POPULATION INCREASES AND THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT – Many environmental and naturalists experts, including Sir David Attenborough, feel that mankind is reproducing at a rate that is unsustainable.
“Instead of controlling the environment for the benefit of the population, maybe we should control the population to ensure the survival of our environment.” Sir David Attenborough
The truth is that many environmental issues revolve around the survival of mankind and not the survival of the environment. We appear convinced that no matter how the population of mankind grows we will find a way, through technological advancements, to shake off any environmental issues facing us.
There is no doubt that over-population coupled with over-consumption of our planet’s resources are the underlying issue that we, and most importantly our environment, face.
Mankind has long been seen as the manipulator of the environment rather that a partner that moves in harmony with it. Mankind has been directly responsible for the extinction of thousands of species on the planet and this has mostly occurred to our inability to share – we simply feel that we must take over and populate every corner of the globe for our own needs.
It is now a known fact that if we cannot control the population growth on the planet then the finite resources that sustains us will be depleted; ultimately leading to the destruction of mankind.
Scientists have already established that the Earth has approximately 4 billion years of life. As our Sun continues to burn it is getting bigger and it will eventually burn out and explode destroying Earth and many other planets in our solar system.
Will mankind be around to see this disaster? At our current rate of population growth it is highly unlikely and some even predict that mankind won’t be around in the next 2,000 years – basically we would have starved to death due to the lack of resources the Earth can no longer provide.
In the early 1800’s the population of the planet stood at approximately 1 billion people and by the 1920’s that figure had risen by twice as many.
With medical advancements and new technology, mankind yet again doubled the planet’s population by the early 1960’s. In less than 35 years the population had exploded from 2 to 3 billion.
According to statistics, the population of mankind now increases by 1 billion people every 13 years. We currently have in 2013, a world population of nearly 7 billion; that 4 billion more than in the 1960’s.
At the current rate of population growth mankind will have grown to over 9 billion people by the year 2050
With every growing medical and technological advancement, we are now producing more children compared to the number of deaths; in fact it currently stands at 4.2 births compared to 1.8 deaths – it is clear that we have a net over supply of 2.4 people and it is likely this will continue to widen with medical and technological advancements.
Water is one of our most precious natural resources and without it mankind, or indeed any other species on the plant, would not survive.
Water is not an infinite resource and we are using it up at an alarming rate. It is now estimated that by 2025 over 1 in every 3 people on the planet will be affected by water shortages.
Famine in many developing countries is a growing problem but this can be directly attributed to over population and dwindling crop production; mostly to the lack of water.
By 2025 it is estimated that mankind will need to have doubled current levels of food product but this in itself has revolving consequence; for in order to create the food we need water and of course land.
This again presents another problem; for as we strip away vast tracks of forests in order to grow more food we are essentially destroying part of the environment that creates water.
Food and water is only part of the equation; we now have to look at the growing population and how it impacts the environment in terms of the greenhouse gases we emit.
Developed countries produce far more greenhouse gases per person compared to developing countries. For example the United States produces nearly 1,700 tons of greenhouse gases per person; due to the use of fossil fuel. Compare this to China and the U.S produces 5 times the amount per person and a staggering 91 times that of Bangladesh.
We appear to continue to ignore Earth’s plea for us to slow down and we do so at our own peril. Considering the population growth rate and the demand that we put upon Earth’s recourses we are facing extinction.
The dinosaurs roamed the Earth for 65 million years before being wiped out by a meteor but at the current rate mankind is using up Earth resources it is unlikely to survive 1 million years and in our wake we would have been responsible for killing not only ourselves but many of the world’s other inhabitants.
Man’s legacy appears to be one of ultimate destruction and all because we refuse to acknowledge that we are fallible and that our planet can only sustain so many people.
China has faced a number of criticisms over its ‘one-child’ policy and yet it could be the Chinese who are the only ones willing to consider the impact on our environment and maybe it is now time for other countries to follow suit.