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Too Many People
Do people realize that there is a population problem? Can our earth support and sustain the incredible number of 5.6 billion people, constantly increasing at the rate of 1.7 percent each year (conservation 67). At this rate 95 million people are added to our world every year. To bring this into perspective, every month 11,000 new babies are born, every second, three new people are added to the already over populated planet (Ehrlich 14). Every person added to the world has a claim to the earth’s food, energy and other resources. We must also realize that there is not a single factor that limits how many people the earth can support. The rising population will only aggravate the problems staring us in the face right now, such as food shortages, and damage to the environment. The Club of Earth, whose members belong to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, released this statement in 1988.
Arresting global population growth should be second in importance only to avoiding the nuclear war on humanity’s agenda. Over population and rapid population growth are intimately connected with most aspects of the current human predicament, including rapid depletion of nonrenewable resources, deterioration of the environment and increasing international tensions. (Ehrlich 18).
The human population has drastically increased in the last couple of centuries. The earth will not be able to sustain the growing population due to increasing environmental and economic stresses. We must confront the issue and come up with workable solutions.
Why Are People Not Scared.
In order to come up with solutions, one must first realize the problem. Why are people not aware of the population crisis? Up until just recently, in Cairo, Egypt where a dialog and a Programme of Action was established to confront overpopulation by theUnited Nation International Conference, there has not been much talk on this issue. One of the main reasons people do not recognize overpopulation to be a problem is it’s slow developing nature. Over two thousand years ago there was an estimated 250 million people. It took 1650 years before the population first doubled. Since then the doubling time of the population would shrink to 200 years, and continued to shrink to a time span of just 35 years. But even with these incredible increasing growth rates, it is impossible to notice these “slow motion changes” as compared to an every day event (Ehrilich 15). “People aren’t scared because they evolved biologically and culturally to respond to short-term “fires” and tune out long-term “trends” over which they have no control (Ehrlich 14).”
Most of our culture’s attitudes, beliefs and presuppositions on many things are determined by the information of what we hear and see presented to us by the media. Events covered in today’s media are things that are sudden, explosive, something that gets someone’s attention, something which is easy to report. This is not the case with the increasing dilemma of over population. The world did not care when the population was increasing by 100,000 a day, or now, when it is increasing by 250,000 people a day. Links are not made between the problems that exist in today’s world as a direct or indirect result of overpopulation. There are simply too many factors involved. In Guatemala, an earthquake measured at 7.5 on the Richter scale, killed over 22,000 people and injuring over 76,000 people. Those that had the highest mortality rate lived in adobe casitas, which contained heavy wooden timbers in the roof. These houses were somewhat more expensive and harder to build than simple adobes. Simple adobes were inhabited by the lowest class of people. Despite being cheaper, the simple adobes proved to be much safer than the more expensive adobes. Mortality in the villages were “complexly correlated with socioeconomic status” (Hardin 249). The few that lived in the most expensive concrete houses had the lowest mortality rate, and those that lived in the cheapest houses had the second lowest mortality rate. So what killed these people? If all of the people were able to live in concrete houses then most would have survived. So can we put the blame on poverty? No, because those with the least amount of money lived in the simple adobes and survived almost as well as those in the concrete houses. If these houses were so safe, and easy to build, why didn’t more Guatemalans live in these houses, rather than putting more money and effort into building the other adobes. The truth is that the increasing population of Guatemala exhausted the resources needed to make the simple adobes. Are these deaths a result of overpopulation? Certainly, but in the headlines you read, earthquake kills 22,000, rather than overpopulation leads to unnecessary death. The same principle applied when a cyclone struck East Bengal in 1970 killing 500,000.