Friday, February 28, 2014

Human Population Growth

            How does the human population growth affect planet Earth’s biodiversity? The ever-growing population raises many questions pertaining to what is affected. For example, what is the impact of our species on the other species that share this planet? What is our impact on the food supply, and is it limited? Is our population responsible at all for massive land degradation and water pollution? What about our energy consumption?

            These are all important questions that scientists, philosophers, and thinkers in general try to answer. The human population growth can be a sensitive topic, and it will undoubtedly be difficult for policy to be created to handle these issues. This article does not answer these questions; instead it provides a few key facts to inform readers on this subject.

            Underdeveloped and developing countries experience a much higher rate of population growth than developed countries like the United States. In fact, most developed countries are experiencing a steady population growth, with some experiencing slight population decline. One of the factors that scientists study are the average number of children women give birth to. In the United States, the average is two children per woman. However, in some African and Middle Eastern countries, the average rages between five to eight children per woman. India’s population is expected to surpass China’s by the year 2050, given their current growth rate. Why is this happening?

            Factors that affect human population growth in developing countries are the high infant mortality rate experienced, the reliance on children as a type of “social security,” poor education, and the low economic status of women. Several non-profit organizations around the world are trying to address steadying the population growth, Population Connection being one of the most well-known. Organizations like Population Connection try to increase family planning education, encourage and provide information on sustainable diets such as vegetarianism, and try to politically push population growth policies.

            Nobel laureate Dr. Henry Kendall once said, “If we don't halt population growth with justice and compassion, it will be done for us by nature, brutally and without pity- and will leave a ravaged world.” While this issue remains a debate, it is undeniable that the Earth is only so big, there are a limited amount of natural resources, and our species’ population is growing at a faster rate than what we eat.

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