The problem of overpopulation and how we can work to solve it

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The world population is growing at a rapid speed and while America may not yet feel the impact of the earth’s overpopulation, many other countries are losing resources and lack basic needs.

As of Oct. 31, the world is now home to seven billion people.

Every time we turn on the television, we see a commercial, or several, asking us to donate money to some third-world country where children don’t have access to schools, food or even clean water. Is this the case of a poor nation or rather the effects of overpopulation? Maybe the best answer to this problem would be the spread of birth control.

According to National Geographic, these areas have the greatest population growth, which in turn results in limited resources available to those in need. The world’s fastest growing population is in Africa.

“Nearly three-fifths of the 4.8 billion people in developing countries lack basic sanitation, almost a third have no access to clean water, a quarter lack adequate housing, and a fifth lack access to modern health services,” states National Geographic’s website on overpopulation.

At the beginning of time, the world was created with an exact amount of resources, which cannot be identically replicated by man, such as water.

According to World Population Awareness, “We are now using between 1.2 and 1.5 planets worth of resources that can be sustainably supported. Before mid-century we will need the capacity of two Earths to keep up with our level of demand.”

In 1900, there were just under two billion people living on earth and somehow, we as a people managed to grow that number by more than 300 percent in just over a hundred years.

According to the Population Reference Bureau (PRB), 6.5 percent of the 108 billion people who were ever born are living today. That number might seem small at first glance, but think about it for a minute, that’s 6.5 percent of everyone since 50,000 B.C.

The problem of overpopulation seems to have a strong correlation to global warming with humans using more than what the Earth can provide for them.

We have all heard of ways to save the Earth, in fact, “going green” has become the new fashion trend as well as preserving the Earth’s goods. “Green is the new black,” as they say. However, even with everyone using a limited amount of water or other natural resources, there will eventually come a time when there just isn’t enough to go around.

But it takes more than just going green to change this effect of overpopulation on Earth. The problem also lies in the effects of poverty; nearly half of the world’s population lives on less than two dollars a day, according to PRB.

So what do we do, put a regulation on how many children each woman or couple can have? That seems highly unlikely and pretty much impossible without physically controlling each woman’s egg count.

While PRB’s President Wendy Baldwin has said that population growth has declined to 1.2 percent per year, it still isn’t slow enough. This number means the human population is still growing rather than staying the same.

Rather than sending money over to these third-world countries for only food (which of course is important), they should also invest in birth control.

Not only would birth control help to slow the population growth rate, but it can also help to prevent the high rate for infant deaths in those countries.

Less than 5 percent of people in most countries in Africa use contraceptives according to the  U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.

If this number was higher and more people were aware of the benefits of birth control, and it was accessible to them, it would help everyone and the planet overall.

According to the International Planned Parenthood Foundation (IPPF), “Promoting birth control in Africa faces a host of obstacles – patriarchal customs, religious taboos, ill-equipped public-health systems – but experts also cite a powerful, more distant force: the U.S. government.”

Under President George W. Bush, billions of dollars were given to Africa to help their struggle with AIDS, however, he prohibited its use toward family planning services, according to IPPF.

An example of how well family planning and contraceptives can work for the problem with population appears in our very own home.

In 1972, the Supreme Court legalized birth control for all United States citizens. Since then, the population growth rate in the U.S. has gone down significantly.

If we can find a way to bring our knowledge and access to birth control to everyone on the planet, we can help slow the rates of population growth over time.

Courtesy U.S. Census Bureau


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  • BigMac

    The author doesn’t know much about science. “At the beginning of time, the world was created with an exact amount of resources, which cannot be identically replicated by man, such as water.” Just combine hydrogen and oxygen in the lab and stand back.

    People have been crying about over population since the dawn of time. I’m looking forward to a future with lots more people. Someone has to pay for my social security benefits.

    • Somebody

      Such a ‘selfless’ thought. “Someone has to pay for my social security benefits.” Yeah, right. To create more people who can pay for your social security, you will need to make sure those future people do have enough resources to go by. Peak oil is here, clean fresh water is depleting, and we still do not have the ultimate replacement for oil. And all you care about is your social benefits.

      • David the small-L libertarian

        BigMac is joking, my friend.  But really, he’s not.  Europe has to import people to keep its welfare state going; and even that’s not working.

      • BigMac

        Yes, I am a SOB. Now get a good job and start paying taxes. I really would like to be able to retire someday.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003022775351&sk=wall Students for Liberty

    I love how the objection to enacting forceful birth control isn’t on moral grounds, but simply because it’s technologically impossible.