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The Dangers of Overpopulation

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In the 20th century alone, the human population soared from 2.5 billion to 6.1 billion, an increase spurned by advances during the industrial revolution. In that time, we have developed an immense need for resources, including food, water, raw materials, and energy. Now, we are closing in on a global population of eight billion people. By 2050, we could be facing a global population of nearly 11 billion.

Overpopulation has long been regarded as a sort of potential apocalypse, bringing with it an envisioned world choking on itself, with billions scrambling for scarce resources. With the seemingly ever-expanding population of the world, it is understandable to regard overpopulation as a sincere threat to our species’ survival.

As the world’s population increases, we will see a higher demand for the world’s natural resources. This is one of the main effects of overpopulation, as there will be an unequal and unrestrained use of resources. The ability for the Earth to regenerate raw materials is severely outpaced by our demand for such resources.

With an increased demand in natural resources, overpopulation will also pose serious problems to both the environment and the quality of life of those who live in developing countries. Conflict over scarce resources will plunge these areas into a period of drought, famine, and economic hardship. All of these will greatly contribute to further degradation of the environment, accelerating things like climate change and global warming.

The problem of overpopulation is a serious one, but implementing solutions for it is even trickier. Solving overpopulation required walking a fine line between infringing on people’s right to start families and have children. Countries like China have implemented authoritarian policies limiting the number of children its citizens are allowed to have, but it just not realistic to implement that on a global scale, especially in America.

There are, however, some steps we can take as a society to help adjust to the world’s rising population. On an individual level, it is important to take greater care in living a sustainable life. This means utilizing sustainable goods, leaving a small carbon footprint, and adopting a more eco-conscious diet. On a larger scale, it is important for the government of nations to provide its citizens with an adequate food supply, affordable housing, quality medical care and medicine, and equal employment opportunities.

If all of these are implemented on a timely scale, we may be able to keep up with the rising global population, providing a place where all humans can survive and thrive for the years to come.

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Avid writer and reader with a curious mind. I'm always looking to get the most out of life! Follow me on Twitter @whatsaschoon

3 Comments

  1. Avatar

    terry spahr

    June 9, 2019 at 5:12 pm

    Austin
    Good article on the impacts to the earth from our ever rising numbers. The challenge with trying to reduce our individual footprint is our footprint is based on our wealth and or income and not what we consume. If I earn 100k after taxes but live a 40K consumption lifestyle what happens to the other 60k I earn?
    For most people if we dont consume it we invest it, in which case it is going into to the production side of the economy generating growth into the resources that sustain us. The only genuine solution to our overshoot is to contract as a species.
    Terry Spahr
    Earth Overshoot
    610-42-1787

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    Theodore Horner

    June 18, 2019 at 10:52 am

    Please change “spurned” to “spurred” in the first paragraph.

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    Bernard Cronyn

    June 19, 2019 at 1:31 am

    A good article about the greatest threat to our planet and all its living creatures. One aspect that is not mentioned is that overpopulation brings with it a huge rise in competition for available resources. In countries where these resources are stretched to their limits, this competition leads to internecine strife with differences of religion, tribe and race coming to the fore. A few examples are The Horn of Africa, Sudan and Nigeria. The popular reaction to coping with these problems is the one of “reducing our carbon footprint”. This may help a little in the short term but does NOT address the root cause that is the one of far “too many human footprints”. For some weird reason the idea that “quantity of life equates to quality of life” is hammered into the human psyche when so often we see proof that the opposite is true.

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