The Enviromnetal Degradation As A Result

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The Enviromnetal Degradation As A Result Of Overpopulation Essay, Research Paper 1 Introduction There are simply too many people on our planet, and the population is not showing any signs of slowing down(see Figure 1). It is having disastrous effects on our environment. There are too many implications and interrelationships to discuss in this paper, but the three substances that our earth consists of: land, water and air, are being destroyed. Our forests are being cut down at an alarming rate, bearing enormous impacts on the health of earth. Our oceans and seas are being polluted and overfished. Our atmosphere is injected with increasing amounts of carbon dioxide, which hurts the entire planet. All of these problems can be traced to our vast, rapidly expanding population,

which has stressed our world far too greatly. Our Population In 1994, the world population was 5 602 800 000. This population had a doubling time of only forty-one years (De Blij and Muller, 1994, p.527). The massive amount of people has had highly destructive impacts on the earth?s environment. These impacts occur on two levels: global and local. On the global level, there is the accumulation of green house gases that deplete the ozone layer, the extinction of species, and a global food shortage. On the local level, there is erosion of soils (and the loss of vegetation), the depletion of water supply, and toxification of the air and water. The earth is dynamic though, all of these aspects are interrelated, and no one impact is completely isolated. All of these destructive

elements can be traced to our enormous population. As the population increases, so do all of the economic, social, and technological impacts. The concept of momentum of population growth is one that must be considered. It states that areas with traditionally high fertility rates will have a very young structure age. Thus, a decrease in the fertility rate will still result in a greater absolute number of births, 2 as there are more potential mothers. Populations are very slow in adjusting to decreases in fertility rates. This is especially frightening when considering that South Asia has a population of 1 204 600 000 (and a doubling time of thirty two years), Subsaharan Africa has 528 000 000 (doubling time: thirty one years), and North Africa/Southwest Asia has 448 100 000

(doubling time: twenty seven years) (De Blij and Muller, 1994, p. 529-531)and all of these areas have traditionally high fertility rates. Although third world countries do have a far larger population than industrialized nations, and the trend is constantly increasing, their populations should not bear the responsibility for our population-enduced degrading environment. The impact we make on the biosphere is sometimes expressed mathematically by ecological economists as I = PAT. I being impact, P population, A affluence (consumption) , and T technology (environmentally bad technology)(Ehrlich and Ehrlich, 1990, p.24). Concern regarding population increases often focuses on the third world, since it is there that growth is exponential. Yet, it is necessary to recognize that people

are by no means equal or identical in their consumption, and thus their impact on the environment (see Map 2). 3 Our Forests ?The sky is held up by the trees. If the forest disappears the sky, which is the roof of the world collapses. Nature and man perish together.? - Amerindian legend Forests are a precious link in the life systems of our planet. They are a part of these vital ecosystem services without which earth would not have been habitable by the human species in the first place and would certainly have become inhabitable again. Forests have crucial roles in the carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen cycles that nourish and sustain life on earth. They protect the watersheds that support farming and influence climate and rainfall(Lindahl-Kiessling, 1994, p.167). They save the soil