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Is overpopulation a world threat?

August 10, 2010

Landusepiechart

Overpopulation of our planet will soon become a grave and catastrophic crisis. As the population of our planet reaches 7 billion, we continue to struggle with the most essential elements of survival. Only the most industrious nations have little to worry about in regards to food, water, and other resources, as it compares to the non-industrious nations. There is no regard to overpopulation as the lifespan of humans grows.

Each year valuable resources become scarce and more expensive. The advancement in technology, specifically food production,waste management, water purification, and birth control, do not keep adequate pace with the population growth.

Overpopulation, as defined by Webster, is the condition of having population so dense as to cause environmental deterioration, an impaired quality of life, or a population crash. In the United States, for example, we enjoy immense space, abundant food and water resources, and an enjoyable quality of life. Compare us to countries in Africa and Asia, and the distinction becomes clear. African countries fail to cope with food shortages, poor or non-existent water production, poor birth control, and widespread disease.

Historically, disease and famine have reduced or slowed the population growth. However, in current modern times, medical advancements have allowed for the proper treatment of fatal diseases. On the other hand, with little birth control and population management, we have a greater number of people living with disease. This causes a depression in resources for those whom are healthy.

The crisis of overpopulation also strains our planet’s resources. The carrying capacity of our planet has been estimated to varying degrees. According to the UN World Population Report 2001, around two-thirds of the estimates fall between 4 billion to 16 billion people, with a median of about 10 billion. Reports such as this, find it hard to take into account future advancements in technology.

Over the past thousands of years, improvements in agriculture have allowed our planet to go from housing several hundred thousand to many billions of people. However, these reports do not take into account the fact those countries with plentiful resources, more than likely, are not the ones with the greatest degree of population density.

For example, the United States has vast resources, manmade or natural, as it compares to India, one of the most populated and dense countries in the world. If the population was spread evenly and appropriate growth controls were implemented, we could easily increase our carrying capacity.

Unfortunately, until the nations of our world come together and tackle wide-reaching issues, such as overpopulation, we will fight a growing battle that is expanding exponentially. With the effects of climate change becoming more and more evident, we are finding it harder to aid the individuals most in need all over the world. With our growing dependence of oil and other fossil fuels, we are only making the situation worse during the short period of time in which we could be making a difference.

Overpopulation is an issue with far reaching consequences, and it has only begun to affect the quality of life all over the planet. Soon, we will see the true disaster, a world unable to sustain growth to any degree.

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