Skip to content

Essays Environmental Consequences Of Overpopulation

What is Overpopulation?

Overpopulation is an undesirable condition where the number of existing human population exceeds the carrying capacity of Earth. Overpopulation is caused by number of factors. Reduced mortality rate, better medical facilities, depletion of precious resources are few of the causes which results in overpopulation. It is possible for a sparsely populated area to become densely populated if it is not able to sustain life.

Growing advances in technology with each coming year has affected humanity in many ways. One of these has been the ability to save lives and create better medical treatment for all. A direct result of this has been increased lifespan and the growth of the population. In the past fifty or so years, the growth of population has boomed and has turned into overpopulation. In the history of our species, the birth and death rate have always been able to balance each and maintain a population growth rate that is sustainable.

Since the time of the Bubonic Plague in the 1400’s, the growth of population has been on a constant increase. Between the time of the plague and the 21st century, there was been hundreds and thousands of wars, natural calamities and man-made hazards. However, none of these have made a dent on the population. Developing nations face the problem of overpopulation more than developed countries, but it affects most of the Earth as of now. When we are talking about overpopulation, we should first understand the causes of it.

Causes of Overpopulation

Decline in the Death Rate: At the root of overpopulation is the difference between the overall birth rate and death rate in populations. If the number of children born each year equals the number of adults that die, then the population will stabilize. Talking about overpopulation shows that while there are many factors that can increase the death rate for short periods of time, the ones that increase the birth rate do so over a long period of time. The discovery of agriculture by our ancestors was one factor that provided them with the ability to sustain their nutrition without hunting. This created the first imbalance between the two rates.

Better Medical Facilities: Following this came the industrial revolution. Technological advancement was perhaps the biggest reason why the balance has been permanently disturbed. Science was able to produce better means of producing food, which allowed families to feed more mouths. Medical science made many discoveries thanks to which they were able to defeat a whole range of diseases. Illnesses that had claimed thousands of lives till now were cured because of the invention of vaccines. Combining the increase in food supply with fewer means of mortality tipped the balance and became the starting point of overpopulation.

More Hands to Overcome Poverty: However, when talking about overpopulation we should understand that there is a psychological component as well. For thousands of years, a very small part of the population had enough money to live in comfort. The rest faced poverty and would give birth to large families to make up for the high infant mortality rate. Families that have been through poverty, natural disasters or are simply in need of more hands to work are a major factor for overpopulation. As compared to earlier times, most of these extra children survive and consume resources that are not sufficient in nature.

Technological Advancement in Fertility Treatment: With latest technological advancement and more discoveries in medical science, it has become possible for couple who are unable to conceive to undergo fertility treatment methods and have their own babies. Today there are effective medicines which can increases the chance of conception and lead to rise in birth rate. Moreover, due to modern techniques pregnancies today are far more safer.

Immigration: Many people prefer to move to developed countries like US, UK, Canada and Australia where best facilities are available in terms of medical, education, security and employment. The end result is that those people settle over there and those places become overcrowded. Difference between the number of people who are leaving the country and the number of people who enter narrows down which leads to more demand for food, clothes, energy and homes. This gives rise to shortage of resources. Though the overall population remains the same, it just affects the density of population making that place simply overcrowded.

Lack of Family Planning: Most developing nations have large number of people who are illiterate, live below the poverty line and have little or no knowledge about family planning. Getting their children married at an early age increase the chances of producing more kids. Those people are unable to understand the harmful effects of overpopulation and lack of quality education prompts them to avoid family planning measures.

Effects of Overpopulation

Depletion of Natural Resources: The effects of overpopulation are quite severe. The first of these is the depletion of resources. The Earth can only produce a limited amount of water and food, which is falling short of the current needs. Most of the environmental damage being seen in the last fifty odd years is because of the growing number of people on the planet. They are cutting down forests, hunting wildlife in a reckless manner, causing pollution and creating a host of problems. Those engaged in talking about overpopulation have noticed that acts of violence and aggression outside of a war zone have increased tremendously while competing for resources.

Degradation of Environment: With the overuse of coal, oil and natural gas, it has started producing some serious effects on our environment. Rise in the number of vehicles and industries have badly affected the quality of air. Rise in amount of CO2 emissions leads to global warming. Melting of polar ice caps, changing climate patterns, rise in sea level are few of the consequences that we might we have to face due to environment pollution.

Conflicts and Wars: Overpopulation in developing countries puts a major strain on the resources it should be utilizing for development. Conflicts over water are becoming a source of tension between countries, which could result in wars. It causes more diseases to spread and makes them harder to control. Starvation is a huge issue facing the world and the mortality rate for children is being fuelled by it. Poverty is the biggest hallmark we see when talking about overpopulation. All of this will only become worse if solutions are not sought out for the factors affecting our population. We can no longer prevent it, but there are ways to control it.

Rise in Unemployment: When a country becomes overpopulated, it gives rise to unemployment as there fewer jobs to support large number of people. Rise in unemployment gives rise to crime as people will steal various items to feed their family and provide them basic amenities of life.

High Cost of Living: As difference between demand and supply continues to expand due to overpopulation, it raises the prices of various commodities including food, shelter and healthcare. This means that people have to pay more to survive and feed their families.

Solutions to Overpopulation

Better Education: One of the first measures is to implement policies reflecting social change. Educating the masses helps them understand the need to have one or two children at the most. Similarly, education plays a vital role in understanding latest technologies like CloudDesktopOnline that are making huge waves in the world of computing. Families that are facing a hard life and choose to have four or five children should be discouraged. Family planning and efficient birth control can help in women making their own reproductive choices. Open dialogue on abortion and voluntary sterilization should be seen when talking about overpopulation.

Making People Aware of Family Planning: As population of this world is growing at a rapid pace, raising awareness among people regarding family planning and letting them know about serious after effects of overpopulation can help curb population growth. One of the best way is to let them know about various safe sex techniques and contraceptives methods available to avoid any unwanted pregnancy.

Tax Benefits or Concessions: Government of various countries might have to come with various policies related to tax exemptions to curb overpopulation. One of them might be to waive of certain part of income tax or lowering rates of income tax for those married couples who have single or two children. As we humans are more inclined towards money, this may produce some positive results.

Knowledge of Sex Education: Imparting sex education to young kids at elementary level should be must. Most parents feel shy in discussing such things with their kids which result in their children going out and look out for such information on internet or discuss it with their peers. Mostly, the information is incomplete which results in sexually active teenagers unaware of contraceptives and embarrassed to seek information about same. It is therefore important for parents and teachers to shed their old inhibitions and make their kids or students aware of solid sex education.

Image credit: Saad Akhtar

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)

Rinkesh

The Effects Of Overpopulation On The Environment

The Effects of Overpopulation on the Environment

The world population reached 6 billion, on October 12, 1999. It will
reach 9.3 billion by 2050. The impacts of continued population growth
are already felt by a majority of nations. Overpopulation is the root
cause of most environmental problems. The demands of increasing
population magnify demands for natural resources, clean air and water,
as well as access to wilderness areas. This means an increase in the
demand for living space. The quality of life for future generations
depends on stabilising both domestic and world population.

The dramatic rise, in population has transpired for several reasons;

1) Decreasing death rates in poorer countries, due to medical
enhancements, better nutrition and improved sanitation.

2) Modern agricultural methods, can now sustain the level of food
production, with the level of food demand.

3) High mortality balanced by a high birth rate led to stable
populations before the rapid growth in the eighteenth century (the
introduction of modern medicine & agriculture)

4) Religious beliefs that promote large families and lack of education
for women in poorer countries hamper the ability to control
populations.

5) Only Western forms of birth control techniques and educational
programs will slow birth rates. In all under-developed countries,
providing basic is education is difficult.

The increase in population is not the only pressure on the enviroment.
Increasing living standards amongst, developed countries, demands more
from the enviroment.

These two factors mean that;

1) Raw materials (including non-renewable energy resources) are
rapidly being used up.

2) More and more waste is being produced.

3) Unless waste is properly handled more pollution will be caused.

When the Earth's population was smaller, the...

Loading: Checking Spelling

0%

Read more

Overpopulation, Industrialization, and the Degradation of the Environment

924 words - 4 pages Overpopulation, Industrialization, and the Degradation of the Environment The overall growth of the human population in the last 2000 years has been a J-shaped growth. This can also be expressed as an exponential growth. A big question that can only be answered in time is how this population growth will slow down or stop. The planet can only handle so many humans before the effects of overpopulation send the environment into an...

Overpopulation and the Environment: We Must Act Now

2043 words - 8 pages Overpopulation and the Environment: We Must Act Now Is the planet doomed? The short answer is no, we're not doomed, since the verb implies inevitability. (1) Population is not growing everywhere, and the areas where growth rates are near zero or even negative (such as the United States and Western Europe) provide clues to addressing the problem in other regions. The longer answer to the doom question is that growing population is a problem...

This essay is about overpopulation and how it effects the people, the environment and the individual. This essay is 20 pages in length and is very extensive.

7418 words - 30 pages OverpopulationThe Book of Genesis tells the story of creation of man. God said to man, "befruitful and increase in numbers; fill the earth and subdue it." Prior to thenineteenth century, it was believed that God would provide for those who cameinto the world (Day 101). But, in 1798, this view was shaken by Thomas Malthus'An Essay on the Principle of Population, in which he concluded that...

We Must Stop Overpopulation and Pollution of Our Environment

1384 words - 6 pages We Must Stop Overpopulation and Pollution of Our Environment Once we humans hit on the idea of agriculture about 10,000 years ago, we had a means for exponentially increasing our population. Even as mere 2-legged, wingless creatures, humans could expand to cover the world, and pull from the earth nutrients to support this massive layer of people. The population increase has continued, and there are disagreements as to if and when the...

The Devastating Effects of Overpopulation

2065 words - 8 pages The Devastating Effects of Overpopulation   Imagine living in a world where darkness reigns continually due to a dense cover of toxic air pollution which blocks most sunlight.  Starvation and death from the lack of energy resources is widespread and the people who have not perished yet live packed together, in overcrowded communities surrounded by waste and filth.  This grotesque picture of future life on earth may seem far-fetched but with...

The Effects of Overpopulation & Consumption

3400 words - 14 pages Because the world is ever changing, people do not really stop and look at the things happening around them. People do not usually think about how population is interrelated with consumption and how both affect the world in different ways. A population has the ability to expand infinitely so long as there are enough resources in the environment to sustain it. As long as resources are available, populations can grow to large numbers; however, when...

The Effects of Acids on the Environment

2443 words - 10 pages The Effects of Acids on the Environment (a). Introduction Acidic pollutants can be deposited from the atmosphere to the Earth's surface in wet and dry forms. The common term to describe this process is acid deposition. The term acid precipitation is used to specifically describe wet forms of acid pollution that can be found in rain, sleet, snow, fog, and cloud vapor. An acid can be defined as any substance that when dissolved in water...

Effects of Plastic Bottles On the Environment

1579 words - 6 pages Being convenient enough for everyday use and even tasting better to some, plastic bottles are a popular way of consuming beverages. They are convenient and to some people, can even taste better. However, the process of manufacturing and transporting the millions of bottles produced is detrimental to the environment. Continued use of plastic bottles could exponentially hurt the planet. Given all the negative effects that come from plastic, why...

Effects of Pollution Damage on the Environment

947 words - 4 pages Pollution is the induction of harmful material or by-products discharged into the earth's environment. Pollution is one of the foremost problems in America and the world today. Pollution damages the environment and human health. Pollution has caused a multitude of problems ranging from healthcare issues like lung cancer to the current problem of the green house effect. Pollution is everywhere and humankind persists on living with this problem....

Overpopulation and the Economical Effects

2261 words - 9 pages Overpopulation and the Economical Effects Introduction      Currently there are more than 6 billion people living in the world and this number is expected to double in a short period of time. Many researchers and theorists feel that the world does not have a carrying capacity for this amount of people. The overpopulation of the world, brings a fear of overcrowding and an apprehension that the resource base will become...

Human Impact on the Environment: The Effects of Nuclear Testing on the Environment

1556 words - 6 pages The effects on the environment of nuclear radioactive waste can be assumed as significant and massive just by understanding how much power a nuclear bomb has within it. There are major settings in which to conduct nuclear tests; atmospheric testing, underground testing, upper atmospheric testing, and underwater testing. All of these testing methods have different impacts on their surrounding environments.The first way to test a nuclear...