Since the beginning of the twentieth century, human overpopulation has been regarded as a global threat. Many proponents argue about its causes and consequences, but a few see it as a settlement pattern in terms of a particular place's economic activities. According to Singh, Rajeev Pratap, and colleagues' article on "environmental problems surrounding human overpopulation," the problem is entirely defined by social-cultural, economic, and physical factors that involve human societies (p. 3). As a result, this study paper takes an honest approach to argue for human overpopulation. It also raises a contentious issue, addressing both sides of the debate before providing annotated bibliographies to credit the information's importance, accuracy, and timeliness. At the beginning of the 21st century, human overpopulation had accelerated to a level that people felt its “heat” in the urban and the rural areas (Singh, Rajeev Pratap et al. 2). The Global Health Observatory Board, in fact, projected that the problem, especially in the cities might increase to about 70% of the total earth’s population by 2050 (Singh, Rajeev Pratap et al. p. 8). As a consequence, not only people but the governments as well will encounter inevitable challenges in their attempt to provide a quality life for the societies. Additionally, since physical and economic elements characterise the issue, it will become increasingly problematic for economic growth front planners to balance strategies for future demographic improvements. Review of Literature
Today, modern cities continually face the adverse effects of overpopulation (Shathy, Shagufta T., and Mohammad I. H. Reza 12). The extent to which the challenges influence the inhabitants is furthermore, becoming more challenging and harder to combat. Shathy, Shagufta, and Mohammad suggested that, although cities cover about 2 percent of the entire planet, they use about 75% of its natural resources and yield almost the same value in waste (p. 2). The scholars also anticipated that human overpopulation might rise to a value, twice as high as the current overpopulation growth rate and triple higher in the last decade of this century. The uncontrolled growth of people, which is referred to as “urban sprawl” will then cause a critical decline in urban efficiency, reduction in agricultural activities, and an increase in the costs of livelihood services (Shathy, Shagufta T., and Mohammad I. H. Reza p. 8). For instance, according to data by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), the world’s urban cities carried about 27 per cent of the total earth’s population in 1975. Today, the same cities have over 47 per cent overpopulation. It, therefore, means that there has been a massive migration of people into the towns over the past years.
Nevertheless, the irony of this literature is that the scholars did not develop supportive reasons of their conclusion until other proponents supplemented their studies. Satterthwaite, D. et al., added that the growth of human overpopulation, mainly in the urban areas came as a consequence of two major factors, the natural increase of people and the free migration (p. 2809). However, it does not mean that if these causes are surpassed, human overpopulation will end. Undeniably, the overconcentration has even made many people believe in the trend of “over-urbanisation”, a state that is uncertain with the current economic and social-cultural status (Ilegbinosa Imoisi et al. 11). According to Ilegbinosa Imoisi et al., however, the over-urbanization results from extensive underemployment, unemployment, inadequate housing and increased inaccessibility of public services (p. 11-13).
It is, therefore evident that the question of overpopulation and its influence on the human carrying capacity has been controversial. In fact, Thomas Robert Malthus, an English Scholar in the field of demographic economics, deliberated the hypothesis that population growth may surpass the planet’s growth of resources, due to a sporadic increase in humans by positive checks. In his view, “positive check” insinuated an increase in difficulties with rise in the human population. “The Malthusian Theory” was, indeed accepted by demographers, and remained widely held until other theorists recently outshined it.
Leading causes of Human Overpopulation
There are many roots of human overpopulation some of which have been highlighted in the literature review. However, according to Zhang, Kai, and Stuart, the primary causes of human overpopulation include, but not limited to reduced mortality rates, inadequate education, and increased birth rates (p. 307-316).
Reduced Mortality Rates
Death rates have decreased nearly in all corners of the earth. Births as well, in both the rural and the urban have maintained an appropriating trend for some time. As a consequence, the combination of the low mortality rates and high births have resulted in a population explosion. According to Bedpraka’s article, the tremendous growth of human overpopulation today is brought by the dramatic drop in the deaths of people (p. 329-334). SyamRoy, on the other hand, supported the theory by discussing several contributing factors as to why the mortality rate of human dropped (p.336-337). He noted that in spite of the disease prevalence, people live prolonged lives unlike in the recent past (SyamRoy, Bedprakas, 335). For instance, consider HIV patients. By using the ARV’s, their body immunity is boosted to support an extended life.
Additionally, with the modern medical technology, there is a progressive increase in the medical facilities, which have eased the access to life-saving solutions. As a result, they contribute positively to the reduction of mortality rates thereby accumulating the number of people per square nitch. What is more, modern education as well plays an indirect role in causing the overpopulation (SyamRoy, Bedprakas 332-334). The contemporary knowledge of human anatomy has significantly reduced human mortality rates, whereby people are advised on healthy living contrary to the past.
Weiss, and Anthony, alternatively stressed Bedpraka’s viewpoint with a recent history (p. 18). They insinuated that one could, in fact, notice the extreme reduction in mortality rates with the decline in the major epidemic outbreaks like malaria or chickenpox (Weiss, Robin A, and Anthony J McMichael 19). All the same, the arguments conflicts with the context of the discussion, but the fact that reduced mortality rates increase human overpopulation assumes a larger portion of the pie.
High birth rates
Likewise, increased births have exploded human overpopulation over the past few decades. In fact, owing to the improved medical advancement discussed above, the fertility rate of women has increased thus cumulating more births. On the other hand, giving birth to many children is regarded as a custom in some countries. For example, the Indians maintain the ideology that many male children are better born than female babies. As a consequence, they sustain the culture by reproducing progressively thus impacting on population increase. The outcome has, furthermore, made India the second most populated nation (van Weel, Chris et al. 57).
Nevertheless, increased births raise controversies as well. Some proponents such as Manton, K. G. et al., argue that high birth rates rise the labour force toward the economic growth of a nation (p. 10808). However, they did not consider joblessness and high elderly dependency ratios (Desai, Sonalde 220).Insufficient education
It promotes high birth rates and decreased mortality rates in the underdeveloped nations. According to studies done by Cazzola, Alberto et al., adequate training reduces women fertility rates (p. 17-22). As a consequence, it controls births thus reducing overpopulation occurrence. Nevertheless, most of the underdeveloped nations suffer the pain of overcrowding due to insufficient education. In fact, in some of the countries, women are discriminated from receiving education directly. They believe that females were created to bear and raise children and hence should not waste time learning. The beliefs have promoted hysterical births thus leading to human overpopulation.
On the other hand, however, the developed countries value women education. It has helped significantly in slowing down the rate of overpopulation growth. Moreover, there exist significant overpopulation measures such as sex education and public demographic training.
Effects of Human Overpopulation
Apparently, the overpopulation of people has had distinct impacts on the economic stability of a nation. It has also had consequences on the environment and the marine ecosystem.
Effects on economic sustainability and stability
The economic growth of a country diminishes with the increase in human population. As a consequence, a nation suffers instability and at the end becomes problematic for the government to promote the lives of its inhabitants. According to the research, unemployment and underemployment are the fundamental contributory factors to an unstable economy. They decrease with increase in overpopulation. Van den Bergh found that the economic sustainability of the third-world countries is, In fact, not only threatening but also hanging at the cutting edge of the greatest overpopulation challenge (p. 107-112). The most domineering reason, according to the author, was joblessness in the high populated environments. Furthermore, although stated earlier, low mortality rates alongside high birth rates contributes to the challenge, whereby the population influx increases job demands within the limited workforces.
On the contrary, the third world countries are employing reasonable efforts in combating economic instability caused by overpopulation. However, the mitigation techniques have are accompanied by detrimental consequences. For instance, global interventions by NGO’s to create jobs in the developing nations have checked the advantage, but the initiating bodies take that chance to exploit the available natural resources therein hence decreasing the value of lives. For example, the rural people depend on wood as a source of energy while the non-profits exploit the fossil fuels for the benefit of the company. As such, the efforts may be questionable.
Effects on the Marine Ecosystem
The migration of people from rural to the coastal regions as well leads to coastline overpopulation. As a consequence, it has had severe impacts on environmental degradation around the marine areas. Uniyal, Shivani et al., states that the overconsumption of coastal resources such as the mangroves, beaches and fishing have depleted not only the natural resources but also influenced tourism around the coastal regions thus affecting the economy of both the developed and the third world countries (p. 2-6).
Flora and fauna around these places are being damaged by the rapid climate changes caused by excessive human activities. For instance, out of the 19,210 square kilometre flora in South Asia, 45 percent of it have been diminished as a result of excessive human activities. In fact, 10 percent of the tourist attraction sites are critically threatened, whereby 20 percent of them are at a risk of depleting in the next five years. This problem has not raised considerable controversies. Effects on the environment
Environmental biodiversity is critically affected by human overpopulation. However, according to this study, scholars concentrate more on the effects it has had to the developed nations and assumes the consequences in the developing countries. This issue, as such, raises a great controversy. According to the research, human overpopulation in both the urban and rural areas is evident in the developed and the third world countries. It affects the biodiversity through excessive pollution and emissions of greenhouse gases.
As deliberated earlier, the urban carry a population of about 47 percent, whereby by 2050, the number of people might shoot to nearly two-thirds of the total world’s population. Therefore, the increased human activities around these places will increase carbon emissions alongside other forms of ecological contaminations. For instance, consider India. Increased population in its major cities like Mumbai, New Delhi, and Patna has significantly destroyed the biodiversity therein thus leading to excessive deforestation and energy consumptions, a problem mentioned as PED Nexus by the social development scientists.
The PED Nexus
It is a scientific concept that insinuates the environment as a function of human population size, environmental cost and the consumption per capita. It also postulates the interaction between human overpopulation and the environment as a multiple, complex, and sometimes a mutual interrelation, which, according to scientists is constant and dynamic (Joseph, Jonathan 38). As such, it means that humans depend on the environment to survive while the environment, on the other side, develops through people. Consequently, it is, therefore, evident that the consumption of resources increases with increase in population and decrease while the number of consumers reduces (Joseph, Jonathan 50-52).
Nevertheless, the PED Nexus raises controversies in various environmental changes. Would a reduction in human overpopulation improve climate change? Would the consumption of resources as well affect the environment growth? According to Emmott, it is not human overpopulation that causes climatic changes. It is environmental degradation, which rises from the overconsumption of natural resources and increased activities (Emmott, Stephen). For instance, the production of foods to feed the crowds requires a lot of water. Furthermore, agreeing to studies, more than 70 percent of the world’s available water is used in food production while 40 percent of it is directed in agricultural works. The end results deplete not only the grounds resource but also cause soil and ecosystem degradation. In fact, the overconsumption, together with increased human activities causes severe changes temperatures and other extreme weather variations.
Currently, the earth’s overall population is 6.5 billion, a number which grows at the rate of about 1.2 percent per annum hence the quantified value by 2050. Governments, however, have channelled efforts in combating overpopulation, but it has been problematic to deal with the menace. Mandating the migration department with the overall role of control of migration and settlement is among the top most contributory factor to failure. Besides, different countries have attempted to control urban sprawl, settlement and distribution of people without success. Some of the worldly-known techniques employed herein include the building of new capitals and the creation of new regional development zone. As such, this section proposes the possible solutions to the human overpopulation problem. While the rate of human overpopulation continues to rise, its effects on the environment, marine ecosystem and the overall economy appreciate as well. However, even so, the government can intervene to build ecological awareness and economic sustainability by encouraging family planning. Strategies can also be employed to create cognizance about the significance of education to women (Uniyal, Shivani et al. 10). In fact, in areas such as sub-Sahara Africa, where women education is significantly disregarded, the government can intercede to insist on the importance of female literacy toward the reduction of human overpopulation.
Moreover, since pollution is typically evident in the urban, policies can be formulated to control rural-urban migration. The result will reduce the rate of growth of human overpopulation. What is more, educating people on the importance of natural resources in the densely populated areas may reduce environmental degradation. Furthermore, if the government and its related bodies implement controlled waste production, the effects of which human overpopulation effect the environment may reduce (SyamRoy, Bedprakas 331).
Remarkably, the high rates of births and low mortality, on the other hand, have been among the primary causal factors to human overpopulation. One of the main reason why this happens is insufficient women education and improved medical solutions. Although it sounds awkward to reduce medical solutions, the developed nations can implement strategies that can reduce mortality rates. Finally, family planning education must be overemphasised with real-world outcomes such as joblessness and economic instability to invoke the efforts of the public towards reducing human overpopulation. Conclusion
The problem of human overpopulation has been discussed since the beginning of the 20th century. Besides, the menace will continue to appreciate unless the government and the society as a whole cooperate on eradicating the problem. According to the proponents’ forecast, the problems brought by the overpopulation may exceed the current limit by the year 2050. There will be massive migration of people, which will account for about 70 percent. However, according to this research’s opinion, the human overpopulation can decrease if the discusses recommendations are insisted. Nonetheless, the fact remains that, as human overpopulation increases, its effects on the environment, economy and marine ecosystem will increase as well.
Annotated Bibliography: Human Overpopulation
Singh, Rajeev Pratap et al. Environmental Issues Surrounding Human Overpopulation. 1st ed.
The book discusses the definition of Human overpopulation in a larger scope. Unlike other peer revealed sources, the authors characterised human overpopulation with social-cultural, economic and physical elements within the societal structures. They also outlined vivid descriptions of the historical background of human migration. According to the book, human overpopulation will exceed the world’s resources, an issue that is evident today. Additionally, the book discusses some of the causes of human overpopulation as they are stipulated in the paper. Shathy, Shagufta T., and Mohammad I. H. Reza. "Sustainable Cities: A Proposed Environmental Integrity Index (EII) For Decision Making". Frontiers In Environmental Science, vol 4, 2016, Frontiers Media SA, doi:10.3389/fenvs.2016.00082.
The article “sustainable cities” tends to elaborate the challenges that face a county’s peripheral. It also projects the probability of more human overpopulation in the future. All the same, according to shathy, Shagufta and Mohammad, cities covers about 2 percent of the entire earth, but the population therein may consume up to about 75 percent of the entire globe’s resources. As a result, the article explains the effects of urban sprawl according to the data provided by the UNEP. Satterthwaite, D. et al. "Urbanization And Its Implications For Food And Farming". Philosophical Transactions Of The Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol 365, no. 1554, 2010, pp. 2809-2820. The Royal Society, doi:10.1098/rstb.2010.0136.The article by Satterthwaite, D. et al. 2809-2820, disputes the findings by Singh, Rajeev Pratap et al. Unlike the previous studies, the authors of this journal provide natural births and uncontrolled population as the leading causes to human overpopulation. The studies added that many people view the challenge as overurbanization, a conclusion that was later disputed by other theorists. Nonetheless, the authors’ contributory factors carry more weight in causing human overpopulation as discusses in the paper. Zhang, Kai, and Stuart Batterman. "Air Pollution and Health Risks Due To Vehicle Traffic". The science of the Total Environment, 450-451, 2013, pp. 307-316. Elsevier BV, doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.01.074.
The article discusses about the Malthusian Theory. Like shathy, Shagufta and Mohammad, the authors say that growth of population may surpass the earth’s resources in a future. However, although the paradigm is not quantified, population change by positive checks will increase the impacts. Additionally, the authors also give other causes of human overpopulation, which act as the chief causes of human overpopulation in this research.SyamRoy, Bedprakas. "India’S Perceived Challenges For Securing Sustainable Population In The Context Of Sustainable Development Goals". India's Journey Towards Sustainable Population, 2016, pp. 329-337. Springer Nature, doi:10.1007/978-3-319-47494-6_19.The article suggests high birthrates and low mortality as the primary causes of human overpopulation. It further gives reasons for the increased births as well as reduced mortality. According to SamRoy, modern medical technology contributes to the problems. As a result, the consequences increase human overpopulation nearly in all corners of the word. The article gives an example of India as the case study. Weiss, Robin A, and Anthony J McMichael. "Social And Environmental Risk Factors In The Emergence Of Infectious Diseases". Nature Medicine, vol 10, no. 12s, 2004, pp. S70-S76. Springer Nature, doi:10.1038/nm1150.
Weiss, Robin and Antony gives a brief history of disease prevalence. They explain that the human mortality rate was high long ago. However, with the today’s medical solutions mortality rate has reduced thereby causing accumulation of people. As such, the authors stresses on SyamRoy viewpoint to show how human overpopulation will continue to raise. Van Weel, Chris et al. "Primary Healthcare Policy Implementation In South Asia". BMJ Global Health, vol 1, no. 2, 2016, p. e000057. BMJ, doi:10.1136/bmjgh-2016-000057.
The authors use India as a case study to elaborate how high births increase human overpopulation. Even so, such a theory is self-explanatory. The authors additionally state the reason to increased birth rates in India. They associate the problem with traditional ideologies hence progressive reproduction. In fact, due to such factors, India has nowadays become the second most populated nation after China. Cazzola, Alberto et al. "The Relationship Between Unemployment And Fertility In Italy". Demographic Research, vol 34, 2016, pp. 1-38. Max Planck Institute For Demographic Research, doi:10.4054/demres.2016.34.1.
The theorists supplements SyamRoy’s article with education as one of the main causes of overpopulation. They say that the discrimination of women from education has increased their fertility rates. As a consequence, the effect has influenced overpopulation. Even so, on page 17, the article states that the problem is most prevalent in underdeveloped nations. It emanates from ideological beliefs and lack of proper education. Consequently, the third world countries are handling the matter. van den Bergh, Jeroen C. J. M. "A Third Option For Climate Policy Within Potential Limits To Growth". Nature Climate Change, vol 7, no. 2, 2017, pp. 107-112. Springer Nature, doi:10.1038/nclimate3113.
The article discusses the effects of human overpopulation on economic sustainability. According to the authors, instability originates from underemployment and joblessness, which are more domineering in the third world and underdeveloped nations. It further, uses a demographic graph to estimate the effect of unemployment in countries such as South Asia, the Middle East and Europe. It, as such, concludes that the economic development of a country diminishes with an increase in human population.Joseph, Jonathan. "Resilience As Embedded Neoliberalism: A Governmentality Approach". Resilience, vol 1, no. 1, 2013, pp. 38-52. Informa UK Limited, doi:10.1080/21693293.2013.765741.
The article talks about the concept of PED nexus. It portrays its objective meaning and depicts how the concept relates to human overpopulation and the environment. According to the author, Joseph Jonathan, the interaction between population and the environment is a multiple, complex, constant and a dynamic relationship (p.38-39). He meant that an increased use of natural resources results from an increase in the number of consumers per square area thus environmental degradation, which conversely causes climatic variations. Uniyal, Shivani et al. "Human Overpopulation:". Environmental Issues Surrounding Human Overpopulation, 2016, pp. 1-11. IGI Global, doi:10.4018/978-1-5225-1683-5.ch001.
The authors deliberate on the effects of human overpopulation on the economic stability of a country. However, it bases its argument to the challenges on marine ecosystems and the entire environment. Increases human activities in the coastal regions deplete the major tourism attraction sites hence limiting foreign income. It also adds that increase human pollution from overpopulation reduces aqua life and the value of people’s lives as a whole.
Cazzola, Alberto et al. "The Relationship Between Unemployment And Fertility In Italy". Demographic Research, vol 34, 2016, pp. 1-38. Max Planck Institute For Demographic Research, doi:10.4054/demres.2016.34.1.
Desai, Sonalde. "Demographic Deposit, Dividend And Debt". The Indian Journal Of Labour Economics, vol 58, no. 2, 2015, pp. 217-232. Springer Nature, doi:10.1007/s41027-016-0020-9.
Emmott, Stephen. "Though Climate Change Is A Crisis, The Population Threat Is Even Worse | Stephen Emmott". The Guardian, 2015, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/dec/04/climate-change-population-crisis-paris-summit.
Ilegbinosa, Imoisi Anthony et al. "Population And Its Impact On Level Of Unemployment In Least Developed Countries: An Appraisal Of The Nigerian Economy". Arts And Social Sciences Journal, vol 05, no. 02, 2016, OMICS Publishing Group, doi:10.4172/2151-6200.100081.
Joseph, Jonathan. "Resilience As Embedded Neoliberalism: A Governmentality Approach". Resilience, vol 1, no. 1, 2013, pp. 38-52. Informa UK Limited, doi:10.1080/21693293.2013.765741.
Manton, K. G. et al. "Labor Force Participation And Human Capital Increases In An Aging Population And Implications For U.S. Research Investment". Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences, vol 104, no. 26, 2007, pp. 10802-10807. Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences, doi:10.1073/pnas.0704185104.
Maryil, Hanan. Human Overpopulation: Causes And Effects In Developing Countries. 1st ed., Academia.Edu, 2010, http://www.academia.edu/.../Human_Overpopulation_Causes_and_Effects_in_Developing countries.
Satterthwaite, D. et al. "Urbanization And Its Implications For Food And Farming". Philosophical Transactions Of The Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol 365, no. 1554, 2010, pp. 2809-2820. The Royal Society, doi:10.1098/rstb.2010.0136.
Shathy, Shagufta T., and Mohammad I. H. Reza. "Sustainable Cities: A Proposed Environmental Integrity Index (EII) For Decision Making". Frontiers In Environmental Science, vol 4, 2016, Frontiers Media SA, doi:10.3389/fenvs.2016.00082.
Singh, Rajeev Pratap et al. Environmental Issues Surrounding Human Overpopulation. 1st ed.,.
SyamRoy, Bedprakas. "India’S Perceived Challenges For Securing Sustainable Population In The Context Of Sustainable Development Goals". India's Journey Towards Sustainable Population, 2016, pp. 329-337. Springer Nature, doi:10.1007/978-3-319-47494-6_19.
Uniyal, Shivani et al. "Human Overpopulation:". Environmental Issues Surrounding Human Overpopulation, 2016, pp. 1-11. IGI Global, doi:10.4018/978-1-5225-1683-5.ch001.
van den Bergh, Jeroen C. J. M. "A Third Option For Climate Policy Within Potential Limits To Growth". Nature Climate Change, vol 7, no. 2, 2017, pp. 107-112. Springer Nature, doi:10.1038/nclimate3113.
Weiss, Robin A, and Anthony J McMichael. "Social And Environmental Risk Factors In The Emergence Of Infectious Diseases". Nature Medicine, vol 10, no. 12s, 2004, pp. S70-S76. Springer Nature, doi:10.1038/nm1150.
Zhang, Kai, and Stuart Batterman. "Air Pollution And Health Risks Due To Vehicle Traffic". Science Of The Total Environment, 450-451, 2013, pp. 307-316. Elsevier BV, doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.01.074.
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