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Overpopulation and Environment

The beginning of the twenty-first century is marked by the trends of globalization and urbanization, which are closely attached to the issue of overpopulation. The major focuses of the problems are conglomerates that are centered around cities like Mexico, New York, Tokyo and others, each of these megacities counting over ten or even twenty million people. Huge consumption results in pollution of the air and the exhaustion of water and food resources. Thus, some mechanisms of control should be created for both solving the environmental issues and decreasing the trend of extreme population growth.

The first issue that the world has to deal with is the global natural resources crisis that humanity has to expect within the period of several generations. The idea of sustainable resources has been widely discussed for the recent two decades, yet its implementation is still being planned. The growth of population in cities is marked by the increase of car numbers, which causes two problems: bigger gasoline consumption, which is directly linked to oil problem, and higher rates of air pollution. Thus, authorities take measures to resolve the issue in two ways: by implementation of more aggressive mileage regulation and by introduction of alternative fuels like natural gas and alternative vehicles like hybrid gasoline-electricity cars. However, the manufacturers are reluctant to invest into the new technologies because they believe that this will significantly raise the cost of cars. As a result, they predict that lower number of people will be able to afford fuel-efficient cars, so old cheaper models will become more popular, which will prove an impediment to achieving the goal.

Apart from cars, higher energy consumption is expected in all areas due to overpopulation, so alternative sustainable resources like solar and wind energy should be developed more extensively.

Another global issue related to overpopulation is limited food and water supplies and growing need for resources to maintain animal farming and agriculture. Indeed, this issue has some lifestyle, cultural and morals aspects and is rooted in the fact that the culture of meat eating requires huge resources in order to feed the stock, including both crops and water. In this situation, a big share of world’s population is suffering because of starvation and has military conflicts because of water resources lacks. Hence, this issue is very sensitive and can be theoretically improved by changing eating and consumption habits of Western civilization, though experts would agree that this sounds utopic.

Some researchers believe that such a rapid increase of population can be stopped by treating it in the social context: “We can elevate the autonomy of women to make life-changing decisions for themselves. We can lower birth rates by assuring that women become pregnant only when they themselves decide to bear a child” (Engleman). However, how long will it take to transform the consciousness of women in such a way in countries like India? Besides, speaking about population growth control, experience of China should be mentioned as quite controversial. Because of their policy “one family-one child” they managed to stop a massive growth of population, yet faced up another one: aging of population, which can have negative economic outcome. Yet, most of the experts are quite worried about the prospect of having seven billion of people this year, which will turn into ten billion in near future.

All in all, overpopulation is a complex issue and cannot be resolved by applying one or even several solutions. A whole complex of measures should be taken to minimize the negative outcomes, and these efforts need to be made on all levels: environmental, economical, societal and ethical.

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