Overpopulation – how much more of us can our planet bear?

Let ´s start with well – known facts. The human population has been growing continuously since the end of the Black Death, around the year 1350, but the fastest and biggest increase that we have noticed in our history, has taken place in the last 50 years. Mainly thanks to our medical and technical development and also increases in agricultural productivity, the population has more than doubled itself. Current number of human population is estimated on level of 7, 38 billions.[1] It is quite impressive to watch estimation of world population at website worldometers.info.com, where the number of people constantly changes. Most contemporary estimates for the carrying capacity of the Earth under existing conditions are between 4 billion and 16 billion.  Depending on which estimate we use, human overpopulation may or may not have already occurred. According to projection of the United Nations, the population is expected to reach about 9, 3 billion in 2050.[2]

Countries_by_Population_Density_in_2015.svg

I should definitely mention, than there is a huge difference between human growth in developed and developing countries. The desperate situation that is similar to all developing countries has same features especially when we talk about the least developed countries. Enormous human growth, poor economic vulnerability, poverty, bad educational system and health care and so on. To this group belong mostly countries of Africa, Asia, East Europe and Latin America. Those are also countries with biggest human growth. Let´s take Africa as an example. Population growth between years 1990 – 2009 is more than 58%.[3] But what are the consequences? Population increase  in many countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, that has occurred over the last several decades, and that it is creating problems with land management, natural resources and access to water supplies. Let ´s talk more general. What are the effects not just overpopulation in Africa or in developing world but in the world as the whole? It is a long list, which relates also with overconsumption. Starting with  depletion of natural resources, especially fossil fuels, increased levels of air pollution, water pollutionsoil contamination and noise pollution, deforestation, changes in atmospheric composition and consequent global warming, mass species extinctions, increased chance of the emergence of new epidemics and pandemics, conflict over scarce resources and crowding, elevated crime rate and less personal freedom and more restrictive laws. The sad thing is that this is not the end of the list, there are many other effects that overpopulation causes. It seems that every single problem in this world is caused by us – humans. That brings us to the question, what can we do to stop this trend? Well, more conscious countries (at least for the matter of population growth) like China has introduced population control project in 1980´s called The one child policy as a solution to increasing number of population and demand for water and other resources as well as to alleviate social, economic and environmental problems in China. This policy started to pass out during year 2015 and its results are questionable. The Chinese government says that about 400 million births were prevented but the fact is that policy caused fast ageing of inhabitants and overbalance of men upon women.

I personally don ´t think that such a radical policy could be the key to our problem, especially when is followed with human rights abuse and negative social consequences. But let´s face the truth. The population of Earth is still growing and our sources are limited. It is not the problem of couple of countries but the global one. If we won´t invest our time and money to creating acceptable solution to keep sustainable growth, I am afraid the human kind won ´t be here so long as we like to predict.

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Dominika Danišová

[1] http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/

[2] http://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/

[3] http://www.iea.org/co2highlights/co2Highlights.pdf

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