Overpopulation--the Build-up


This article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sunday newspaper from February 19th, 2023, shows how the population problems of the World finally get the attention they need, although adverse publicity toward the overpopulated countries will probably not make them amenable to solutions that involve intervention by the West.

To give some perspective to the suddenly resurgent overpopulation issue, I looked through my files and found a newspaper article from the late 1980s, published in the German newspaper Die Zeit., titled in English, "How Many People Does it Take to Exhaust the Earth?" The information provided by the author Ansgar Skriver, should have given notice to Germany's leaders, and by extension to the U.S., that a serious situation was developing in the Third World, and that they needed to coordinate a response.

But Skriver's article came and went, and Western leaders did nothing, because Third World leaders issued their usual accusations of racism, and disavowed a population problem. And now, thirty years later, Western leaders finally have to review the issue of overpopulation, now that the world's total has passed eight billion. Skriver's article from thirty years ago mentions that the total has just passed five billion.

Skriver used the example of Nigeria. While Western nations have shown little population growth in years, Nigeria has become the most populous nation in Africa. In 1987, the year of the article's publication, Nigeria's population stood at 108 million. Skriver predicted its increase to 159 million by 2000, a whopping 54 percent jump.

But Skriver wrote at a time when newspaper articles about overpopulation did not cause a stir, and no one felt they needed to conceal anything. Now that Nigeria has come under scrutiny, its government has tinkered with the figures to make them look less terrible, and to stay on the good side of U.N. sponsors.

What will happen? Skriver asks. The overpopulation will lead to deforestation and water pollution. Today, as it was thirty years ago, Nigeria has only one export, crude oil. With a million children in school, the government must find a way to give them the means to support themselves, a difficult task in a nation rife with corruption, split by tribal and religious animosity, and lacking commercial infrastructure.
And then, Skriver predicts--mind you, thirty years ago-- "Twenty million people from Africa will find their way, legally or illegally, to Europe." Americans only heard about this exodus of people from Africa in 2016. In fact, it has gone on for decades now. Perhaps now, the West, most impacted by the immigrations, will do something about stemming the flow.