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Exponential Population Growth

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Essay title: Exponential Population Growth

Introduction

According to the International Program Center, U.S. Census Bureau, the total population of the World, projected to 03/27/08 at 19:37 GMT (EST+5) is 6,657,527,872. (US Census Bureau) This rapid growth in population means little to most people living in this today’s world but it’s a phenomenon that should be a concern to all. It took from the start of human history to the industrial revolution around 1945 for the population to grow to 2 billion. If we then look at the figures after 1945 then we would realize that this figure has more than doubled and even tripled. There is a fear that if left uncontrolled and this figure continues to grow exponentially the world population could reach a total of 8 – 12 billion by the end of the 21st century. The world's current growth rate is about 1.14% which would cause the population to double in 65 years. The world's growth rate peaked in the 1960s at 2% which was projected to double after 35 years. (Rosenburg)

Environmental Effects

Environmental problems have always been man made, but never before on such a perilous scale. One of the worst impacts of population explosion has shown itself through global warming. “The coal and oil that have fueled the growth of industrialized countries have also fueled the warming of the Earth. Roughly 75% of the man-made global warming pollution currently in the atmosphere comes from industrialized nations.” (Sierra Club) These harmful effects of environmental change are creating problems in areas where population growth may not be an issue of over population. “For example, in Arctic regions, structures built atop permafrost are collapsing. Polar ice is melting, releasing freshwater flows that may alter the great ocean circulations, changing climates, temperatures, and agricultural production over vast areas.” (Counsel for Secular Humanism) Other problems that are affecting our environment are forest encroachment, deforestation, fuel-wood depletion, soil erosion, declining fish and animal stocks, inadequate and unsafe water and air pollution. There is a constant debate about the relationship between population and environmental degradation. If the population continues to grow until the available resources are consumed a die-off will occur.

Health, Food & Education

Overpopulation or population explosion also results in high fertility which in turn harms the health of mothers & children. It increases the health risks of pregnancy, and closely spaced births have been shown to reduce birth weight and increase child mortality rates. Feeding the world’s population is made more difficult by rapid population growth. New technologies of production must be introduced more rapidly as the best lands have already been cultivated. International food relief programs have become widespread with population explosion. Large family size & low incomes restrict the opportunities of parents to educate their children. At the national level, rapid population growth causes given educational expenditures to be spread more thinly, lowering quality for the sake of quantity. This in turn feeds back on economic growth because the stock of human capital is reduced by rapid population growth.

Resources Issue & Sustainability

The fact that the world population is rapidly approaching seven billion and is having a detrimental impact upon the world's natural resources is now worrying the people at the at the top of the ladder. Both national and international policy makers worry whether the earth can sustain the rapid growth in population particularly in certain underdeveloped regions of the world. Depletion of natural resources through overuse and destruction of ecosystems by development and pollution seriously threaten the survival of the planet and so the issue of sustainability is raised. “Less developed countries will increase in population from 4.4 billion in 2000 to an estimated 7.7 billion in 2050 (according to UN projections). In contrast, populations of more developed countries are expected to remain around 1.2 billion, due to fertility levels near replacement levels. Even with some improvements in current technologies, the projected increase in developing countries will put severe strains on ecological and economic systems” (Recon, 2004). It is worrying that we are tending more and more to keep our system going by drawing down on our resources faster, instead of being conservative and clever about our use of the planet. If human population is going to gently move towards equilibrium, then there must be careful consideration of sustainable development. If we continue our hack-n-slash approach, we may well end up with a disaster on our hands. We are already seeing signs of imminent future problems

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