Natural Resources Beneath an Overriding Population?

by veronicajchang on February 22, 2018 - 11:43pm

               The news article “As World’s Population Booms, Will Its Resources Be Enough for Us?” written by Dennis Dimick from the National Geographic, the author explains, with the purpose of educating readers, the causes and effects of population growth by referring this issue to previous theories. It is mentioned in this article that there are currently more than 7 billion people on Earth now and that approximately one in eight of us does not have enough food to feed ourselves. With that said, a long-standing question is how many people can this Earth support, considering the world’s population and our use of natural resources is rapidly growing? It is stated that studies, from new probabilistic statistical methods, show that there are great possibilities that by year 2050, the world’s population will be of a rough 9.6 billion people, and likely will be at 11 billion by 2100. Furthermore, there is a history of debates on this topic; Reverend Thomas Malthus had proposed, in a famous essay back in 1798, that human population growth rate would be faster than the world’s ability to grow food, suggesting humans would eventually starve. Accordingly, this article also refers to Ehrlich, a Stanford University population biologist’s bestseller titled “The Population Bomb”, which warns us of mass starvation due to overpopulation; that being said, this was published back in 1968 where population growth was already seen as an issue. Lastly, Dimick refers to an article written back in 2011 by Elizabeth Kolbert called “The Anthropocene – The Age of Man”, where it is mentioned that not only is population growth an issue, but our consumption of natural resources is also a key issue concerning this topic. Not only did our human population triple after the end of World War II, but there has been a fast rise in our use of coal, oil and gas; as an outcome, a higher-than-normal amount of carbon dioxide, methane and greenhouse gases has been released into our atmosphere. This issue of population growth is a problem, because we, humans, are causing significant harm to our Earth, but we are also suffering from these actions ourselves. Therefore, this becomes a social issue that we need to take action upon, in order to solve it. As a possible solution, to show society what is really involved in this problem, the author goes over the IPAT formula (Impact equals Population multiplied by Affluence multiplied by Technology) that measure our rising impact; this will help people visualize and realize that population number is not the only problem, but rather the mix of all these elements. Additionally, the author also goes over fertility, mortality and migration’s effects on population’s structure.

            All that being said, I do agree that we need to take this issue more seriously, as a lot of problems are noticed once we see and experience these negative outcomes first-hand. Population growth has been an issue for over a century and it is only now starting to be seen as a serious threat in our society. However, I also think that it is extremely hard to get all nations to be on the same page, and together take serious action for change, as society’s structure is already set in a different and opposing manner. Because of that, I do think that by enforcing strict laws concerning acts that interfere with Earth’s health, the population would start incorporating these habits in day to day life; therefore, society’s structure would change and it would then become a norm to treat our environment better.


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