The Earth is big place that has more than enough space for everyone. You could theoretically fit all the world’s population in the City of Los Angeles if everyone stood shoulder-to-shoulder.
So, if you could fit the entire population into Los Angeles, there should be more than enough space for everyone to fit comfortably on Earth so why do people talk about overpopulation. Well one of first people to talk about overpopulation was a British Economist named Thomas Malthus around the beginning of the 19th Century. Thomas Malthus calculated that human populations tend to grow exponentially, while the ability of humans to feed each other tends to grow more linearly and so our growth as species tends to exceed our ability to feed everyone. However Malthus was proved wrong due to the Industrial Revolution, which was accompanied by a falling birth rate to offset the falling mortality rate. Nevertheless his stark analysis of overpopulation has remained influential.
In 1850, the total population of the world was roughly 1.3 billion. Than in 1950 it was 2.5 billion, almost double the population in 1850. But as of October this year, it’s estimated to have reached 7.6 billion people and current UN projections estimate by 2050 it will be 8.
9 billion. A lot of the growth since 1950 has taken place in developing countries such as Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Higher life expectancy is leading to increases in population in these developing countries while lower life expectancy may be caused by the booms in the population that less developed nations are experiencing. A large part of the world’s population growth occurs in less developed countries and because these countries aren’t well developed yet, this stretches the resources these countries have resulting in less access to medical care, fresh water, food and jobs, all resulting in a fall in life expectancy. Species extinction is another problem where human overpopulation is a contributing factor. Humans right now are currently causing the greatest mass extinction of species since the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.
If nothing is done, scientists forewarn us that within a few decades, at least half of all plant and animal species on Earth will be extinct resulting in problems such as climate change, habitat loss, pollution, acidifying oceans, invasive species, over-exploitation of natural resources, overfishing, and poaching. Human overpopulation dominates many of the Earth’s planetary resources such as 50% of the fresh water, 40% of the land is currently dedicated to human food production, and 50% of the land is being transformed for human use. We are now losing 30,000 species per year, or three species per hour, which is faster than new species can evolve.Loss of fresh water is another growing concern and is another result from humans beginning to overpopulate the Earth. As we know, the Earth is 75% water with 97.5% of that being ocean and 2.5% being freshwater.
However only 1% of the world’s freshwater, or about 0.003% of all water on Earth, is readily accessible for direct human use due to most of the freshwater resources being either unreachable or too polluted. It is estimated that more than half of the world population will be facing some sort of water-based vulnerability by 2025 and the human demand for water will account for 70% of all available freshwater.
One example of how some of this water is used is America, which has a lot of agricultural crops and a resource needed for these is water. However, one of these crops that uses water, is grass. It takes more water to create lawns than it does to create all of the corn in America and although water is a scarce resource, we use it like crazy. Freshwater is the most fundamental finite resource with no substitutes for most uses, yet we are consuming fresh water at least 10 times faster than it is being replenished in regions of northern Africa, the Middle East, India, Pakistan, China, and the U.S. are highly diverse and contain a disproportionately large number of the world’s species. As human populations grow, so will the problem of clean freshwater availability. Nevertheless, the age structure of many developing societies, in which a large amount of the population has yet to reach reproductive age, means that whatever the long-term outcome populations will grow rapidly for the next few decades.
Overpopulation remains one of the most serious problems facing human beings and the planet they inhabit.