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Overpopulation, Industrialization, and the Degradation of the Environment

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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 unrecoverable tailspin of degradation. So the question is will the overall maximum human population be reached in a gradual manner with a trend resulting in an S-shaped population growth, or do we as humans need to experience some kind of catastrophic event that will let us know that the maximum capacity of our planet has been reached, or will we overpopulate gradually and realize that we need to reduce the population to a lower level? These three different theories have been termed the logistic, Malthusian, and domed theories of projected population growth, respectively(Southwick, 159-160). The trend that we have seen in recent history of human population growth can obviously not be sustained, so will the future of humans be played out in an optimistic or pessemistic light? Or will it be somewhere in between?

Throughout human history, people have always been pressed to provide nourishment for themselves and their families. With the dawn of agriculture humans were provided with leisure time, and with that time they were able to develop many different trades beyond hunting, gathering, and agriculture. This meant that the food necessary to feed a population was able to be provided by a small portion of the population. With industrialization the portion of the population that was employed to feed the...


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...r anthropogenic greenhouse gases(Hansen).

Obviously the size of the human population has effected the environment by stressing the land to produce enough food to feed us all. Up to now we have had a degrading effect on the environment. I feel that it should be our role as human beings to take care of the environment that we need to live. This is a necessary step in order to prolong our survival on the planet Earth.

Works Cited:

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

Quay, Paul, "CLIMATE CHANGE: Enhanced: Ups and Downs of CO2 Uptake" Science 2002, vol. 298, pp. 2344-2346.

Blunier, Thomas "PALEOCLIMATE:"Frozen" Methane Escapes from the Sea Floor" Science 2000, vol. 288, pp. 68-69.

Hansen, J., Ruedy, R., Sato, M., Lo, K., "Global Warming Continues" Science 2002, vol. 295, p. 275


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