Booming Population has its Consequences

by C.Chute on September 25, 2015 - 11:26pm

In Dennis Dimick’s article “As World’s Population Booms, Will Its Resources Be Enough”, we are brought into the light of the impacts that our increased growth population has brought on to our planet as well as the people living on it. In the article, Dimick gives different theories for what could become of our population in the next hundred years, with one theory marking us down for our population to increase more then 11 billion by 2100. This is a theory of course and in no way set in stone, but he later explains how from 1950 to 2000, our population has grown from 2.5 billion people to a whooping 6 billion which makes their guess look particularly well theorized. One of the causes to this rapid population growth on our planet is due to the increase in births in sub-Saharan Africa. Their quota of children per woman is 4.6, whereas everywhere else in the world is in a range of 2.5 to 2.1 children. They remain one of the few places where fertility has grown other then declined in the last few decades. The article informs us that it is not only the impact of fertility growth that has caused our population to skyrocket this much but two other factors that impact our growth in population. Those two things consist of our mortality and migration. Even with less fertility in places like the United States, populations still increase due to higher mortality. Migration also plays a part by people settling into more rich countries where food is more plentiful for them to find which then causes a disruption in our ability to produce more food for more people. Dimmick also happens to bring up that researchers such as Jeffrey Sachs and Paul Ehrlich worry that the Thomas Malthus’s theory -which details that our resources will decrease if our population continues to grow- might become a reality if we have a continued increase in our population.

Personally, I find that our increase in population is a much bigger problem then most people seem to realize, one where the consequences could be far more severe then one could ever think. Not only will our resources in food and energy decline with this kind of increase in our population, but we’ll also have a shortage in space that will make inhabiting more people very difficult. There’s a whole list of things that will be affected by the increase in population growth, and none of it will benefit us in a positive way in the near future. The only way for us to limit the growth in our population is to slowly reduce the number of births in each household. This can be done by one of two ways; that we limit the quota of children per woman to 2 or less, or that a couple wanting a child can go adopt children who are in need of parents. By doing this, we’d be reducing our growth while at the same time caring for children who are in need of parents.


Your statements sound interesting. We actually just recently touched this subject about population growth in class. One quick question though, how do "populations increase due to higher mortality"? I think you should also take into account the transitional demographic model, which predicts a decrease in births after the country reaches a developed state. I find hard to believe that food will run out. Every time I walk into a supermarket, I never see food running out of shelves though and I'm sure that even if the shelves are empty, they're gonna have refills at the back. Also, there are other ways of limiting population growth than China's one child per family rule, like putting more service programs in place. By the way, limiting women to have children could arise problems, like when they have triplets.

I agree with the points you make in the final paragraph. The steadily growing population of the planet is a major issue that is ignored too frequently. Your post, along with the article it references reminded me of the article Can We Feed The World, by Jonathan Foley (director of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota). In this article, five strategies about feeding the world's population are outlined. They include closing yield gaps between developed and developing countries, reducing the footprint of agriculture, shifting diets away from meat, reducing food waste and using resources more efficiently. These solutions in this article are very good in theory, but as I read the article, I wondered about if they are possible without population growth limits in our societies. As you mentioned in your final paragraph, limiting the number of births per household is a solution to the population growth problem. By combining the five strategies from Foley's article with limited births per household, the problem of feeding the world's population could be solved.

I agree with your main argument, population growth is a major problem, one that is bound to end our planet's resources. However, I think that taking control of the populations growth by limiting births would be very difficult since 'people do not want anybody else to take control of their lives'. I know it sounds like a very foolish idea, but I find it hard to believe that people will gladly agree to these kinds of rules. Such a political approach to the solution could result in very ugly consequences, like what would happen to the people that disobey? or that conceive by accident? or have multiple children from one pregnancy? Anyway, developed countries usually don't have to worry about 'over-reproduction', as C.Chute stated, it is in certain parts of Africa, and other places, that the children quota is more than 4 per family, but usually this happens because people are not well informed. They do not have access to contraceptives, it could be that they cannot afford it or that such methods are banned where they live. Personally, I think helping these countries regulate (not limit) their birth rates by giving them access to contraception would be a much healthier approach, considering that is not against their religion. Maybe one family has 5 children, but hopefully 2 other families have just one. The important thing, I think, is that these big families don't feel like they are criminals because they happened to have triplets or they simply are more fertile than others.

Reading your summary and the solutions you provided to the problem of overpopulation, I find that you have an interesting way to approach this problem. I decided to comment on your summary because I feel very passionate about Human Rights. Although I understand that by limiting the number of children allowed per family in order to reduce the earth’s population in order to allow everyone to have enough resources to live a reasonable lifestyle, I believe that deciding how many children people are allowed to have is a crime towards humanity. In fact, by taking away this choice from couples, you will take away a part of their freedom. However, I believe that a good solution to the overpopulation problem should be inspired from Malthus’ ideas about preventive contraception. Indeed, providing a sexual education for young people in developing countries is an excellent solution. By doing so, the risks of unwanted pregnancy will decrease since young people will understand the importance of contraception. Also, you mentioned that another solution would be to favor the adoption of children. I believe that this could be a very helpful solution because it would help children in need of a family as well as the problem of overpopulation.

Hey there, I really like how you took a look at not just one source but multiple to get your point across. I cannot agree more in the fact that humanities greatest enemy right now is of its own making. After saying that though I don't think that our population will expand much past the 10 billion mark as even now although we have the surplus of food to be able to feed the world, we still struggle to actually distribute it. When I read your summary and you stated those two points on how the birth rates can be reduced, I could not help but think that that sort of policy has been tested before in the country with the largest population on the planet, China. They tried limiting the number of children that a family could have but in the long run it showed that rather than decrease the birth rate it just increased the number of orphans and hidden children. when the reported population was at 1.8 billion the thinking was that there was actually closer to 2.3 billion people, the missing 0.5 billion was thought to be these orphans and hidden children. In light of this I would suggest to maybe look into education as a means to decrease birth rates. As education level rises so to does the standard of living. This in turn brings about a decreased birth rate as there is lower infant mortality and thus it is not required to raise as many children as possible in case some perish while still infants or young children. Just some food for thought

Population growth is a major issue that continues to increase as years go by. I agree with the main argument that Earth will not be able to sustain the amount of people if the population continues to grow at its current rate. Many questions are raised when talking about population growth. How will we be able to feed everyone? Will there be enough space for everyone to live, and when we are continuing to clear forests for housing we are compromising animals habitats and their livelihoods.
I do not think that putting a quota on how many children people can have would be something that for example, North America could do. We’ve seen the one child policy in China to try and keep population under control, but how well would something like that work in North America? and at what costs? Would there be special considerations for twins, triplets, or some peoples values/beliefs? I think things like education on the issue of population growth could help slow down the problem. Although sub-Saharan Africa has some of the highest birth rates, their mortality rates are also very high. Statistics show that many children do not make it past their 4th birthday. I think population growth, although concentrated in some areas, should be looked at as a complete global issue. Further education to citizens about the potential effects of an over populated Earth could help people to realize how generations after us could be harmed.