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Out-breeding Our Own Extinction

Avatar takes place a mere 150 years in the future. Long enough that not even the youngest of us will be around to see it come to pass, but close enough that we are able to see it start to head in that direction. One fact that Avatar established in its companion material was that the global population had topped out at roughly 20 billion people. That's nearly 3 times the current population of about 6.8 billion. Overpopulation is often referred to as the root of almost all of humanity's problems. We are so afraid that we don't have enough resources, that our neighbors might try to take ours, and that our neighbors might have more than we do. Quite simply, there is just not enough Earth to go around anymore.

That is not to say that a lower population would promise peace and prosperity. Even in times when the global population was a fraction of what it is now, there was still war, abuse, and all manner of atrocities that humans feel necessary to commit on themselves and each other. However, given the elightened general population of our time period, a drastic decrease in population would solve a great majority of some of our most prominent problems.

Thinking about how quickly and numerously humans breed, I began to think of other animals that share similar behaviors in multiplication. I kept coming back to animals like mice, where their only survival against extinction, being mostly food for larger predators, is to breed as quickly an numerously as possible. I think that from a certain (and I will admit cynical) point of view, I think this is what humanity is doing. Trying to out-breed our own extinction.

There are several overlying causes for the population increase, outside of the obvious ones of people refusing to control the size of their families. One reason is security. In many developing, and even semi-developed countries, it is near impossible for one to care for themselves when they enter old age. So having children would give you the security of knowing that once you are unable to care for yourself, you will have children who will be able to do it for you. Another reason is religion. Among most Abrahamic religions, there is the recurring adage of "go forth and multiply". Now it seems that people are quick to use that as an excuse, and that it is their devine duty to produce as many people as possible. Finally and perhaps most importantly is birth control. A staggering percentage the annual population increase is due to people engaging in reproductive acts without taking measures to prevent pregnancy. There is a large modern movement to provide contraceptives in various forms for free in developed countries through programs such as Planned Parenthood, as well as distribution in 3rd world countries where there are no contraceptives to speak of.

It is ironic perhaps that one of the biggest problems facing us today is one of the most easily curable. This is a delicate topic to discuss so I am keeping it on the shorter side. It is delicate because it is quite easy for the discussion to begin to go down roads like determining who is deserving of procreation and who is not, and reasonable methods of curbing population growth should it begin to ge to a critical point. I have enjoyed Camerons interviews where he mentions population growth as a significant problem for the future, particularly because it will only serve to increase conflicts and hostilities to seize and maintain the various resources that are left to us. If anyone happens to come across any interesting articles or books about the population problems facing us, please share them. Irayo Willofeywa 03:59, June 28, 2010 (UTC)

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