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The twentieth century has drawn to a close and civilization faces the dilemma of supporting an overpopulated world. Throughout time, mankind has lived as though there were no consequences for his actions. But now, as people of the future, we see what is happening to the world we live in. Despite our knowledge, these straightforward problems are still being ignored. Our actions in the past have dictated the present, and our actions now will determine our future, and generations to come. We caused the overpopulation problems we are now facing; so we must also be the ones to solve the problems. The link between population growth and environmental impact seems obvious. More people, consume more resources, damage more of the earth, and generate more waste. In the book Earth Odyssey, by Mark Hertzgaard, he quoted Paul Ehrlich’s statement, “The United States is the most overpopulated country in the world” (197). Today’s children are likely to see a tripling of the global population within their lifetimes unless, solutions emerge decreasing population growth. Hertzgaard points out “the world’s population will stabilize at much less than eight billion people, and an eventual total of ten or twelve billion is quite possible” (220). We must take action to save our planet.
One crisis the earth and its inhabitants fear today is lack of resources due to the increasing number of people. Justifications for our path of destruction are; destroy trees for more farmland; excessive consumption of food sources by over harvesting and overgrazing causing barren wastelands; continued use of fossil fuels and chemicals needed for transportation, creation of electricity, and heating our homes; and more people means more homes will be built again
forests and natural habitats of animals. “By 1997 the world’s forests were for the first time, loosing more carbon than they were absorbing” (202). Public awareness and concern for environmental issues need to be integrated into everyday living so, the remaining numbers of plants and animal species continue to exist. It’s crucial we act now as continued extinction of species is a loss no future can cure.
When trying to correct the imbalance created by man, science, and technology, we who have inherited the earth must be adamant about developing cleaner ways of improving productivity, and developing better methods for prevention of births, the root of overpopulation.
On average family size has decreased almost by half “from approximately six children per woman in the late 1960s to three per woman in the late 1990s” (216). Contraceptive technologies are becoming more accessible, affordable, and more widely accepted. Unavailability or access to family planning services and education, continue to exist in many parts of the world. Presently, throughout the developing world, women are having smaller families than their mothers, due to access of birth control pills, condoms, and diaphragms along with methods of sterilization consisting of tubal lingation for women or vasectomy for men.
Even under the low-growth conditions, human numbers will continue to climb for many years, at a slowing rate. An early halt to human population growth will not end human-caused extinctions. If, we continue to over-exploit resources and pollute our environment the world will be an uninhabitable planet for future generations.
The purpose of this paper is to help promote awareness, and focus on the circle of problems contributing to the destruction of the planet (571).
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Demography, Human geography, Population, Population ecology, Demographic economics, World population, Doomsday scenarios, Human overpopulation, Overpopulation, Sustainability, The Coal Question
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