Overpopulation Paper

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There is no doubt that our home planet has been growing its human population exponentially
since the beginning of the human race. Starting with 5 million people scattered across the world
around 8000 B.C., Earth’s human population has grown to become 7.5 billion in the year 2017.
This population “explosion” that occurred on Earth have many pros and cons to the fact but cons
overshadow every pro there is to it. This is because the exponential growth of the population
began to garner many negative impacts all around the world. Many of these negative impacts are
environmental issues such as climate change, habitat loss, species extinction, loss of freshwater,
and etc. But just as Gandhi once said, “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but
not every man’s greed,” with proper education and laws to control the negative impacts caused
by overpopulation, our planet might still have the chance to heal itself back.
As mentioned before, human overpopulation is among the most pressing environmental
issues, silently aggravating the forces behind climate change, environmental pollution, habitat
loss, the sixth mass extinction, and the consumption of finite natural resources, such as fresh
water, arable land and fossil fuels, at speeds faster than their rate of regeneration. The problem
arises not in the growth in the population but the growth in the number of consumers. In an
article written by Marshall Marcus in Torch Magazine, he states that, “The problem is not caused
by the number of Homo sapiens on earth alone; our habits of consumption and waste generation
add to it. Our waste products pollute the ground, the oceans, the aquifers and rivers from which
we draw our drinking water and the air we breathe. Among the causes of the die-off of corals in
the oceans, for instance, is the extinction of ocean-dwelling species by air pollution from carbon
dioxide.” [1] In his article, Marcus describes that the rise in human population has started a sixth
mass extinction of species and its commencement was during the Industrial Revolution. By
comparing the number of species that has gone extinct to the number of the growing human
population, it became clear that the two had a direct correlation. Marcus states, “Both curves rise
slowly until the Industrial Revolution and then shoot up exponentially as the earth’s human
population approaches seven billion by 2010.” [1] Without a doubt, it has become clear that the
rise in consumers have accelerated the sixth mass extinction. Another negative impact of human
population is climate change, which is a change in global or regional climate patterns, in
particular a change apparent from the mid to late 20th century onwards and attributed largely to
the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels. The
correlation between overpopulation and climate change is also very clear. With the invention of
machines that require fuel to work, the mass demand for fossil fuels became inevitable. Burning
fossil fuels for a better lifestyle (such as automobiles, computers, cellphones, and etc.) was a
double-edged sword as it began to change Earth’s climate in a very negative way. In Jonathon
Porritt’s article on New Internationalist, there are many evidences to suggest that negative impact
of fossil-fuel burning. Porritt states that, “There is simply not enough ‘space’ in above-ground
biological and geological systems to park safely the huge mass of carbon coming out of the
ground without carbon dioxide building up catastrophically in both the air and the oceans. The
earth and its ecosystems undeniably have limits.” [2] Just as he states, the carbon dioxide
produced by burning fossil fuels is the reason for climate change on Earth. Climate change is
undeniably the result of overpopulation and the growth in consumers who continuously buy new
materials instead of conserving and recycling. These two impacts are just the peak of the iceberg,
and many new policies must be in place to educate the blind consumers of their actions.
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