If there is one thing that is more dangerous than nuclear wars feared by many, it is overpopulation that can trigger not only wars, but also a variety of other issues. An increase in population puts strain on water and food, as the bigger number of people will require the satisfactions of their basic needs. To distribute sources available on the Earth on a fair basis, people have created social institutions and elaborated codes that regulate the amount of resources people can get, based on their contribution to social welfare and social usefulness. In other words, people receive financial retribution equivalent to the volume of labor and efforts spent for common wealth. Even so, extreme growth rates question this theory, as both states and private capital will fail at providing the adequate number of jobs needed. This will result in acute poverty and homelessness when qualified people unable to find decent application for their skills and talent will be forced out of factories or be made to join breadlines.
Worse, wars and regional conflicts are likely to begin at some point in the future since a competition for food, territory, and resources will only escalate. With India and China being two principal growth leaders and nuclear weapon possessors, a war for either of these may have long-term ecological repercussions, as per the best-case scenario. Renewable energy sources may be a remedy, but for all that, it is impossible to increase the territory that may accommodate all people in terms of living space. Despite security measures in the current globalized world, China may set sights on India or Russia and unleash hostilities against either of the two or both. Wars may become the regulators of population growth again as they were years ago; however, there is no saying the humankind will handle its outcomes now that the weaponry of war have become viruses, radiation, and atoms. Population boom will produce epidemics, infections, and diseases due to malnutrition and immunity diminution, which makes organism vulnerable to viruses. In doing so, it will decrease population by mortifying it, as plague did in medieval, which is anything but humane. Population boom causes ecology to decline, that is, there will be less favorable climatic and weather conditions for crop cultivation.
Driven by the need of timber, people deforest the globe, depriving it of the “ green lungs” producing such vital life element as oxygen. Besides this, an overpopulation-induced increase in agricultural activities necessitates the fragmentation of the habitats of certain biological species, which makes them extinct due to fertilization inability, food reduction, and gradual extermination. The ones that will capitalize on overpopulation will be drug cartels that will balloon, as the number of consumers will only increase, especially in the light of people’s psychological frustration due to overpopulation-induced unemployment and malnutrition, and other social issues. Crime rates will also see a major increase, with people pushed to the point when the only way to come into possession of resources left to use will be stealing, robbing, and killing. State policies to secure viable populations and nation regeneration in the wake of military conflicts and other events producing mass mortality are backfiring as of now. The main religious institute, the Holy Church, does hold its own responsibility for surplus growth, as it used to frown upon contraception devices, as birth control pills and condoms. Whatever the reason and the effects of population surplusage, the point is that people have launched a domino effect, with the ecological balance falling block by block. From now on, people may consider themselves trapped in anthropogenic population increase.
According to McLeish (8), overpopulation is the case when too many people reside in a given territory at the same time. Overpopulation puts living standards, local environment, and resources under pressure. It should be borne in mind, that overpopulation is not measured in terms of numbers. Cities they cannot provide their half-a-million population with the adequate number of resources are considered overpopulated while two-million cities that do fine providing such are not to be deemed as being overpopulated. Hence, it is not region’s density or size that determine the tendency; it is resources availability for all citizens that does. Thus, the citizens of neither Melbourne nor Australia have difficulties satisfying their day-to-day needs. The concept of resources goes well beyond such staples as food, fresh water, clean air, warmth, and shelter. It embraces employment, transportation, recreation, medical care, and education, to say nothing of pleasant environment, open space, the absence of crime, and zero pollution, including smoke and noise. Thus, the effects of overpopulation are people’s not getting any of these, which results in a negative impact on their lives. Overpopulation is such when it causes environmental degradation, life quality reduction, and deficit in staple services and goods (McLeish 8-9).
The unsustainable use of resources and resultant depletion is in part attributive to overpopulation (McLeish 10). According to Donella, Meadows, and Randers (44-47), a research from 1972 called Limits to Growth stresses the deficit in raw materials, as basic minerals, fossil fuels, topsoil, forests, and freshwater caused by the growing consumption (qtd. in Magdoff n. p.). Magdoff (n. p.) puts an emphasis on the fact that overpopulation-induced consumption puts strain on soil fertility, the lack of indispensable minerals, such as copper, zinc, and phosphorus, peak crude oil, and freshwater resources. Environmentalists with a traditional attitude towards the problem of resource depletion see the issue through the prism of Malthusianism, that is to say, they think the dynamics of resources to be inversely proportional to that of population, the latter increasing exponentially. As per Thomas Malthus’ opinion, food shortage is in direct relation to population surplus. According to Foster (92-95), the 20th century environmental scientists opine that natural resource deficits, whether current or future, will emanate from population explosion excelling the Earth’s carrying capacity (qtd. in Magdoff n. p.).
Kinder (n. p.) makes accent on the fact that people are as near as could be to depleting renewable fresh water sources due to an enormous demand. The expert opined as much as to say that overpopulation-induced water exhaustion and a subsequent shortage may very well lead to the lack of proper sanitation, the emergence and proliferation of resultant infectious diseases that, in turn, will physically reduce the global population. Population excessive increase will also put pressure upon housing since accommodating the ever-growing number of people will require adequate space, with half the world expected to live in urban areas by century end. The inability to find living room for women and children usually forces them into living in the poorest communities where exploitation and abuse are the case (Kinder n. p.).
According to Angus and Butler (1), what people are doing at the moment is contaminating rivers, seas, and lakes, depleting fresh water supplies, exterminating biological species by thousands, wrecking fertile soil, and crushing the basic ecological processes tasked with maintaining a steadfast biosphere for centuries. Magdoff (n. p.) adds the acidification of oceans and toxics production to the scope of anthropogenic impact in the today’s overpopulated world. Angus and Butler (1) note that many an environmentalist believes the primary cause of ecological demolition to be population growth. It will be impossible to develop an efficient solution to ecology deterioration, unless people reduce the size of the population as was suggested in the World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity prepared for the 1992 World Earth Summit. According to Tim Flannery, a reputed Australian environment expert, Australian population stimulated by the national immigration policy has a much worse impact on the ecology than that of a developing country does. Australia is the world’s heaviest user of carbon, spending as many as 23 tons per capita yearly (Angus and Butler 1-3). One of the signatories to Kyoto Protocol, Australia seems unable to meet emission standards. Hence, pollution produced by carbon overuse is the outcome and manifestation of population surplus. There are clear reasons why pollution and other outcomes of overpopulation have place.
Kuo (25) admits that overpopulation-related ecological changes have got to the point when atmospheric temperature has reached unprecedented heights, sea level has risen due to global warming CO2, and methane gases need extracting from the atmosphere and that rapidly, and tundra require refreezing. World desertification and the extermination of tropical and other forests that are the “ green lungs” of the human planet pose a serious threat to the planetary existence. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (n. p.), warming because of anthropogenic activity, enhancing as the population grows, has increased drought conditions especially in the equatorial regions, which is contributing to the desertification of the American Southwest, Australia, the Mediterranean region, the Middle East, and North Africa. Such status quo is already affecting the agricultural lands of Croatia and the American Corn Belt, which has the potential of causing food shortage.
After assuming the reins of power in 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini scrapped all family-planning clinics in hopes of increasing the number of population especially needed in the light of the then raging Iran-Iraq war. Such peculiar army raising and recruitment attempts only added to unemployment, environment degradation, and over-crowdedness issues (Kuo 26). Speaking of military conflicts, such much-enhanced population of recruitment age may expedite military conflicts, as multimillionaire countries are sure to reach the point when they will no longer be able to accommodate and contain their ever-growing population. Then a military conflict may seem the only solution to the problem, with “ living space” being no longer a piece of political rhetoric and an ostentatious pretext for opening hostilities.
Now it is about time the reason for overpopulation were given a proper analysis. According to Angus and Butler (3), the above-mentioned immigrants only add to the overall substance overuse. Experts strongly speak against immigration as the primary accelerators of excessive growth. The same applies to the lack of proper access to abortion, birth control, and maternal health services (Angus and Butler 3). This is particularly true of less economically developed countries where there is an unequal wealth distribution and subsequent poverty compounded by inadequate education and contraception awareness. McLeish (10) notes that the above-mentioned increase in a birth rate, but also a decrease in mortality owing to medicine technology advancements may rationalize such growth.
Kinder (n. p.) notes that the balance of population used to remain stable in pre-Industrial Revolution period, with children in large families tending to perish before at a very young age. However, the peoples of Europe and North America made great headway towards reducing death rates via technological and scientific advancements. Over past few centuries, public health has seen a major improvement with regard to sanitation and water. The same could be said of food production, diversification, and distribution. In the years between 1950 and 1984 alone, grain crop rose from 631 to 1. 65 billion tons, which represented a 2. 6 time gain in relation to a rise in population by 1. 9 times. The diversification of seeds, the invention of pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and the development of technologically superior agricultural machinery have allowed increasing food production capacities and dealing with famine and subsequent death.
Important is to note that medical technology of vaccines and antibiotics development together with achievements in the field of education and living standards has contributed greatly to population surplusage. Influenza and measles turned curable at some point, so did infectious germs that would decimate people by thousands before that. The incidence of child survival and epidemic diseases, as cholera, were related to fresh water accessibility. By 1990, the number of those having access to this had risen from 50 to 75%. Experts projected that the number of individuals without such access would increase between 1990 and 2000, as both the developing and developed states are closing in on sustainable water limits. Overall, vaccination, adequate nutrition, the development of new medicines, and improved health services are the factors that are at the root of population enormous growth. The knowledge of how to apply vaccines against smallpox, influenza, rubella, and poliomyelitis helped save thousands of people in more developed countries that had their population increase while the lack thereof reduced the number of resident in less developed states. Even now some malaria-ridden regions sill lack for vaccines (Kinder n. p.). If the world population goes on growing beyond normal, the now defeated infections may re-surface, reclaiming the control of separate overpopulated regions.
Overall, overpopulation is the excessive concentration of residents living in a given territory at a time; however, what makes areas overpopulated and unfit for residence is the shortage of resources, such as employment, housing, transportation, recreation, food, water, space, clean air, to name a few. The unequal and disproportionate distribution of such gives reason enough to label the area as overpopulated. The excessive concentration of people creates plenty of environmental issues, as industrial infrastructure increases its manufacturing capacities to meet the demands of the ever-growing number of dwellers. The earth itself grows infertile with time since people impoverish it forced to cultivate larger crops. The growing number of people deplete minerals fossil fuels, and freshwater. More than that, they cause deforestation, that is, certain companies slash forests to produce timber or clear space for building industrial and living facilities or houses. Such activity deprives humankind of its “ green lungs” that produce the vital element, as oxygen.
Stimulated by carbon dioxide and methane emissions global warming and subsequent sea level rise pose threat in terms of floods and droughts, the latter leading to the desertification of certain regions and deterioration of arable lands occupied for agricultural purposes. The ecosystem and wildlife also sustain a palpable blow from anthropogenic activities, whose scope widens, as the population is increasing in number. Such factors as immigration, healthcare improvement, immunization, food abundance, the absence of conflicts are among the main stimulators of population growth. It is not that people need to forfeit medical achievements to let diseases and epidemics regulate population numbers if they are to survive. It is that birth control and regulation need practicing, or else the demographic explosion that is yet to come may cause the population to become extinct.
Angus, Ian, and Simon Butler. “ Too Many People?: Population, Immigration, and the Environmental Crisis.” Haymarket Books. 2011. 1-259. Print. 24 May 2014.
Kinder, Carolyn. “ The Population Explosion: Causes and consequences.” Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute. 2014. n. p. Web. 24 May 2014.
Kuo, Gioietta. “ Mega Crisis? Overpopulation Is the Problem.” World Future Society. 2012. 23-32. Web. 24 May 2014.
Magdoff, Fred. “ Global Resource Depletion. Is Population the Problem?” Monthly Review: An Independent Socialist Journal 64. 8 (2013): n. p. Web. 24 May 2014.
McLeish, Ewan. “ Can the Earth Survive? Population Explosion.” The Rosen Publishing Group Inc. 2010. 1-48. Print. 24 May 2014.