I just read an article that said that having babies is causing global warming.
If that isn't the single most ridiculous thing I have heard this year, and I have heard some fairly ridiculous things, it is at least in the top 10. The article states that each child born has a "carbon footprint" exponential greater than that of parent. Horse Hockey, I say. Even if an infant could consume enough resources to have a "carbon footprint" there is no way it could be greater than the parent who is driving to work, burning electricity, and consuming resources.
The main issue of the article to that overpopulation is a major problem. And while I agree that in some places on the Earth, there are population problems, there are many many more that are underpopulated. Russia, for instance, for all of it's land mass, is having such a problem with falling birth rates that in less than one generation, they will not have a population density great enough to sustain basic services and food production. The government is actually paying women to have babies. Then in other places like India, the population is so dense that they literally cannot grow enough food in their climate to support themselves. Overpopulation isn't the issue, it is population density.
China has the largest population of any country on Earth, yet if you take the populations of the major cities out of the equation, that country would have almost no people. It all comes back to density. More people in a small area create bigger problems. From sanitation to pollution. 5 people living on 1 acre will likely not get sick. 500 on one acre likely will. And that is what cities do to us. That is why, historically, when you pack a bunch of people into a small living area, such as a slum, a barrio, or a ghetto, disease will spread. Think of the Black Plague. Too many people living in a small area invites in the rats and other vermin, people get bitten by fleas or get histoplasmosis from the droppings, and pass it to everyone they meet. Spread these same people out a bit and the infection rate drops dramatically.
"Oh, but we are consuming to many resources", you say. "We need a smaller population so that we do not consume so many resources and destroy natural habitats." "We are destroying the Earth." The answer to that argument is sustainability. 100 years ago, the majority of the population grew at least part, if not all, of their own food. They grew enough for themselves and maybe a little extra to sell. Nothing was wasted. Very few people anywhere on earth actually do that now. We are dependent on corporate farms that provide limited nutrition to feed us. No one actually wants to invest sweat for good healthy food anymore. That is why overpopulation is a problem. There are a limited number of jobs in the cities and no place to grow your own food. So people in the cities are dependent on other to feed them. If there are not enough people willing to grow the food, there is a problem.
As a species, we have gotten lazy.
For those of you who do not believe in God...We have evolved to the point that we are at the top of the food chain. We have successfully out-competed every other animal on the planet and our birth rates prove it. If we practice restraint, we will have the resources to continue to evolve forever.
To those God-faring folks out there, God created Man and gave him dominion over the Earth. We were given the mandate to go forth and multiply. We were also charged with the responsibility to be stewards over the Earth. That means we were told to take care of it.
Any way you look at it, stewardship, sustainability, husbandry, responsibility, whatever, if we do not take care of the Earth, it will not matter a hill of beans how many people there are. We will fail.
The answer isn't how many, it is just how.