Contrary to the false idea that the world is overpopulated resulting in a shortage of resources leading to poverty, well I beg to differ and I would go as far to say that it is not and will never be, overpopulated.

First, let’s look at the word ‘overpopulation’.
The term itself represents a misrepresentation in the sense that it is correct to judge in a negative way, something that is ‘over’ the normal limits, but what we also consider is that the limits are not correct. Simply put, you can’t have an ‘over’ of something where the limits are not set or wrongly set.
In this case what is the maximum number of people that can be supported by this planet for us to come up with the word ‘overpopulation’?

This planet and its human resources are already producing enough food to feed its 7.9 billion people. Maybe one day the Earth will be ‘overpopulated’, but at the moment it’s not and all the talk about overpopulation is just a distraction from the real causes of war, hunger, poverty and social inequalities the world is facing today.

I am surprised that millions of people in some parts of the world like Madagascar, Sudan, and Somalia still face starvation whilst tonnes and tonnes of food goes to waste elsewhere in the world.

According to United Nations statistics estimated by Worldmeter, the world’s population is 7.9 billion in December 2021. In 2019 the world produced 1 trillion pounds of food commodities including wheat, corn, rice, milk sugarcane, amongst other things.

I haven’t mentioned other types of food that mother nature provides naturally, which in many areas of the globe, is the major food source for people living in remote and deep rural zones where food production and other statistical data is rarely collected.
This planet is not short of either land or food to support and feed its population or the resources and manpower to help distribute the available food equally, No!

We are also told that overpopulation is another cause of climate change which is also another distraction and diversion from the real culprits of the crisis. Population and emissions are not necessarily related. In fact, data from IPCC shows that 10% of the Earth’s richest people contribute to 40% of the world emissions.

Data accessed from the World Population Clock: Worldometer, also shows that in 2022 and 2023 the world population will be 8.0 billion and expected to reach the 9 billion mark very shortly after in 2037, signifying a relative steadiness in population increase. What we lack is the social responsibility and will to act humanly to ensure a concerted effort to reach out to those with no means of getting basic needs like food.

Overpopulation is not the cause of hunger…
Capitalism, corruption, greed, inefficiency, and the reluctance from those in positions of responsibility to properly allocate resources is the major cause of hunger and poverty.

De-population will never solve the hunger and poverty problem as long as there is no social, and more importantly, political responsibility among those who are in authority to make it their obligation to see that everyone doesn’t starve to death whilst tonnes of food lie idle in warehouses, barns, supermarkets, etc waiting for their expiry date.

I am not advocating for total handouts of food but I am dispelling the false narrative that has been peddled by certain groups of people that overpopulation is the cause of hunger in this world. The world also has vast underutilized arable land that can be used to produce more food, enough to feed those living in areas where food production is almost impossible due to different factors like droughts and other weather hazards. Unfortunately, such land is in the hands of those who are greedy enough to keep it underutilized simply because, to them, it’s a sign of wealth and power.

Similarly, the financial and natural resources needed to distribute and allocate food to the vulnerable population of this world is in the hands of those greedy individuals who don’t even know how much wealth they possess not because of illiteracy but because they have just lost count of their wealth yet they still go around grabbing from, exploiting and displacing those who have nothing.

It’s not overpopulation it’s an unequal distribution of resources among people living in different parts of the world and under different socio-economic circumstances.

The author of this article, Takesure Matewa, is an independent activist involved in Climate and Social Justice. Currently based in Cape Town, South Africa, he is also a writer and researcher for Environmental and Social Development News Africa. He also worked for Environmental Protection Education and Community Development projects.


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