One Finite Planet

Views of Future Population.

First Published:

There are four different opinions of the future of the human population:

1) The human population can, and will, keep growing indefinitely.

2) The human population can keep growing indefinitely, and we may need intervention if there is any slowing of growth to ensure the growth keeps happening. In this view population growth is seen as essential for the economy and the population balance.

3) The human population cannot, or will not keep growing ,indefinitely and the economy will need to adjust to an economy without population growth. The population will stop growing of its own accord at a satisfactory level, so the economy is the only problem to solve.

4)  There is a limit to possible population growth on Earth.  Any pause in population or  ‘irreversible trend to slow growth’ may  not really happen and is already too late to prevent severe consequences from an already too large population. It cannot be assumed that population growth will stop as early as it should, leading to much greater problems when the inevitable stop must come.   The economy, which has evolved entirely in the growth phase, will need to make the painful adjustment to stable population and even manage declining population, plus the world needs an active approach to minimise consequences of overpopulation.

Which view is your current view?  If you have not given it much thought I would expect view (1) or (2) to the be the starting point.  I believe both the statistics on countries with birth-rates too low for population increase in my post ‘the catch 22‘ of population growth should be sufficient to move anyone to at least view (2).  The next step to view (3) requires an understanding that the population we can support is finite.  Moving to step (4) requires adopting the view that the current projected global population is above the ideal population.

If you read my posts you may come on the same journey I have come as my view evolved from view (1) to view (4).  Alternatively, you may find flaws with my arguments.  Either way, I hop you enjoy the ride.


  • 2015 Feb 24: typos

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Table of Contents


Optimum population of humans: Ideally, how many people can, or should, the Earth support?

It can seem like the human population can grow forever, but analysis makes it clear growth must stop eventually. The question becomes at what level should it stop?

Do we go for the maximum possible people before everything collapses, even if average living standards could be far better with a smaller population? Is it like a chicken farm in an egg farm, where having less chickens is seen as preferable if it means chickens get better living conditions? What population strikes the right balance for humans?

Read More »

Overpopulation: starvation is the last symptom.

The Myth: Starvation will provide a warning of overpopulation. The Truth: In nature, we define overpopulation as when sustaining the population results in damage to the environment.

Plagues are a problem were before the plague population starts to starve.

Starvation will be a consequence only when overpopulation has resulted in environmental collapse that will result in a rapid population collapse. Starvation is useless as an indicator, by the time there is starvation all environmental food reserves have been consumed, and catastrophe is then unavoidable.

Read More »

Peak Population 2055: Really? That soon?

Is it realistic that Earth could reach peak population by 2055, there really the largest number of under 35s on Earth there will ever be? Peak newborns already? What is the reality, and what are the implications?

Read More »

Next steps for mankind don’t include the Sci-Fi dream of a new home planet.

There is a dream, often explored in science fiction, where humanity inhabits not just one planet, but many.

While the dream is still centuries away, as is ‘Earth 2.0‘, the reality, working towards small outposts on Mars or the Moon or even beyond is overwhelming compelling and can provide many rewards.

Humanity may get back up outposts, but for centuries, will have no real second home, and over 99% of us will still need to live on our one finite planet.

Read More »