Overpopulation: Thoughts and Reflections Part 1

by Katherine Chen (Mission San Jose High School, Fremont, CA) on 2014-05-31 23:03:17 PDT
Unknown-1Overpopulation is currently a very controversial issue with many advocating for both sides of the argument: whether or not overpopulation is a contributor to all the global problems the human race and Earth are facing.  The reason why I am writing this article is because my English teacher just assigned my class a writing project where we have to pick a controversial topic and write an annotated bibliography (kind of similar to a research paper).  In order to finish this assignment, I did some extensive research on the subject of overpopulation and below is some of my research and my own opinions and thoughts on the issue.

Personally, I believe that overpopulation is one of the major problems that need to be resolved globally quickly, but I will try to stay objective and give a detailed outline of both sides of the argument.  This article will first delineate the side that argues overpopulation is deleterious to the environment, to the world, and mainly, to us, the humans.  Overpopulation's impacts not only include effects on nature, but also problems within society.  These problems are occurring as we breathe right now and more and more will arise unless this issue is taken seriously globally.  The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization has estimated that by the year 2050, Earth's human population will reach an astonishing 9 billion.  Our population has been increasing exponentially at an alarming rate.  3,000,000 years ago, our population was only at approximately 5-10 million, and up until the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s, or only 200 years ago, did the population rise to 500 million.  So, in the span of only 200 years, the human population on Earth rose almost to 7 billion people, only taking 12 years for the latest population explosion by 1 billion.  Without controlling the population growth rate, especially in Third World countries, there will not be enough food to feed all the mouths and the death rate will then start to increase.

The article, "Population Growth is a Threat to the Environment" by John and Mary Ellen Harte in the book Opposing Viewpoints: Population states that population size create severe negative impacts on the environment by combining with other current environmental issues to form a feedback loop.  Overpopulation has close ties with global warming, a global issue that everyone in the world is probably aware of, and also strains Earth's natural resources to the point where all the resources will be exhausted in only a few dozen years.  More crops as well as poultry an cattle, depleting farmland as well as water resources.  Social problems include poverty rates increasing, which only adds more consequence to the environmental problems.

Currently, only China is taking severe action to try to find a resolution to overpopulation by implementing and enforcing the one child policy nation-wide.  In my opinion, while this mandatory policy may not have been the best answer, it is a step in the right direction, in trying to control the growth.  However, some problems caused by this policy is the distortion of the gender ratio in the younger population, since traditional Chinese culture favors boys over girls, and also China's future working class will be cut by half. In a couple of dozens of years, China will have to deal with the consequences of this one child policy.  This concludes Part 1 of my article, "Overpopulation: Thoughts and Reflections."


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