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Overpopulation Essay

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Overpopulation
The Book of Genesis tells the story of creation of man. God said to man, "be fruitful and increase in numbers; fill the earth and subdue it." Prior to the nineteenth century, it was believed that God would provide for those who came into 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 while population increases geometrically, agricultural production only increases arithmetically. Current evidence shows that this theory may not be far from the truth. The world population reached 6 billion on October 12, 1999, and is expected to reach 9.3 billion by 2050! The impact of population growth is already felt by a majority of nations. The U.S. population has increased by 78% since 1950. Growing at 3,000,000 per year, U.S. population is expected to approach half a billion people in 50 years. A number of factors drive this growth. At the most basic level, it is because far more people are born each year than die. Advances in nutrition and health care have increased survival rates and longevity for much of the world, and shifted the balance between births and deaths.
The demands of increasing population magnify demands for natural resources, clean air and water, as well as access to wilderness areas. In the future, when there are not enough resources to go around, we will see significant scarcity, and a backlash of poverty. A number of problems lie behind scarcity and poverty. Ultimately, our own numbers, and the lifestyles many of us choose to live, drive all the critical issues we confront. Left unchecked, the combination of population growth and consumption- along with increasing inequity between rich and poor individuals and nations-will soon threaten not only the well-being, but even the lives of a majority of people on this planet.
When population levels reach a critical threshold, we then see both a decline in the resource base, and damage to the environment, which supplies all those resources. These trends reinforce each other - the damaged environment provides fewer resources, and the shortage of resources causes us to further damage the environment. World energy needs are projected to double in the next several decades, but no credible geologist foresees a doubling of world oil production, which is projected to peak within the next few dec...


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...many enjoy today will no longer be attainable. Fortunately a future of scarcity, inequity, and conflict is not inevitable. There are steps to be taken to stabilize population such as controlling fertility. Families can currently choose to have fewer children in industrialized countries. This can also be made possible for developing countries by providing family planning, and reproductive health care. If every couple in the world could reliably and affordably choose the number and spacing of their children, world population growth would slow by nearly twenty percent almost immediately. Protection and enhancement of human rights is necessary so that all people have access to the essentials of a decent life. Improving people's social health and economic well being can move them out of poverty, and away from needing more children for survival. Solving the problem of population growth will also help solve the environmental, economic and social problems the world confronts. "The choices we make in the next few decades about our own numbers and lifestyles will determine whether the world of the 21st century will be one of hope and opportunity, or of scarcity and destruction."



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