The Population Explosion
This year, there will be 7 billion people on Earth. But how will the planet Overcome the expanding population – and is there anything we can, or should, do to stop it?
The Population Explosion Clearly describes how the Earth’s population, growing by 95 million people a year, is rapidly Exhausted the planet’s resources, resulting in famine, global warming, acid rain, and other major problems.
All too often, overpopulation is thought of simply as crowding: too many people in a given area, too high a population density. For instance, the Forbes magazine pointed out recently, in connection with a excuse for more population growth in the United States: “If all the people from China and India lived in the continental U.S. (excluding Alaska), this country would still have a smaller population density than England, Holland, or Belgium.”
The key to understanding overpopulation is not population density but the numbers of people in an area relative to its resources and the capacity of the environment to sustain human activities; that is, to the area’s carrying capacity. When is an area overpopulated? When its population can’t be maintained without rapidly depleting nonrenewable resources (or converting renewable resources into nonrenewable ones) and without degrading the capacity of the environment to support the population. In short, if the long-term carrying capacity of an area is clearly being degraded by its current human occupants, that area is overpopulated.
... can be supported on a given area ... high population density or from low amounts of resources, or from both. Excessively high population densities put stress on available resources. Only a certain number of people ...
By this standard, the entire planet and virtually every nation is already vastly overpopulated. Africa is overpopulated now because, among other indications, its soils and forests are rapidly being depleted and that implies that its carrying capacity for human beings will be lower in the future than it is now. The United States is overpopulated because it is depleting its soil and water resources and contributing mightily to the destruction of global environmental systems. Europe, Japan, the Soviet Union, and other rich nations are overpopulated because of their massive contributions to the carbon dioxide buildup in the atmosphere, among many other reasons.
In conclusion Almost all the rich nations are overpopulated because they are rapidly drawing down stocks of resources around the world. They don’t live solely on the land in their own nations. . . . they are spending their capital with no thought for the future.