#4 Around the Campfire; The Human Population Explosion and Biodiversity
For over twenty-five centuries, the written record carries descriptions of damage wrought by too many people, and the worries of wise people about the consequences of human population growth. I think a careful search would find such writings even earlier. Had we the tools and could find the artifacts, we might find like descriptions and worries another fifteen or more centuries back, even into the Neolithic (certainly so in the New World). The consequences of human overpopulation during both historic and prehistoric times can be sorted into five kinds:
(1) Land abuse and loss of productivity
(2) Depletion of necessary natural resources and conflict over obtaining new sources
(3) Inability to grow enough food, leading to hunger and famine
(4) Social, economic, and security crises and threats, leading to warfare and intergroup strife
(5) Harm to wild Nature, including extinction of species.
Dave Foreman is the founder of The Rewilding Institute, co-founder of The Wildlands Project and Earth First!, and author of several acclaimed books on wildlands conservation. Books: Rewilding North America | Man Swarm: How Overpopulation Is Killing The WIld World | Take Back Conservation …among several other Rewilding books you can find here. [Photo: Dave Forman in the barren grounds of Nunavit, Canada © Nancy Morton]