Our starship earth isn’t actually a round ball at all as we see in all the NASA pictures. Instead, it is an oblate spheroid that is flat at both poles and bulges slightly at the middle (kind of like I do). It has a surface area of 196,912,101 square miles or 510,000,000 square kilometers. It is the fifth-largest planet in our solar system and the third large rock, in order of position, from the sun. Its mass is approximately 5.98 × 1024 kg (13.18 × 1024 lb). Oceans and seas cover approximately 71 percent of its surface area, leaving about 149,000,000 square kilometers (57,500,000 square miles) of land surface. The reality of the situation is that there is plenty of room for everybody on board our vessel despite what you may have heard about overpopulation.
Overpopulation is really a myth when you stop to consider all the land area available for habitation on the earth’s surface versus the total human population. Do the math! The current United Nation’s estimate of the world’s population at this writing is about 7,073,531,400 people. According to the United Nations “2010 Revision of the World Population Prospects”, the world population reached 7 billion people on October 31, 2011. The US Census Bureau came out with a more conservative estimate in which they reported the 7 billion mark was not reached until March 12, 2012.
At just slightly over seven billion people in 2012, the world population is projected to grow to 8.0 billion in 2025. Now then, if every person on the face of the earth today had roughly just 1,200 sq. ft. of living area on ground level, the entire population on earth could still comfortably fit within the borders of the state of Texas, mathematically that is, which has roughly a total land area of about 262,000 square miles (680,000 square kilometers). There even would be enough room in Texas to accommodate the 8 billion projected growth rate in 2025. If you add room for streets and sidewalks, and some parks, then you could still fit everyone neatly within the southern half of the United States on ground level, and certainly if you housed more people in high-rise buildings. Now granted, there might be a few traffic jams here and there, and some crowded neighbourhoods, but the rest of the available land area around the world would be empty in this hypothetical situation. Most of this other habitable empty land could be utilized for agriculture, manufacturing, business, recreation, and roads and streets, of course. This example is rather coarse, admittedly, but it illustrates the relationship of the human population to our land base, and emphasizes how tiny a speck we really are on the surface of this beautiful blue globe. The point of this argument is that when politicians try to advance their agendas by creating fear of overpopulation, they need to sit down and do the math as I have done here. Theoretically, there is plenty of room to accommodate the human population on the earth, with room to spare, especially if there is good land-use planning involved.
Even in a perfect world, under perfect conditions, and without political boundaries, this scenario would potentially never occur. The commute to and from work would take too long. The point of this scenario, however, is simply to illustrate that there are large sections of habitable land on the surface of the earth that could accommodate significant growth area for the human population should it become necessary. Along with living area, there would have to be enough land area for agriculture too in order to feed the growing masses, as well as room for public transportation, business, industry, sanitation, and access to potable water and recreational areas.
On a recent flight over the northern section of the United States on Google Earth, I flew over large sections of unoccupied private land areas that could be transformed for other uses to accommodate massive growth on a large-scale if it ever becomes necessary. Basically, almost every state had large unoccupied private land areas as well that could be converted to habitable communities. The northern states of Montana, the Dakotas, and the central plains states especially were largely unoccupied pasture, fields, and forest.
So now, whenever someone brings up the point of overpopulation, I think to myself that this is just another political ploy, because it doesn’t make any sense from a land-use perspective. I know that the government owns large sections of public land that could be converted for other uses in a dire emergency situation. There also appears to be plenty of private land to go around for everybody, theoretically, and this is just within the boundaries of the United States. I’m sure the same holds true for Africa, Australia, South America, Asia, and Europe. If overpopulation is indeed a real threat to our starship earth, then it must be based upon an imbalance with the food supply and the carrying capacity of earth; determined by other factors such as disease, war, climate, clean water supply, or some other political or social condition I am unaware of at this time. From the perspective of available land use, overpopulation doesn’t appear to be a serious threat as far as I’m concerned. There’s plenty of room for everybody!