More People, Limited Resources

Something's got to give—let's limit either consumption or population.

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The naysayers who claimed climate change was a figure of liberal extremists gone mad have been proven definitively wrong. Climate change is now widely viewed as undeniably taking place by the global scientific community. And if it's not man-made, it's at least man-exacerbated.

Next the naysayers will be proven wrong on overpopulation. The term, widely used in the 1960s and '70s, has been banished in the past few years as being politically incorrect. Conservatives have argued that not only are this nation and indeed the world not overpopulated, but the more people, the merrier.

In the 1960s, when environmentalists first raised the specter of overpopulation, the world's population was just more than half its current tally—or 3 billion. The more people, the more consumption, the more pressure on resources. If we placed sensible limits on our use of natural resources, then water and other natural resource wars could be avoided, and larger populations could be sustained.

This country, the largest consumer of national resources in the world, has steadfastly refused to do so. Water wars will have to become a lot more serious and costly before we find the political will to limit either population or consumption. If we continue to refuse on both counts, the time will soon be upon us when we won't have a choice.