We are in grave , grave trouble. There are 3,6 billion human beings on the face of the Earth.According to our best estimates, there are somewhere between three and seven times more people than this planet can possibly maintain over a long period of time. …Non-renewable resources are being exhausted at a horrendous rate, and we are destroying the capability of the planetary ecosystem to renew the supply of renewable resources. (Hinrichs,8)
The worse however is yet to come.here are some numerical data that are present in John Laffin’s The Hunger to Come: “About 2050 the population will be 15.000 million, a century later 82.000 million and by 2350 a frightening 440.000 million will be reached”(47).We need to realize the necessity of a population plan which will make us more optimistic as far as our future is concerned.This plan must be based on the fact that the control of the rapid population growth is necessary globally; otherwise, earth’s environment will be put into greater danger,the overexploitation of natural resources will continue and poverty will rise in most of the world’s countries.
In order to understand why rapid population growth is a threat and why we need to control it we must examine the problems which population expansion generates.
First, population growth has serious effects on the environment. As we all know we consume materials and energy from earth and then return heat and wastes to earth. It is only logical to say that there is a limit at which these wastes can come to our planet without having serious effect on humans. According to Noel Hinrichs the basic reason for the decrease in the quality of the environment is the absence of control over technology, land-use and especially over pollution. Nevertheless, due to the fact that population growth makes worse all those unfortunate situations, and the control of population density can buy us some time to control the rest of the problems, one has to recommend the control of population explosion.(45)
As the human numbers increase, deterioration of water quality and destruction of animal and plant communities increase too.
Water pollution has been partly caused by population growth. “Humans consumed, stored and diverted water and used it to carry away wastes without regard to health or ecological consequences, which were considered inconsequential” (Turner II et. al. 254). These human actions plus population expansion and the necessity has as a result the deterioration of water quality in rivers, with effects by human actions and development on or close to them (267).
As mentioned previously animal and plant species are in danger due to population explosion. The serious effects of population growth apply even on the protected locations of this planet. Even in the USA, that has a statistical low population expansion, the natural parks experience a loss of species and habitat degradation due to immense numbers of people and their actions (365). “… The regions of Brazil with the highest human densities over the greatest period of time show extensive degradation of plant and animal communities” (364).
But rapid expansion of human numbers does not have effects only on the environment in general but also causes overexploitation of natural resources and provides pressure on food supplies. As a result it will not be long until we observe a remarkable decline in our living standards, or in other words a decline in our quality of life.
Specifically land, forest and water are some of the vital resources that are threatened by enlargement of population density. Because population growth has expanded greatly over the last 500 years , as larger numbers of people needed more food supplies and commodities from natural resources and agricultural activities, more and more people occupied biger land spaces in big urban areas. Populatin growth in today’s world, therefore, plays a vital role to changes in the land. Growing need for food supplies and commodities contributed to the growth of croplands all over the world and to the “consumption of natural resources”. Labor forces, which were available, resulted to “land-clearing”, alteration and loss of the land’s quality. Globally, population growth is mainly responsible for land pressures (Turner II et. al. 167).
Forests -one of the greatest natural resources- have also experienced major damage due to immense population growth. As a result of the rapid human fertility, forests have been transformed either into agricultural lands or into open areas in which villages and cities now exist in order to sustain the so-called urban population. Also, …in many countries of the developing…world, population numbers have also doubled between 1950 and 1980…Consequently, pressures on the forest have been increased as they become one of the last sources of new land for the extension of arable and pasture, for fuelwood for heating and cooking and even for industry, and as a source of hard currency from exported logs and wood chips. (Turner II et. al. 190).
Apart from land and forest population growth has applied pressure in resources of water. Population growth has as a result the decrease of fresh water resources; humans apply pressure on water quantity through water needs for survival, hygiene and agriculture.
Let us now proceed to the presentation of the problems concerning food supplies caused in large degree by population expansion. N. W. Pirie says “The most serious contemporary threat, suppressing the threats of nuclear war and political upheaval, is the increasing disparity between food and population.” (Laffin 15). Another serious concern is the worldwide loss of cropland due to population expansion. As human numbers continue to rise, they create needs for land for purposes other than the production of food. Among these are urbanization and transportation. Each of these sectors claims cropland in almost every country. It is claimed in The future dimensions of food by Woods that: “The growth in world population since mid-century has intensified pressures on the world’s croplands, raising doubts about long-term food security.” (57).
Finally, poverty is another factor greatly influenced by rapid growth of human numbers. High fertility leading to a rapidly growing population increases the number of people living in poverty and at least in some cases can make the escape from poverty more difficult. Cassen states that: “Rapid population growth may affect poverty by affecting the correlates of poverty: low wages, lack of human capital such as education and health, and lack of income earning assets such as land; income inequality and loss of economic growth; and gender, and sometimes, race and ethnicity.” (3). Economic-capital growth falls back due to the explosion of human population. “A 1987 National Academy of Science study concluded that while there are both negative and positive impacts of population growth, on balance slower population growth would be beneficial to economic development”(5).
Considering all the above informatio and presentation of evidence, we must understand that rapid population growth is indeed a huge threat to our lives and our planet. We must be informed and we must take proper action. Trough proper education, family planning, country policies and support of scientific research population density can be successfully controlled and our future will seem more prosperous.
Word Count: 1181