Advance Bio December 12, 2001 Population So pretty much were fucked. Population growth seems to be uncontrollable. You try to get developing countries out of poverty to control population with a strong economy but that leads too more environmental degradation like cars and pollution. With our population growing the way it is we will well exceed carrying capacity in the next hundred years. The United Nations projects that the global population, currently at 6 billion, will peak at about 10 billion in the next century and then stabilize or even decline. A question immediately following the statement, can the Earth feed that many people? It is understood that even if food crops increase sufficiently, other renewable resources, including many fisheries and forests, are already under pressure.
Our food production doubled from 1961 to 1994, but there are still people who go hungry. This is because the human population has increased more rapidly than the food production. One of the well-known economists Thomas Robert Malthus claimed that there was an imbalance between population growth and our ability to produce food. In his famous work, An Essay on the Principle of Population, his principle of population was based on three main points: population cannot increase without the means of subsistence; population invariable increases when the means of subsistence are available; and the superior power of population cannot be checked without producing misery or vice.
When Malthus wrote his principle in 1798, he already predicted that in the future, the population would exceed the amount of food. This is because population grows according to the geometric progression (1, 2, 4, 8, 16... ), and the means of subsistence grows according to the arithmetic progression (1, 2, 3, 4... ) When taking into account Malthus principle of population it is evident that his fundamental analysis of population has been proven right. Since the earth resources are finite, when human population increases, it affects human beings. Will there be a problem if population keeps increasing? In Beyond the Limits, by Donella Meadows and some of her associates, they re-use a system dynamic model on a computer to guess what effects population will have on the future.
After twenty years, her predictions from the original model stand tall, with just the need for refinement. They feel that the world is in great danger. That we are using resources faster then they even predicted. Unless changes happen soon our food, energy and industries will feel the pressure. In order to change we need to change the path of consumption and population growth. We also need to be way more efficient in the way we use resources.
They believe that a sustainable society is possible. Through wisdom, maturity, and compassion we can make this jump, and we need to do it soon. Barry Commoner would agree with some of the above points. He argues that although population is apart of environmental degradation it is not at the forefront. He believes that before we think about instituting population regulations we need to completely rethink the way our society consumes things. Smart consumerism that is sustainable.
He believes that poverty is also one of the major influences for population growth. In poverty ridden countries the population runs wild with lack of proper education, lack of birth control and need for family labor. Poor countries need support from rich ones to start fertility programs to give people a chance to limit their births. Here Commoner sums up how to fix the problem. "In sum, I believe that if the root cause of the world population crisis is poverty, then to end it we must abolish poverty. An if the cause of poverty is the grossly unequal distribution of the worlds wealth, then we must redistribute that wealth, among nations and within them." According to a well-known biologist-Paul R.
Ehrlich, who said "The amount of food available restrains the size of any animal population, unless space, disease, predators, or some other factor sets lower limits." What he means is that food production is an element that control our population growth, this is because people cannot survive without food. When his idea is observed, it is evident that his idea is similar to Malthus principle of population. Malthus stated, there is an imbalance between our ability to produce food and our ability to produce children. He said human beings are far better at making babies than are at finding food for survival. This problem, exists in all past and present societies, and must also exist in any future society as well.
Water pollution has been partly caused by population growth. Humans consumed, stored and diverted water and used it to carry away wastes without regard to health or ecological consequences. Therefore, overpopulation not just threatens food supply, but also water supply. As human numbers continue to rise, they create needs for land for purposes other than the production of food.
Among these are urbanization and transportation. The population crisis is almost impossible to solve. Much of the population problem is in undeveloped countries that are filled with poverty. In order to for these populations to slow developed countries need to educate undeveloped countries about planned pregnancies and make birth control more accessible. Bringing these countries out of poverty is not going to be as easy as Barry Commoner put it before. In order for them to become a developed country they are following the path of developed countries.
The environmental degradation from multiple industrial revolutions in developing country puts a lot of strain on our ecosystem. Again it is the job of the developed countries to help them make the right decisions. We need to promote sustainable energy use and building. In order for undeveloped countries to become environmentally conscious, developed countries have to become more environmentally conservative themselves. This means tackling the problem of over consumption. We need to start with kids and teach sustainability in schools and how to simplify our life pursing none material happiness.
We need to make big changes in the coming years to slow the path of destruction. If human beings still ignore the problem of the population growth and the food supply, other problems will follow, such as civil strife and food shortages. Furthermore, rapid population growth may affect poverty by affecting the correlates of poverty: low wages, lack of human capital such as education and health, and lack of income earning assets such as land; income inequality and loss of economic growth. The only way to solve the problem between the population growth and the food supply is to reduce our population by using contraceptive tools.
Now, it is time to face reality. It is time to change our world. It is time to solve our problem. Work Cited "Making Peace with the planet" Barry Commoner, Pantheon books, NY 1990 "From Beyond the limits" Donella Meadows. "Sustaining the Earth" Tyler Miller Jr.
, Brooks/Cole, US 2002 "An Essay on the Principle of Population" Thomas Robert Malthus,.