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Humanity has been around for a very long time, but it’s only in a few centuries that we have grown to significant numbers and transformed our world in unprecedented ways (Brooke). It is likely that the world’s population will double by the year 2050. The increasingly large number of people who have become apart of the world population has created the problem of overpopulation. Human overpopulation is an unfavorable condition where the number of humans that depend on resources is significantly larger than the number of resources available to them (Population Connection). Along with population growth comes changes in our surroundings. This issue of human overpopulation is affecting the environment in many ways; it creates degradation in the environment, resources limitation, and a high cost of living.The history of human overpopulation leads back to A.D. 1, where the world population was at about 300 million and had continued to grow at a moderate rate. But after the start of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, living standards rose, and widespread famines were reduced in some regions. Population growth accelerated, from about 760 million in 1750 to 1 billion around 1800. World population growth accelerated again after World War II when the population of less developed countries began to grow (“Human Population: Population”). After millions of years of prolonged growth, the human population finally increased dramatically; a billion people were added between 1960 and 1975; another billion were added between 1975 and 1987. Human population entered the 20th century with 1.6 billion people and left the century with 6.1 billion (“World Population”).For the last 50 years, world population increased more rapidly than ever before and will continue to grow in the future. In 1950, the world had 2.5 billion people, and in 2005, the world had 6.5 billion people. By 2050, this number could rise to more than 9 billion people (“Human Population: Population”). This rapid increase in the number of people is a major problem to the public. If the world population continued to grow at the current rate, the earth would not be able to sustain its people, and the number of people will decrease. Shortage of resources will become an issue in that there are not enough resources for distribution to everyone. The standard of living will also change due to the high cost of living. In less developed countries, many are dying because they did not have the fundamental resources such as water, food, and healthcare (Shah). It is no uncertainty that the planet is becoming overpopulated and the impact it’s making is something that the public needs to recognize.While many environmental activists recognize the issue, the rest of the public thinks that they will be able to overcome this crisis, as they were able to survive similar environmental events in the past. However, they did not realize that what occurs cannot go back to how it was before. Most people tend to focus on short-term goals rather than giving their full attention to environmental protection for long-term goals (Shah). Thus, the planet is running out of resources, and with every child born, the environment suffers. It is necessary for people to understand that actions need to be taken to prepare for the impacts that humans are soon to experience.Section I: Causes of Human OverpopulationIn the 1910s, the total number of people in the world was around 1 billion. A century later, the global population count reached 7.3 billion. The number of people on this earth is growing at a fast pace. According to the United Nations, the world population could reach 9.7 billion by 2050 and over 11 billion by 2100 (Cumming). Almost all growth will take place in less developed regions, where today’s 5.3 billion people are expected to increase to 7.8 billion in 2050 (“Human Population: Future”). So why is there such a massive increase in population? How is this human population explosion possible? What is leading to this population growth?The causes of human overpopulation are complicated and influenced by many factors. The factors that have influenced overpopulation are interconnected, such as poverty and the lack of healthcare. The main factors affecting the growth of the population include poverty, medical advancement, and migration.Section II: PovertyPoverty is a leading cause of human overpopulation. The world is producing 17 percent more food per person today than it did 30 years ago. Regardless of this amount of food production, more than 1 billion people go hungry every day. The problem is not the production. The problem is that many people are living in poverty and they are unable to access the resources they need (“World Population”).In developing countries, many struggled to afford basic needs, and women rarely have access to any contraceptive. The lack of resources available to them results in growing pregnancies and leads to death in women and the babies. This issue relates to overpopulation because the higher the death rate, the higher the birth rate. Since more people are dying in the family, parents felt the need to give birth to more children. It is when people know their children will survive that they will have fewer babies. According to the U.N., it has predicted that the 48 poorest countries in the world are likely to be the largest contributors to the world’s population growth. The combined population of these countries will increase from 850 million in 2010 to 1.7 billion in 2050 (Hurley).Most developing nations have a large population who has no access to an education. Parents were not able to afford their kids to go to school. Many people end up having little or no knowledge about family planning. Getting their children married at an early age increase the chances of producing more kids. They do not have the awareness to adapt to modern methods of birth control and family planning (Henry George Institute). Many people failed to understand the harmful effects of overpopulation and the action needed to take control of the issue.Section III: Medical AdvancementMedical advancement is another cause of human overpopulation. In developed countries, many have access to medical treatments. The population growth in those countries has increased as the people can live longer. However, it is necessary to keep the overall birth rate and death rate in balance to stabilize the population. Human population multiplied during the Industrial Revolution, not because the birth rate increased, but because the death rate began to decline (“Human Population: Future”). In 1900, the annual mortality rate was one in 42 people. In 1998, the rate had dropped to one in 125 people (Francis). This decline results in more people contributing to the overall population.Medical advancement has caused the balance to be disturbed. With more discoveries in medical science, many of the once incurable diseases have cures today. Illnesses that have taken away thousands of lives till now were cured because of the invention of vaccines. The advances have eliminated dangerous viruses such as polio, smallpox, and measles (Renewable Resources Coalition).The improvement in fertility treatments has made it possible for more people to have children. Those who were unable to conceive can undergo fertility treatment and have their own babies. A regulated prenatal care has improved the chances of survival for both the mother and the baby during pregnancy. Furthermore, pregnancies are safer today due to modern techniques (Shah). As a result, the number of deaths is on the decline. While this can be beneficial in many ways, it also means that people are living longer than ever before. This change in the cycle of life and death has led to a huge population on earth, which will result in the problem of overpopulation.Section IV: MigrationImmigration is an issue in some parts of the world. Many people prefer to move to developed countries where the best facilities are available. However, when people settle in those countries, the places became overcrowded. The difference between the number of people entering a country (immigrants) and those leaving a country (emigrants) is called net migration. If the rates of immigrants and emigrants do not match, it will result in increased population density in that country (“Human Population: Migration”). Between 1950 and 2015, Europe, North America, and Oceania have been net receivers of international migrants, while Africa, Asia and Latin and the Caribbean have been net senders. From 2000 to 2015, the average annual net migration to Europe, North America, and Oceania averaged 2.8 million persons per year, and this number will continue to go up over time (“Population”).Even though the overall population remains the same, it affects the density of the area making the country overcrowded. In the U.S., immigration has contributed to a big part of the population growth. According to the Population Reference Bureau, in 1900, about 42 percent of the U.S. population were immigrants. Immigration made a further contribution to the growth between 1900 and 1950 when 20 million people entered the country (“Human Population: Migration”). This growing population resulted from migration will soon make many countries overpopulated.Section V: Impacts of Human OverpopulationHuman overpopulation is a global issue and has become a concern for people around the world. When a country’s population increases to a limit that hassles the environment, consequences will follow. The United Nations estimated that population growth might keep increasing up to 36.4 billion in 2300 (“World Population”). Such an increase will bring an overwhelmingly large usage of the planet’s resources. This result could bring massive destruction for humans, animals, and the earth.The impacts of overpopulation have already felt by countries with the highest number of population density. In an overpopulated area, the number of people is higher than the supplies available to them, leading to resources limitation. Human activities, including pollution and development, created degradation in the environment. As the demand for supplies increases, the cost of living increases as well. These impacts made in different regions of the world are changing people’s standards of living (Cumming).Section VI: Degradation in the EnvironmentHuman overpopulation has impacted the environment of the Earth starting as early as the 20th century. In a short period of time, we have already destroyed a large part of our forests and other natural habitats, which changed the atmosphere of the Earth. Worst of all, we have sped up the rate of biological extinction, causing the permanent loss of species. If this continues, we will be threatened with the loss of a majority of all species by the end of the 21st century.Human overpopulation has affected the loss of biodiversity in many parts of the world. There has been an increased loss of the ecosystems including wetlands, wildlife, rainforests, and grasslands. The number of threatened species have also continued to rise whereas some have completely gone extinct. The loss of biodiversity is caused by the increase of human activities such as acidifying water systems, overuse of natural resources, pollution, and the indirect destruction of natural systems. These human actions have altered the natural process of the Earth. For example, rainforests covered 14 percent of the entire earth’s surface. However, today, rainforest only cover about 6 percent of the earth’s surface and scientists’ predicted that it may even become less in the next four decades.As there are more people on the Earth, human activities will rise. People’s consumption of energy for transportation, heat, food production and other activities have generated air, land and water pollution. The rise in the number of vehicles and industries have greatly affected the quality of air by releasing carbon dioxide. This greenhouse gas traps heat in the atmosphere and contributes to climate change, where weather patterns, water resources and the survival of animals and plants will all be affected. The effects of pollution will post some serious problems on our environment, including extreme hunger, drought, flooding, and habitat loss to the extent of threatening the survival of human civilization.Section VII: Resources LimitationThe Earth and its resources are shared by more than 7 billion people. As the population increases, the demand for resources will exceed the limits. The world is running out of time to make sure there are enough resources to satisfy the needs of the rapidly growing population. In areas of tremendous population growth, resources can become scarce due to over-consumption. Today, there are about 850 million people who are malnourished or starving and 1.1 billion people who do not have access to safe drinking water.Water shortage is the most serious problem in many parts of the world. In areas of rapid population growth, there is a high demand for clean water, but access to them is not guaranteed. Each human needs 2 liters of drinking water. With the global population at around 7 billion, there is a demand for 15 billion liters of water each day for healthy living. Nevertheless, human overpopulation on earth has destroyed most of the world’s freshwater systems. Most of the lakes, streams, rivers, and groundwater that makes up fresh water have become too polluted. According to the global outlook of water resources, the activities caused by overpopulation have only left less than 1 percent of the planet’s freshwater readily accessible for human use. Almost 1 billion people lack access to clean water and more than twice that many do not have toilets. Thus, as human inhabitants rise in number, so will the problem of quality freshwater accessibility.The Earth can only produce a limited amount of resources, which is falling short of the current needs. As the human population continues to grow, finite natural resources continue to drop, creating competitive demands and stress. Excessive human consumption of non-renewable resources can outstrip available resources in the future and waste them for future generations.Section VIII: High Cost of LivingAn increasing population means growing demand for resources. If demand rises too quickly, it will result in resources scarcity. As the difference between demand and supply continues to expand due to overpopulation, it raises the prices of various products including food, shelter, and healthcare. Nonrenewable resources, including fossil fuels, cannot be replaced, so prices increase when supply decreases. Even renewable resources can increase in price when they need to be shipped to areas where natural resources have been depleted. This means that people would have to pay more to survive and feed their families.As human overpopulation pushes resources to become more expansive, people will look for jobs to afford those supplies. However, when a country is overpopulated, there are not enough jobs to support a large number of people. This will give rises to unemployment, which will lead to elevated crime rate as people will steal to feed their family and provide them basic amenities of life.Section IX: Quality of LifeHuman overpopulation creates competitive stress on the vital resources for survival. Resources become very limited due to the increase in population. It has become difficult for many to have access to the consistent supply of quality food, water, energy, health, security, shelter, and other resources necessary to sustain life. Consequently, the poor will often opt for poor living conditions to survive, as they did not have the income for a better living environment. The situation is more severe in developing nations, such as southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, where most of the poor populations live on inadequate diets. Eventually, it gives rise to lower life expectancy and lowers the standards of living.


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