International Relation Topical Issue
Final Exam Essay
"Go Forth And Multiply!" That's what the human population has successfully been doing for thousands and thousands of years, expanding, exploring, migrating, conquering, utilizing, evolving, civilizing, industrializing, and now, destroying the very land upon which we live. Many feel (as has been the case throughout history) that the major international wars to be fought in the future will continue to be over natural resources. Power conflicts and self-interest will perhaps mean that there will be gross violation of basic rights and death or misery for millions of innocent people. Throughout history, most wars have had trade and resources at their core (leading to ideological battles) fueled by imperialistic motives. In the future, while this pattern is likely to continue, as resources get depleted and wasted in these wars (hot and cold), additional conflicts and contention will arise through access to even more limited resources. Many of us have grown up learning and being told that 6 billion is too much and this "over population" is primarily impacting the planet's ability to cope. But is that really the case? Sure, the planet is facing incredible stress. But how much of that is due to large populations, and how much is based on other factors, such as how we choose to live, how we produce, consume and waste our resources? The poor are numerous, but as we shall see, consume far less resources of the planet, for example. Studies point to ecological limits to sustain people, but these limits can be different, based on the way we consume resources etc so it is hard to say for sure what overpopulation means let alone if we are at some threshold, below, or above it. The information understood so far provides valuable insights and is very important to consider, nonetheless. Yet, the figure of 6 billion and literature about over-population naturally looks to the poor regions where there are high populations and environmental degradation as the problem. we can see the numerous causes of poverty, and many are found in unfair economic and trade agreements from wealthier nations and institutions. While it might be an oversimplification to say the poor are victims, a lot of poverty, if not the majority is caused by factors which the poor themselves often have no control or choice over. Yet, at the same time the poor seem to get the blame for burdening the planet. Is this the case? While the concern for the environment and the planet's health is usually the central issue here, is there a risk of addressing the issue in ways that may not get to the root causes of any problems that are perceived to require serious attention? So this paper will introduce some of these issues. Population Numbers
The United Nations Population Fund estimate the population will rise to around 9.3 billion by 2050.”World population reached 6.1 billion in mid-2000 and is currently growing at an annual rate of 1.2 per cent, or 77 million people per year. Six countries account for half of this annual growth: India for 21 per cent; China for 12 per cent; Pakistan for 5 per cent; Nigeria for 4 per cent; Bangladesh for 4 per cent, and Indonesia for 3 per cent. By 2050, world population is expected to be between 7.9 billion (low variant) and 10.9 billion (high variant), with the medium variant producing 9.3 billion.”— World Population Prospects, The 2000 Revision Highlights, United Nations Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 28 February 2001. Some notes on the above data:
•I list some nations, (not the full list of course, for which you can follow the cited sources!) initially by GNP. •I list the main economic powerhouses plus India, China, Indonesia, Nigeria and Bangladesh, as nations that have highest population growths. •We can see that some developed countries have higher densities than developing ones, and also vice versa. •As we...