As the general population rises around the globe, many experts are becoming worried about the struggles the world will face as overpopulation in countries continues.
Overpopulation – Population Rising
As overpopulation continues to occur in countries like India and China, experts not only worry that the Earth itself is at risk, but that humans cannot sustain the ever growing population as it continues to rise. While the current estimate of the world population is at 7 billion, experts have estimated that number will soon grow over the next 50 years to be 9.3 billion. Moreover, according to Steve Jones, head of the Biology Department at the University College London,
“Humans are 10,000 times more common than we should be.”
Overpopulation – Water Sources Depleting
With overpopulation comes over-consumption of Earth’s natural resources. For instance, many experts have expressed their concern over the consumption of fresh water, which is now considered as running low worldwide. According to Lawrence Smith, the president of the Population Institute, the competition for water in an overpopulated world would pose a major threat to human stability. Because the Earth has such a limited supply of fresh water, which is stored in aquifers, surface waters and the atmosphere, overpopulation has become a major concern, especially for regions that have no immediate access to fresh water resources.
Overpopulation – Food Sources Supporting the Growing Population
While water sources are points of main concern when it comes to overpopulation, some scientists argue that there is not enough food to support the world population as it continues to grow. The United Nations has observed figures for 2007 to show an actual increase in the numbers of undernourished people in the world, which amounts to 923 million in 2007, which compared to 832 million in 1995, has increased substantially. The FAO estimates an even more dramatic increase of undernourished people in the word, estimating over 1 billion in 2009.
Overpopulation – Environment at Risk
As overpopulation continues to be a prominent global problem, the risk of irreversibly damaging the environment that provides humans with the very resources they need to survive is at an all time high. Experts agree that overpopulation has substantially adversely impacted the environment of Earth starting as early as the 20th century. With deforestation and pollution, Earth’s natural environment has become more urban based, creating a different dynamic within the Earth’s systems that, if not halted, could have permanent damage for all organisms, including humans. Not only is overpopulation contributing to the depletion of essential resources, but it has also led to the extinction of other species as well. Environmental author Jeremy Rifkin has said that,
“Our burgeoning population and urban way of life have been purchased at the expense of vast ecosystems and habitats. … It’s no accident that as we celebrate the urbanization of the world, we are quickly approaching another historic watershed: the disappearance of the wild.”
Overpopulation – Solutions to the Problem
As overpopulation is a cause of main concern for environmentalists, politicians and even economists, measures are being taken in hopes of slowing down the ever growing population to ensure humans’ stability. Birth regulations in countries like China, which currently has a one-child policy, only allow one child per household. India attempted to run a sterilization program in the 70′s for men with two or more children, however, the program was poorly run, having an adverse effect that led to aversion of family planning in that country. Another measure that is being taken in many countries is education based, using the the power of education to inform the public of proper family planning and birth control methods while also making birth control readily available. As statistics show that 40% of pregnancies are unintended, making birth control devices like male and female condoms, pills and intrauterine devices easily available can help stall overpopulation.
Although overpopulation continues to be a major concern worldwide, from a global standpoint, very little has been done when it comes to cooperation from all countries to contribute to a solution. However, as starvation and malnutrition have become a major problem in certain parts of the world like Africa, overpopulation is slowly making its way to the forefront of political conversations with hopes of uniting all countries for the common goal of sustaining the environment on Earth.