Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Battle of the Century: World Population vs Planet Earth

As of today there are approximately 7,397,636,757 people on this plant.  Today, 366,805 were born and 153,632 died giving a population growth of 213,173 (Cenus).  According to the United Nations, the world is estimated to reach upwards of 10.5 billion by the turn of the century.  Of the millions of species on this planet, humans as a whole have taken over completely pushing others to the side.  We take what we need via natural resources leaving little regard for the other inhabitants or even the planet itself.  With so many people requiring the same “needs” and expectations, how can we prevent the eminent demise and destruction of these resources?  The answer lies in the world population.
 Generally speaking, the issue with population growth is that certain countries have been having a stable increase while others are sky rocketing.  Japan and Western Europe have had consistent growth while places like Russia have actually been experiencing population decrease.  Some African countries are decreasing as well, however, they are among the highest of the rapidly growing countries including India, China, the United States, and Australia.  Each country has their own demography to deal with and views their situation differently.  Interestingly enough, China has just removed their law stating that each family can only have one child.  Why would they do this in such a planetary emergency?  For China specifically, they need to increase the younger demographic to fill the labor roles of aging generations to keep a healthy economy.  However, many of the Chinese populous have decided against taking advantage of this change in regulations because they understand the cost of bringing new life into the world (Buckley, 2015). 
What kind of costs are we talking about besides monetary? Well, as the population fluctuates so does the climate, water and food supply, and energy.  The climate is the fundamental support system for all life and is shaped by all of our activities.  With populations increasing, we are needing more land for cities to expand.  But when we take up these lands, we are losing opportunities for farming or destroying forests which supply oxygen, shelter other organisms, and help absorb our increasing carbon emissions.  By 2050, the demand for food and land is going to at least double and potentially triple by the century change.  This is only really counting those who regard food as a commodity, think of the 1 billion who are already malnourished and are stuck in areas with little chance of farming or moving.  The pressure will be increasing as populations expand taking up more land while trying to increase our food supply to accommodate the vast numbers of people. 

Currently this planet is not prepared to host the inevitable 10 billion people in its not so distant future.   As the population increases, our resources diminish in a directly proportional manner. When it comes down to it, the future appears bleak unless major changes are to occur.  I propose we seriously consider the demands that are inevitable when countries begin struggling to provide for their people.  Whether that means imposing a limit on births or better future planning, something needs to be done.  

Collaborators with World Population Balance. Frequently Asked Questions: World Population 
Balance. (Updated 2015)
Emmot, Stephen. Humans: the Real Threat to Life on Earth. (29 June 2013)
Gais, Hannah. How Many People is Too Many People. (27 September 2013)

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