The term carrying capacity is the maximum number of individuals of a species the earth can support indefinitely. There is a wide range of estimates of how many people the earth can support, from 1 to 2 billion to 800 billion. These estimates are a function of resource consumption levels technological advancement and food supply. If everyone on earth has an affluent lifestyle, then the earth’s carrying capacity for humans will be much lower than if everyone lives like people in the Middle Ages or something. I would say somewhere between 8-10 billion is the earth’s carrying capacity for humans.
Personally, I think that 500 million would be ideal. I say this because I think that we should leave some space for other species and protect biodiversity. Unfortunately, we passed this number long ago. Fortunately, technological advancements have given people effective means of birth control and wealthy countries are starting to have lower fertility rates. I think that through education and by making birth control more available to developing countries, we can eventually reduce our population to a more manageable number.
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