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Human Population: Crisis

I'm curious if humans will last beyond the next century or not. I think there's evidence that we're quickly changing our environment and out-stripping resources. The real question is how wisely will we react to certain upcoming changes and challenges.

Nature is a balance of existence. In order to coincide with nature, we must balance the number of lives which we produce with the saving and extending of lives.

The human population growth of the last century has been truly phenomenal. It required only 40 years after 1950 for the population to double from 2.5 billion to 5 billion. This doubling time is less than the average human lifetime. The world population passed 6 billion just before the end of the 20th century. The CIA World Factbook shows the actual annual growth in the number of humans fell from its peak of 88.0 million in 1989, to a low of 73.9 million in 2003, after which it rose again to 75.2 million in 2006. Since then, annual growth has declined. In 2009, the human population increased by 74.6 million, which is projected to fall steadily to about 41 million per annum in 2050, at which time the population will have increased to about 9.2 billion.

Of the 6.8 billion people, about half live in poverty and at least one fifth are severely undernourished. The rest live out their lives in comparative comfort and health.

What we're facing in top environmental changes.

  • Pollution (unspecified):
  • Global warming or climate change:
  • Air pollution:
  • Habitat destruction:
  • Resource depletion/degradation:
  • Population growth/Overpopulation:
  • Natural disasters:
  • Water pollution:
  • Fossil fuels (oil spills/ANWR):
  • Waste management:
  • Miscellaneous (famine, poverty, ignorance, etc):

Other than some of the natural disasters, how many of these problems are the direct or indirect result of overpopulation? Would we have such a problem with the top three -- pollution, climate change and habitat -- if world population was not so large?

It is the last part of the definition that joins population growth, particularly in developed countries, and resource use. Developed countries, in general, have and use more of the Earth's resources. Population growth in developed countries puts a greater strain on global resources and the environment than growth in less developed nations. For example, in 1997, the U.S. generated 27.5% of the world's total CO2 emissions; more than five times that of India (5% of the world's total), a country with 4-5 times the population of the U.S (Texas A&M's LAB). In fact, the way of life in the United States, on average, requires approximately 5 times the resources available on Earth today.

The above makes developed nations out to be the bad guys but that is not entirely true. Undeveloped countries with large (and growing) populations also put a strain on the local environment and the limited resources that they have. Countries that struggle to meet growing demands for food, fresh water, timber, fiber and fuel can alter the fragile ecosystems in their area, putting a great strain on the limited resources that they have to draw from.

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Finally, when the exponential growth of the human population strains the sustainable limits of Earth beyond feasibility, which Political ideas will work best or be changed for the continuation of life? Will sterilization at birth become a necessity eventually to ensure the survival of the human race?

Or will this be man's last epitaph.

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