The Debate on the Global Environment

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The Global Environment
The United States should promote family planning to curb world population growth.

The world’s population is at 6.1 billion and growing. People who promote family planning would say that the only way to fight poverty and global environmental degradation is by controlling this growth. It is in U.S. interests to share information about family planning with the millions of people living in developing nations. Fewer people will translate into less strain on Earth’s resources. However, people that oppose this say that the United States should not give aid that might be used to promote abortion. Instead, U.S. aid should be spent on helping developing countries improve their education and economics.

I would agree that the U.S. should focus more on improving education in other countries. The widespread education and improvement in living standards will lead to smaller families, renewed attention to the environment, and wiser use of natural resources.

Overpopulation is indeed a problem around the globe, but population issues must be solved at the national level, as global agreements are largely unenforceable and fail to recognize the unique history, customs, and challenges of each country. From an environmental standpoint, U.S. overpopulation is far worse for the environment than overpopulation anywhere else, because of our inordinately high use of resources.

People need more land than just the land they’re standing on–they need land for raising food, producing their oil and water, recreation and entertainment, shopping, transportation, waste handling, and much more. And overpopulation isn’t about how many people you can jam into a given area; it’s about what the optimum population size is before you start destroying resources and quality of life. The U.S. population is growing at about one percent per year. And although an increase of one percent may sound small, such a rate is monumental...
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