How Do You Deal With Overpopulation?
One of the most pressing problems humankind is facing today is overpopulation. The number of people on our planet is increasing fast. About 35–40 thousand years ago, there were about one million inhabitants on Earth. In 1900, its population exceeded 1.5 billion people. And, by the year 1960, it had reached 3 billion people.
The Earth’s population has been steadily growing for the last 60 years. The increase in the number of its inhabitants creates many new social and environmental problems.
Overpopulation is a hotly debated issue nowadays. That is why many students have to write about it in their academic papers. However, the topic is so complicated that many of them prefer to buy a cheap essay from a writing service.
So, why is overpopulation so dangerous, and what are the reasons for it?
1. The Causes of Overpopulation
- A warm climate allows people to live in conditions requiring no housing all year long. If you were to look at the population density map, you’d see that the majority of overcrowded countries are located closer to the equator.
- A low level of education prevents inhabitants from realistically assessing their needs and carrying out family planning.
- Cultural and religious traditions of some countries prohibit the use of contraceptives and abortion. Also, many of them violate the rights of women, and as a result, they have to stay at home, do their housework, and take care of children.
Poverty also contributes to population growth. Poor people cannot afford expensive birth control pills, so they end up having a lot of children.
2. The Consequences of Overpopulation
- Lack of freshwater. This problem is observed in many countries nowadays, and, over time, it will only get worse. Take Africa, for example. Some people there die of thirst, others — from poor-quality water. Despite the efforts of numerous humanitarian missions to provide Africans with clean water, Africa is still one of the leaders in population growth.
- Lack of food. In some overpopulated countries, many people (about a quarter of the population) are undernourished and, as a result, suffer from all kinds of health-related problems. The Earth is capable of sustaining some 25 billion people, but those countries obviously aren’t. There’s not enough arable land, and the conditions for growing food are terrible (overpopulated countries are located in hot and arid regions).
There are too many people living on Earth today. The problem is that half of the population of overpopulated countries are unemployed. So, how can we feed everyone?
- Bigger prices for plant food. Due to the increasing number of Earth’s inhabitants, it is necessary to grow more food. But plant food cannot be grown in unlimited quantities. There’s not enough arable land these days, so it is not surprising that livestock comes to the fore.
Therefore, some countries are gradually switching to animal husbandry. However, the problem is that animals need plant food.
- Scarcity of energy and fuel resources. Fuel resources are limited, and it is necessary to reduce their consumption. But how can it be achieved if the Earth’s population is constantly growing? To produce more energy, it is necessary to build power-generating plants. However, that will increase the pollution of our planet (thermal power plants are one of the prime contributors to air pollution).
- Environmental pollution. The more people, the more damage they cause to Mother Nature. To ensure a comfortable life for themselves, people build factories, various power stations, plants, etc.
- Excess labor. The increase in population leads to the emergence of a large number of unemployed people. That, in turn, leads to lower wages. In general, overpopulation is one of the reasons for gradual impoverishment of the Earth’s population.
3. Possible Solutions
There are several theories about how to deal with this demographic problem. Overpopulation can be partially stopped with the help of stimulating policies. That involves providing people with opportunities that can change their perception of traditional family roles. Lonely people can be given benefits in the form of tax breaks, housing, etc. It can also increase the number of individuals who refuse to get married and have children at a young age.
Women should be provided with incentives that would increase their interest in a career and lessen their desire for premature motherhood. Legalization of abortion is also necessary for as many regions as possible. That is how the planet’s overpopulation can be temporarily postponed. Solutions to this problem include other concepts.
1. Restrictive Measures
Today, governments of countries with the highest fertility rates pursue a restrictive demographic policy. For example, forced sterilization was carried out in India in the 1970s. Attempts to impose demographic restrictions have also been made in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka.
The most famous and successful example of a restraining demographic policy is that of China. In this country, couples with two and more children have to pay fines. Pregnant women are legally obliged to give away a fifth of their salaries. Such a policy allowed the Chinese government to reduce demographic growth from 30% to 10% in 20 years.
However, some of the above solutions can lead to unforeseen consequences. Thus, China’s restrictive policies led to noticeable aging of the population, which is why today the PRC is gradually removing fines for large families.
2. Environmental Protection
It is necessary not only to limit the birth rate but also use the Earth’s resources more rationally. People should develop alternative energy sources that produce less waste and are more cost-effective. By 2020, Sweden will have stopped using fuel of organic origin (it will be replaced by energy from renewable sources). Iceland is said to follow suit, too.
Overpopulation threatens the whole world. While they are switching to alternative energy sources in Scandinavian countries, in Brazil, vehicles are being converted to run on ethanol, a fuel extracted from sugar cane.
In 2012, 10% of British energy was generated by wind. European leaders in wind energy generation are Germany and Spain, where its production increases by 25% annually.
All these examples show that a policy aimed at easing the burden on the environment is not only possible but also effective. Such measures will not save the world from overpopulation, but they will offset some of its most negative consequences. It is essential to reduce the area of arable land while avoiding food shortages. Worldwide distribution of resources should be fair, too.
The forecasts for the future of humanity range from overly optimistic to extremely pessimistic. In general, many scientists agree that population growth will stop by 2100, by which time the Earth’s population will hit the 12–14 billion mark. Thus, the situation will hopefully stabilize.
However, it is also believed that our planet will not be able to carry the burden. Environmental pollution will exceed a critical level, which will lead to a number of serious problems. As a result, the Earth’s population will be significantly reduced.