Footprint Assignment

Topics: World population, Population, Earth Pages: 6 (1988 words) Published: August 26, 2010
One footprint, one large impact

The latest official world population estimates the current population, for mid-year 2009, at approximately 6,790,062,219 (Rosenberg, 2009).From now until the middle of the 21st century, in only fifty years, the world's population will increase by 50% from 6 billion at the end of 1999 to close to 9 billion in 2050 ( McCann,2009). That is a lot of mouths to feed, water to drink and land to occupy. As a result of human indulgences we tend to use a lot more than what we need, which in turn is reducing the number of individuals the earth can support. However with technology today humankind has stretched out the earth’s carrying capacity for us by manipulating the growth of plants and animals in order to grow our own ‘un natural’ resources. The earth’s carrying capacity refers to the maximal population the earth can support, earths carrying capacity is debated amongst many scientists. Sustainability refers to the capacity of the biosphere (the sum of all ecosystems which includes all life forms on earth) to provide for the full range of human concerns in the long term, without interruption or loss of valued qualities; sustainability is necessary for a population to be at or below any carrying capacity, where the current generation has the ability to pass on its natural wealth not unchanged, but undiminished in potential to support future generations (Ehrlich, 1992). Thus the carrying capacity for humankind does vary with the level of economic development .If a population of any species including humankind grow exponentially for too long it will eventually become to large for the environment to support and with that will come consequences. For example, as a species becomes over populated, natural resources become less available (such as food, water, shelter etc). Earth and all resources within are not indefinite. There is only a definite amount of space, water and shelter beyond that there is nothing. Along with that, degradation of the environment from an excessive amount of consumption of food and water and use of resources until there is nothing left and there for a population will decease. Already there are many areas around the world that can not sustain human populations, resulting in poverty, disease, crime, war, economic instability starvation and misery.

Nature has a way of regulating the size of population of all species in prevention of population numbers exceeding what the environment can support. A form of regulation comes through density independent factors like natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, volcanoes, fires etc. where a population will be effected and reduced in numbers. Another way of regulation of population is dependent factors where regulation is dependent on the population size, including competition for resources where there is a dense amount of individuals in an area where individuals compete for a limited amount of resources such as food, water and shelter. Because resources are not infinite the resources will eventually run out resulting in more deaths. Thus, reducing the numbers of a population. Human population is not excluded from nature’s laws, for example, humans removed from situations of food shortages, weather and disease they too will increase in population size. Humanity relies on what nature can provide in order to live sustainably and each human requires resources from the planet and in turn, contributes waste and destruction to the environment. Virtually all ecosystems have been negatively affected through human activities.

Human activities have largely contributed to the world’s arable rate of land loss.

A big concern is land degradation due to urbanization and deforestation where land is

being cleared housing, industrial and for agriculture land grazing, crops and production.

Deforestation not only causes desertification, it has devastating affects on the worlds

species, which contain over 60 percent of...
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