The problem of overpopulation has a great impact on social and economic sphere, the natural resources and biodiversity. Unless the dire risk of massive overpopulation is faced forthrightly, governments are sure to do what they are supremely skilled at doing: postponing sufficient action until it is too late. The main causes of population growth are changing patterns of food production distribution, improvement in public health, effective treatment of ‘incurable’ diseases, improved standards of living and economic development.
At the beginning of the 21st century, the world population is larger and wealthier than ever. Population growth is caused by improved production facilities and new methods of agriculture which help developing countries to produce enough food for their populations. “In more recent years, the technology has produced a broader variety of techniques: new kinds of seed, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and more sophisticated machinery” (Kinder 2007). People understand their nutritional needs better than did the early agriculturists.
This is why the agricultural revolution was the driven force for population growth: the diversity of life gives way to less diverse plants and animals, in order to feed and clothe one expanding species. Critics (Todaro and Smith 2007) admit that even for those who hold to climatic explanations of the North American extinctions have to admit that human-induced extinctions become plausible, if not likely, once the population of people reaches a certain point of land saturation. It just happens more quickly on small islands, and is easier to see in retrospect (Kinder 2007).
The crises that had been predicted in energy and food shortages were not as severe, and the population growth rate had slowed enough that humanity reached six billion people rather than the seven billion that had been projected (Crus and Meyer 1992). Improved health services and new methods of treatment improved health and conditions of life for millions of people. Technological changes allow companies to produce cheap drugs available for poor people in developing countries. Population age structure also affects the mortality rate.
Because there are not proportionally as many people in the older generation of China whose lives are nearing their ends, the mortality rate is low. By comparison, the United States has an aging population, and proportionally more people are meeting their life expectancy (Poverty Causes Population Growth n. d. ). Clearly the mortality rate also depends on other factors, which vary in time and place: disease, war, famine, health care levels, and so on. “Scientists have learned a great deal about the ways to prevent and cure many types of disease.
Thus, millions of people who would have died of disease a century ago are more likely to live to old age” (Kinder 2007). Improved housing and conditions of life, improving food and water supply also affect population structure. The importance of institutions (the roles of governments and economic policies, markets, and property rights) as sources of growth has diverted attention from some specific factors in development (Crus and Meyer 1992). Medical progress in correcting such fecundity impairments probably would affect the distribution of family size, but is not likely to have an important effect on population growth.
It might cut in half the small proportion of couples unable to have children and make a similar cut in the proportion unable to have a second child. However, the over-all increase in the total number of births would be small. Even if all fecundity impairments were eliminated, the number of births would be increased by only 10 to 15 per cent. It is most unlikely that all the various causes can be eliminated in the foreseeable future. Changing social values and family relations has a great influence on population growth rates (Overpopulation and Standard of Living 2000).
The consensus among different social strata about how many children are wanted and expected is surprisingly great. We do not know for how long a time this consensus has existed, but its strength at present is undeniable. The traditionally high fertility of the farm population and of urban couples with low socioeconomic status is no longer supported. In spite of great benefits and advantages of technology and health issues, increasing population rates have a negative impact on natural resources and the nature in general.
Whereas some lands can recover from human impact recovery becomes less likely as the human wedge keeps growing and absorbing more energy and nutrients out of the global environment. In some places the ravages of agriculture made it difficult for nature to restore the previous ecosystem. Salinization of the soil from irrigation is just one example. Even weeds have problems reestablishing nature’s services to such lands (Todaro and Smith 2007). Ecological systems are complex, and that large scale events may have multiple causes. On the one hand, population pressure also brings disease.
Just as tightly packed monocultures of crops are subject to evolving pathogens, so are people (Crus and Meyer 1992). The resulting malnutrition not only had its own direct effects, but reduced human resistance to bacteria and viruses. The mass extinction of large land mammals coincided with climatic change and the expansion of human hunters across the Americas. Critics (Crus and Meyer 1992) admit that we need biodiversity for a sustainable planet that includes human beings. Biodiversity is necessary at all levels—ecosystem, species, genetic, and everything in between.
The solutions to population growth are family planning and education, contraception and birth control rates. The need for family planning is clear: it is the most effective conservation tactic we have. Too often the simple process of establishing family planning clinics gets muddled in debates over abortion, or in some cases even contraceptive use is controversial. But such clinics can provide the necessary tools and educational resources, for family planning at its best is simply a matter of education (Kinder 2007).
The irony of population problem is that many births are “unwanted” by the parents. People have to find a way to get equitable family planning resources to everybody who wants them, and an education for all. Still, many parts of the world do not have the educational resources to get the word out, or the financial resources for family planning clinics or governmental programs. Moreover, many people who do have access to such resources still do not understand the big picture: how having many children stresses resources and jeopardizes the sustainability of the planet.
And people cannot solve problems of which they are unaware (Crus and Meyer 1992). Without a concerted effort to change people’s blissful ignorance, there will be no completion of the demographic transition. “Malthusian Population Trap model suggests the population will be forced to live at the subsistence level of income as population growth outstrips growth in the supply of food. The solution is to implement birth control measures” (Todaro and Smith 2007). For developing nations the realistic question is not whether their governments will act in earnest to help end their population explosion.
The reality questions are rather about when they will so act and about how they will act when they do. The governments delay, they increase the risk that they will resort to inhumane measures. The best way to insure that horrendous means of population control will be used is for governments to postpone adequate action until the need for it becomes undeniably desperate. In much of the world, a woman has little if any effective veto power over a man’s desire for more offspring. And even where she does, the couple is far from being autonomous (Crus and Meyer 1992).
Instead, an abundance of social pressure — extended family, religious, cultural, economic, and/or other — has much to say about how many children the man or woman should, or must, have. In order for world population to stop growing at about nine billion people, it is probable that by the early 21st century 70 to 75 percent of all sexually active persons would need to be using birth control.
1. Crus, M. C. , Meyer, C. A. (1992). Population Growth, Poverty, and Environmental Stress. World Resources Institute. 2. Kinder, C. (2007). The Population Explosion: Causes and Consequences.
Referenced 30 June 2007, from http://yale. edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/1998/7/98. 07. 02. x. html 3. Overpopulation and Standard of Living (2000). Referenced 30 June 2007, from http://www. pregnantpause. org/overpop/gnp2. htm 4. Poverty Causes Population Growth Causes Poverty. (N. d. ). http://www. sustainabilityinstitute. org/dhm_archive/index. php? display_article=vn126manupured 5. Todaro, M. P. , Smith, S. C. (2007). Economic Development. Pearson Education Referenced 30 June 2007, from http://wps. aw. com/aw_todarosmit_econdevelp_8/0,6111,284684-,00. html