Problem Solution Essay About Overpopulation
There are many issues today that pose a threat to our way of life. Overpopulation is a serious problem that will eventually have an extremely negative effect on our countries, and our planet. The problems that arise due to overpopulation could even prove to a fatal epidemic that will eventually wipeout the entire human race. Oftentimes this issue is overlooked due to lack of knowledge and understanding of the subject; or, simply because most of us are so blessed that we are not affected first hand by the problems it is causing this very second. Overpopulation, in my belief, is an enormously serious global issue that should be identified, analyzed, and controlled immediately.
The term overpopulation literally means that the number of things (in this case: humans) that depend on resources for survival is significantly larger than the amount of resources available to them. Today our planet is experiencing the effects of multiplying citizens because of the obstacles the environment is being forced to take on. Many believe that Earth is presently occupied by to many people (Stefoff 16). Year after year the population multiplies faster and faster. “Currently the world population is growing by 80 million people a year” (Hohm, Jones, and Lio 116). Presently, there are about 6 billion people occupying this planet, and by the middle of the approaching century the U.N. predicts that the count will reach 9.4 billion (Mitchell). Both developed and developing countries are at risk of the dangerous problems that overpopulation can and will create. “Nearly sixty percent of the increase will occur in Asia…China’s population will swell from 1.2 billion to 1.5 billion, India’s is projected to soar from 930 million to 1.53 billion. In the Middle East and North Africa, the population will probably more than double, and in Sub-Saharan Africa, it will triple” (Mitchell).
“Population is determined by the interplay of two factors. One is the birth rate, or the number or people being born, and the other is death rate, or the number who die. The different between the two is call the rate of natural increase” (Stefoff 25). If the number of deaths is less than the number of births then the population is growing larger; consequently, if the number of deaths is greater than the number of births then the population is decreasing (Stefoff 25). A major factor that is sometimes overlooked is the idea that rapid growth will occur due to the larger size of the new reproductive generation in comparison with the much less past reproductive generations. This means that in the next twenty-five years about 3 billion people will begin the reproductive phase of their lives; while only approximately 1.8 billion people will withdraw from that stage of life (Mitchell). Uncontrolled, immature reproduction is a leading cause of overcrowding. Diseases and medical advances that cause a decrease in deaths are also aspects that affect population. Education, economic activity, and changes in standards of living all play a part in the increase of population (Commoner).
Different concepts and appearances in our surroundings trick people into thinking that any problems with overpopulation are non-existent. Nations are separated into two categories: those with fast population increases, and those with slower population increases (Ehrlich 17). This division among nations is presented in the following quote: “An increasingly divided human community will degrade the global environment further as fraction within it struggle to dominate each other and exploit what remains of the nature’s resources. Political leaders must realize instead that we will need to build a compassionate sense of human community in a world scale to match the global environmental crisis that confronts everyone” (Hohm, Jones, and Lio 137). The world has enough wealth to make it appear that there are no population issues, but the wealth does not do any good because of its uneven distribution. The less fortunate nations have a greater birth rate because of poverty (Commoner). Poverty stricken nations will double in human count in twenty years if they continue at their present rate. One hundred twenty years is the doubling time for more prosperous nations. This happens because of social and economic differences between the two; such as, human misery, diseases, and standards of living (Ehrlich 42).
I would now like to introduce the Malthusian theories. Thomas Robert Malthus was one of the first to study population (Stefoff 34). “A population eventually becomes to big for its resource base, and then famine, war, and disease will impose population limits” (Stefoff 34). He has his own theory about population that states as follows: “The power of population is indefinately greater than the power in the Earth to produce substances for man.” This is further explained by his belief that populations increase geometrically (1-2-4-8-16), while resources can only grow arithmetically (1-2-3-4-5) (). This theory is obviously logical simply because without food everyone will become malnutritioned and eventually starve to death. Food shortage gets a very small amount of attention among well-fed Americans because “we” have no reason to be aware or concerned about the danger that the shortages promote. Now that is becoming a more serious issue people are slowly gaining awareness thanks to media such as news coverage (Ehrlich 21). Malnutrition is a problem in all parts of the world. Each year 40-60 million humans in underdeveloped countries die of starvation or illnesses related to it. Lack of nutrition can cause sicknesses such as anemia, rickets, pellagra as well. Poor immunity is also an outcome that puts people in danger of catching things like influenza, tetanus, measles, and tuberculosis (Stefoff 54). Many different circumstances and situation account for the rise and fall of population numbers.
Along with rapid population growth come dangerous environmental problems. Population growth has contributed to every threat to our ecosystem. Overpopulation is the root of environmental deteriorations such as: global warming, the ozone holes, rainforest destruction, pollution, and many more. Global warming is the planet’s overall temperature rising because of a greater of concentration of greenhouse gases in the air. Human actives, including respiration, release these gases causing the Earth to heat slowly (Stefoff 39). Forests are being cut down quicker than they can reproduce themselves due to human need for more space. Deforestation presents other problems, such as the death of species. Edward Wilson, a biologist, believes that each year 10,000-17,500 species of plants, bird, insects, reptiles, and mammals become instinct (Stefoff 45). Pollution increase is an obvious environment problem that will increase drastically due to overpopulation. Although not mentioned very often, crime is one more negative effect that overpopulation would have on the world as far as social troubles are concerned.
Now that I have discussed some of the causes of overpopulation, and the negative effects I would like to propose a few possibilities, that I have found throughout my research, to stop, or at least balance out the growing population size. Reducing birth rates by utilizing different strategies is the most prominent of these ideas. Increasing the legal marital age would postpone child bearing (Mitchell). One well-known method is called family planning. This method works by making birth control pills easily accessible, providing places for termination of pregnancies to occur, and helping people become more knowledgeable about abortions and contraception (Commoner). Laws could be passed making birth control mandintory, similar to the laws in China. According to Chinese law families would be faced with penalties if they had more than one offspring (Stefoff 87). Other nations enforce even stricter laws. All sources agreed that controlling birth rate and death rate would be the most effective way of stabilizing population.
The causes and effects of overpopulation covers such a vast array of ideas that it is impossible for one to cover every important detail of this ever growing environmental concern. In this semi-extensive research I have only taken the opportunity to provide the basic facts that are necessary in understanding that the rapid growth of our population needs our immediate attention. In conclusion, the world’s population will continue to grow as long as birth rate exceeds death rate. As far as resources are concerned, it is apparent that the era of cheap energy, adequate amounts of food, and necessary open spaces is coming to an end. Regardless of whether we admit it or not, our attempts to stabilize population, or our failure to do so, will have a devastating affect on our lives, and our home: Mother Earth.
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What is Overpopulation?
Overpopulation is an undesirable condition where the number of existing human population exceeds the carrying capacity of Earth. Overpopulation is caused by number of factors. Reduced mortality rate, better medical facilities, depletion of precious resources are few of the causes which results in overpopulation. It is possible for a sparsely populated area to become densely populated if it is not able to sustain life.
Growing advances in technology with each coming year has affected humanity in many ways. One of these has been the ability to save lives and create better medical treatment for all. A direct result of this has been increased lifespan and the growth of the population. In the past fifty or so years, the growth of population has boomed and has turned into overpopulation. In the history of our species, the birth and death rate have always been able to balance each and maintain a population growth rate that is sustainable.
Since the time of the Bubonic Plague in the 1400’s, the growth of population has been on a constant increase. Between the time of the plague and the 21st century, there was been hundreds and thousands of wars, natural calamities and man-made hazards. However, none of these have made a dent on the population. Developing nations face the problem of overpopulation more than developed countries, but it affects most of the Earth as of now. When we are talking about overpopulation, we should first understand the causes of it.
Causes of Overpopulation
Decline in the Death Rate: At the root of overpopulation is the difference between the overall birth rate and death rate in populations. If the number of children born each year equals the number of adults that die, then the population will stabilize. Talking about overpopulation shows that while there are many factors that can increase the death rate for short periods of time, the ones that increase the birth rate do so over a long period of time. The discovery of agriculture by our ancestors was one factor that provided them with the ability to sustain their nutrition without hunting. This created the first imbalance between the two rates.
Better Medical Facilities: Following this came the industrial revolution. Technological advancement was perhaps the biggest reason why the balance has been permanently disturbed. Science was able to produce better means of producing food, which allowed families to feed more mouths. Medical science made many discoveries thanks to which they were able to defeat a whole range of diseases. Illnesses that had claimed thousands of lives till now were cured because of the invention of vaccines. Combining the increase in food supply with fewer means of mortality tipped the balance and became the starting point of overpopulation.
More Hands to Overcome Poverty: However, when talking about overpopulation we should understand that there is a psychological component as well. For thousands of years, a very small part of the population had enough money to live in comfort. The rest faced poverty and would give birth to large families to make up for the high infant mortality rate. Families that have been through poverty, natural disasters or are simply in need of more hands to work are a major factor for overpopulation. As compared to earlier times, most of these extra children survive and consume resources that are not sufficient in nature.
Technological Advancement in Fertility Treatment: With latest technological advancement and more discoveries in medical science, it has become possible for couple who are unable to conceive to undergo fertility treatment methods and have their own babies. Today there are effective medicines which can increases the chance of conception and lead to rise in birth rate. Moreover, due to modern techniques pregnancies today are far more safer.
Immigration: Many people prefer to move to developed countries like US, UK, Canada and Australia where best facilities are available in terms of medical, education, security and employment. The end result is that those people settle over there and those places become overcrowded. Difference between the number of people who are leaving the country and the number of people who enter narrows down which leads to more demand for food, clothes, energy and homes. This gives rise to shortage of resources. Though the overall population remains the same, it just affects the density of population making that place simply overcrowded.
Lack of Family Planning: Most developing nations have large number of people who are illiterate, live below the poverty line and have little or no knowledge about family planning. Getting their children married at an early age increase the chances of producing more kids. Those people are unable to understand the harmful effects of overpopulation and lack of quality education prompts them to avoid family planning measures.
Effects of Overpopulation
Depletion of Natural Resources: The effects of overpopulation are quite severe. The first of these is the depletion of resources. The Earth can only produce a limited amount of water and food, which is falling short of the current needs. Most of the environmental damage being seen in the last fifty odd years is because of the growing number of people on the planet. They are cutting down forests, hunting wildlife in a reckless manner, causing pollution and creating a host of problems. Those engaged in talking about overpopulation have noticed that acts of violence and aggression outside of a war zone have increased tremendously while competing for resources.
Degradation of Environment: With the overuse of coal, oil and natural gas, it has started producing some serious effects on our environment. Rise in the number of vehicles and industries have badly affected the quality of air. Rise in amount of CO2 emissions leads to global warming. Melting of polar ice caps, changing climate patterns, rise in sea level are few of the consequences that we might we have to face due to environment pollution.
Conflicts and Wars: Overpopulation in developing countries puts a major strain on the resources it should be utilizing for development. Conflicts over water are becoming a source of tension between countries, which could result in wars. It causes more diseases to spread and makes them harder to control. Starvation is a huge issue facing the world and the mortality rate for children is being fuelled by it. Poverty is the biggest hallmark we see when talking about overpopulation. All of this will only become worse if solutions are not sought out for the factors affecting our population. We can no longer prevent it, but there are ways to control it.
Rise in Unemployment: When a country becomes overpopulated, it gives rise to unemployment as there fewer jobs to support large number of people. Rise in unemployment gives rise to crime as people will steal various items to feed their family and provide them basic amenities of life.
High Cost of Living: As difference between demand and supply continues to expand due to overpopulation, it raises the prices of various commodities including food, shelter and healthcare. This means that people have to pay more to survive and feed their families.
Solutions to Overpopulation
Better Education: One of the first measures is to implement policies reflecting social change. Educating the masses helps them understand the need to have one or two children at the most. Similarly, education plays a vital role in understanding latest technologies like CloudDesktopOnline that are making huge waves in the world of computing. Families that are facing a hard life and choose to have four or five children should be discouraged. Family planning and efficient birth control can help in women making their own reproductive choices. Open dialogue on abortion and voluntary sterilization should be seen when talking about overpopulation.
Making People Aware of Family Planning: As population of this world is growing at a rapid pace, raising awareness among people regarding family planning and letting them know about serious after effects of overpopulation can help curb population growth. One of the best way is to let them know about various safe sex techniques and contraceptives methods available to avoid any unwanted pregnancy.
Tax Benefits or Concessions: Government of various countries might have to come with various policies related to tax exemptions to curb overpopulation. One of them might be to waive of certain part of income tax or lowering rates of income tax for those married couples who have single or two children. As we humans are more inclined towards money, this may produce some positive results.
Knowledge of Sex Education: Imparting sex education to young kids at elementary level should be must. Most parents feel shy in discussing such things with their kids which result in their children going out and look out for such information on internet or discuss it with their peers. Mostly, the information is incomplete which results in sexually active teenagers unaware of contraceptives and embarrassed to seek information about same. It is therefore important for parents and teachers to shed their old inhibitions and make their kids or students aware of solid sex education.
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Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.
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