Is the World Overpopulated
Human population can be defined as the condition whereby, the total count of the human inhabiting a certain area exceeds the carrying capacity of the area. This brings out an issue of the carrying capacity of the region which alludes to the number of individuals who can inhabit a certain area for a given period. It may also be looked at as the situation whereby the available renewable resources in a certain area can satisfactorily support the current population. This, therefore, means that overpopulation may also mean a situation under which, the needs of the current population from the environment is more than the available renewable resources. Therefore, they cannot satisfactorily support the population. This viewpoint is in most cases considered as a long-term approach to, looking at this issue. Causes of Overpopulation Apparently overpopulation is one of the major environmental issues that affects the globe.
I believe that the human population has drastically increased due to significant advances in science, medicine and education and that this drastic increase is likely to have adverse effects on our planet and society. During the 20th Century, it is estimated the population of the world almost quadrupled from 1.65 billion to 6.1 billion. Current population is estimated at 6.7 billion. It is predicted that by the year 2100 the population could reach 12 billion. We are experiencing problems at the moment with the population of 6.7 billion, what is it going to be like with double that amount? More people take up more space. Urban areas are expanding, over 2 billion hectares of arable land have already been lost with 16 million more hectares being removed every year. Forests are being torn down to provide more wood and land to support the ever increasing population. The lose of these forests and the fact that they are not being replaced means that in future there will be a shortage of wood for building, manufacturing and fuel.Deforestation also leads to the extinction of plants and animals. These plants could contain cures for diseases which will never be found. Desertification is not restricted exclusively to arid regions. The main causes of soil degradation are overgrazing, over cultivation, water logging and salinization, and deforestation(Welch, 2008). As a result the carrying capacity for animals and people are lower, crop production is reduced, environmental deterioration is increased, flooding of lower lying lands is increased, and the capacity to support human life is reduced. Although droughts increase the rate of land degradation, they are not the cause, nor does desertification have a direct relation to a nearby desert. Soil degradation may begin in any cultivated field. Like deforestation, desertification is exacerbated by expanding population but again population is not the cause. At the core of this problem are excessive population densities and the displacement of poor people on the fragile lands.Currently desertification claims 6 million hectares worldwide. An additional 20 million hectares become degraded annually. The United Nations Environment Program judges 35 percent of the land surface at risk of desertification, included in this figure is 66 percent of Australia’s agricultural land. This equates to 24 billion tons of topsoil worldwide being washed away annually.The Modern Developed Countries (MDC’s) are insulated to some extent against these effects. Their population is expanding at a slower rate and they have vast resources. The Lesser Developed Countries (LDC’s) are much more at risk. They are already facing problems of higher populations which are expanding more rapidly(Lutz, No year). They can be victims of inequitable distribution of the world’s resources and international trade and financial arrangements which can work against them. They can have inadequate infrastructure, unstable governments, civil unrest and wars(Shah, No year; Shah, 2002). A lot of work is being done by various agencies to try to help less developed countries but as problems mount for modern developed countries, they will be less inclined to offer and sustain help and assistance. Some of the MDC’s have an imbalance in their populations, the grey economy (over 60′s) out number the young employed economy and this imbalance has the potential to cause a lot of problems for them.
Overpopulation may be described as a situation where a habitat holds a larger number of organisms than it should. The human population has been increasing at extreme rates in last few decades with an estimated three births every day (Connor 2006). Overpopulation has continued affecting the environment negatively over these years. Many human activities are not environment friendly and overpopulation does not make the situation any better. One of the major ways in which overpopulations affects the environment is through water pollution. As many people move to urban areas to seek employment, the amount of sewage waste tends to increase. Such wastes are carelessly disposed off such that they finally find their way into water bodies in their untreated condition. Some of the main contributors of water pollution are industries and open mines whose waste water contains chemical substances and other materials such as heavy metals which cannot be purified. Overexploitation in oceans through overfishing causes imbalance in the ecosystem of the coastal areas and results to lower populations of fish and other aquatic organisms (Stancheva 2003). Eventually, all these wastes and sediments find their way into the ocean and since the ocean is important in regulating climate, the overall climate is affected which may lead to economical problems. In addition, the ocean helps to prevent global warming through absorption of some percentage of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by human activities. Destruction of the ocean through overexploitation, therefore, limits this function. Besides polluting the water, there is also the problem of overconsumption which limits the supply of this precious commodity. Lack of adequate water also affects the environment since water is essential in maintaining a balanced ecosystem through its use by plants and animals (Vinelli 2003). Degradation of soil is another major impact of overpopulation. As the population increases, so does the demand for food production to cater for the growing population. This then leads to exploitation of lands that are not suitable for cultivation such as hilly areas and hilly lands whose cultivation leads to erosion and consequent loss of nutrients.
In the final analysis, as a result, the problems currently facing humanity will only get worse if nothing is done to prevent human overconsumption and ecological abuse from permanently disrupting Earth’s natural ecosystem. Based on the movie and the earlier statements involving chapter 2 and 3 it can once again be seen that main problem is not really humanity’s overconsumption but rather the size of the population that has lead to overconsumption. The problems that Gore states can never be truly overcome so long as overpopulation persists, If true change is to be established what is needed is to reduce the problem of humanity’s burgeoning population which would result in the other problems taking care of themselves over time.
Connor, S. “Overpopulation ‘is main threat to planet’”. 2006. Web.
Fears, N. “The effect of overpopulation on the environment and our sustainability”. 2009. Web.
Nahle, N. “Current effects of overpopulation”. 2003. Web.
Stancheva, T. “Effects of overpopulation on the environment”, 2003.Web.
Vinelli, G. “Environmental effects of population”. 2003. Web.