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Technology is the Solution to Overpopulation Essay

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Technology is the Solution to Overpopulation


About ten years ago while in a science museum, I saw a counter that estimated what the world population was at that given moment. Innocuous at first glance, since a number in excess of five billion is difficult to comprehend, what became alarming after watching the counter for a minute was the continual increase in the population. Thinking about the circumstances related to the population rise logically made the problem seem apparent. The earth is finite both in terms of physical size and in resources but the population is growing towards an infinite value. At some point the steadily rising population will move from being a problem that is geographically distant to one that is immediate and more salient than just an increasing value on a faceless counter.

This problem of population growth leads to a number of solutions that could have significant implications on the quality of life. Taking no action and allowing population to grow unchecked could possibly risk the entire human species if food or clean water were to become unavailable worldwide. Aiming for zero population growth would in theory maintain the existing quality of life since a stable population would not increase their use of resources. However not all resources are renewable, so scarcities could still occur with a fixed population size. In an extreme case permanent resource depletion under zero population growth could have the same extinction effect that unchecked growth can lead to. Despite the escalating risk of unchecked population growth, technological advances necessitated by the increase in population will at least maintain the quality of life and could possibly improve conditions.

Southwick in “Global Ecol...


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...ould accept the fact that not all people of the world will be able to have a high standard of living but the potential for improved quality exists. This potential cannot be reached immediately since resources and population remain geographically separate and faster transportation would increase the spread of fatal diseases. Improvements in resource production such as increased crop yields makes it possible to support higher populations and improve the quality of life at least at a local level.

References

Southwick, C. H. Global Ecology in Human Perspective, Chapter 15. Oxford Univ. Press. (1996).

World Health Organization “Frequently Asked Questions on Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS),” Communicable Disease Surveillance & Response (CSR), March 24. (2003). World Health Organization . Retrieved March 29, 2004.


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