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Overpopulation of the Earth Essay

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Overpopulation of the Earth


The little animatronic children at Disney World were right, it is “a small world after all”; maybe even too small. At the beginning of the present century there were approximately 1.7 billion people in the world(Southwick pg.159). Today, there are nearly 6 billion people in the world. The world’s population has more than tripled in the span of a hundred years. Given that the earth’s population is constantly on the rise and seeing as how our natural resources are gradually being depleted, we must ask ourselves: what is to become of us and what is to become of our environment? In order to understand this question we must first have a thorough understanding of whether or not there is a population crisis. Having understood this, we must then look at the consequences, if any, of the aforementioned population dilemma. Finally, it is imperative to see whether the governments of the world have appreciated this situation as a crisis and whether or not they have acted.

I) Population Crisis?
Population concerns began in 1798 when Thomas Robert Malthus, an Anglican clergyman, wrote an essay entitled An Essay on The Principle of Population (Malthus). The essay focused on the relationship that he believed existed between population growth and human subsistence levels (by ‘subsistence’, Malthus meant anything from food to jobs to land). Malthus argued that the earth’s population expanded ‘geometrically’ while “’subsistence increases only at an arithmetic ration’”(Malthus). This meant that at some point human beings would experience a scarcity of land, food and jobs, leading to “human misery and catastrophe” (Southwick pg. 159). This time of misery is described as a time where the poorest classes in societ...


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...ally emphasize sexual education and contraceptive distribution), other governments have offered economic incentives to limit family size, governments like China have tried to coerce their people to limit family size and so on. Some of these responses have been more effective than others. Personally, I would argue that the emphasis should be on sexual education and distribution of contraceptives.

Sources:

Dolan, Edwin G., Ch. 5 from "TANSTAAFL: The Economic Strategy for Environmental Crisis" 1974, pp. 55-72.

Hern, Dr. Warren. "Why Are There So Many of Us?" http://www.drhern.com/fulltext/why/paper.html

Malthus, Thomas Robert. An Essay on The Principle of Population
http://arts-sciences.cua.edu/econ/faculty/aguirre/resenv.htm#1.%20MalthTheory

Southwick, Charles H., Ch. 15 from "Global Ecology in Human Perspective" Oxford Univ. Press, 1996, pp. 159-182.


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