People Overload! How Indonesia's Overpopulation Will Harm The Country

Indonesia has an exploding population. It is on course to be the 3rd most populated country in the world, behind only China and India.

Good news?

Although there are certain economic benefits of having a large population, we should not forget the pressures that overpopulation has put on these countries: China's one child policy has produced a "gendercide," with entire villages completely void of young woman, while India's pressures have caused Indian farmers to have the highest rate of suicide of any profession in the world. 

We may be a long way off those figures, but what's the real story of overpopulation at home? Watch this excellent Al Jazeera news report about Indonesia's overpopulation to find out more:

Family planning will certainly help, but it may take a grander strategy to avoid an incredible 400 million Indonesians by 2050. Incidentally, 2050 is the same year which, if current rates of over fishing continue, the world will experience completely fishless oceans. 

WARNING: This means absolutely no Ikan Bakar for Indonesians of the future!

In addition, the rampant resource extraction in beautiful areas like the Riau Islands for it's bauxite, Raja Ampat for it's nickel, the wide-spread fossil fuel rigs and incessant deforestation for palm oil - to name just a few - have been accelerated in the name of economic growth. This is in no small part an attempt to sustain an economy for a growing population. 

At this rate, Indonesia's sons and daughters will grow up in an overcrowded, baron and polluted shadow of the Indonesia we know today.

It is the painful catch-22 for a developing country - needing to reap its own resources for short term gain, in order to provide for an increasingly unsustainable population. And at times it can feel painfully unfair. But the reality of the situation is the only true dictatorship we face, and it is the reality that all developing (and indeed, developed) countries must face up to in the 21st Century. 

But there is hope. If we act responsibly now, we may leave a legacy even greater than the Indonesia we inherited.