The Population Problem

By John de Waal and Chad Olsen, Freethinkers

The Lakeside Freethinkers is a group of—mostly—retired professionals, many of whom have made Ajijic the last stop in their life, but who are still intellectually involved in world affairs and genuinely concerned about the future of man. We come together once a month to discuss matters that we believe are important. This month’s (March) subject was “How much longer can we survive on our planet?”  Readers of the Ojo might be interested in what we came up with for answers in our two-hour deliberations about our future.

First some facts:

– The world population in 1970 was 3.7 billion and by 2020 had grown to 7.8 billion, an increase of over 100% in 50 years. We are growing at a rate of over 80,000,000 a year. 

– Humans are the dominant species on Earth and take up almost all the space there is, directly or indirectly. It should be clear that, if we keep growing at this rate, we are headed for disaster. Who will live and who will die? 

– Man is facing unprecedented and imminent challenges that will determine the quality of life for us all: young, old, rich and poor alike, anywhere and everywhere on our planet!

– Climate changeis the primary problem facing man. It directly relates to the quality of life for most of us. Cars are often blamed for the environmental destruction, but what about meat consumption? What is actually worse, cars or cows?

The transportation sector of our economy is responsible for about 14 percent of greenhouse gasses in the form of CO², and livestock creates between 15 to 18 percent of total greenhouse gasses in the form of methane, which, as you may know, is 23 times more destructive than CO2  in global warming. In spite of that, the U.S. federal government spends $38 billion every year subsidizing the meat and dairy industry. While this subsidy reduces the price of a hamburger from $30 to $5 dollars (2015 prices), it makes little sense and should stop.One thing we can do, as individuals, is to stop eating red meat.

There is no question that the adjustments necessary for the radical societal changes required to limit global warming will cause major changes in society, and these may result in major upheavals, unless we can muster the political will, together with personal responsibility, to see this through. However necessary, this may prove problematic.  

Yet, some of us thought that the extrapolation of the current situation is too pessimistic and, they pointed out, that humanity has proven time and again to be very resourceful. So, we are somewhat hopeful about the future, particularly if society continues to make ever greater advances in research and development of techniques and processes, such as we cannot even imagine today. It is thus, we feel, that we may yet escape the doom that is threatening us.

If you are interested in discussions of this kind, you are welcome to join us. Just email  for more information.

For more information about Lake Chapala visit:

John de Waal
Latest posts by John de Waal (see all)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *