Year 2050 Population ?: Article on Population Explosion

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Before the end of the year 2011 the world can expect the population to hit an historic accomplishment of reaching seven billion people. The birth of this seven billionth baby will happen sometime in “October or November” (Nagarajan). This baby will most likely be born in India due to India having the highest fertility rate of “fifty one babies every minute” (Nagarajan). So is this an accomplishment for humans beating nature by populating the Earth? Or on the other hand will humans soon have to come to grips with their careless actions of destroying all resources, killing thousands of other species and eventually see the end of the human race at the hands of overpopulation? According to the author of Population 7 Billion, Robert Kunzig, “people shouldn’t panic- at least not yet” (1). A fair and stable amount of people is needed to keep the human species from dying off. Overpopulation, though, could deplete or destroy Earth’s resources such as food, water, and eventually lead to the breakdown of the ecosystem. With these resources being affected by the human population, the resulting consequences of plagues, wars, and famines could cause one of the few times for the global population to decrease. A global plan of action is needed, but policies such as China’s one-child policy is not even going to be considered by the U.S and many other countries to lower their population. The populations of humans on planet Earth have to face the challenge of providing food, water, and face the accountability for ecosystem breakdown. One famous book, The Population Bomb, a best seller in 1968 written by Paul R. Ehrlich, warned about overpopulation and advocated immediate action to limit population growth. He predicted famines that would follow the revelation of the world but thanks to the “Green Revolution of the 1970s, an increase in the world harvest averted the famines predicted by Ehrlich” (Zeaman 63). Although disaster was averted “decades from now there will be likely two billion more mouths to feed, mostly in poor countries” (Kunzig 43). Producing enough food as populations grow is possible but doing so will exhaust finite resources, and especially water will be a challenge. If the world population, which is expected to be eight billion by 2025, continues to be so high, “forty eight countries containing three billion people will face water shortages” (Hinrichsen). We do have the technology to desalinate ocean water, but this process is several times the costs as getting fresh water. Areas suffering from shortages of water can increase their share of water by capturing rain water and storing it. Finding enough arable land that is not already being occupied by humans will have to be dealt with future populations. “China feeds its billion- plus people on less than ten percent of Earth’s arable land” (Kunzig 56). At least space to put all these people is not one of the most pressing issues, as the “world population could fit in the size of Texas, if it were as densely populated as New York” (Kunzig 48). Though we might have just enough livable land for future populations and land for crops and livestock, plants and animals will have to find space off of what is not already being used by humans. Earth’s biodiversity and ecosystems are in jeopardy, “with two out of every three species to be in decline” (Hinrichsen). Trees provide habitats for more than “fifty percent of plants and animal species” (Zeaman 73). Forests lost range from “twenty percent to fifty percent” (Zeaman 73). In the fourteenth century Europe experienced one of the worst plagues in human history, the bubonic plague. The bubonic plague killed over “half of the people of western Europe” (Dawling). The development of better transportation routes between Asia and Europe, which allowed rats carrying infected fleas to reach European cities, coinciding with the overcrowding and unsanitary conditions within these cities created an ideal condition for the disease to spread. In...
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