Overpopulation: Environmental and Social Issues

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The world population has been estimated to have reached 7.7 billion people in April 2019. Are there really too many people on our planet? This is a controversial question that most people have asked themselves. The scenarios predicted by Ehrlich fifty years ago seem to be outdated, but the planet is clearly not out of the woods. To him, population will fall, either when people choose to reduce birthrates or when there is a massive disappearance because ecosystems can no longer support us. It is evident that birthrates cannot be controlled from a top-down perspective, and the major factors that will contribute to the decline of the rates are the improvements in women’s education and economic independence.

Nowadays, Ehrlich’s warnings need to be brought to light again. Even if we had acknowledged some mistakes in his considerations, he was correct that lowering birth rates was, and still is, a crucial starting point in addressing global environmental crises. Globally, economic and population growth continue to be the most important drivers of increases in CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion. Additionally, Ehrlich’s approach has an important weaknesses, because it does not focus enough on overconsumption.

The moral is that uncontrollable population growth can lead to pressure on economies and resources and also successfully drew the attention to environmental and social issues. The overpopulation leads to a condition of food insecurity that induces to intensive farming causing irreversible environmental damages. Now, the challenge is to feed more with less environmental damages possible.

Climate change together with the food and water crisis will have to be faced both in the present and in the future, since, if we carefully observe the whole matter, we will make ourselves clearly realize how much the environment is severely worn out due to overpopulation and urbanization. In particular, due to the climate change that the human being is guilty of, the whole humanity, nature, fauna and flora as well as the planet itself are harmed; the extreme consequences can be declined in erosion and desertification due to the machinations of overpopulation that cause monstrous destruction to the entire ecosystem, among whose causes there are also monocultures and the growing plantations required on the world market.

Incorrectly, many scholars focused on the wrong aspect of overpopulation. “It is not the number of people on the planet that is the issue – but the number of consumers and the scale and nature of their consumption,” affirmed Satterthwaite, a senior fellow at the International Institute for Environment and Development in London. So, the point is not reducing population, but change its habits. If we change our consumption behaviors, this would have a profound effect on our environmental heritage as well.

One the other hand, even if these changes occur, it seems very unlikely that our planet could really sustain an estimated future population of 11 billion.

Why, if the population is already beyond being sustainable, does the question seem to be almost a taboo? If population growth is one of the primary causes of climate change, why is the problem of overpopulation not on the agenda? The fact is that nobody wants to talk about demographic control because this theme involves fundamental human rights of reproduction, family and cultural values and even economic issues. These are sensitive topics. How do you deal with something so delicate as population growth? One of the aspects that makes it such a thorny issue is the image of totalitarian states that allow only one child per family, force abortion or sterilization. However, according to experts, women’s access to contraception and education are the best ways to control the world’s population. Moreover, solutions such as empowering women, providing sex education and low-cost family planning systems, reviewing birth subsidies can significantly prevent population growth.

Cite this paper

Overpopulation: Environmental and Social Issues. (2020, Sep 05). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/overpopulation-environmental-and-social-issues/

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