEAT, air travel, clothes, the list goes on infinitely.
This problem further compacts as continents like Africa and Asia continue to develop and modernize, more and more people who once consumed far below their fare share of resources are suddenly gaining access to more advanced, environmentally taxing luxuries. Additionally, the birth rate in Africa is expected to continue to rise for years to come, whereas birth rates in western continents have begun levelling off.
It's always interesting to me when people throw down the "well there's too many damn people!" card as a sort of shrug and 'to hell with it' gesture, suggesting that we're all probably f*cked regardless, so why bother self-regulating or changing old habits? This gets to me because really, there is more to the problem than numbers. It's all about efficiency. Instead of viewing overpopulation as a defeat, why not look at is as a solvable puzzle?
It's absolutely possible for us to live on a planet in a way that does not impinge on the ability of future generations to do the same. Many people are studying the subject as I type, and ever so slowly (and I DO mean slowly...), this knowledge is beginning to escape academia and infiltrate media, politics, business and government. This sustainable living model is referred to as ONE PLANET LIVING and I strongly encourage everyone to do your own research and get motivated by it as I have.
My main point is, there's a LOT of people on our earth now, and there will be many more soon, sure, but this is by no means a reason to concede to climate change or accept a compromised world for future generations.
Check out the resources below for more info on 'One Planet Living'