This post is inspired by a post on Ms Kittys Saloon and Road Show . As all her posts are, it is well written and well reasoned; I believe, however, that she was starting from a false premise: the world is not overpopulated. I know it's easy to believe the people who say it is- we look around us, and see lots of people. But the fact is the world is mostly empty- social pressure makes us clump together, and so all we see is people. It's like a lone anthill in a big field; the ants will still feel crowded.
The world has an average population density of 44.7 people per square kilometer. That's about the same as the state of Kentucky- a beautiful, green state. What if we double that population density? You have the state of Illinois, home to the nation's second city, Chicago. But if you look at this population density map of Illinois, you can see virtually the whole state is farm and field with a few dense population centers; most of the state has a density of 10 people per square kilometer or less. Now let's look at the most extreme example- Belgium. Belgium has the densest population of any nation that's not a city-state: 344.32 people per square kilometer, some 8 times the world average. Is Belgium one vast city, depending upon others for sustenance?
No. Despite having a smaller area and population devoted to agriculture than any European nation, it's still a net food exporter. The 10 million people of Belgium produce 6.15 million metric tons of sugar beets, 2.7 million metric tons of potatoes, 1.63 million tons of wheat, 3.1 million head of cattle, 7.3 million pigs, 3.2 million tons of milk, 3.97 million eggs, 175,000 tons of butter, over 500 varieties of beer, and still has room for a modest timber industry!
As I reported in this post , the United Nations says the world has enough food right now to make every man, woman, and child on Earth morbidly obese- and if western farming methods were used in the third world, that could easily triple. The only thing preventing starving people from getting food is politics and war. Poverty does not cause war; war causes poverty.
So what causes war? I quote Eleanor from The Lion In Winter: "Of course he has a knife, he always has a knife, we all have knives! It's 1183 and we're barbarians! How clear we make it. Oh, my piglets, we are the origins of war: not history's forces, nor the times, nor justice, nor the lack of it, nor causes, nor religions, nor ideas, nor kinds of government, nor any other thing. We are the killers. We breed wars. We carry it like syphilis inside. Dead bodies rot in field and stream because the living ones are rotten. For the love of God, can't we love one another just a little - that's how peace begins. We have so much to love each other for. We have such possibilities, my children. We could change the world."
Individuals must change before the world can change. That's why I would like our church to be more spiritual, to focus on individual development, not politics and activism and causes. As long as we carry war within us like syphilis, no political system or economic theory will make any difference- haven't the last couple centuries proven that? Until we do look within, it will always be 1183.