Category : Articles
Sub Category : World
Just under a century ago in 1920, life expectancy ranged from fifty-eight to sixty-one years old. The life expectancy has now increased to around seventy to seventy-four years as of 2018. Earths absolute carrying capacity, the number of humans an area can support without complete environmental deterioration, is estimated at ten billion; as of 2018, Earth has around 7.6 billion people. Overpopulation is when the human population exceeds the carrying capacity of a specific area or the planet, resulting in a number of issues including global warming, the depletion of resources needed to support life, and less land space.
Humans are the leading cause of extinction and endangerment towards plants and animals. Overpopulation causes increased habitat loss used for human recreation. As the population grows, there becomes less space for homes. Population increase also causes overhunting or overharvesting towards species. Elephants are constantly being over hunted for their ivory.
The environment is drastically affected by overpopulation. Many environments suffer, in fact:
“Due mainly to warming
oceans and pollution, close
to 30% of the ocean’s reefs
have already vanished since
1980, including half of the
reefs in the Caribbean and
90% of the Philippines’ coral
reefs, and scientists forecast
that Australia’s Great Barrier
Reef may be dead by the
year 2050 and all coral reefs
could be gone by the end of
the century.” (Tsiattalos)
This leads back to increased habitat loss and harm to wildlife. Wetlands are an extremely important factor in the environment. They reduce the impact of floods, provide habitats, and they filter out pollutants in the water. But now according to Robert Fletcher, “between 60% and 70% of wetlands have been completely destroyed” (Fletcher). Greenhouse gas emissions also increase with population. This leads to global warming and climate change. Global warming can cause more intense flooding and hurricanes, increased drought and wildfires, and rising sea levels. “Warmer air holds more moisture, which creates longer, more intense heavy rainfall events” (Tsiattalos). Droughts will last longer due to higher evaporation rates resulting in harm to agriculture and water supply. The hotter and drier conditions increase the probability of wildfires. “Global sea levels rose about 17 centimeters (6.7 inches) in the last century” (Tsiattalos).
Economically, we are affected by overpopulation as well. With population increase, demand for resources also increases. Businesses will have more customers to buy their products. Therefore an increase in jobs will take place to keep up with supply. “Supply and demand is the main model of price determination used in economic theory” (Supply). The economy is affected by other factors as well. Due to anthropogenic climate change, the economy faces huge losses due to increased storm damage and other natural disasters.
Our health is constantly affected by others. If you are sick it is possible those around you will get sick too and this becomes a chain of events resulting in a epidemic or a pandemic outbreak. With an increased amount of people, disease can be spread more easily from added exposure. In the mid fourteenth century, the bubonic plague spread throughout Europe killing two-thirds of Europe's population. At the time Europe’s population was under ten million. Today Europe has around 741 million people so the disease would be spread more easily.
In some regions, humans are consuming freshwater ten times faster than it is being restored. Expected by 2030, almost half of the world's population will be living in areas of acute water shortage. By 2050, 1.8 billion people will be living with absolute water scarcity. 850 million people do not have enough food to consume. Today, one billion children live in poverty.
It is estimated that about 90% of seabirds have plastic in their stomachs. Pollution is a serious problem with negative consequences. Animals could consume pollution and die. Plants can be harmed as well. The use of fertilizers is harmful to nearby bodies of water. Polluted runoff goes into the water causing high levels of nutrients which causes excessive algae growth blocking sunlight from underwater plants. Those plants die along with the algae after the nutrients are gone, leaving the water with no source of dissolved oxygen therefore killing the fish.
Greenhouse gas emissions are constantly contributing to global warming and climate change. “Since 1970, Carbon Dioxide emissions have increased by about 90%” (Global). The greenhouse effect gets stronger every year, causing temperatures to slowly rise. Rising temperatures cause the ice caps to melt. This results in rising sea levels and disrupted ocean currents.
Earth overshoot day is a day each year where humans have used more natural resources than the Earth can resupply. In 2018, Earths overshoot day was August 1st. Today, the worldwide population uses about 1.7 Earths. This means Earth takes about a year and six months to resupply what humans use yearly. About 90% of our energy comes from nonrenewable resources such as fossil fuels. They cause pollution and they will eventually run out of supply on Earth.
With a constantly growing population more forests will be demolished for the use of humans. Housing, stores, and services will have to be provided and they need to go somewhere. As a result, deforestation takes place. “Rainforests once covered 14% of the Earth's land surface, now they cover a bare 6%” (Tsiattalos).
In 1950, the world population was 2.5 billion humans. Today, we have 7.6 billion people on Earth. By 2050 the population is expected to be 9.4 billion. In the 1960s and 70s, the growth rate for the population was around 20-22%. The population is continually increasing causing all of these negative effects.
As of 2016, the average global Birth rate was 18.5 births per 1000 total population. The death rate was 7.8 per 1000 total population per year. This means that our population is increasing faster than it is decreasing. The average birth rate is slowly decreasing. Our population is still mildly increasing but at a slower rate every year.
Simple education about birth control can help slow population increase. The knowledge of birth control pills and condoms in sex ed classes is very important and effective. In 1989, Iran started a national family planning program. During this time, fertility rate decreased from 5.6 births per woman to 2.6 in just ten years. In Rwanda they saw triple the use of birth control in 5 years.
During China's one child policy the fertility rate dropped dramatically. The fertility rate dropped from six births per woman to 1.5 from 1960 to 2014. This helped slow population growth a lot but it did have some negative effects. The law required people to have forced abortions and sterilisations. It also led to gender imbalance in China.
The government involvement has an impact as well. They are responsible for the one child legislation policy. They also introduce the family planning acts. There are other things the government can do to help. The government needs to have a greater impact on population control.
Overpopulation is when the human population exceeds the carrying capacity of a specific area or the planet, resulting in a number of issues including global warming, the depletion of resources needed to support life, and less land space. Humans, the environment, and the economy are negatively affected as a result. The increased population causes problems like global warming and depletion of natural resources. One child legislation, government incentives, and planned parenthood are some solutions to the problem.