Effects of an increase in world population

Formal Essay om bærekraft og overbefolkning. Vurdering: 6.
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Presently the world population is 7.8 billion people, and it is estimated that by 2050, the world population will be 9.9 billion people. The most populous countries at this moment in time are China, with a population of 1.4 billion, and India, with a population of 1.38 billion. In 1950, the world population was approximately around 2.6 billion. 

As claimed by the UN, the causes behind the rapid growth in population are increasing numbers of people surviving to reproductive age, increasing urbanization, and expediting migration. The UN also estimates that half of the population growth between now and 2050 will transpire in Africa, which is the fastest-growing continent in regards to population. 

Many experts and scientists see an increased human population as an issue. ‘’Human overpopulation’’ is a term that often refers to the relationship between the environment and the entire human populace. It is believed that the population growth rate began to rapidly increase after the start of the industrial revolution. This was due to the agricultural improvements, which lessened the occurrence of famines. The already high birth rate did not change, but the death rate did, because of the famines that used to hold the population down had ended. Before the industrial revolution, more people were living on small farms and in rural areas. Due to industrialization and more workplaces, people started to migrate to urban areas. 

According to Utdanningsdirektoratet, 2017, ‘’Overpopulation means that there are too many people for the amount of available resources in an area. Overpopulation is caused by many factors, including reduced mortality rate, better medical facilities, poor family planning, and traditional beliefs, to name a few. ‘’. In accordance with International Institute for Environment and Development in London, the number of consumers and the scale and nature of their consumption is a substantial concern. Overpopulation affects humans need for proper food, water, housing, education, employment and health care. 

Human overpopulation is not aligned with sustainable development. According to Our common Future: The Brundtland report, 1987, ‘’Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’’. The world is advised to preserve the economy, the environment, cultural monuments and cultural elements whilst taking care of current generations. 

There are multiple theories about human overpopulation, sustainability and distribution of wealth and resources. According to the surplus population theory, which was created by Karl Marx, an economist, historian and sociologist, hunger and poverty are generated by a private enterprise system in the society, rather than population growth. Karl Marx’s theory was formed in the 19th century, and it completely dismisses the 18th century Malthusian theory.

The Malthusian theory or Malthusianism is the idea, or theory, that the human population can grow exponentially, while food supply and other resources grow linearly, and when the human population has surpassed the number of supplies and resources, a catastrophe or a crisis occurs. According to critics, this theory does not contain mathematical proposition supported by facts, neglects the standard of living, and ignores the fact that the fertility rates in developed countries decrease. 

Theories like the surplus population theory and the Malthusian theory helps people understand the correlation between resources and human population. Even though they are theories, which means a system of ideas used as an attempt to explain something, theories help scientists, sociologists and other experts understand how the human population and the amount of resources grow and expand. 

The reason why understanding how human population affects the means of production, food and other supplies is that extracting resources and creating supplies greatly affect the environment. The more people who live on the planet, the more the demand for resources increases. The consumption of natural resources like for example fossil fuels are faster than the fossil fuels are regenerated. 

The use of fossil fuels is a problem in itself because they take a great toll on the environment. The process of extracting them can cause oil spills, and when fossil fuels are burned, they release carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration says that the ‘’greenhouse effect’’ is a process where heat is trapped in the earth’s atmosphere because of the increased amount of ‘’greenhouse gases’’ (for example carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, water vapour and chlorofluorocarbons) that absorbs the heat the sun emits. Because of increased human population, industries, and the use of fossil fuels, the temperature on the planet is increasing. 

Increased temperatures, also known as global warming, lead to sea levels rising and the ice caps melting. When ice caps melt, the ocean absorbs more heat, because dark surfaces absorb all wavelengths of light, instead of reflecting it, which the ice caps do. Ice melting on land also contributes to increasing sea levels. 

Global warming can greatly affect the ecosystem, which are communities in nature where different species, both abiotic and biotic, live together and are linked together through energy flows and nutrient cycles. Increasing temperatures and extreme weather change conditions and forces some species out of their habitats. The timing of biological events can be altered, which affects the entire ecosystem. When a species is moved out of their habitat because of change in weather and circumstances, those who are dependent on that species because of food or other reasons are harmed. Entire food chains are disrupted, even when a seemingly unimportant species is moved or eradicated. 

Overpopulation affects the environment in multiple ways. It can lead to global warming because of the use of fossil fuels, which again can lead to extreme weather and natural disasters (hurricanes, drought, and wildfires), the destruction of ecosystems and food chains, and the high amount of people taking over space in nature in general affects wildlife.

According to scientists and experts, there are some solutions to human overpopulation. Studies show that the empowerment of women leads to improved family planning and decreased poverty. Empowering women can give them education and work, which helps the economy and they have more focus on careers instead of family life and children. Making women and the entire population in general, more aware of family planning and birth control can be a huge step, as well as making sure more women have successful careers. 

Since human overpopulation affects the environment in many ways, working and striving for a climate-conscious society can also be a solution instead of just focusing on limiting the fertility rate. Poverty and climate change are both huge issues and are currently considered the world’s biggest problems by many people, and solutions to both of the problems are often correlated. Poverty is a huge contributor to human overpopulation, so fighting poverty will fight climate change as well. Fighting poverty can be done by giving people workers’ rights, basic human rights, and making sure everyone gets a free and a good education

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