Earlier today, a user who wished to remain anonymous commented on my article "A Response to the Article: 'Why You Should Probably Stop Eating Wheat'" to address something I said regarding overpopulation.
Anonymous said: "That many people in the world are starving has very little to do with the world's population. The fact is that there has been starvation throughout all of history, at times when the population has been much smaller. I've been to places where people starve, and it has nothing to do with the land available for crops."
My Response: I disagree with the above comment by the Anonymous user, though I'll admit that it isn't always quite so "black-and-white" an issue. Poverty can cause starvation. Also, in war-torn regions -- especially in places like sub-Saharan Africa -- it is common for local warlords and corrupt governments to seize bulk food supplies and use most of them for their soldiers; what small fraction makes it to the people-at-large is often used as a terror tactic to keep them in line, hence people starve. None of that changes the fact, however, that if they were living anywhere other than a desert (i.e. low carrying capacity land), then they wouldn't be at the mercy of foreign food aid shipments that are ripe for hijacking and seizure by corrupt governments.
Desert land has a low carrying capacity; only relatively small populations are able to survive there self-sufficiently. It isn't that difficult to figure-out. You cannot eat what the land can't grow -- it's that simple. Overpopulation is the cause for large human populations living in places that aren't able to support them. This also is not difficult to figure-out. If green things won't grow in your yard that you can eat, then that means large numbers of people aren't supposed to be living there. Period.
World population has been increasing steadily for a long time, most of that growth occurring over the last century as a result of advancements in medical science and the availability of cheap, plentiful oil (which caused vast increases in agricultural productivity). GMO wheat played a big role as well. It is a biological fact that more food = better health = more reproduction and more children surviving to adulthood to reproduce as well = more population = need for even greater supplies of food... and so on, and so on in an inifnitely-increasing positive feedback loop.
The United Nations has expressed great concern about continuing population growth in places like sub-Saharan Africa. I don't agree with the U.N.'s collectivist, anti-national sovereignty, One World Government schemes and I consider them to be largely corrupt, but my independent research has proven to me that -- on this issue, at least -- they are correct. We know, through independent research conducted by scientists at MIT, for instance, that the most prevalent reason for rioting and civil unrest is not nearly as complicated as expected: it's food scarcity, whether caused by high prices or outright shortages. There have been recent examples of this occurring, and its prevalence as a large-scale problem may be closer than we think. I still believe (and always will) that the next great wars will be fought over dwindling natural resources, food among them.
Also, read "Food Scarcity: The Timebomb Setting Nation Against Nation."
As of December 2012, world-wide human population estimates sit at just over 7 billion people, whereas most educated estimates of the planet's carrying capacity are between 4 billion and and a bit over double the numbers we currently have. The latter estimates, however, paint a rather rosy picture that is unsustainable in the long-term. We'll deplete all of our freshwater aquifers and ruin our arable land, turning the whole planet into a desert after a century or two with those high numbers.
The population is now projected to top 10 billion before the end of this century. This will increasingly put pressure on food supplies, as well as resources such as freshwater and fossil fuels that we're already using-up faster than they can be naturally replenished.