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Overpopulation in the World
In many cases, overpopulation is only mentioned along certain geographical contexts. For instance, countries like India and others in Asia are considered overpopulated. For scholars, politicians, sociologists and many other specialized disciplines, overpopulation is an issue that paints a bleak picture on the future of planet Earth. According to demographers, overpopulation is best described as continually growing human populations while the area of habitable land on which mankind lives in is categorically rigid (Newton 55-56). Given that the planet is never going to increase in size in order to accommodate the consistently enlarging numbers of mankind, the entire earth is beginning to experience adverse outcomes like climate change (Ehrlich and Harte 1123). Climate change is an effect associated with overpopulation since consumers of manufactured goods and services continue to appraise demand without considering that there needs to be a delicate balance on how humanity relates with Mother Nature. In an effort to establish solutions to overpopulation as a global issue, it is necessary to understand the causes as well as consequences associated with it.
For human societies to thrive, it is imperative that basic needs necessary for survival like food, shelter, safety, security, clothing, energy, and water remain available. For the modern man, the intensity of effort employed in the actualization of such needs is immense. The fact that human population are presently expanding at an unprecedented rate paints a bleak reality on how sustainable it is to continue with that trend (Götmark, Cafaro, and O’Sullivan 2). According to Ehrlich and Harte (1120), the number of persons categorized as undernourished has been on the increase since 2014 and was expected to peak at 815 million persons in 2016. Human beings draw their ability to effectively and efficiently ensure survival by coexisting with other plants and animals strewn over different geographical locations of the world. Unfortunately, the fact that human beings are a predominantly intelligent species is proving to be a problem to its future well being. According to Singh, Singh, and Srivastava (2) at a growth rate of 2% each year, there is a high likelihood that it will be ecologically unsustainable if overpopulation remains a causal issue amongst global debaters. However, for many movers and shakers of the current leadership of human society, overpopulation and its associated dangers are simply an exaggeration and a deviation from what are perceived as more important issues.
Causes of Overpopulation
The actual causes of overpopulation are challenging to extrapolate. However, causes of overpopulation revolve about a folly consistent with mankind is the desire to feed greed as opposed to meeting needs. In the quest for supremacy along economic domains, nations across the world have supported policies that encourage high population numbers. A country with a huge population is believed to ensure that there is an expansive market for goods and services produced by its various industries. Burnett (147), notes that overpopulation should first considered within localized entities. For instance, in an effort to benefit from mobility of labor, market interactions result in a situation where cities attract high numbers of youth to work in industries resulting in the overpopulation of such regions (Burnett 147). Unfortunately, the community costs associated with overpopulated cities tends to erode the perceived economic benefits (Götmark, Cafaro, and O’Sullivan 12). For instance, land rent, community costs, demand for food, and other factors translate into net wage decreases for persons residing in overpopulated areas.
There are regions that do not support the growth of human societies. For instance, the very hot and arid lands of Arabia, the Sahara, as well as the Australian Outback are too hostile for humanity. Conversely, regions in Siberia, the Himalaya, Arctic, and Antarctica are too cold to support growth of large communities. There are also regions that favor population growth. These regions not only support vast agricultural enterprises, are water sufficient, but also encourage more people to migrate into them (Newton 120). The outcome is such a region witnessing overpopulation at an ever increasing degree. Such situation are notable in Asian cities like Beijing, Delhi, and Bombay where people move to given that they have opportunities not present in other areas of the same continent (Newton 10). Within these cities, the conditions associates with inequitable distribution of natural resources compels human beings to engage in practices that result in increased number of children born per family. Similarly, the enhanced healthcare services as well as the presence of opportunities for both mothers and children ensure low mortality rates. The outcome is more children reaching adulthood albeit the geographical and resource constraints facing these regions remain the same. From a global perspective, the result is human communities ballooning in regions that support population growth as opposed to overpopulation being witnessed in uninhabitable regions like in hot and cold deserts.
Effects of Overpopulation
The most potent challenge associated with overpopulation is associated with food security. Population growth does not follow a geometrical paradigm (Newton 91). Instead, it is found to occur based on very different factors from one region to another. For instance, in more developed countries, government institutions, policies, as well as the goodwill among individual members allow for population control (Newton 117). However, in states with poor governance structures, the ability to control population to ensure suitable use of natural resources is nearly impossible. However, it is the more developed economies that generate the most strain the planets resources given that their goods and services seek to profit from feeding and caring for needs demanded by the less advanced and overly populated states.
The effects of overpopulation are not only complex but also inexplicably intertwined. According to Singh, Singh, and Srivastava (21), overpopulation has resulted in impoverished agricultural productivity, food insecurity, environmental degradation, climate change, and human conflict. Ehrlich and Harte (1122) provide that human activities within overly populated cities and regions in the world contribute to global warming. For instance, firewood is cut for energy consumption while more cars are purchased for transportation which in turn calls for greater production of carbon laden fossil fuels. Climate change not only affects those nations that are overpopulated but also regions with government capacity to tame population growth. Longer than expected periods of drought undermine agricultural production systems across the globe as water scarcity becomes a biting reality (Ehrlich and Harte 1122). Compromised food production results in people migrating from affected regions like in Sudan into Europe further fueling food insecurity as owners of factors of agricultural production migrate to other regions.
This research paper has highlighted overpopulation as a thorny and complex global issue. The causes of overpopulation may not as explicit as the effects. However, it is by investigating the causes that researchers on the issue can appreciate the far reaching impacts that seemingly harmless human activities and ideologies have on the planet, plants, animals, and human beings. An effect like climate change has shed light on the fact that overpopulation as a global problem cannot be ignored or simply regarded as a problem of less developed nations. There is the need for large economies to take note of how they have contributed to overpopulation in other nations towards finding sustainable solutions.
Burnett, Perry. “Overpopulation, optimal city size and the efficiency of urban sprawl.” Review of Urban & Regional Development Studies 28.3 (2016): 143-161.
Ehrlich, Paul, and John Harte. “Pessimism on the Food Front.” Sustainability 10.4 (2018): 1120.
Götmark, Frank, Philip Cafaro, and Jane O’Sullivan. “Aging Human Populations: Good for Us, Good for the Earth.” Trends in ecology & evolution (2018).
Newton, David E. Overpopulation: 7 Billion People and Counting. Enslow Publishing, LLC, 2015.
Singh, Rajeev Pratap, Anita Singh, and Vaibhav Srivastava, eds. Environmental issues surrounding human overpopulation. IGI Global, 2016.