Overpopulation from the perspective of a K-selected organism

I’m a K-selected organism.

In that populations unit they cram at the end of grade 12 biology after all the important stuff—the cell biology, the endocrine system, and the part where they train you up to initiate the next breakthrough in genetically modifying our world – in those last couple chapters occupied by pictures of happy, symbiotic bees and flowers, they teach you about K and R-selected species.

They teach you about S curves and J curves, they teach you about ‘survivability’ based on yet another system where we rank humans as number one.

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We affirm, humans are Type 1.

Yep, right after you learn that tapeworms can grow long enough in your intestines to stick out your butt, they teach you about K and R-selected species.

A K-selected species invests itself in raising a couple quality offspring in a stable environment—that’s us humans. An R-selected species lives in an unstable environment and reproduces as much as possible with little investment in their offspring—bacteria, for example.

This evolutionary model struck me as an extremely comprehensive model. A large scale model. In fact, a model of our world.

Overpopulation is a huge issue facing the world, and this model is something that contributes to it. I’m a K-selected organism. I live in the “First” world, where the decline of traditional, inelastic Christianity and the incline of work hours & wages has led to smaller and smaller family sizes. Parents put what time and money they have into the development of a couple quality offspring. With tuition fees it’s doubtful any more siblings would make it to college.

In the other world, the “developing” one, family sizes are generally larger. There is more disease, more poverty, and less first-world problems. Parents have more offspring and less resources to invest in them. R-selected.

It doesn’t mean much about the method or the ideology or the ideal or the parenting. K and R species are selected. Meaning a general trend arises from the conditions in which the species finds themselves. So maybe there is something to my theory.

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All I know is that it’s going to be mighty hard to address overpopulation when there is such a divide in how and what defines how we reproduce. When we’ve got K-selected countries living in a stable environment, yet sucking all the resources, and R-selected countries unable to provide for all of their offspring.


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