OverpopulationOverpopulation occurs when the number of people living in a specific region is greater than the number of people that the area can support. The people in the region receive insufficient resources to survive comfortably. As a result, in an overpopulated area, people have to struggle to obtain the resources they need in order to survive, which inevitably causes conflicts to break out. The greater the degree of overpopulation, the larger the magnitude of the conflict, simply because the more desperately these resources are needed, and the greater the lengths people are willing to go to obtain them.
Man needs more resources than an animal or a plant, as they lead more sophisticated lives. These resources include sufficient food, water, and generally speaking, energy. Man requires a certain standard of living beyond that of mere survival- his resource expenditure is therefore far greater than an animal's.
In nature, a lack of resources causes the organism to die off to a certain extent, as they cannot survive well. The next generation will then have more food to survive on, due to the reduced demand. This next generation breeds well, and only when there are too many organisms (overpopulation) will the lack of resources again check their growth.
However, in human society, this system of checks-and-balances does not apply. Man has a overwhelming ability to control his environment. Even as more people are born, Man remains capable of extracting resources (such as oil and food) when he needs them, using his special combination of tools and knowledge.
The question is, when will Man's need finally exceed his ability to extract resources? Man's ability is by no means infinite, and the resources are not renewing themselves as fast as we use them. The question we have to ask is: Will Man ever find himself out of resources? And what will be the consequences?
To answer this question, take a look at our case study, the imaginary "Lily Pond Parable".