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Overpopulation Essay, Research Paper

The Book of Genesis tells the story of creation of man. God said to man, “be

fruitful and increase in numbers; fill the earth and subdue it.” Prior to the

nineteenth century, it was believed that God would provide for those who came

into the world (Day 101). But, in 1798, this view was shaken by Thomas Malthus’

An Essay on the Principle of Population, in which he concluded that while

population increases geometrically, agricultural production only increases

arithmetically. Current evidence shows that this theory may not be far from the

truth. The world population reached 6 billion on October 12, 1999, and is

expected to reach 9.3 billion by 2050! The impact of population growth is

already felt by a majority of nations. The U.S. population has increased by 78%

since 1950. Growing at 3,000,000 per year, U.S. population is expected to

approach half a billion people in 50 years1. A number of factors drive this

growth. At the most basic level, it is because far more people are born each

year than die. Advances in nutrition and health care have increased survival

rates and longevity for much of the world, and shifted the balance between

births and deaths.

The demands of increasing population magnify demands for natural resources,

clean air and water, as well as access to wilderness areas. In the future, when

there are not enough resources to go around, we will see significant scarcity,

and a backlash of poverty. A number of problems lie behind scarcity and poverty.

Ultimately, our own numbers, and the lifestyles many of us choose to live, drive

all the critical issues we confront. Left unchecked, the combination of

population growth and consumption- along with increasing inequity between rich

and poor individuals and nations-will soon threaten not only the well-being, but

even the lives of a majority of people on this planet.

When population levels reach a critical threshold, we then see both a decline in

the resource base, and damage to the environment, which supplies all those

resources. These trends reinforce each other – the damaged environment provides

fewer resources, and the shortage of resources causes us to further damage the

environment. World energy needs are projected to double in the next several

decades, but no credible geologist foresees a doubling of world oil production,

which is projected to peak within the next few decades. Many `growth’ advocates

will argue that the natural ingenuity of people will overcome any problems that

population growth creates. Advocates of `sustainability’ argue that increasing

population and consumption are already causing massive damage to the planet and

that soil erosion, extinction of species, pollution of air and water, and

deforestation are all indicators of exceeding carrying capacity. Deforestation

is driven by a wide range of social and economic forces, but underlying them all

is the severe growth of human population and the rising demand for land and

forest products such growth creates2. Due to overpopulation, and hence

over-exploitation, the world’s oceans are being pushed beyond their breaking

point. Eleven of the fifteen most important oceanic fisheries and seventy

percent of the major fish species are now fully or over-exploited, according to

experts. It is impossible for people to live without forests, food, or

water. Yet the world’s supply of these necessities is gravely threatened by

thriving population growth.

Another issue concerning population is employment. Some growth advocates argue

that their economies will suffer as the citizens age if populations do not

continue to grow. Some industrialized nations with stable populations already

face shortages of younger workers. The advocates believe that not only may

there not be enough workers to keep up production, they suggest that there may

not be enough workers to pay into retirement and medical plans to support older

citizens. As far as economic concerns, there is no shortage of workers.

Instead, there is a shortage of work, with roughly one billion people unemployed

or underemployed3. Worker shortages in industrialized countries may be resolved

by importing workers from developing regions, and by keeping older workers who

choose to stay in the job market. Thus there is no need for a larger population.

With the abundant growth of world population at some point there will no longer

be enough resources to go around. At the present rate of consumption, oil and

gas supplies will last about forty years. Although there is enough coal to last

for four hundred years it is damaging to the environment. With this we will see

significant scarcity and poverty. Underlying these is a number of problems. One

is discrimination. When resources are scarce, those in power often decide who

won’t get a fair share, and may discriminate against gender, other races,

religions, or economic classes. Limited resources due to overpopulation will

cause people to move in search of more resources. There are hundreds of

millions of migrant people in the world today, seeking food, water, land and

work. Scarcity drives legal and illegal immigration into Canada and other

industrialized nations as people struggle to survive and support their families.

And when insufficiency is acute, people may fight over resources. As world

population and consumption grow, environmental impacts multiply, and the

limitations of resources worsen. As more people compete for the same resources,

social, ethnic, and political tensions increase. This combination drives

political instability, declining social health, and greater migration. The

succession of overpopulation, consumption, and scarcity has fuelled more than

150 wars since the end of World War II, and driven tens of millions of people

from their homes as economic migrants or refugees4.

The affects of overpopulation on human society are many. As population increase

the quality of life for an individual decreases. “…Democracy cannot survive

overpopulation. Human dignity cannot survive it. Convenience and decency

cannot survive it. As you put more and more people into the world, the value of

life not only declines, it disappears. It doesn’t matter if someone dies. The

more people there are, the less one individual matters.” (Isaac Asimov). This

situation is ringing true in China. The United Nations estimates that China’s

population may reach the unmanageable mark of 2 billion as early as the year

2030. Right now China contains 22 percent of the world’s people but occupies

only 7 percent of its arable land5. This massive population growth places

enormous strains on China. It threatens massive food shortages, soaring demands

for health care and housing, socially destabilizing unemployment, overburdened

public transport and a rapidly deteriorating environment. Ultimately the

growing populations and large families that couples are continuing to have

despite China’s one-child policy are harmful to the quality of life. China is

not the only place that will face this problem. If populations continue to grow

at the current rate then people all over the world will face a lower quality of

life.

If world population continues to grow in the fast paced trend of the present,

not only will our environment suffer but also future generations and the

standard of living many enjoy today will no longer be attainable. Fortunately a

future of scarcity, inequity, and conflict is not inevitable. There are steps

to be taken to stabilize population such as controlling fertility. Families can

currently choose to have fewer children in industrialized countries. This can

also be made possible for developing countries by providing family planning, and

reproductive health care. If every couple in the world could reliably and

affordably choose the number and spacing of their children, world population

growth would slow by nearly twenty percent almost immediately2. Protection and

enhancement of human rights is necessary so that all people have access to the

essentials of a decent life. Improving people’s social health and economic well

being can move them out of poverty, and away from needing more children for

survival. Solving the problem of population growth will also help solve the

environmental, economic and social problems the world confronts.

“The choices we make in the next few decades about our own numbers and

lifestyles will determine whether the world of the 21st century will be one of

hope and opportunity, or of scarcity and destruction.”

Overpopulation

The Book of Genesis tells the story of creation of man. God said to man, “be

fruitful and increase in numbers; fill the earth and subdue it.” Prior to the

nineteenth century, it was believed that God would provide for those who came

into the world (Day 101). But, in 1798, this view was shaken by Thomas Malthus’

An Essay on the Principle of Population, in which he concluded that while

population increases geometrically, agricultural production only increases

arithmetically. Current evidence shows that this theory may not be far from the

truth. The world population reached 6 billion on October 12, 1999, and is

expected to reach 9.3 billion by 2050! The impact of population growth is

already felt by a majority of nations. The U.S. population has increased by 78%

since 1950. Growing at 3,000,000 per year, U.S. population is expected to

approach half a billion people in 50 years1. A number of factors drive this

growth. At the most basic level, it is because far more people are born each

year than die. Advances in nutrition and health care have increased survival

rates and longevity for much of the world, and shifted the balance between

births and deaths.

The demands of increasing population magnify demands for natural resources,

clean air and water, as well as access to wilderness areas. In the future, when

there are not enough resources to go around, we will see significant scarcity,

and a backlash of poverty. A number of problems lie behind scarcity and poverty.

Ultimately, our own numbers, and the lifestyles many of us choose to live, drive

all the critical issues we confront. Left unchecked, the combination of

population growth and consumption- along with increasing inequity between rich

and poor individuals and nations-will soon threaten not only the well-being, but

even the lives of a majority of people on this planet.

When population levels reach a critical threshold, we then see both a decline in

the resource base, and damage to the environment, which supplies all those

resources. These trends reinforce each other – the damaged environment provides

fewer resources, and the shortage of resources causes us to further damage the

environment. World energy needs are projected to double in the next several

decades, but no credible geologist foresees a doubling of world oil production,

which is projected to peak within the next few decades. Many `growth’ advocates

will argue that the natural ingenuity of people will overcome any problems that

population growth creates. Advocates of `sustainability’ argue that increasing

population and consumption are already causing massive damage to the planet and

that soil erosion, extinction of species, pollution of air and water, and

deforestation are all indicators of exceeding carrying capacity. Deforestation

is driven by a wide range of social and economic forces, but underlying them all

is the severe growth of human population and the rising demand for land and

forest products such growth creates2. Due to overpopulation, and hence

over-exploitation, the world’s oceans are being pushed beyond their breaking

point. Eleven of the fifteen most important oceanic fisheries and seventy

percent of the major fish species are now fully or over-exploited, according to

experts. It is impossible for people to live without forests, food, or

water. Yet the world’s supply of these necessities is gravely threatened by

thriving population growth.

Another issue concerning population is employment. Some growth advocates argue

that their economies will suffer as the citizens age if populations do not

continue to grow. Some industrialized nations with stable populations already

face shortages of younger workers. The advocates believe that not only may

there not be enough workers to keep up production, they suggest that there may

not be enough workers to pay into retirement and medical plans to support older

citizens. As far as economic concerns, there is no shortage of workers.

Instead, there is a shortage of work, with roughly one billion people unemployed

or underemployed3. Worker shortages in industrialized countries may be resolved

by importing workers from developing regions, and by keeping older workers who

choose to stay in the job market. Thus there is no need for a larger population.

With the abundant growth of world population at some point there will no longer

be enough resources to go around. At the present rate of consumption, oil and

gas supplies will last about forty years. Although there is enough coal to last

for four hundred years it is damaging to the environment. With this we will see

significant scarcity and poverty. Underlying these is a number of problems. One

is discrimination. When resources are scarce, those in power often decide who

won’t get a fair share, and may discriminate against gender, other races,

religions, or economic classes. Limited resources due to overpopulation will

cause people to move in search of more resources. There are hundreds of

millions of migrant people in the world today, seeking food, water, land and

work. Scarcity drives legal and illegal immigration into Canada and other

industrialized nations as people struggle to survive and support their families.

And when insufficiency is acute, people may fight over resources. As world

population and consumption grow, environmental impacts multiply, and the

limitations of resources worsen. As more people compete for the same resources,

social, ethnic, and political tensions increase. This combination drives

political instability, declining social health, and greater migration. The

succession of overpopulation, consumption, and scarcity has fuelled more than

150 wars since the end of World War II, and driven tens of millions of people

from their homes as economic migrants or refugees4.

The affects of overpopulation on human society are many. As population increase

the quality of life for an individual decreases. “…Democracy cannot survive

overpopulation. Human dignity cannot survive it. Convenience and decency

cannot survive it. As you put more and more people into the world, the value of

life not only declines, it disappears. It doesn’t matter if someone dies. The

more people there are, the less one individual matters.” (Isaac Asimov). This

situation is ringing true in China. The United Nations estimates that China’s

population may reach the unmanageable mark of 2 billion as early as the year

2030. Right now China contains 22 percent of the world’s people but occupies

only 7 percent of its arable land5. This massive population growth places

enormous strains on China. It threatens massive food shortages, soaring demands

for health care and housing, socially destabilizing unemployment, overburdened

public transport and a rapidly deteriorating environment. Ultimately the

growing populations and large families that couples are continuing to have

despite China’s one-child policy are harmful to the quality of life. China is

not the only place that will face this problem. If populations continue to grow

at the current rate then people all over the world will face a lower quality of

life.

If world population continues to grow in the fast paced trend of the present,

not only will our environment suffer but also future generations and the

standard of living many enjoy today will no longer be attainable. Fortunately a

future of scarcity, inequity, and conflict is not inevitable. There are steps

to be taken to stabilize population such as controlling fertility. Families can

currently choose to have fewer children in industrialized countries. This can

also be made possible for developing countries by providing family planning, and

reproductive health care. If every couple in the world could reliably and

affordably choose the number and spacing of their children, world population

growth would slow by nearly twenty percent almost immediately2. Protection and

enhancement of human rights is necessary so that all people have access to the

essentials of a decent life. Improving people’s social health and economic well

being can move them out of poverty, and away from needing more children for

survival. Solving the problem of population growth will also help solve the

environmental, economic and social problems the world confronts.

“The choices we make in the next few decades about our own numbers and

lifestyles will determine whether the world of the 21st century will be one of

hope and opportunity, or of scarcity and destruction.”

Overpopulation

The Book of Genesis tells the story of creation of man. God said to man, “be

fruitful and increase in numbers; fill the earth and subdue it.” Prior to the

nineteenth century, it was believed that God would provide for those who came

into the world (Day 101). But, in 1798, this view was shaken by Thomas Malthus’

An Essay on the Principle of Population, in which he concluded that while

population increases geometrically, agricultural production only increases

arithmetically. Current evidence shows that this theory may not be far from the

truth. The world population reached 6 billion on October 12, 1999, and is

expected to reach 9.3 billion by 2050! The impact of population growth is

already felt by a majority of nations. The U.S. population has increased by 78%

since 1950. Growing at 3,000,000 per year, U.S. population is expected to

approach half a billion people in 50 years1. A number of factors drive this

growth. At the most basic level, it is because far more people are born each

year than die. Advances in nutrition and health care have increased survival

rates and longevity for much of the world, and shifted the balance between

births and deaths.

The demands of increasing population magnify demands for natural resources,

clean air and water, as well as access to wilderness areas. In the future, when

there are not enough resources to go around, we will see significant scarcity,

and a backlash of poverty. A number of problems lie behind scarcity and poverty.

Ultimately, our own numbers, and the lifestyles many of us choose to live, drive

all the critical issues we confront. Left unchecked, the combination of

population growth and consumption- along with increasing inequity between rich

and poor individuals and nations-will soon threaten not only the well-being, but

even the lives of a majority of people on this planet.

When population levels reach a critical threshold, we then see both a decline in

the resource base, and damage to the environment, which supplies all those

resources. These trends reinforce each other – the damaged environment provides

fewer resources, and the shortage of resources causes us to further damage the

environment. World energy needs are projected to double in the next several

decades, but no credible geologist foresees a doubling of world oil production,

which is projected to peak within the next few decades. Many `growth’ advocates

will argue that the natural ingenuity of people will overcome any problems that

population growth creates. Advocates of `sustainability’ argue that increasing

population and consumption are already causing massive damage to the planet and

that soil erosion, extinction of species, pollution of air and water, and

deforestation are all indicators of exceeding carrying capacity. Deforestation

is driven by a wide range of social and economic forces, but underlying them all

is the severe growth of human population and the rising demand for land and

forest products such growth creates2. Due to overpopulation, and hence

over-exploitation, the world’s oceans are being pushed beyond their breaking

point. Eleven of the fifteen most important oceanic fisheries and seventy

percent of the major fish species are now fully or over-exploited, according to

experts. It is impossible for people to live without forests, food, or

water. Yet the world’s supply of these necessities is gravely threatened by

thriving population growth.

Another issue concerning population is employment. Some growth advocates argue

that their economies will suffer as the citizens age if populations do not

continue to grow. Some industrialized nations with stable populations already

face shortages of younger workers. The advocates believe that not only may

there not be enough workers to keep up production, they suggest that there may

not be enough workers to pay into retirement and medical plans to support older

citizens. As far as economic concerns, there is no shortage of workers.

Instead, there is a shortage of work, with roughly one billion people unemployed

or underemployed3. Worker shortages in industrialized countries may be resolved

by importing workers from developing regions, and by keeping older workers who

choose to stay in the job market. Thus there is no need for a larger population.

With the abundant growth of world population at some point there will no longer

be enough resources to go around. At the present rate of consumption, oil and

gas supplies will last about forty years. Although there is enough coal to last

for four hundred years it is damaging to the environment. With this we will see

significant scarcity and poverty. Underlying these is a number of problems. One

is discrimination. When resources are scarce, those in power often decide who

won’t get a fair share, and may discriminate against gender, other races,

religions, or economic classes. Limited resources due to overpopulation will

cause people to move in search of more resources. There are hundreds of

millions of migrant people in the world today, seeking food, water, land and

work. Scarcity drives legal and illegal immigration into Canada and other

industrialized nations as people struggle to survive and support their families.

And when insufficiency is acute, people may fight over resources. As world

population and consumption grow, environmental impacts multiply, and the

limitations of resources worsen. As more people compete for the same resources,

social, ethnic, and political tensions increase. This combination drives

political instability, declining social health, and greater migration. The

succession of overpopulation, consumption, and scarcity has fuelled more than

150 wars since the end of World War II, and driven tens of millions of people

from their homes as economic migrants or refugees4.

The affects of overpopulation on human society are many. As population increase

the quality of life for an individual decreases. “…Democracy cannot survive

overpopulation. Human dignity cannot survive it. Convenience and decency

cannot survive it. As you put more and more people into the world, the value of

life not only declines, it disappears. It doesn’t matter if someone dies. The

more people there are, the less one individual matters.” (Isaac Asimov). This

situation is ringing true in China. The United Nations estimates that China’s

population may reach the unmanageable mark of 2 billion as early as the year

2030. Right now China contains 22 percent of the world’s people but occupies

only 7 percent of its arable land5. This massive population growth places

enormous strains on China. It threatens massive food shortages, soaring demands

for health care and housing, socially destabilizing unemployment, overburdened

public transport and a rapidly deteriorating environment. Ultimately the

growing populations and large families that couples are continuing to have

despite China’s one-child policy are harmful to the quality of life. China is

not the only place that will face this problem. If populations continue to grow

at the current rate then people all over the world will face a lower quality of

life.

If world population continues to grow in the fast paced trend of the present,

not only will our environment suffer but also future generations and the

standard of living many enjoy today will no longer be attainable. Fortunately a

future of scarcity, inequity, and conflict is not inevitable. There are steps

to be taken to stabilize population such as controlling fertility. Families can

currently choose to have fewer children in industrialized countries. This can

also be made possible for developing countries by providing family planning, and

reproductive health care. If every couple in the world could reliably and

affordably choose the number and spacing of their children, world population

growth would slow by nearly twenty percent almost immediately2. Protection and

enhancement of human rights is necessary so that all people have access to the

essentials of a decent life. Improving people’s social health and economic well

being can move them out of poverty, and away from needing more children for

survival. Solving the problem of population growth will also help solve the

environmental, economic and social problems the world confronts.

“The choices we make in the next few decades about our own numbers and

lifestyles will determine whether the world of the 21st century will be one of

hope and opportunity, or of scarcity and destruction.”

Overpopulation

The Book of Genesis tells the story of creation of man. God said to man, “be

fruitful and increase in numbers; fill the earth and subdue it.” Prior to the

nineteenth century, it was believed that God would provide for those who came

into the world (Day 101). But, in 1798, this view was shaken by Thomas Malthus’

An Essay on the Principle of Population, in which he concluded that while

population increases geometrically, agricultural production only increases

arithmetically. Current evidence shows that this theory may not be far from the

truth. The world population reached 6 billion on October 12, 1999, and is

expected to reach 9.3 billion by 2050! The impact of population growth is

already felt by a majority of nations. The U.S. population has increased by 78%

since 1950. Growing at 3,000,000 per year, U.S. population is expected to

approach half a billion people in 50 years1. A number of factors drive this

growth. At the most basic level, it is because far more people are born each

year than die. Advances in nutrition and health care have increased survival

rates and longevity for much of the world, and shifted the balance between

births and deaths.

The demands of increasing population magnify demands for natural resources,

clean air and water, as well as access to wilderness areas. In the future, when

there are not enough resources to go around, we will see significant scarcity,

and a backlash of poverty. A number of problems lie behind scarcity and poverty.

Ultimately, our own numbers, and the lifestyles many of us choose to live, drive

all the critical issues we confront. Left unchecked, the combination of

population growth and consumption- along with increasing inequity between rich

and poor individuals and nations-will soon threaten not only the well-being, but

even the lives of a majority of people on this planet.

When population levels reach a critical threshold, we then see both a decline in

the resource base, and damage to the environment, which supplies all those

resources. These trends reinforce each other – the damaged environment provides

fewer resources, and the shortage of resources causes us to further damage the

environment. World energy needs are projected to double in the next several

decades, but no credible geologist foresees a doubling of world oil production,

which is projected to peak within the next few decades. Many `growth’ advocates

will argue that the natural ingenuity of people will overcome any problems that

population growth creates. Advocates of `sustainability’ argue that increasing

population and consumption are already causing massive damage to the planet and

that soil erosion, extinction of species, pollution of air and water, and

deforestation are all indicators of exceeding carrying capacity. Deforestation

is driven by a wide range of social and economic forces, but underlying them all

is the severe growth of human population and the rising demand for land and

forest products such growth creates2. Due to overpopulation, and hence

over-exploitation, the world’s oceans are being pushed beyond their breaking

point. Eleven of the fifteen most important oceanic fisheries and seventy

percent of the major fish species are now fully or over-exploited, according to

experts. It is impossible for people to live without forests, food, or

water. Yet the world’s supply of these necessities is gravely threatened by

thriving population growth.

Another issue concerning population is employment. Some growth advocates argue

that their economies will suffer as the citizens age if populations do not

continue to grow. Some industrialized nations with stable populations already

face shortages of younger workers. The advocates believe that not only may

there not be enough workers to keep up production, they suggest that there may

not be enough workers to pay into retirement and medical plans to support older

citizens. As far as economic concerns, there is no shortage of workers.

Instead, there is a shortage of work, with roughly one billion people unemployed

or underemployed3. Worker shortages in industrialized countries may be resolved

by importing workers from developing regions, and by keeping older workers who

choose to stay in the job market. Thus there is no need for a larger population.

With the abundant growth of world population at some point there will no longer

be enough resources to go around. At the present rate of consumption, oil and

gas supplies will last about forty years. Although there is enough coal to last

for four hundred years it is damaging to the environment. With this we will see

significant scarcity and poverty. Underlying these is a number of problems. One

is discrimination. When resources are scarce, those in power often decide who

won’t get a fair share, and may discriminate against gender, other races,

religions, or economic classes. Limited resources due to overpopulation will

cause people to move in search of more resources. There are hundreds of

millions of migrant people in the world today, seeking food, water, land and

work. Scarcity drives legal and illegal immigration into Canada and other

industrialized nations as people struggle to survive and support their families.

And when insufficiency is acute, people may fight over resources. As world

population and consumption grow, environmental impacts multiply, and the

limitations of resources worsen. As more people compete for the same resources,

social, ethnic, and political tensions increase. This combination drives

political instability, declining social health, and greater migration. The

succession of overpopulation, consumption, and scarcity has fuelled more than

150 wars since the end of World War II, and driven tens of millions of people

from their homes as economic migrants or refugees4.

The affects of overpopulation on human society are many. As population increase

the quality of life for an individual decreases. “…Democracy cannot survive

overpopulation. Human dignity cannot survive it. Convenience and decency

cannot survive it. As you put more and more people into the world, the value of

life not only declines, it disappears. It doesn’t matter if someone dies. The

more people there are, the less one individual matters.” (Isaac Asimov). This

situation is ringing true in China. The United Nations estimates that China’s

population may reach the unmanageable mark of 2 billion as early as the year

2030. Right now China contains 22 percent of the world’s people but occupies

only 7 percent of its arable land5. This massive population growth places

enormous strains on China. It threatens massive food shortages, soaring demands

for health care and housing, socially destabilizing unemployment, overburdened

public transport and a rapidly deteriorating environment. Ultimately the

growing populations and large families that couples are continuing to have

despite China’s one-child policy are harmful to the quality of life. China is

not the only place that will face this problem. If populations continue to grow

at the current rate then people all over the world will face a lower quality of

life.

If world population continues to grow in the fast paced trend of the present,

not only will our environment suffer but also future generations and the

standard of living many enjoy today will no longer be attainable. Fortunately a

future of scarcity, inequity, and conflict is not inevitable. There are steps

to be taken to stabilize population such as controlling fertility. Families can

currently choose to have fewer children in industrialized countries. This can

also be made possible for developing countries by providing family planning, and

reproductive health care. If every couple in the world could reliably and

affordably choose the number and spacing of their children, world population

growth would slow by nearly twenty percent almost immediately2. Protection and

enhancement of human rights is necessary so that all people have access to the

essentials of a decent life. Improving people’s social health and economic well

being can move them out of poverty, and away from needing more children for

survival. Solving the problem of population growth will also help solve the

environmental, economic and social problems the world confronts.

“The choices we make in the next few decades about our own numbers and

lifestyles will determine whether the world of the 21st century will be one of

hope and opportunity, or of scarcity and destruction.”

Overpopulation

The Book of Genesis tells the story of creation of man. God said to man, “be

fruitful and increase in numbers; fill the earth and subdue it.” Prior to the

nineteenth century, it was believed that God would provide for those who came

into the world (Day 101). But, in 1798, this view was shaken by Thomas Malthus’

An Essay on the Principle of Population, in which he concluded that while

population increases geometrically, agricultural production only increases

arithmetically. Current evidence shows that this theory may not be far from the

truth. The world population reached 6 billion on October 12, 1999, and is

expected to reach 9.3 billion by 2050! The impact of population growth is

already felt by a majority of nations. The U.S. population has increased by 78%

since 1950. Growing at 3,000,000 per year, U.S. population is expected to

approach half a billion people in 50 years1. A number of factors drive this

growth. At the most basic level, it is because far more people are born each

year than die. Advances in nutrition and health care have increased survival

rates and longevity for much of the world, and shifted the balance between

births and deaths.

The demands of increasing population magnify demands for natural resources,

clean air and water, as well as access to wilderness areas. In the future, when

there are not enough resources to go around, we will see significant scarcity,

and a backlash of poverty. A number of problems lie behind scarcity and poverty.

Ultimately, our own numbers, and the lifestyles many of us choose to live, drive

all the critical issues we confront. Left unchecked, the combination of

population growth and consumption- along with increasing inequity between rich

and poor individuals and nations-will soon threaten not only the well-being, but

even the lives of a majority of people on this planet.

When population levels reach a critical threshold, we then see both a decline in

the resource base, and damage to the environment, which supplies all those

resources. These trends reinforce each other – the damaged environment provides

fewer resources, and the shortage of resources causes us to further damage the

environment. World energy needs are projected to double in the next several

decades, but no credible geologist foresees a doubling of world oil production,

which is projected to peak within the next few decades. Many `growth’ advocates

will argue that the natural ingenuity of people will overcome any problems that

population growth creates. Advocates of `sustainability’ argue that increasing

population and consumption are already causing massive damage to the planet and

that soil erosion, extinction of species, pollution of air and water, and

deforestation are all indicators of exceeding carrying capacity. Deforestation

is driven by a wide range of social and economic forces, but underlying them all

is the severe growth of human population and the rising demand for land and

forest products such growth creates2. Due to overpopulation, and hence

over-exploitation, the world’s oceans are being pushed beyond their breaking

point. Eleven of the fifteen most important oceanic fisheries and seventy

percent of the major fish species are now fully or over-exploited, according to

experts. It is impossible for people to live without forests, food, or

water. Yet the world’s supply of these necessities is gravely threatened by

thriving population growth.

Another issue concerning population is employment. Some growth advocates argue

that their economies will suffer as the citizens age if populations do not

continue to grow. Some industrialized nations with stable populations already

face shortages of younger workers. The advocates believe that not only may

there not be enough workers to keep up production, they suggest that there may

not be enough workers to pay into retirement and medical plans to support older

citizens. As far as economic concerns, there is no shortage of workers.

Instead, there is a shortage of work, with roughly one billion people unemployed

or underemployed3. Worker shortages in industrialized countries may be resolved

by importing workers from developing regions, and by keeping older workers who

choose to stay in the job market. Thus there is no need for a larger population.

With the abundant growth of world population at some point there will no longer

be enough resources to go around. At the present rate of consumption, oil and

gas supplies will last about forty years. Although there is enough coal to last

for four hundred years it is damaging to the environment. With this we will see

significant scarcity and poverty. Underlying these is a number of problems. One

is discrimination. When resources are scarce, those in power often decide who

won’t get a fair share, and may discriminate against gender, other races,

religions, or economic classes. Limited resources due to overpopulation will

cause people to move in search of more resources. There are hundreds of

millions of migrant people in the world today, seeking food, water, land and

work. Scarcity drives legal and illegal immigration into Canada and other

industrialized nations as people struggle to survive and support their families.

And when insufficiency is acute, people may fight over resources. As world

population and consumption grow, environmental impacts multiply, and the

limitations of resources worsen. As more people compete for the same resources,

social, ethnic, and political tensions increase. This combination drives

political instability, declining social health, and greater migration. The

succession of overpopulation, consumption, and scarcity has fuelled more than

150 wars since the end of World War II, and driven tens of millions of people

from their homes as economic migrants or refugees4.

The affects of overpopulation on human society are many. As population increase

the quality of life for an individual decreases. “…Democracy cannot survive

overpopulation. Human dignity cannot survive it. Convenience and decency

cannot survive it. As you put more and more people into the world, the value of

life not only declines, it disappears. It doesn’t matter if someone dies. The

more people there are, the less one individual matters.” (Isaac Asimov). This

situation is ringing true in China. The United Nations estimates that China’s

population may reach the unmanageable mark of 2 billion as early as the year

2030. Right now China contains 22 percent of the world’s people but occupies

only 7 percent of its arable land5. This massive population growth places

enormous strains on China. It threatens massive food shortages, soaring demands

for health care and housing, socially destabilizing unemployment, overburdened

public transport and a rapidly deteriorating environment. Ultimately the

growing populations and large families that couples are continuing to have

despite China’s one-child policy are harmful to the quality of life. China is

not the only place that will face this problem. If populations continue to grow

at the current rate then people all over the world will face a lower quality of

life.

If world population continues to grow in the fast paced trend of the present,

not only will our environment suffer but also future generations and the

standard of living many enjoy today will no longer be attainable. Fortunately a

future of scarcity, inequity, and conflict is not inevitable. There are steps

to be taken to stabilize population such as controlling fertility. Families can

currently choose to have fewer children in industrialized countries. This can

also be made possible for developing countries by providing family planning, and

reproductive health care. If every couple in the world could reliably and

affordably choose the number and spacing of their children, world population

growth would slow by nearly twenty percent almost immediately2. Protection and

enhancement of human rights is necessary so that all people have access to the

essentials of a decent life. Improving people’s social health and economic well

being can move them out of poverty, and away from needing more children for

survival. Solving the problem of population growth will also help solve the

environmental, economic and social problems the world confronts.

“The choices we make in the next few decades about our own numbers and

lifestyles will determine whether the world of the 21st century will be one of

hope and opportunity, or of scarcity and destruction.”

Overpopulation

The Book of Genesis tells the story of creation of man. God said to man, “be

fruitful and increase in numbers; fill the earth and subdue it.” Prior to the

nineteenth century, it was believed that God would provide for those who came

into the world (Day 101). But, in 1798, this view was shaken by Thomas Malthus’

An Essay on the Principle of Population, in which he concluded that while

population increases geometrically, agricultural production only increases

arithmetically. Current evidence shows that this theory may not be far from the

truth. The world population reached 6 billion on October 12, 1999, and is

expected to reach 9.3 billion by 2050! The impact of population growth is

already felt by a majority of nations. The U.S. population has increased by 78%

since 1950. Growing at 3,000,000 per year, U.S. population is expected to

approach half a billion people in 50 years1. A number of factors drive this

growth. At the most basic level, it is because far more people are born each

year than die. Advances in nutrition and health care have increased survival

rates and longevity for much of the world, and shifted the balance between

births and deaths.

The demands of increasing population magnify demands for natural resources,

clean air and water, as well as access to wilderness areas. In the future, when

there are not enough resources to go around, we will see significant scarcity,

and a backlash of poverty. A number of problems lie behind scarcity and poverty.

Ultimately, our own numbers, and the lifestyles many of us choose to live, drive

all the critical issues we confront. Left unchecked, the combination of

population growth and consumption- along with increasing inequity between rich

and poor individuals and nations-will soon threaten not only the well-being, but

even the lives of a majority of people on this planet.

When population levels reach a critical threshold, we then see both a decline in

the resource base, and damage to the environment, which supplies all those

resources. These trends reinforce each other – the damaged environment provides

fewer resources, and the shortage of resources causes us to further damage the

environment. World energy needs are projected to double in the next several

decades, but no credible geologist foresees a doubling of world oil production,

which is projected to peak within the next few decades. Many `growth’ advocates

will argue that the natural ingenuity of people will overcome any problems that

population growth creates. Advocates of `sustainability’ argue that increasing

population and consumption are already causing massive damage to the planet and

that soil erosion, extinction of species, pollution of air and water, and

deforestation are all indicators of exceeding carrying capacity. Deforestation

is driven by a wide range of social and economic forces, but underlying them all

is the severe growth of human population and the rising demand for land and

forest products such growth creates2. Due to overpopulation, and hence

over-exploitation, the world’s oceans are being pushed beyond their breaking

point. Eleven of the fifteen most important oceanic fisheries and seventy

percent of the major fish species are now fully or over-exploited, according to

experts. It is impossible for people to live without forests, food, or

water. Yet the world’s supply of these necessities is gravely threatened by

thriving population growth.

Another issue concerning population is employment. Some growth advocates argue

that their economies will suffer as the citizens age if populations do not

continue to grow. Some industrialized nations with stable populations already

face shortages of younger workers. The advocates believe that not only may

there not be enough workers to keep up production, they suggest that there may

not be enough workers to pay into retirement and medical plans to support older

citizens. As far as economic concerns, there is no shortage of workers.

Instead, there is a shortage of work, with roughly one billion people unemployed

or underemployed3. Worker shortages in industrialized countries may be resolved

by importing workers from developing regions, and by keeping older workers who

choose to stay in the job market. Thus there is no need for a larger population.

With the abundant growth of world population at some point there will no longer

be enough resources to go around. At the present rate of consumption, oil and

gas supplies will last about forty years. Although there is enough coal to last

for four hundred years it is damaging to the environment. With this we will see

significant scarcity and poverty. Underlying these is a number of problems. One

is discrimination. When resources are scarce, those in power often decide who

won’t get a fair share, and may discriminate against gender, other races,

religions, or economic classes. Limited resources due to overpopulation will

cause people to move in search of more resources. There are hundreds of

millions of migrant people in the world today, seeking food, water, land and

work. Scarcity drives legal and illegal immigration into Canada and other

industrialized nations as people struggle to survive and support their families.

And when insufficiency is acute, people may fight over resources. As world

population and consumption grow, environmental impacts multiply, and the

limitations of resources worsen. As more people compete for the same resources,

social, ethnic, and political tensions increase. This combination drives

political instability, declining social health, and greater migration. The

succession of overpopulation, consumption, and scarcity has fuelled more than

150 wars since the end of World War II, and driven tens of millions of people

from their homes as economic migrants or refugees4.

The affects of overpopulation on human society are many. As population increase

the quality of life for an individual decreases. “…Democracy cannot survive

overpopulation. Human dignity cannot survive it. Convenience and decency

cannot survive it. As you put more and more people into the world, the value of

life not only declines, it disappears. It doesn’t matter if someone dies. The

more people there are, the less one individual matters.” (Isaac Asimov). This

situation is ringing true in China. The United Nations estimates that China’s

population may reach the unmanageable mark of 2 billion as early as the year

2030. Right now China contains 22 percent of the world’s people but occupies

only 7 percent of its arable land5. This massive population growth places

enormous strains on China. It threatens massive food shortages, soaring demands

for health care and housing, socially destabilizing unemployment, overburdened

public transport and a rapidly deteriorating environment. Ultimately the

growing populations and large families that couples are continuing to have

despite China’s one-child policy are harmful to the quality of life. China is

not the only place that will face this problem. If populations continue to grow

at the current rate then people all over the world will face a lower quality of

life.

If world population continues to grow in the fast paced trend of the present,

not only will our environment suffer but also future generations and the

standard of living many enjoy today will no longer be attainable. Fortunately a

future of scarcity, inequity, and conflict is not inevitable. There are steps

to be taken to stabilize population such as controlling fertility. Families can

currently choose to have fewer children in industrialized countries. This can

also be made possible for developing countries by providing family planning, and

reproductive health care. If every couple in the world could reliably and

affordably choose the number and spacing of their children, world population

growth would slow by nearly twenty percent almost immediately2. Protection and

enhancement of human rights is necessary so that all people have access to the

essentials of a decent life. Improving people’s social health and economic well

being can move them out of poverty, and away from needing more children for

survival. Solving the problem of population growth will also help solve the

environmental, economic and social problems the world confronts.

“The choices we make in the next few decades about our own numbers and

lifestyles will determine whether the world of the 21st century will be one of

hope and opportunity, or of scarcity and destruction.”

322


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