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Population Growth and Its Effects on the Environment

The effects of population growth on the environment. As well, it discuss the solutions to the population growth problems and suggests solutions.

In the contemporary world the population is increasing at a reasonable rate particularly in the so called third world countries. This is an important issue as it consumes valuable natural resources in the context of current environmental concerns expressed by many scientist and social and environmental organization around the world. This article will discuss the effects of population growth on the environment and other social and economic issues particularly in the third world.

The impact of population growth can be depicted by the following diagram.

This diagram shows the way in which population growth affects environmental, social and economic factors of the world.

“The natural environment is interconnected because every organism, from germs to whales to people, is part of a food chain that depends on healthy habitats to survive.” As the population grows, there are less of the world’s resources for each person; our individual slice of the cake gets smaller. The statement implies how human actions and even the growing number of people requiring resources, adversely impacts on the environment.

The term carrying capacity refers to the number of people the earth can support in a sustainable way. This is affected by factors such as rate of resource use and resource distribution. The carrying capacity has been estimated at varying degrees from figures as low as one billion up to about 44 billion. The carrying capacity has been increased by science and it is thought that if the World exceeds its “carrying capacity” then science will be our last hope to find a solution.

An ecological footprint is the area of land that is taken to support a person. It includes food, water, oxygen, clothing and even shelter. It also takes into account health care, education and physical activities. The average human footprint is at 7acres however there is great disparity between rich and poor country’s footprints. For example, America’s average foot print is 30acres while Mexico’s average is just 6.6 acres. These two examples show the great inequity of resource distribution throughout the world.

  • A) Most of the worlds hunger is in the developing world where the majority of the population is. This includes countries such as India, African countries and many South American countries.
  • B) These people are hungry for many reasons. The most worrying of these is that they simply have no food for themselves because the developed world is using most of the world’s resources so there is simply none left for them. Another major problem is that the people have no money to buy food.
  • C) The simple solution to the problem simply equals out the wealth. Currently 90% of the worlds wealth is in the hands of 5% of the world’s population, this statistic drastically show the unfair distribution of the world’s wealth. If the poor countries had enough money to buy or produce enough food for there own people then the problem would be radically reduced; however due to the western world’s unfair absorption of resources the developing countries are sourly “short changed” which has resulted in the death of many people, with others set to follow if this problem is not reversed soon.

The social and economical implications of population growth are very obvious throughout the developing world and less if not non-existent in the developed world. The growth of cities due to pop growth has lead to many social problems particularly in the developing world. Pollution, crime, unemployment, sickness, poverty, and homelessness are all linked to the expansion of cities. With more people living in them, cities are expected to offer more services however because of the exponential growth which is currently occurring, they may not be able to meet the current need, this leads to a low quality of life. The economic implications are obvious when the supply of workers out numbers the supply of, this growth in unemployment impacts on the country as a whole and so adversely affecting all through a lowering of wages and less money moving through the economy.

As the population increases to grow and expand so to does the need for resources. The more people there are in the world, the more houses there are to warm and so the more trees that fall, the more people that move into the developed world, the more wood and stone and cement that is needed. The forests and atmosphere are most at threat from population. In fact less than one hundred years ago nearly 40% of the earth’s surface was forest and today we have lost almost a third of this. As a result of the increasingly polluted atmosphere the earth is now heating up, resent example of this is the water restrictions placed on Sydney, the Premier justified the compulsory water restrictions half of N.S.W’s population by the statement “global warming is starting to bite.” The degradation of all facades of the environment can be solely blamed on the population and our consumer driven society, which exploits nature.

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