Baus, Doris, "Overpopulation and the Impact on the Environment" (). financial means, and individual rights give rise to poverty and define the global and no help from outside will come to assist the scarcity in natural resources that .. of the fittest coincided with Malthus's explanation of the relationship between. Overpopulation is associated with serious negative environmental impacts. This article outlines the challenges for sustainability. Overpopulation is the idea that there are not enough resources on the earth to Key to this idea is that there are certain human needs that must be filled, and that do these viewpoints conceptualize the relationship between humans and nature? .. human environment interactions, in particular, resource use and scarcity.
One study, done by researchers at Harvard, found that the majority of population increases over the next 40 years or so will be in less developed countries. Dramatic population increases in these less developed areas will lead to a higher mortality rate and a lower life expectancy because of problems with infrastructure, food, water and housing.
Plant and Animal Extinction Greater numbers of human beings populating the planet means that there are fewer resources available — food, water and habitat, specifically — for other species to thrive.
Global warming is already threatening to cause mass flora and fauna extinctions between now and Scientists are predicting that in that time, more than half of the plant and animal species on the planet could be driven to extinction.
Much of this is due to habitat loss, climate change and the pollution generated by billions of human beings.
Population and environment: a global challenge
Many species are also at risk because of overfishing, poaching and our tendency to exploit our natural resources. Without a careful balance of life forms in an ecosystem, from the smallest single-celled life form to the largest apex predator, ecosystems can collapsecausing the extinction of even surviving species. Subsistence increases only in an arithmetical ratio. A slight acquaintance with numbers will shew the immensity of the first power in comparison of the second.
This difficulty must fall somewhere; and must necessarily be severely felt by a large portion of mankind. She has been comparatively sparing in the room and the nourishment necessary to rear them. The germs of existence contained in this spot of earth, with ample food, and ample room to expand in, would fill millions of worlds in the course of a few thousand years. Necessity, that imperious all pervading law of nature, restrains them within the prescribed bounds.
The race of plants, and the race of animals shrink under this great restrictive law.
Population and Environment
And the race of man cannot, by any efforts of reason, escape from it. Among plants and animals its effects are waste of seed, sickness, and premature death. Among mankind, misery and vice. The former, misery, is an absolutely necessary consequence of it. Vice is a highly probable consequence, and we therefore see it abundantly prevail; but it ought not, perhaps, to be called an absolutely necessary consequence. The ordeal of virtue is to resist all temptation to evil. All other arguments are of slight and subordinate consideration in comparison of this.
I see no way by which man can escape from the weight of this law which pervades all animated nature. No fancied equality, no agrarian regulations in their utmost extent, could remove the pressure of it even for a single century. And it appears, therefore, to be decisive against the possible existence of a society, all the members of which, should live in ease, happiness, and comparative leisure; and feel no anxiety about providing the means of subsistence for themselves and families.
And read the following excerpt from Chapter 5: But I believe it has been very generally remarked by those who have attended to bills of mortality, that of the number of children who die annually, much too great a proportion belongs to those, who may be supposed unable to give their offspring proper food and attention; exposed as they are occasionally to severe distress, and confined, perhaps, to unwholesome habitations and hard labour.
This mortality among the children of the poor has been constantly taken notice of in all towns. It certainly does not prevail in an equal degree in the country; but the subject has not hitherto received sufficient attention to enable any one to say, that there are not more deaths in proportion, among the children of the poor, even in the country, than among those of the middling and higher classes.
Unlike previous geological epochs, where various geological and climate processes defined the time periods, the proposed Anthropecene period is named for the dominant influence humans and their activities are having on the environment. In essence, humans are a new global geophysical force.
We humans have spread across every continent and created huge changes to landscapes, ecosystems, atmosphere—everything. However, while population size is part of the problem, the issue is bigger and more complex than just counting bodies.
There are many factors at play. Essentially, it is what is happening within those populations—their distribution density, migration patterns and urbanisationtheir composition age, sex and income levels and, most importantly, their consumption patterns—that are of equal, if not more importance, than just numbers.
Population and environment: a global challenge - Curious
A formula for environmental degradation? The IPAT equation, first devised in the s, is a way of determining environmental degradation based on a multiple of factors. At its simplest, it describes how human impact on the environment I is a result of a multiplicative contribution of population Paffluence A and technology T. As well as bringing the link between population and environment to a wider audience, the IPAT equation encouraged people to see that environmental problems are caused by multiple factors that when combined produced a compounding effect.
More significantly, it showed that the assumption of a simple multiplicative relationship among the main factors generally does not hold—doubling the population, for example, does not necessarily lead to a doubling of environmental impact. The reverse is also true—a reduction of the technology factor by 50 per cent would not necessarily lead to a reduction in environmental impact by the same margin.
The IPAT equation is not perfect, but it does help to demonstrate that population is not the only or necessarily the most important factor relating to environmental damage. Focusing solely on population number obscures the multifaceted relationship between us humans and our environment, and makes it easier for us to lay the blame at the feet of others, such as those in developing countries, rather than looking at how our own behaviour may be negatively affecting the planet.
Population size It's no surprise that as the world population continues to grow, the limits of essential global resources such as potable water, fertile land, forests and fisheries are becoming more obvious.
But how many people is too many? How many of us can Earth realistically support? Carrying capacity is usually limited by components of the environment e. Debate about the actual human carrying capacity of Earth dates back hundreds of years.
The range of estimates is enormous, fluctuating from million people to more than one trillion. Scientists disagree not only on the final number, but more importantly about the best and most accurate way of determining that number—hence the huge variability.Human Population Growth - Crash Course Ecology #3
The majority of studies estimate that the Earth's capacity is at or beneath 8 billion people. PDF How can this be?
Whether we have million people or one trillion, we still have only one planet, which has a finite level of resources. The answer comes back to resource consumption. People around the world consume resources differently and unevenly. An average middle-class American consumes 3.
- How Does Overpopulation Effect the Environment?
- Overpopulation: Debates on Resource Use, Population Growth, and Scarcity
- Population and Environment
So if everyone on Earth lived like a middle class American, then the planet might have a carrying capacity of around 2 billion. However, if people only consumed what they actually needed, then the Earth could potentially support a much higher figure.
But we need to consider not just quantity but also quality—Earth might be able to theoretically support over one trillion people, but what would their quality of life be like? Would they be scraping by on the bare minimum of allocated resources, or would they have the opportunity to lead an enjoyable and full life? More importantly, could these trillion people cooperate on the scale required, or might some groups seek to use a disproportionate fraction of resources?
If so, might other groups challenge that inequality, including through the use of violence? These are questions that are yet to be answered. Population distribution The ways in which populations are spread across Earth has an effect on the environment. Developing countries tend to have higher birth rates due to poverty and lower access to family planning and education, while developed countries have lower birth rates.
These faster-growing populations can add pressure to local environments. Globally, in almost every country, humans are also becoming more urbanised. Bythat figure was 54 per cent, with a projected rise to 66 per cent by While many enthusiasts for centralisation and urbanisation argue this allows for resources to be used more efficiently, in developing countries this mass movement of people heading towards the cities in search of employment and opportunity often outstrips the pace of development, leading to slums, poor if any environmental regulation, and higher levels of centralised pollution.
Even in developed nations, more people are moving to the cities than ever before.
The pressure placed on growing cities and their resources such as water, energy and food due to continuing growth includes pollution from additional cars, heaters and other modern luxuries, which can cause a range of localised environmental problems. Humans have always moved around the world.
However, government policies, conflict or environmental crises can enhance these migrations, often causing short or long-term environmental damage.