Is Limiting Population a Key Factor in Protecting the Global Environment

Topics: World population, Overpopulation, Green Revolution Pages: 7 (2214 words) Published: March 21, 2004

Population growth is one of the major environmental issues today. Some people argue, that rapidly growing population is not only problem and humans will not destroy life-support system on which we all depend. Contrary some argue that growing population is a key driver factor of environmental destruction. The purpose of this research project is to explain the main arguments of both sides and to recommend possible action in order to face with most important problems. Many countries see contradictory the problem of population growth. Those country with relatively low population growth but high rates of consumption said that the population is a main problem. On the other hand countries with low level of consumption but high birth rates said that the consumption is a main problem. This debate is one of the main issues in modern view of environment, so which policy we should apply? Should we try to reduce population growth or consumption, or perhaps both?

2.Human population History

According to Cunningham (2000) for a most of human history, population growth was very slow. Many studies of hunting and gathering societies show that the total world population wasn't more than a few million people before innovation of agriculture and the domestication of animals around 10,000 years ago. The bigger and more secure food supply results in human population to growth, reaching perhaps 50 million people (b.c). Moreover, some historical evidence and description suggest that only about 300 million people were living at the time of Christ. During the Middle Age, many diseases and wars held world population. The main reasons were lack of hygiene and life condition and as consequence made human life short and uncertain. During the most destructive disease, plaque that took many lives between 1348 and 1350, it is estimated that at least one-third of European population perished. At the end of last great plague, there ware about 600 million people on the earth. After 1600 human population increase rapidly and in 1800 reach one billion. It took a century and a half more to reach the 1950 figure of 2.5 billion. But in a post World War II period the populations was doubled in less than forty years, and exceed 5 billion. By the year 2000 world population had passed six billion. Today we are facing with a human population explosion, in other words every second approximately four or five children are born somewhere on the earth and in the same second two other people die. This means that we have increasing by an average of 250,000 in human population per day, which is equivalent of another Switzerland every 30 days, and a new China every 30 years.


When we discussed population growth we must consider that 90% of the projected growth come from undeveloped or currently developed nations of Asia, Africa and Latin America. In these developing countries there are a number of socio-economic realities that lead women to have more children. In economies that depend on family or communal agriculture, children are an economic assets: they provide a valuable labour and the cost of rising them are very low. Many communities around the world still have limited access on adequate health care facilities, which often result in a high infant mortality rates and low life expectancy. When family lose, on average one in tree or four children they usually chose to have as many as it possible in order to maximize the number of children that will survive. On the other hand in developed countries where there are fewer educational and carrier opportunities, there tends to be earlier marriage and child - bearing. In some countries woman often start having babies when they are 15 years old, which result in more children per couple

3. Limiting population as a central strategy in protecting environment

The debate about whether human population growth is a fundamental cause...

References: Aaron org. (1999) Population Growth and Sprawl. [On line] Available from: Accessed: 17.11.2002
AESP, December 2000 Population: The neglected Element in the Greenhouse Debate [On line] Available from: Accessed: 15.11.2002
Cunningham and Saigo, Environmental Science, Global Concern, McGraw Hull, 7th edition, 2002 p. 137-158
Harris M. J. (2001) Population and Environment. [on line] Available from: Accessed: 17.11.2002.
Goldford D.T. Taking sides: Clashing views on controversial Environmental issues, Dushkin/McGraw-Hill, 8th edition, 1999.
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