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Essay, Paragraph or Speech on “Population Explosion” Complete Essay, Speech for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

Population Explosion

The population explosion in the last one hundred years is a well-documented and well-examined subject matter. All sorts of agencies have devoted time and resources to studying, problematizing, and strategizing in order to deal with the threat of overpopulation. Diverse groups, including the United Nations, have developed plans to encourage population control and decreased fertility rates. However, one will say that population control in Third World nations have become an essential component of public policy, and have taken on many forms around the world. However, it seems possible that we are all jumping the gun. What if the population explosion is a self-correcting problem? There is some evidence that global fertility rates are naturally declining, even in areas without family planning and population control.

Overpopulation is thought of simply as crowding: too many people in a given area, too high a population density. Density is generally irrelevant to questions of overpopulation. For instance, if brute density were the criterion, one would have to conclude that Africa is ‘‘under-populated,” because it has only 55 people per square mile, while Europe (excluding the USSR) has 261 and Japan 857. A more sophisticated measure would take into consideration the amount of Africa not covered by desert or “impenetrable” forest. This more habitable portion is just a little over half the continent’s area, giving an effective population density of 117 per square mile. That’s still only about a fifth of that in the United Kingdom. Even by 2020, Africa’s effective density is projected to grow to only about that of France today and few people would consider France excessively crowded or overpopulated.

When people think of crowded countries, they usually contemplate places like the Netherlands (1,031 per square mile), Taiwan (1,604), or Hong Kong (14,218). Even those don’t necessarily signal overpopulation—after all, the Dutch seem to be thriving, and doesn’t Hong Kong have a booming economy and fancy hotels? In short, if density were the standard of overpopulation, few nations (and certainly not Earth itself) would be likely to be considered overpopulated in the near future. The error lies in trying to define overpopulation in terms of density; it has long been recognized that density per se means very little.

The key to understanding overpopulation is not population density but the numbers of people in an area relative to its resources and the capacity of the environment to sustain human activities; that is, to the area’s carrying capacity. When is an area overpopulated? When its population can’t be maintained without rapidly depleting nonrenewable resources and without degrading the capacity of the environment to support the population. In short, if the long-term carrying capacity of an area is clearly being degraded by its current human occupants, that area is overpopulated.

By this standard, the entire planet and virtually every nation is already vastly overpopulated. Africa is overpopulated now because, among other indications, its soils and forests are rapidly being depleted—and that implies that its carrying capacity for human beings will be lower in the future than it is now. The United States is overpopulated because it is depleting its soil and water resources and contributing mightily to the destruction of global environmental systems. Europe, Japan, the Soviet Union, and other rich nations are overpopulated because of their massive contributions to the carbon dioxide buildup in the atmosphere, among many other reasons.

Almost all the rich nations are overpopulated because they are rapidly drawing down stocks of resources around the world. They don’t live solely on the land in their own nations. Like the profligate son of our earlier analogy, they are spending their capital with no thought for the future. Concern about population problems among citizens of rich countries generally focuses on rapid population growth in most poor nations. But the impact of humanity on Earth’s life support systems is not just determined by the number of people alive on the planet. It also depends on how those people behave. When this is considered, an entirely different picture emerges: the main population problem is in wealthy countries. There are, in fact, too many rich people.

The amount of resources each person consumes, and the damage done by the technologies used to supply them, need to be taken as much into account as the size of the population. In theory, the three factors should be multiplied together to obtain an accurate measurement of the impact on the planet. Unhappily, Governments do not keep statistics that allow the consumption and technology factors to be readily measured—so scientists substitute per capita energy consumption to give a measure of the effect each person has on the environment.

In traditional societies—more or less in balance with their environments—that damage may be self-repairing. Wood cut for fires or structures regrows, soaking up the carbon dioxide produced when it was burned. Water extracted from streams is replaced by rainfall. Soils in fields are regenerated with the help of crop residues and animal manures. Wastes are broken down and reconverted into nutrients by the decomposer organisms of natural ecosystems.

At the other end of the spectrum, paving over fields and forests with concrete and asphalt, mining the coal and iron necessary for steel production with all its associated land degradation, and building and operating automobiles, trains and airplanes that spew pollutants into the atmosphere, are all energy-intensive processes. So are drilling for and transporting oil and gas, producing plastics, manufacturing chemicals (from DDT and synthetic nitrogen fertilizers to chlorofluorocarbons and laundry detergents) and building power plants and dams. Industrialized agriculture uses enormous amounts of energy—for ploughing, planting, fertilizing and controlling weeds and insect pests and for harvesting, processing, shipping, packing, storing and selling foods. So does industrialized forestry for timber and paper production.

Among the negative trends they bet would continue were: rising global temperature, shrinking amount of cropland per person, decline in amount of wheat and rice grown per person, shrinking area of tropical moist forests, decreasing oceanic fish harvest per person, increasing number of people dying of AIDS, declining human sperm count, growing gap between rich and poor.

It is impossible to say exactly how direct measures of human well-being will be impacted by the general deterioration of Earth’s life-support systems. We know, however, that deterioration makes society increasingly vulnerable to severe negative impacts. Hence all the people should realize that in order to save the planet we need to lessen the burden on it and work for a better future for our next generation.

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