Historically, human societies have viewed reproduction as both a duty and a right. Page one of the Bible has God saying "Be fruitful and multiply", and Supreme Court cases regarding contraception have ruled that the state should not be party to a decision so "fundamental" as whether to have children. However, as we progress towards a more industrialized, crowded world where another child represents more another mouth to feed than an additional source of labor, we must change the way we view procreation.
Some problems with overpopulation include shortage of food and other resources, expansion of human settlement into pristine natural environments, ground-water depletion, and the cultural shifts associated with some countries' attempts to curb population growth. For example, female children are considered undesirable in China, which has policies in place to encourage one child per family.
In a speech about advancing our scientific abilities to fight aging, Aubrey de Grey argues that in the future we will have to choose between either a high death rate or a low birth rate to ensure the quality of life and survival of the human species. (Ted.com)
Is it better to have more, shorter lives, or should we encourage people to reproduce much less in response to our increased longevity? What would a comprehensive government policy to manage overpopulation look like?
Additionally, what steps can humanity take to lessen the burden of so many people on the world's ecosystems? Americans consume enough resources that if all the world's people followed suit, we would need 4 times more space and resources.