Overpopulation: the Underrecognized Epidemic.
According to “How Many People Can Our World Support?” an article from World Population History, for the first time in human history, the number of people who go to bed hungry is more than one billion (“How Many”). Overpopulation is an underrecognized epidemic. An Epidemic that is leading to overwhelming amounts of preventable humanitarian and political issues and at the end of the day our earth cannot continue to support it. Our planet is now over seven billion people, and with every year it increases. The Continued increase in the population poses a serious problem for the continuation of humanity on earth. But the real question, at this point, is this population increase going to continue? The biggest argument against overpopulation in the future years is that the Baby Boomer generation is beginning to pass, causing a massive decrease in populations across the world.
If people are not making arguments against it, they are making excuses to lessen the blow, calling it ‘overcrowding,’ instead of what it is: overpopulation. It is very important to establish a significant difference between overcrowding and overpopulation. According to Leon Kolankiewicz, an environmental scientists and natural resource planner at the Center for Immigration Studies, overcrowding is a issue, especially in major cities, but it is a short term, solvable problem. Baby Boomers, the generation of children born following World War II, caused an overcrowding issue in workplaces around the world. It becomes a problem when we start to throw around the word ‘overpopulation’ in place of what should be known as overcrowding Overpopulation is where there are too many people and the earth cannot support it. It is where we do not have enough food and other resources to sustain human life on this planet. Overpopulation and Overcrowding are often times used interchangeably and that cannot be. (Kolankiewicz). Once overpopulation has been truly defined and understood is when we will begin to realize that the Baby Boomers are not at fault for overpopulation nor is their passing going to solve the epidemic itself. “The Unrealized Horrors of Population Explosion,” and article written for the New York Times by Clyde Haberman says that the most popular expansion of population happened in the years and months following World War II.
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When all the soldiers were returning home from war, from any country, there was a constellation of children being born, widely known as the ‘Baby Boomer Generation.’ That rapid increase in population did not go unnoticed. During the 1960s is when the nationwide fear of “overpopulation began.” Many people said that the United States was beginning to “burst at the seems” (Haberman). However, almost sixty years have passed, and now we are still fighting a battle in the same war. There is not about to be a massive swing in the population, but rather the crisis is continuing causing far greater problems. When I say the ‘Baby Boomer Generation,’ many people think that the Baby Boomers are only in the the United States, however; that is not true. China’s population had a huge spike following the end of World War II. A country notorious for its densely populated cities like Guangzhou and Shanghai, however; during the time period following World War II, the rural areas of China and eastern parts of Asia were the hosts to the greatest spikes in population. Many of those areas had the population increase because large groups of soldiers in the Chinese Army came from rural places. Often times people from rural communities make up higher percentages in their national militaries because of the employment opportunities.
Although saying the Baby Boomer generation is dying is one of the most common and popular arguments against overpopulation, it is just simply not true. Yes, that specific generation is reaching the end of its lifespan, all generations reach that point. It is the way of life, people are born and when they reach older age, they naturally die. When they die, new generations are born to replace them, that fact still holds true. Even though the Baby Boomers were the biggest generation of their time. With each new generation, every ten years or so, comes a larger generation to replace them when they pass. The projections from Paul R. Ehrlich, a Biologist at Standford University, said that the generation beginning to replace the Baby Boomers will be great enough to not only replace them, as to not make a gap in the population, but also enough to create a small increase. That increase may not be as big as we are used to, but it will be an increase nonetheless.
According to the article, “World Population Trends,” from the United Nations Population Fund, the average population increase internationally over the last 50 years has been around 2.4% annually. In 2018 the population rate grew by over 0.9%. Again, the increase is far less, but regardless, the population is still increasing. The total global population has reached over 7.8 billion people, a population far greater than this planet is able to sustain (“How Serious”). In order to properly feed and nourish every human life, we would need 1.5 planet earths, but that is not an option. The current natural resources that we have are not enough to fill and sustain everyone living. (“How Many”). In many parts of the world, both in rural, desolate places like Africa, and densely populated places like India, the distribution of resources is severely lacking and _____. In America where the consumption rate of foods and the usage of natural resources is sky high both in rural farmland and in major cities. The U.S. is using about 27% of the world’s natural resources. An overwhelming amount, however; the U.S. makes up only about 5% of the world’s population. The cost of a world living unsustainably, far beyond its means, comes with risks and consequences that we have yet to even encountered. (“Use”). If we as humans continue to live like this, overusing the world’s resources then by the year 2050 we will need 3 planet earths in order to simply sustain individual human life (“How Many”). In an effort to combat the lack of food, we as a society have turned to both mass production and mass consumption of processed foods.
Although processed foods have filled the hunger gap in many places and allowed for a cheap, affordable and accessible alternatives for people falling below the poverty line. Processed foods allow the longevity of food, something that previously was not a thing. They maintain a long shelf life and are far cheaper than fresh foods because of how long they can last and how cheap they are to make. Although these are all good things and it helps to feed nations after natural disasters and especially people falling below poverty lines, what people are not taking into account is that although you are eating, your body is not taking in the nutrients it needs to be fueled or to stay healthy. Those foods are not going to keep you full as long and at the end of the day more money will be spent on food. As Colin Butler said in his article, “Public Health: Overpopulation, Overconsumption, and Economics,” in The Lancet: Health Module, We need fresh fruits and vegetables, it not only is what our body needs, but it creates thousands of jobs and is a massive source of income for many countries. It allows peace between countries in tension because they are able to trade with one another. But what happens when we can not produce those fresh foods anymore? This leads into a downward spiral. Humans are ‘overstaying their welcome.’ Advances in modern medicine and the growth in technology have allowed for increased lifespan throughout the world. People are living longer, healthier lives. These practical applications of technology have allowed doctors and scientists to do many great things and save millions of lives, but it has wreaked havoc on the natural ebb and flow of civilization.
Never before have people been living for over a century, dramatically increasing the average age of natural death. Never before have we been actively injecting children with vaccinations allowing for the infant mortality rate to dramatically decrease: until now. These are all incredible things, humans performing miracles, but when we are expanding and increasing life span we are increasing population on both sides, infants and elderly. We are causing insurmountable damage to humanity. Many people believe that with immigration from one country to another at an unnatural high, the population is not as high as scientists say. However, as a flood of people have come to America in the last three decades, the countries from which they are coming from have had a decrease in their national population. The immense downfall in people oftentimes causes economic downturn. Because of that, countries are asking for families to have more children in order to create economic prosperity. When countries attempt to reproduce the population that they lost to immigration, they are essentially doubling the use of natural resources in order to make some money for the government.
More children means more taxes, more food, insurance, and everything possible under the sun that could bring the governments, at both the state and federal level, money of any kind. Instead of creating an atmosphere in every nation that is safe, healthy and prosperous for every individual, we have countries that are violent, unstable and lack basic medical resources causing people to flee and densely populate democratic nations (“How Serious”). The ‘psychological component,’ that comes with massively populated nations is unmatched to what happens to desolate nation. A perfect example is the United States of America. Because the distribution of resources is so uneven, a very small percentage of the population gets a majority of those resources. Very few people have enough wealth to live comfortably and freely, unfortunately that means that many, if not most, live questioning and getting an uneven amount of the allocated resources, Families that live in question tend to have more children because they need more hands to work, they are a major cause of overpopulation, especially in underdeveloped countries (“Overpopulation”).
All of this has caused tension between some countries, tension which brings other issues to the surface. Causing conflict about clean water, food scarcity, and education gaps, just to name a few. The conflict starting with population gaps has the capacity to start wars, leading down a slippery slope. Wars can lead to quick, widespread disease, famine, and starvation: All things that repeat the cycle of overpopulation, overly large families. Until we learn to break that vicious cycle, we will not begin to solve this epidemic that is plaguing not just our country, but our world: overpopulation (“Overpopulation”). Overpopulation is the leading cause of 3 major conflicts in our society. The first, unemployment. When we have densely populated countries, such as China, unemployment tends to be a huge problem. When there are many people in one area or one country, they need to create more jobs, enough jobs for everyone to have the opportunity to be employed. Although more people automatically comes with more jobs, the economy still needs to find a way to combat for the fact that more housing, more food, more resources, and more jobs are needed to sustain the massive population. In an effort to combat overpopulation China instituted a highly criticized ‘One Child Policy.’ Anyone who had more than one child faced heavy taxes, and many people could not afford to pay that tax which sent people into massive amounts of debt. Sending thousands of kids into a system that was already bursting at the seems. The second major issue is a humanitarian issue that has been a very ‘hot topic,’ especially in the US government: global warming. The more humans there are on the earth, the more heat we produce. The more heat we produce combined with the overall increase over time of the number of humans on earth is causing our earth itself to heat. Therefor Overpopulation is a root cause of global warming (Levine).
The third major humanitarian issue has been just that, long before the concern of overpopulation came about: adoption rates. More children are being produced than people that want to be parents, causing an alarming amount of kids in the world’s orphanages and foster care systems. No amount of government assistance or regulations can force people to adopt the millions of children without food, homes or families. Instead of adopting children, people are choosing to have children of their own, again adding to the already increasing population. Overpopulation is a huge problem that many people choose to ignore, and some even use arguments without a sound basis to combat the discomfort and uneasiness. Many things contribute to overpopulation such as immigration and poor global economics, and many horrible things are a result of overpopulation such as adoptions rates and global warming. The simple conclusion to many of the problems plaguing our world today is overpopulation (“Why”).
Overpopulation is to the Earth as Rust is to a Car: If we take care of the planet, and protect it the world will last longer, just like a car. Overpopulation is not taking care of the earth, it is overusing natural resources. If we take care of the car, wax it, get regular car washes, protect the car, the car will last longer. When rust appears on a brand new car, it means you’re not taking care of it like you should. We need to take care of what has been given to us, use only the allotted amount of natural resources. Instead of instituting inhumane policies to decrease the population, we need to encourage families to be adopting. In a last ditch effort to reduce our individual footprints, we need to encourage smaller families across the world, learn to evenly distribute resources to all classes and nations. This is not an individual problem based on nations, this is a worldwide, global issue that can only be solved with collaboration.
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Overpopulation: the Underrecognized Epidemic.. (2019, Feb 09). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/overpopulation-the-underrecognized-epidemic/