April 10th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Answer to world's exploding population?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Water shortages threaten two of the world's largest cities and could soon become a reality for many more of us. Mexico City has turned off a main water pipeline, shutting off water to at least 5 million of the area's 20 million residents.

The world's population has tripled over the past eight decades.

Water reserves there have reached historic lows of less than 50 percent thanks to low rainfall totals last year and a leaky infrastructure system. This is the third time just this year the city has temporarily turned off the tap to conserve water.

Then there's Los Angles - where the city council unanimously rejected a plan to ration water. This came despite a drought emergency directive by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to cut water use 20 percent this year. If the city fails to take action, the agency that supplies most of the water could impose rationing.

And as a UPI piece points out - this problem reaches much further than just Mexico City or Los Angeles... Beijing has a serious water shortage; the Israelis and Palestinians are fighting over control of key aquifers; and many U.S. cities could face water shortages in the next five to 10 years because one key aquifer in the Midwest has been hugely depleted.

There's no question that water shortages can also be traced to the world's exploding population which is now at six-point-eight billion people - more than three times what it was 80 years ago. This rapidly increasing growth seems to be putting an unsustainable demand on resources like water and the environment, and will eventually begin to create shortages of food.

Here's my question to you: What's the answer to the world's exploding population?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

James from Chuckey, Tennessee writes:
You've pointed out the answer: When we run out of safe, clean water, we'll stop reproducing as if we were still living in the dark ages and had no means to prevent pregnancy. Then we'll watch disease, famine, and violence return us to the dark ages.

Marie from Ontario writes:
First step would be to get rid of all the religious wackos who are against birth control and sex education and continue to preach to their faithful how it is a sin to embrace these practices.

Scott from Wichita writes:
2 kid limit: replace you and your spouse. Make taxes significantly higher for more than 2 kids, on the order of 80-90% increase per child, unless there are outside circumstances (terminal illness, etc.) Would definitely put a damper on Octomom's fame... does anyone really care about her?

Kevin writes:
Unfortunately, the only true answer is war. Although we can increase efficiency to support more people, there are limits. When we get to the point where there's not enough to go around, people are going to kill for resources. People will die until there are enough resources to go around again.

Jeremiah from Detroit writes:
The only answer to this question is simple: run out of enough non-renewable resources and then we'll all drop off. It has always amazed me that we put fresh clean water on our lawns just so it looks "green" when we have droughts, or the fact that we built up huge cities in the middle of deserts. We are our worst enemies.

John from Effort, Pennsylvania writes:
We need to educate people on a massive scale about proper socially acceptable birth control methods. The exploding world population is a sad result of "mass ignorance" and mass ignorance will mitigate our fall as a species.

Filed under: Global matters • Population
soundoff (193 Responses)
  1. John, Illinois

    Seeming there is a perfect world were there are people with the intelligence of pure intellect with all of the worlds knowledge jack your question is mute...

    April 10, 2009 at 2:05 pm |
  2. HD in Phoenix, AZ

    100% control of illegal immigration to countries. In the USA, the kind of population explosion that has always been out of control has been that of illegal aliens who infiltrate this nation and then breed like rabbits. The Los Angeles area of The People's Socialist Republic of California is a classical example of this and it has expanded to other areas of the country.

    HD in Phoenix, AZ

    April 10, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  3. Alan - Buxton, Maine

    I don't have the answer but Mother Earth will not continue to allow what we are doing to her. Our assault will eventually be met by the means at her disposal such as earthquakes, hurricanes and volcanos. The Earth is a living organism and has a right to protect itself.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  4. Donald Reno

    I believe birth control should be forced upon all Humans regardless of Location on this Planet. the Control should be set tough enough to see a decrease in Human Population starting Immediatly with emphasis on reducing the total global population by 30% over the next 50 years, Then it should be revisited to see if it needs to be adjusted to reflect loss of enviornment which effects the ability of the planet to support the total human population. If it gets to bad we will have no choice.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  5. Ken in NC

    Weld all Zippers shut.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  6. Chris, Bx., NY

    Jack, the great equalizer of populaton control are condoms, or the natural death of the elderly.... that's it basically......

    April 10, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  7. Lance Schumacher

    Jack, don't worry about it. The human race is clearly incapable of dealing with this issue with any common plan, however, history clearly demonstrats that Mother Nature has a way of dealing with excesses, usually harshly. Pandemic, war, natural catastrophy, sooner or later a significant per centage of the human race will die in a very short time, and the world will readjust with or without the human race as part of it.
    Lance, Ridgecrest, Ca

    April 10, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  8. PopGuy

    A full court press on population management with the US setting an example at home. Based on the best science available, America is 100 150 million people in excess of nature's carrying capacity (meaning available food, water, and energy). That is why immigration is such a big problem now and in the future, as flooding the country with more people isn't good for those already here and those wanting to come. Somehow America has to come to grips with overpopulation, which means controlling immigration and a rising birth rate in our own country.

    Lincoln City, Oregon

    April 10, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  9. Paul S. Columbia, SC

    Typically, the human population won't worry about the looming problems ahead until a devastating pandemic is loosed on the world. Then the scramble to survive will be on. We wouldn't have any problems today if we could learn to look ahead instead of always looking back and then wondering why we didn't see it coming.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  10. DeeMarie - Sweet Home, Oregon

    Remember 'ZERO POPULATION GROWTH'. I have been a proponent and practitioner since the early '60. I did my part.

    Poll Question
    What do you think is most important in preventing teen pregnancy?
    * comprehensive sex education
    * Access to contraceptives
    * Better communication with parents
    * Male involvement
    * Abstinence
    * All of the above (THE CORRECT ANSWER)

    April 10, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  11. David, Tampa, Fl

    When the polar icecaps melt we wont have to worry about large coastal communitites as they will be underwater. The rest of us will have to worry about the severe weather due to global warming with cat-5 hurricanes and strong tornado producing storms around the world. Maybe our idiot politicians should have listened to scientists instead of lobbyists and business people with more greed than brains back in the 70's and got us on a different path. I live about 25 miles from the gulf coast and look forward to owning beachfront property. As for population growth, nothing could have been done, and nothing will be done because of our religious nut jobs. Forcing people not to use birth control first and limiting reproductive rights of women is an insane way to go. And that is what the human race is headed for, a way to go.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  12. BigD Northern Minnesota Freedom Fighters

    Jack, I Don't Believe that Man Can Find + Implement a Solution (H2O) that Everyone Would Pitch In + Do Their Much Needed Part Necessary to Make It Succeed.
    The Universal Laws Seem to Somehow Come In + Take Care of These Problems in Its Own Way, as Cruel as They May Be.
    For the World to Find the Answer + Take the Initiative Sadly May Be Induced by War, Disease + Famine.
    We Can Pray + Ask God to Help Us, Only If We Believe. A-Men.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  13. ED in RI

    Mother nature will provide the answer (conclusions) for most of the world populations. The realities have already been experienced for many years. Australia, for instance, Africa. Climate change has dictated the new rules, in spite of Exxon Mobil and their propaganda campaigns.
    Water will soon replace oil for high stakes resources. Perhaps that's why the Bushes' have purchased land in Paraguay over the worlds' last pure water aquifers?

    April 10, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  14. pete canada

    is't this why israel starts wars

    April 10, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  15. Ben from Boston

    The classical solutions were pestilence, war, drought, famine, and such. You mention that drought is starting to come back. If the population continues to increase we will start seeing the others as well. You could try to license births, but such policy is probably doomed to failure; how could you enforce it?

    April 10, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  16. Sandy in Arkansas

    We'll just have to keep eating ourselves to death early and perhaps we can go back to the old story "The Lottery" where they did a drawing to see who got stoned to death, only we could substitute sterilization and let lots of people "win" that lottery.

    April 10, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  17. Dakota

    Jack, colonizing a new mythical Earth-like world is the solution, or we could be even more realistic and simply deregulate the land and have all cultures live freely amongst themselves. There's enough space. Simple enough right? Ha Ha. Oh and if you can't tell, I am joking. The only way to stabilize the world's population would be to regulate fornication, which is preposterous and unethical.

    Stillwater, Oklahoma

    April 10, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  18. Chandra, LAX

    Population control will not work via the chinese method! Conservation and recycling seems like the answer. But
    accomplishing this perhaps tricky, but to me answer is
    education. I believe this is the answer for most of our issues!

    April 10, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  19. Nancy, Tennessee

    The recession of 2009 will have the opposite effect on the population growth than the Depression of the thirties. When people had to grow their own food and raise cash crops during the depression, families had ten children and more in order to have farm hands. Now that we live in more urban settings people are thinking about being able to feed, clothe and educate their children. The people of the United States that are not looking for their own reality show will show wisdom when they decide how many children they should have. The number of new babies born will decline here. In some other countries the government helps couples decide on the number of children to have.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:07 pm |

    Since we know what causes over population, birth control pills should be sold over the counter. No to condoms, we've already seen what happened with Levi and Palin's daughter. Abstenence is not the answer for sure. Maybe, the Chinese answer, is what the U.S. needs, to only allow one or two children. No water, no people.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  21. Ann,Virginia

    Stop having so many babies,like that nut in California

    April 10, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  22. Adam from Philly

    Simple – stop having so many kids!

    April 10, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  23. Aneil Cooper

    We need to colonize space, and NOW!

    April 10, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  24. John, Fort Collins, CO

    Anytime someone suggests controlling population growth there is a shrill cry from the bluenoses about the virtues of abstinence, assertions that this is just another form of genocide, or more condemnation of the Chinese for their harsh attempts to limit families to only one child. Until every country in the world recognizes the problem and implements realistic birth control programs, we are going to continue to have only disease, starvation, dehydration, and war keeping the population in check.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  25. Julie Donnelly

    Design the tax system to reward families that have two or less children. Palmdale, CA

    April 10, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  26. ë

    Just keep on doing what we're doing. Nature will take care of the rest.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  27. Mario

    Belton, Texas.

    Free condoms for everyone.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  28. Mindy Colburn

    For the exploding population? How about people stop having multiple children that they can't afford in the first place! Be responsible people!

    April 10, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  29. Scott M

    Maybe people should stop fighting abortion rights, and stop telling teen aged girls it's OK to have babies. Is this really a good time to have kids!

    April 10, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  30. Morgan

    The answer is two part. Science and technology. And colonization, of other planets and their moons in our solar system. No other answer, except population control, is viable.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  31. Devon

    The main objective here is education. We've got to teach each other not only how to conserve and live healthily, but we must also teach each other that sexual abstinence is a great advantage to preventing over-population along with its issues, as well as focus on teaching each other how to grow our own food, create clean drinkable water and how to sustain ourselves and each other. Education really is the key. Think about it!

    April 10, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  32. mike in ohio

    The water shortage could be resolved with desalinization plants that would convert seawater to drinking water. This water could also be used to expand farming areas and increase food production. The development and use of green technology could help the energy shortages. These could include wind, solar, geothermal and wave energy. The solutions are available.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  33. David Dunlop

    The solution to the global population crisis is education. It is well documented that well educated people have fewer children.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  34. Speedy

    condoms!... and stop listening to the pope.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  35. Ronald Holst

    Well Jack I guess adoptions is not a cure for this problem What dose the Pope Suggest. .

    April 10, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  36. Rick

    One think seams to mend the population problem. WAR. A big one.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  37. MIKE


    The answer is simple....outlaw teenage sex and produce thicker condoms for everyone else.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  38. Nate from Iowa

    Make people take an IQ test, if you fail the test then you are given surgery to prevent further reproduction. Also if you are not financially sound then you shouldnt be allowed to reproduce either. Areas known for overpopulation should also be restricted..

    April 10, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  39. Penny K

    Get religion out of the contraceptive arena

    We have "multiplied and filled the earth". We did that, mission accomplished. Don't people realize that we have fulfilled that directive, and then some, if you are of a religious bent?

    Beyond that, it's a way to control women.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  40. Mitch in the Rockies

    Germ warfare or nuclear war. There is nothing else I can think of because people will not stop having multiple children they can't afford to raise. Orgasms are killing us all !

    April 10, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  41. Olan

    There really is no answer to this population explosion in all honesty. There are just too many people and countries to spread the word that reproduction needs to be reduced, as a matter of fact most of the reproduction is done in third world countries where the need for offspring to work is a necessity. Industrialized nations may be easy to reach with the message of slowing down reproduction, using protection, however developing country won't answer to the call.
    The most we can do is pull our own weight.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  42. realitycheck

    Not going to be a popular one, but stop research to cures for cancer, HIV, and the like. Nature does a great job of thinning the herd, and we are fighting her tooth and nail.
    (kill all the humans. The plants and animals did a better job with the planet then we could EVER dream to)

    April 10, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  43. Greg

    Build water infrastructure from the cites that get lot of rain and transport them to municipalities and countries that need more capacity.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  44. Kate R in SW Fla

    Don't listen to the Pope

    April 10, 2009 at 5:12 pm |

    Jack, let them come to Detroit. The streets and houses are devoid of people due to the economic blitzkreig and we are surrounded by the Great Lakes brimming with cold drinking water. Come on down, the price is right!

    April 10, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  46. David

    I think certain governments such as china, need to create more regulations on the number of children born in their country, especially if that country is already unable to provide it's citizens with water and food.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  47. Pete Xander

    The answer is to do as I did - after having two kids, which is a zero population growth rate that replaces parents - go to the "Daddy Spay & Neuter Clinic." An American uses 35 to 40 times the energy and global resources than a Third World country resident. Let's start at home.

    Snip the problem in the bud, as it were.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  48. Edward

    Quite simply, we need to teach people that having 6 kids because your religion discourages contraceptives is a terrible idea. The longer we let priests tell us what to do with our sex lives, the longer this issue persists. People of third world countries especially need to be taught that you just can't feed 6 mouths when you're earning less than $3 a day.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  49. maria, california

    Birth Control!!!!!!!! Just because you can do it doesn't mean you should. If you can't afford to have the kid, don't expect the government to pay for them. Maybe if there was a tax incentive to those who do not have children instead of tax credits of more for the more you have. I chose not to have kids cause I couldn't care for them. Why do I feel like I am penalized?

    April 10, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  50. Malcolm

    There is NO shortage of water or food. Only a shortage of intelligent thinking!

    April 10, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  51. Mitch


    Same problem, different century. The answer is called war. It will only take an hour or so to turn back the clock to biblical times.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  52. Katja

    Three words. Mandatory Birth Control. I don't agree with the Chinese method, but 4 or more kids when you can't afford them is crazy. Also, if you are on public assistance, you should be limited to the amount of children you have. I'm extremely tired of paying for other people having kids on a yearly basis, when I was smart enough to know how many kids I could afford and then know when to quit.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  53. Kim Meseck

    Jack, the simple solution would be to convert our abundant sea water to fresh water. With the global warming situation, that might even help offset flooding problems while we work on reversing this problem.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  54. Brian

    The answer is simple; we need to stop bickering for control of every little thing both as a people and as individual countries. Rather than worrying what's best for us as individuals we need to focus on what's going to sustain our planet. After all, it is the ONLY one we have. It's time to get serious and grow up, we're all in this together.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  55. Buster in Poughkeepsie, NY

    I have a plan, Old, Wise and Venerable One. Although it's long overdue, there is still time to act, but if we don't do something quickly, we will soon be swimming in sea of very needy babies. By all means Jack, whatever it takes, for the love of God, put Octomom on birth control.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  56. Arnold

    Jack, two words: Gay Marriage

    Gays couples don't produce children thus their unions do not contribute to the population explosion. Plus, they many times adopt the children of heterosexual couples who don't want or can't take care of their own children.

    Arnold from Los Angeles, CA

    April 10, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  57. Christopher Dempsey


    There is no answer to our "exploding population." The only thing that can save us is Science! Sometimes I think that you and Lou don't realize that there are demand side answers to our supply side problems.

    Chris D
    Pacific Grove, CA

    April 10, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  58. Jake - Louisville,KY

    Governments give incentives for having less children.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  59. Tony IL

    Can we say spay and neuter. While we are at the top of the food chain, there has been more births then deaths around the world. With that said, maybe people are listening to the Pope when he said that people shouldn't use condoms. It doesn't help that everywhere you turn, you hear something about sex. Teens are having sex and sexting, sex is everywhere on tv, and the fact that births are up among unwed mothers doesn't help either. Sooner or later, the environment will fight back and reduce our numbers like it does with other animals.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  60. Jay Bell

    Don't worry about it Jack, if we keep killing off all of the bees the planet will be totally dead in 3 years after they are gone and it won't matter.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  61. donna mabry

    Human beings no longer inhabit the earth, we infest it. If the governments of the world don't get a grip on the distribution of birth control and start doing free sterilizations for everyone, we are going to poplulate our species out of existance. Not to mention, the religious right needs to understand that abstinence may be the best policy but it certainly is failing to curb the spread of disease and unwanted pregnancies. How is it a sin to use birth control but not a sin to bring a child into the world that you know will starve to death?

    April 10, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  62. Matt

    We need to seriously rethink our current overconsumption of many of the Earth's resources. Is it really necessary to water our lawns, especially in a place such as the Southwest?

    April 10, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  63. Gautam

    Firstly and immediately build an easy, feasible and economical safe drinking water extraction from the oceans(2/3rds of earth is covered by saline water). Secondly find out another planet to live soon. Earth days are numbered. All the resources would die out at some point of time.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  64. Jessica, Bluefield WV

    Stop people like the Octomom or the Gosselins from Jon & Kate Plus Eight. There's no need to have more than 2 or 3 kids. If you have more than that there's no way each child can get the individual love and attention children need to thrive. In doing that we would help children and save our resources. Seems like a win-win to me.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  65. E. Therian

    It's easy and has been going on as long as there has been life on earth. Nations must feed their own people. Populations that cannnot be sustained will collapse.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  66. mike

    If we all multiplied like the Octo-Mom and that Christian couple that has 17, we'd be in a Pretty Pickle.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  67. joyce

    Writing from Tunkhannock, PA

    Jack, just put the current Pope in charge of the world population explosion. Obviously he is a man of worldly views & knows so much about what is good for the world! The Pope is the answer to all your problems & the absolute answer to everything...........
    Problem solved!

    April 10, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  68. Joshua Robinson

    Provide free, that right, I said it, FREE birth control to everyone. A vast amount of babies are born to underage mothers and many mothers, especially in third world countries, end up having many more babies than they would like. If nearly every woman on earth were able to choose how and when she had children, far fewer will be born.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  69. bill mcgoff

    Soylent Green

    April 10, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  70. Michael Gallagher

    The answer is simply jack, desalianation plants along the world's sea coasts. They are nothing new. Saudi Arabia has been drinking processed seawater for a long time, the technology is available and proven, and virtually every ship in our Navy has been operating on-board desalianation processing equipment for decades. Great way to create jobs too!

    April 10, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  71. Juan Garcia

    The answer is simple: If you control the level of food production you control population. More food = increase in population; less food = decrease in population. Produce enough food to only feed 6 billion people and you will keep the population at 6 billion, give or take a million.

    Bryan, Texas

    April 10, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  72. Mark Dunning

    Our US government encourages large families, some of which cannot afford them, by giving taxe breaks for each child. It should be that for every additional child, the tax break decreases.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  73. barb

    Let's not only legalize but also encourage gay and lesbian marriage. They are less likely to reproduce and gradually, the population will decline!

    April 10, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  74. Weldon Tindell

    Mother Nature will help us out with a Pandemic fewer people are being immunized in third world countries.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  75. KO in Naperville, IL

    Very, very simple: Birth Control

    April 10, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  76. Divine Awah


    I think the answer to this problem is more investment in Human Engineering. Every single day i ask myself when are we going to invest more in human behavior & its relationship to the very visible environmental changes?
    We get so engrossed in our greed to live the best lives & care for less that we don't even have the time to understand humans; come to think of it, we're humans, but we don't really know ourselves.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  77. Sunnyside

    Educating young women! Aside from being a great idea overall, this has been proven to be the single most effective factor. It extends marriage age and thereby reduces number of childbirths. And those children also have a higher standard of living.

    Btw, yes, water and other shortages are a serious and growing problem, but in industrialized areas of the world, birth-rates are already declining.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  78. Fernando

    The answer to world population is sex education in a global scale. In Haiti, human explosion destroyed pretty well every tree in the country. Central America will have 200 million people in a few years and, to survive, they will have to destroy what little forest they have left. The same can be said for the rest of the world.

    Fernando, Toronto

    April 10, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  79. John Kelley

    We were warned by a scientist in the early 1970s named Erlich who wrote the Population Bomb. Well, its here and getting worse. Over 6 billion people and in 20 years we could be on food rationing as well as water rationed.
    What's the solution – mandatory birth control. That is the only way we can resolve this global problem. We also need to find methods of turning sea waler to fresh water, growing food on mega farms.
    We also have to consider move off this planet and establish colonies when we have the technology.
    If we do not take steps now, we are in trouble within 20 years.
    We should start working now.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  80. Levi Mburu

    Jack, i think this is an issue to be addressed by the United Nation Humanitarian Program. Countries that are densly populated should enact a policy same as China but this time with a limit of 2 children per household rather than the one child policy that is leading to China's unbalanced population; no couple wants to have a girl. If the situation is left in the hands of governments, it might lead to dirty tactics of controlling the population. As we all know in the past, so many romours have circulated regarding population control.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  81. Jason

    I think that governments around the world are going to have to do what China already does with the 1 child policy. Soon there will not be enough water and after that there will be food shortages followed by power shortages. the very fabric of our society is at great risk and we need to do something about this soon or we will pay a hefty price.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  82. Jon

    Why there arent more reports on this i do not know, this is a CRISIS. A cap of 2 children per household may be necessary, how bad will it need to get before people realize how fast we are multiplying.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  83. Bunny

    Cigarets, Alcohol, Obesity, War over oil and other finite resources, tricking our youth into the military, HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Black on Black crime, poverty and cancer are taking care of population growth. The United States military complex will not allow our "interest" to be threatened...we will go to war with someone before we run out of water.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  84. Craig

    Two words Jack, Soylent Green, only for those older then me of course.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:16 pm |

    Today, Good Friday, my Grandmother turned 95. She is lucid, still drives and last year was treated successfully for breast cancer much to the surprise of the Oncologist!. In her lifetime the world population increased by more than 3 fold. When my grandmother was born in there were no antibiotics yet she weathered a usually deadly spider bite to her face as a teen. When she was born women could not vote. Later as a military wife during WWII she used her college education to help in the US while my Grandfather, a Chaplain, was deployed. My grandmother was born at a time when there was no commercial air service and little widespread use of motor cars. Her son, my father, became one of NASA's most prominent engineers. She has the wisdom of a lifetime of experience during the greatest time of achievement and change in human history.
    We have a wellspring of wisdom in the heads of lucid elders in our country. The automatic rejection of some to the wisdom of age and experience is misguided. We need to listen to those who have survived the most trying times in our nations history as we are arguably again in very trying times.

    GNV FL

    April 10, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  86. BOB G

    Jack have you ever heard of Soylent Green? We better find this recipe and get ready for full scale production!

    April 10, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  87. nathan

    The Answer is simple all out global war! My The Luckiest Ones Win

    April 10, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  88. Bobbi

    To start, the world population as a whole needs to stop viewing reproduction as a right and start thinking of it as a responsibility. We are responsible for taking care of our children, if we do not have the resources to do so as a population, we need to moderate the amount of children we have. Also, we should stop feeding the hungry of the world unless they remain on birth control. One hungry mouth should not be turning into five. That's just irresponsible. While we're at it, let's call for mandatory sterilization of any woman who gives birth to a newborn that pops positive for narcotics.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  89. Leslie

    the solution to the population problem is one the world is not gonna like: its time to start paying attention to WOMEN. every country with a population explosion also has a less educated citizenry. for every year a woman spends in higher education, she will have one less baby.

    its time to support the education of women worldwide. that oughtta cure a few drinking problems.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  90. Meg

    The problem of overpopulation has been put off for too long. We can no longer continue with life as we know it while ignoring the issues that face all of humanity. Previous generations were selfish, or honestly didn't anticipate the future needs of our planet. However, all this aside, we can curb all the damage we have done while conserving resources if we take action NOW. This includes widespread use of contraceptives, (not limited to third world countries only!) and give more consideration and thought into the kind of world we want our children and grandchildren to face. Right now it looks very bleak, and there WILL NOT be enough resources for all, but I am optimistic that we can pull together as one and conquer the impossible. The time is now and with each day that passes more babies are brought into a world that cannot hope to feed them and give them shelter. This is cruel, but true, but the blame is not soley on the shoulders of third world countries, but rather the USA. It is time for America to grow up, and take some responsiblity.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  91. Tonya Helm Lombard,IL

    I'm doing my part by not procreating. People keep feeling the need to have more and more children that they can't take care of and then you have goups like the Catholic church telling us birth control is bad. Wake up people! It's too bad that we don't have some species controlling our out of control population like we humans do to animals like the deer.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  92. Scott Shaw

    The answer has been obvious since the first Earth Day. We have too many fascist Churches: Mormon, Muslim, Catholic & Hindu that require women to have mulitple live births. All women must immeidately stop having more than ttwo children! All births must have been assessed with fetal amniocentises to verify that a healthy baby will be born. No more Octomoms with 14 children. All these children must be born. Glenn Beck is a Mormon Fascist, he is no one to point a finger as Socialist, he and his ilk are the fascists. Babies generate carbon footprints even before they are born. It costs $200,000 to raise a child to the age of 18, we cannot afford it. Stop the Mormons, Muslims, Catholics and Hindu's from killing our planet or the 4 horsemen; Drought, Famine, War and Pestilence will do it. Which do we want, killing off old people or stopping impregnation!

    April 10, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  93. Rogene

    The answer is to recognize the Bible's admonition to "go forth and multiply" did not mean forever nor at an unchecked rate. It might not have even meant to multiply humanity! And also to recognize that high birth rates and poverty go hand in hand. QUIT HAVING SO MANY BABIES is the answer!!

    April 10, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  94. Buster in Poughkeepsie, NY

    have a plan, Old, Wise and Venerable One. Although it’s long overdue, there is still time to act, but if we don’t do something quickly, we will soon be swimming in a sea of very needy babies. By all means Jack, whatever it takes, for the love of God, put Octomom on birth control.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  95. Ann Schweers

    My husband and I went to college in the 50's and early 60's and at that time there was a dire warning about overpopulation. The remedy was called "zero population growth." In other words, you replaced yourself but had no more children. That's what we did. We had two children and adopted two more. Now it's almost 50 years later and we're still "talking" about the same problem. We need to stop talking and start acting to remedy both the overpopulation and the global warming.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  96. Jan

    I am not sure it is an over population problem, but more of an over amount of foreigners let into this country. Naturally it would take away from the US citizens. And the problem won't stop with the water.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  97. Tom

    It has been said (I believe in the bible) that the future wars of the world will be over water. Makes you wonder, I really think the nuclear issue in the middle east will determine the future of mankind.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  98. Jeff in Glen Carbon IL

    Maybe Indira Ghandi was right.....put chemical birth control in the water suppoly and then offer the antidote only to those with less than 2 kids.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  99. Steve

    Jack, this is real easy! There are so many of the world's populace stupid enough to believe in supreme being and life after death, we whould make them all happy and have a mass culling! That will leave the earth and its resources intact for the atheists to enjoy. Oh, and since there will be no more religion there will be peace and good will to all as an added bonus! Steve

    April 10, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  100. Christian in Miami

    People need to start practicing more protected sex methods. Wrap it up!

    April 10, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  101. Lynn Ennis

    I think that all male children should have a vasectomy at about the age of twelve and not be allowed to nave it reversed untill they can show a valid marriage license. That would certainly help with overpopulation.
    There are loads of other things that should be done about the water situation, but reducing the birth raqte wouls be the biggest.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  102. Luis (pronounced Lewis) in San Diego

    With such a global problem, there has to be solutions at the micro and macro levels. At the micro levels, everyone can do little things to conserve. Taking shorter showers, reduce watering lawns, conserving energy and reducing consumption in general. At the macro level, there needs to be extensive technologies that needs to be considered, many that are not pleasant at first glance. Desalination plants, should be taken seriously (if not subsidized federally), sewage-to-tap water treatment plants (which by all accounts are very sanitary), and eventually nuclear power will be our last resort. I just hope that when we need to resort to nuclear, we have the means to dispose of nuclear waste safely and efficiently.

    Technology and education will be key.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  103. Texas

    It is a fallacy to think that people are going to destroy the world, Mother Earth's immune system is going to kick in and get rid of us before we can go that far. Global warming is a fever and people are not going to change their ways until they realize this.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  104. Taylor

    We don't have a population problem, we have a technology problem. Throughout human history, advances in farming techniques, chemistry, etc. have allowed us to support more people with less land, so what we need is to reenergize our spirit of discovery and innovation so that we may have a bright future ahead of us instead of a grim future of rationing and population control.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  105. pinky

    china has a population problem. They have passes the people have accepted the policy of 1 child per couple.

    If we can pass something similar like that ,we may be able to control the population.OR if people voluntarily agree not to have more kids.. it would be a humane thing..unless they blame it on God 's will.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  106. Gigi

    God only knows! We are such a wasteful greedy world no matter what is decided it will be found to be illegal or immoral and the congress will fight over it for decades and the press will...God only knows.
    From Oregon the land of rivers, lakes, creeks and the sea. A wonderful place to visit but please don't move here.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  107. Catherine Scott

    Vascetomies for transistor radios. Simple.
    You are dead right about population explosion.
    India, Africa, any third world country.
    There sould be as above a person should have only one child until such day and date as we get the issue in hand. How in the world would anyone want to bring a child in the world and wonder how they are going to feed, cloth and educate. This world is upside down.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  108. ali holt

    Hi Jack,
    Thanks so very much for posing the much overdue and extremely necessary question of the world's exploding population. Almost every woe we are now experiencing can be linked directly to this problem and yet nobody even in the midst of world hunger, destroyed habitats and global warming, brings up the subject yet alone proposing some solution. There used to be an organization called "Zero Population Growth" but that doesn't even exist any more. I hope someone like you can begin to shed some light on this frightening problem before it is too late.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  109. Michael

    Easy answer, get rid of the pope and hand out condoms in public school. parents who complain can pay tuition for a christian school . Also less welfare for families after each new child

    April 10, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  110. Sheri Herron

    Modern medicine has advanced to the point that we are able to keep most people in developed countries alive into their 80s and 90s. We even find ways to save those in countries where food and water supplies are not sufficient to support the population. Trouble is, the planet cannot sustain all of us. I hate to think about the impact, but we're overdue for a plague.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  111. Marty

    Well the first thing that comes to my mind is stop sending aid to the third world, stop intervening in regional wars and focus on fixing America. But we all know what liberal democrats will say, whites need to show the way by getting sterilized, have more abortions and use more birth control so we stop having kids.

    War is a natural thing let these waring tribes kill each other. It's not our job to stop these people from massacring each other.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  112. Richard Small

    Consider not just water shortages, but all the worst global problems we face today: Islamic extremism, chronic armed conflicts and the attendant fear of WMD, human rights violations at the hands of oppressive governments, hunger and starvation, disease, pollution, global warming, crime, corruption, poverty, racism and other forms of discrimination, economic recession and so on. These core problems have a common characteristic: They are exacerbated, if not outright caused, by another problem that we don’t talk much about – uncontrolled population growth, which acts as a multiplier of the other problems. In fact, none of the most serious of the core problems alluded to have any hope of solution if simple population growth continues without restriction, undermining any well-intended corrective actions by overwhelming resources and adding congestion as a catalyst as we approach the natural limit of habitat on the planet Earth. Yet there are no global efforts aimed at controlling population growth because it is taboo. That is a huge mistake. We're prioritizing the wrong problems.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  113. Jeremiah, Detroit, Michigan

    The only answer to this question is simple, run out of enough non-renewable resources and then we'll all drop off. It has always amazed me that we put fresh clean water on our lawns just so it looks "green" when we have droughts, or the fact that we built up huge cities in the middle of deserts. We are our worst enemies.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  114. Wynn

    You need to ask the Vatican. They insist the earth can support all we can procreate. Are you enlightened now? 🙂

    April 10, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  115. Betty, San Diego, Ca.

    The answer in one word Jack is abstinence. Just ask the Palin's how well it works.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  116. Scott M

    My answer to the world's population problem is very simple random sterilization at birth eliminating a breeding portion of the population right off the bat , and child rearing licenses that are intelligence based.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  117. flying wolf, Manchester NH

    The Government and the UN should educate and allow women to have reproductive sovereignity. And stop pushing motherhood on TV. Also it would help conserve water if so many people didn't have swimming pools.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  118. Terry Guesman

    If adults would stop believing in fairy tales and the resulting views on contraception and abortion, a major dent in the world's population could be seen. An Anti-Religion movement may help to solve the world's population problem.

    Terry Guesman
    Las Vegas, NV

    April 10, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  119. Ian McGregor

    I don't think we really have to worry. The planet has a way of keeping balance and eventually the population will be balanced out to the Earth's resources. When and how is any guess though.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  120. Thomas

    You would do well in my AP Human Geography class, Jack. The most practical and realistic answer to the question is economic development. All of the world's major industrialized nations have little to most of population growth through immigration and not natural growth. As you advance people's standard of living and reduce infant mortality, people have less children bacuse the is a better chance that the ones they have are more likely to survive. People are also far more likely to use birth control in industrialized nations.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  121. Todd

    The worlds population crisis can be ended by letting the natural order of things take place. Instead of keeping everyone alive, let nature take its course. Get rid of insecticides, bullets ,immunizations and traps and see what the animal and bacteria population can do to alleviate the problem. Rest assured The population increase would fade. Of course by ending nuclear proliferation the same thing may happen. Darwinism would start shortly and the strongest would survive.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  122. John from Tillamook, OR

    There is no answer to the world's exploding population. As long as ignorance and out-dated religious views reign over scientific and rational thought, the world will continue to slowly die. You can't add an infinite number of people to a finite space, nor sadly, can you educate those unwilling to be educated.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  123. Julie

    No solution.
    Americans think they should be able to do anything they want ,and there are those poo-pooing any suggestion that there is a problem.
    There sure won't be any support from the Catholic Church, only opposition.

    There was a story about someplace in the Northwest where dishwasher soap containing phospates had been banned due to it's negative impact on the water supply, and the folks who lived there were just so proud of themselves that they went across the state line and brought back enough for everyone. By God they should be able to use whatever kind of soap they want to. It's their right as Americans.

    If you can't get something as simple as phospates being a negative impact on water across to them, how the bleep can you even approach population contriol?!

    We're circling the drain...

    Julie, Ks

    April 10, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  124. Janet from Memphs

    The problem is many countries endorse "Pro Life", but don't educate people that babies turn into adults, that you can't throw away after your tired of him or her. Abortion is not the only choice, but these endorsers of "every life is special" for the most part, don't support that baby for next 65 to 90 years, tax payers world wide do.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:22 pm |

    On water-I live in an area of Florida where water is relatively plentiful. The springs of North and Central Florida are among the most pure and abundant in the world. But we will not share until those who refuse to ration and change their behaviors make progress in water conservation. Water is the next Oil. I counsel the most politically incorrect perspective to my friends and neighbors. Use ALL the water you can. The laws of Florida allocate water based on need. If we don't use it in North Florida others will claim urgent need and we will lose it.
    The better solution is better laws–but until they are in place we have to use our water to the limit of our need in order to protect it. Yes that sounds like having sex to promote virginity...but this is politics.
    KEM in GNV

    April 10, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  126. J.D.

    For me, Jack, this issue is THE most pressing problem we face in the world today. Hunger, border conflict, crime, the inability to govern and sustain order, pollution, are all derived from our unceasing and – one might argue – destabilizing drive to put more people on this earth. The days of the large family are over and should no longer be applauded. In all candor, we require more details of financial and household stability from people seeking dog licenses than we do from prospective parents. As long as this demented drive to overpopulate is allowed to continue, the clock continues to tick against us as a civilisation and our problems will only get worse.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  127. Mark

    We should allow both abortions and homosexual marriage. This would naturally decrease the population. Abortions prevent unwanted children, who would likely not have the greatest life, and homosexual marriage would decrease the number of children both through adoption and a natural inability to procreate. Fundamentalist religions would not doubt object to this, however, opting to recommend that people not use condoms. But when has religion ever offered practical, pragmatic solutions to any of the problems facing the world? We need to get real.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  128. Dallas in Pasadena

    Dear Jack,

    The single best way to stabilize our world's population is to promote the rights, education, and economic independence of women. In places where women are respected, educated, and financially empowered birth rates fall and then stabilize. Other solutions are universally available sex education and contraception; reducing government incentives to have children (which is a different issue than government programs to take care of the ones we do have); and tougher, better enforced dead-beat dad laws.

    This is THE issue underlying many, many others and it is high time we addressed. It thanks for giving it national attention.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  129. Z in Texas

    It is a fallacy to think that people are going to destroy the world. Mother Earth's immune system is going to kick in and get rid of us before we can go that far. Global warming is a fever and people will not change their ways until they realize this.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  130. Jeremy

    Let's just ignore it and let the future generations deal with it. Kinda like what we do with all our other difficult problems, e.g. climate change, illegal immigration, etc...

    April 10, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  131. Scott Denny

    Promoting birth control across the world will certainly help. We need the world religious institutions to step up to the plate and acknowledge that birth control use is acceptable. Not only would this decrease population it would also help eliminate unwanted pregnancies and lower abortion rates, which certainly would make the religious right happy. Birth control can also help eliminate the spread of stds, thereby saving millions of dollars in health care costs. Just think, if you use a condom or other device, you can help save the planet and help fix the economy all at the same time.

    Scott – New York NY

    April 10, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  132. Terry M

    Jack – the answer to the overpopulation problem is to outlaw Viagra!

    April 10, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  133. Annie, Atlanta

    As much as I hate to admit it, maybe the Chinese have something with their limit of 1 child per family. Chilling yet realistic, sadly.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  134. Patrick Jean Baptiste North Miami Beach, Florida

    We ought to have China's policy. One child per couple. If we don't the population of the world will just explode and there will be no way to contain it. Please read my answer Jack.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  135. Cole A.

    I'm impressed that somebody's finally bringing up overpopulation in the mainstream media. Although overpopulation is one of the most pressing environmental issues, it's sort of been taboo to talk about. I don't know how to convince people to have fewer children, but changing a lot of our habits can at least hamper the negative effects of overpopulation. Probably the most important one would be decreasing meat intake in our diets. Huge amounts of resources (water, food, oil, etc.) go into meat production, so a more plant based diet would free up these resources to go to directly toward our growing population.

    -Cole A.
    San Mateo, CA

    April 10, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  136. John

    Water shortages. In the near term, more emphasis on rainfall recovery and go for desalinization big time. People must have water regardless of expense....The alternative would be much more costly.

    Long term, a steady development of infrastucture and resource management.... If that's not enough, perhaps we could start retrieving resources from space and moving people to communities on the Moon, Mars, etc. If someone has a better plan, I'd like to see it.

    Best Regards!


    April 10, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  137. chet green

    In the early 1970s, a movement called "ZPG," Zero Population Growth, had some popularity, until selfish stupidity ended it. Look, as hard as it sounds to hear, the most selfish act a human being can perform is to create a life. If you think you're doing it for the child, you're a lesser version of the Octomom.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  138. Michael and Diane Phoenix AZ

    The only place that doesn't have a population control problem is Vactican City!

    April 10, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  139. Steve

    Jack, this is real easy! There are so many of the world’s populace stupid enough to believe in a supreme being and life after death, we should help them accelerate the fulfillment of their perceived destiny! That will leave the earth and its resources intact for us atheists to enjoy. Oh, and since there will be no more religion there will be peace and good will thereafter on earth as an added bonus! Steve

    April 10, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  140. Jared

    Survival of the fittest, if people contribute to society and earn a honest living they in turn can afford health care to live longer. If not, you get sick and eventually die. Nature has worked similarly for hundreds of millions of years. People need to evaluate what is more important, your family or some unfortunate soul that you have never met before.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  141. Marc

    I'm confused, the world is 70%covered by water and major cities that are near large bodies of water are going through a drought. Is it a stupid idea to invest in desalinization plants? We invest in bombs, bullets, and rebuilding of other nations. Yet we don't take into account our own national needs. And the exploding population can be delt with by acknowledging the world is bigger than the U.S., Iran, Iraq, China, N. Korea, and globally dealing with the issues at hand. Why can't the U.N. build farms for the world, wells for the thirsty, and actually act as a unified body? That's the real question Jack.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  142. Vince

    We can encourage women education in developing countries to reduce the size of families there. It is part of many cultures to value male children over girls, and will continue to have children until they have males. Women have little choice to continue to have babies because they have little education and cannot work.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  143. Daniel Griffith age 12 OR

    Did anyone every think the change in thought people had in the mid 60s has sparked this all. Now may be we should all look back to previous days in american history and world , were sex was only for the married. If that does not work there is plenty of room on the moon!

    April 10, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  144. Voice of Reason

    An effective, and eventually necessary solution to the overpopulation problem is to limit the number of kids a couple can have. Some people (octomom, looking at you) are unbelievably irresponsible with their reproductive systems. It should not be a freedom, but a privilege. If one has the resources, and has not had an excessive number of kids, then they can make that choice. We can no longer afford to have increasingly high birth rates and decreasing death rates. At some point, even at maximum operating capacity, the Earth's resources will be overwhelmed. It may sound crazy, but it is necessary. If not now, then when?

    April 10, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  145. Barbara Azad

    I "love"".... the "population explosion. I have a soapbox and prepared statement on "voluntary sterlization"". Its bad enough we increase the
    popultation without hardly trying..then we have the women who are
    having "litters" of babies...without thinking of the consequences to
    the envirnoment and what all these "little people" are doing to the quality of our planet.
    We need quality of people..we already have a quanitiy of people, who aren't thinking of what's happening outside the world of their immedate surroundings. Kove you, Jack

    April 10, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  146. Lorraine

    Before you/one link(s) the water shortage to individual consumption predominately, consider watching the movie 'Flow: Love of Water', currently posted as a free movie on Comcast (at least in the Midwest). Very comprehensive, a global perspective. More concerning than human demand is industrial consumption – from pestitcide development/use to the whole bottled water industry. Worth considering as one forms an opinion.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  147. W. Shelton

    It is finally time to recognize that population growth is the major issue affecting all other environmental problems. Until we face the reality that the human population expansion cannot continue to be unregulated, all other efforts to resolve environmental problems will be futile.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  148. Roger Chambers

    Perhaps a place to start would be to convince the Pope and the Catholic Church that family planning and artificial birth control (including condoms) are a necessity. Condoms are somewhat effective in limiting the spread of AIDS as well. Of course, with recent statements against condoms in light of the AIDS pandemic in Africa, it is doubtful if the Pope will change his mind any time soon. It only took the Church nearly 400 years to remove the ban from Galileo’s writings that the earth revolves around the sun. Perhaps the city of Rome, including the Vatican, has to run out of water before he gets the message. By then, it will of course be too late to avoid a large scale catastrophe.

    Utica, New York

    April 10, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  149. Jon

    Why there arent more reports on this i do not know, this is a CRISIS. A cap of 2 children per household may be necessary, how bad will it need to get before people realize how fast we are multiplying.

    Jon in Encino, CA

    April 10, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  150. Doreen Suran RN, Bellevue, WA

    Make fathers stay home and take care of the kids during the day and go to work at night. Plus no more non-responsible sperm donors, you donate by any method and you will pay for the rest of the kids life.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  151. kim

    Simple. To address poverty, and population, we will need to increase consumption, access to resources, in low income countries and focus on sustainability and cutting consumption in rich countries. The richest 20% account for 45-60% of meat and fish, and energy. The poorest 20%, only for 5%. We also need to increase female literacy rates and focus on sex education programs that actually inform women and young girls about their bodies, not on silly promise rings.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  152. Levi Mburu

    Guys, let nature take it's course, it surely knows how to control any living thing in this planet!

    April 10, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  153. don


    There are two ends to this population candle. One is the young end, where one needs to convince people to keep their flies up, and then tackle the religious and cultural dogmas (e.g. planned parenthood etc.). The old end of the candle arises from the feeling that we have to indefinitely prolong the lives of of the elderly. Making the decision at this end would be a much more complex problem than birth control. Yet more of the planets resources may be required by the elderly segment of the population.
    This has been a recognized problem since the 60's. But so was the SST.

    Don't use this one on air. Just wanted to raise the elderly part of the problem that I never hear discussed.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  154. Dave Sorrell, DeKalb IL

    I've said it once, and I'll say it again: stupid people shouldn't be able to procreate. Let's just leave it at that.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  155. Bob Holtgraver

    Jack, We're on our way. The idiotic restrictions on birth control which the Bush / Chaney nincompoops placed on us and on global aid will soon be lifted by the Obama administration.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  156. Liz in Los Angeles, CA

    How about a "Pay to Propagate" Tax ? Everything else is taxed, why not tax pregnancies that go full term and result in more than two children per family?

    April 10, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  157. Theron - Lawrence, KS

    Jack it is good to hear someone finally discussing the importance of this subject. Everyday we are inundated with messages warning of an impending environmental disaster. We are rightly told that if we do not find ways to live more sustainably, then our future generations' standard of living will be dramatilcally reduced. Yet, if the world's population were one third of its current number, there would be no reason to have to substantially alter our lifestyles. Unfortunately and ironically though, most people would vehemently reject any discourse suggesting that society impose laws limiting the number of children people are allowed to have. Considering how people flout their perceived biblical mandate to be fruitful and multiply, it is likely that any suggestion of the sort would be political suicide. It is so sad to think that my kid will be competing with the Octomom's children for resources in a future Mad Max like world.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  158. Dude

    Science is keeping people alive longer and lack of discretion is allowing more births. There is no solution to the problem. Only a large natural disaster will keep the human population in check.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  159. Dave

    What people don't understand is the planet can't support 6 or 7 billion people living the standard we have in America. I'd rather have less children and provide a better life for them. Most people just want to pass the burden off on the rest of society which is irresponsible.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  160. chas moffett

    Hey Jack, it's Chas from Truckee, California bouncing in to say this: As a baby-boomer who's also a child of the 60's, there was an international movement that what was once called Zero Population Growth (ZPG) which espoused that, get this, families be limited to two children.

    Author of the time, American biologist Paul Erlich, who wrote in his book, "The Population Bomb," was instrumental in the creation of that movement. Personally, I just turned 60, days ago but at age 24 I took care of my responsibility in this matter by stepping up and, yes, getting a vasectomy. It never bothered my self-esteem in the masculinity department nor in any other department.

    I did what I could and since I'm what would also be considered an angry white male, but only by demograhpic standards, I have to ask: "what ever became of that movement."

    And now that me, myself and I have asked, our rhetoric answers with: the solution lies in international politics and the will of nations. We see what a mess that has become these days have we not?

    April 10, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  161. Claudia

    Let's start with the "Octo-Mom"! Put a ban on fertility treatments for women who already have a child.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  162. Ryan Mac, Jersey City NJ

    The answer is education, science and technology, research and development, cooperation and the sharing of ideas. Funding and putting that to good use, requires our money like the kind we are forking over to bailout banks and fight wars on the other side of the world.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  163. Bill Thwaites

    When will we stop bragging about how many grandchildren we have? We are proud that we only have one and there are no more in sight.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  164. Star Auburn Ohio

    aspirins held between the knee's works great

    April 10, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  165. Al Skinner

    Jack, it will take a global crisis of enormous proportions - food shortfalls and famines that kill tens of millions. This is the way of humankind. I call it the "Titanic Syndrome": don't worry about enough lifeboats, or radio warnings, or ice patrols, or re-inforced hulls ... until you hit the iceberg in the middle of the night. Sooner or later the expanding population will hit that iceberg and the circumstances of fate will decide who lives and what course we take from there. Wish I could say that education would save us but as any CEO knows, you can't make a profit out of eduication so why invest in it?

    April 10, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  166. Brent

    Unfortunately, there is no answer. People in developing countries are too ignorant, and people in developed countries are too selfish. And governments will do nothing for fear of political backlash. In the end, only nature will solve this problem.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  167. Laurent iadeluca

    Two words Jack... Space colonization.
    It's time to get out of the Jules Verne style dreaming. Star Trek is our calling and the faster we embrace the idea that the 20th century is over the faster we can save the human race. C'mon Jack, if we don't pump money into further space exploration ( and lots of it) that put men on Mars within the next decade we're doomed to squabble amongst one another and eventually head into the direction of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. As for the dehydration of Los Angeles, My radical idea is in pumping sea water directly into the hottest desert areas of the west. The natural evaporation process that occurs will cause precipitation elsewhere which will eventually find its way back down the streams, rivers and estuaries that feed the natural water supplies of the dry cities like L.A.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  168. Marie

    Birth control, birth control, birth control......free of charge

    Shepherdstown, WV

    April 10, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  169. Bruce

    The end of the Mian Calender: Dec.21, 2012 should take care of it.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  170. Bill Carpenter

    I don't think the solution is simply education. The smarter people reach for education first, the dumb much later if at all. We will educate olurselves into an inferior race.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  171. Dan R

    When a species overpopulates in Nature... Nature finds a way to cull its numbers. Since we, the people, refuse to stop being fruitful and multiplying, Nature will probably relieve us of further responsibility.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  172. Kimberley Moore

    Dear Jack,
    A few years ago Time magazine reported the number of billions of gallons of water needed to sustain our existing world population. Then they pointed out that that's how much water we're using every year to water the world's golf courses.

    We don't need fewer people. We need to value all people more.

    Happy Easter!
    Kim Moore

    April 10, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  173. Alison - San Francisco

    Ask for a show of hands from those willing to give up a percentage of their gasoline, food and water to make room and resources available for all those cute little babies. Offer tax breaks to child-free-by-choice couples, instead of the current tax reward for popping out more mouths to feed. Organized religion will throw its usual tantrum, but keep in mind they have yet to solve one single problem for the human race.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  174. Mark in Hemptead LI

    They created a fatal std, AIDS to try and slow the poulation growth. Its backfired. The Roman Catholic is very powerful in underdeveloped countries and must advocate birth control. If not willing ,then nations around the world should come down on the Church like any other rogue state. Let's start with TAXING them. The UN could also start a program where they give food to men who get free vasectomy operations. That would also slow down all those poor children from starving,all over world.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  175. William Hunt

    Unfortunately, since we seem doomed to repeat history because the human race will never come together and cooperate, this leaves a massing culling of the population by starvation, disease, and war. It’s already happening in Africa and it will spread massively and get worse elsewhere. The dwindling planet resources will enforce it, particularly fossil fuels, water and useable farmland. Six billion people on the planet now survive only because of a massive energy input from fossil fuels. What happens when these fuels go into terminal decline?

    April 10, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  176. Zenon

    No need to worry about popluation: Mother Nature will work it out somehow. I'm just worrying about finding a job.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  177. Jim


    It would help if churches would stop their self-serving propaganda against birth control. Organizations like the Catholic and Mormon churches have always turned a blind eye to the population problem, figuring more little Catholics or Mormons will gradually increase their power through sheer numbers. If they really cared about mankind, they, along with every Government on the planet, would aggressively back birth control.

    Reno, Nevada

    April 10, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  178. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Hi Jack,

    become really aware that the increase of populations is and will be putting a lot of strains on all our way of life....we have to have a more social consciousness about saving energy and reducing the overexploitation of our natural resources...here we have regulations to water on specific days only in the summer just a very small example but we need to step up even more in many areas! We seem to not capture how all our quality of life is more and more connected to our use or abuse of all our natural resources!

    April 10, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  179. Clayton Merritt

    Well, This is quite the controversial question Jack!

    There are two things here that need to be heavily considered: One, I hate to sound like a Star Trek nerd, but we need to look at expanding into space on a mass scale, or two, some type of mass temporary sterilization to control mass population expansion. Nobody likes the idea of mass population control via sterilization, particularly religious groups who think that doing this sort of thing will promote promiscuity, pre-marital sex, and spread of STDs, but AS A WHOLE it needs to be done. What happens if we dont?

    Many "End of the World" Specials on TV outline what will happen when abundant essentials such as water and food become a scarcity. What do these specials say about it, you ask? Global [nuclear] war. The things that I mentioned: Expansion into space, and / or Mass sterilization need to be considered before we blow our selves into oblivion and make it so all resources become messed up with radiation.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:46 pm |
  180. Lester Sussman

    There is no water shortage. There's plenty of water, it's just in the wrong places sometimes. Some areas flood while at the same time others experience a drought. Why not move the water where it is needed. We do it with gas, and oil. In many cases the water would flow naturally down hill. In other cases it would have to be pumped. Where the flow is natural we could generate electricity to pay for the times water would have to be pumped. Two side benefits are, 1: that it would put a lot of people to work and 2: it could prevent some flooding in low areas.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  181. Kyle VanDyke

    Well America here is my thought on this important issue.
    For the water issue we should take a look at investing in desalination facilities that be used to help fill reservoirs and irrigation.
    My energy supply solution would be looking at geothermal energy and nuclear technologies. Of course there would be investments in wind, solar, electrical grid updates and bunch others as well.
    More investments should be made into mass transportation and city design concepts. My ideas on city design is that there should be an all in all in one building for living that offers a 24hr market/grocery store, 24hr medical facility, and a 24hr workout facility. This Idea would remove hundreds if not thousands of cars from roads. And what I believe to be the most important thing is that it would increase the number of people with healthy lifestyles and diets.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  182. Martin

    That's why I'm against stem cell reasearch. All of us are going to die. That's just reality. Imagine if we didn't die. If we didn't die, we will be killing each other for food. Religous or not, death is part of life.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:56 pm |
  183. Ivan

    The only real way to control our population is birth control, and war. Of course there is always the route of running out of water and basic supplies then human life as we know it will fall apart.

    April 10, 2009 at 5:56 pm |
  184. Ben Silva

    Why is it that I can now anticipate what any Republican will say about anything President Obama has done or proposes to do? Are they all of one mind-set, and is there any proof that they are not all from Stepford?

    April 10, 2009 at 5:58 pm |
  185. Caryl

    Add birth control pills to all water supplies for 4 out of every 5 years.

    April 10, 2009 at 6:00 pm |
  186. RIO-MAUI,HI.

    Bravo! You have just put at the forefront the number one problem of this planet that seems nobody cares? We are the pest supreme, we are the cause of all the suffering in this world by the way of GREED and Capitalism is de path, as you see in USA: Health(poor), Education(bad), Enviromental Pollution(worse), War(Worst), etc. and you see in evidence the unsustainable of the system in power when socialize losses and privatice profits, the world is rolling to a total catastrophe...

    April 10, 2009 at 6:00 pm |
  187. Cori

    @ HD in Phoenix;

    Listen to the question. Jack is asking about the entire world, it's a global scale, not just the U.S. Therefore, your answer about immigration has no relevance!

    April 10, 2009 at 6:01 pm |
  188. Ben Silva

    Maybe we should revert back to the habits of the 1950's when all the TV couples slept in separate beds.

    April 10, 2009 at 6:03 pm |
  189. Larry

    Not to worry about the population explosion. There is a well established procedure to take care of the problem. This solution was long ago developed by a famous social engineering species the Lemmings.

    April 10, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  190. Marty

    Here's three ways.

    1. Invade Africa and go Roman

    2.Allow waring religious sects fight we have no business involving ourselves with countries like India and Pakistan. Remember religion is the only thing that can unify people to fight the kind of war that's needed. God Will's it

    3.Mass forced sterilization of the third world.
    Remember religion is the only thing that can unify people to fight the kind of war that's needed. God Will's it!!!

    BTW, why did the congressional black caucus go to Cuba? Did it have anything to do with Cuba being overwhelmingly black now?

    April 10, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  191. Steve - Mich

    Put the GOP back in power again.

    They'll just bring us all to war globally, and wipe out millions of americans and hundreds of millions of others.

    April 10, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  192. Anthony

    I just wish you would take this idea of a water shortage seriously and help us to place the reality of the intersections water shortages and our interests in a broader historical context. This may assist us in understanding our policies and principles in ways that we may not have been exposed to otherwise. The future, present and past implications of the shortage of that which is our primary life sustaining resource seems kinda important. Aint that a fact, Jack!

    April 10, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  193. April Ward (age 13)

    We don't need to do anything. Earth can sustain as many people there is. If there was a law telling Americans how many children we could have, that would take away one more privilege and makes this country less free. Never give up your freedom. We just need to learn how to properly share all resources. There can't be any more extremes in wealth, we are all humans and deserve equal chances at having food and enough money to keep a roof over our heads. We aren't like wild animals. We shouldn't have the mentality of "if you aren't successful or can't get enough food to live, then you die". No, we are civilized and know better.
    As for birth control, it's ridiculous that it had to be created. Only because people weren't being responsible. But we need it because of those people who don't do the right actions.
    There is enough water. We will never run out of water as it is a never ending cycle. Yes, some places may have less than others, but we can always share.
    All in all, we need to equal out our resources. Then this problem wouldn't happen.

    April 10, 2009 at 6:07 pm |