We often, especially in the West, hear about the concept of overpopulation. Especially in a time like now, where severe consequences of climate change are apparent in the exacerbated wild fires across the West Coast, many are turning to question the amount of resource consumption and waste emission per population. Many have even turned to the theory of overpopulation, citing that there are too many people on Earth, consuming too much, and that is why we are witnessing the detrimental implication of that over-consumption.
The concept of overpopulation has been heavily critiqued for its often racist messaging – and writers like Hossam Gamea challenge its myth of an understanding in the West. Gamea wrote a piece in 2018 titled “Modern Myth: Overpopulation” as part of a Modern Myths series on the website Traversing Tradition. In this paper, Gamea deconstructs the origin of the concept of overpopulation – which is often conflated with images of poverty and developing nations. He points to the science that records that it is actually Westerners and Westernized nations that are leading on the material and proven issue of over-consumption. He cites the discrepancies in resource waste and emissions of fossil fuels as an example. Hossam Gamea writes, “Overpopulation rhetoric makes those who have had the least impact on the deteriorating condition of the Earth most culpable.”