Can the Earth Support the Constant Growth of Population?
Overpopulation, a problem that only top tier sci-fi antagonists are willing to solve, but superheroes won’t let them. Jokes aside, it is believed that overpopulation is one of the big problems, as human numbers are growing but the Earth stays the same. So, the question is whether this growth is sustainable or will it be our undoing? Well, the good news is that it’s not as bad as we imagine it, but it is still a problem in a way. Here we will explore the topic in more detail, and hopefully provide you with the answers you are looking for.
The real issue
10,000 years ago there were probably only a few million people on the planet, and it is only that in the early 1800s that the number went over one billion, and a hundred years later that number doubled. Currently, there are around 7.3 billion people on the planet, and it is expected that by the year 2050 there will be 9.7 billion. And yes, the world hunger still exists on one side of the planet whereas on the other people are throwing their food away.
The problem is not the number of people, the problem is the number of consumers and how much they can consume. If there is one thing we demonstrated as a race is that we have the capability to bolster production of something if there is a demand for it, but very often it is the environment that pays the price. To quote Gandhi – “The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.”
Places where growth is problematic
Typically, areas with the most growth are countries with low and middle income. Once again this does not pose a major problem since urbanities with low income also have a low rate of consumption. Furthermore, these places also have a lower carbon dioxide emission rate, which once again indicates that overpopulation there does not have consequences on a global scale.
It is more developed and more wealthy places that make a great impact on the planet (in the majority of cases, there are some exceptions). In other words, we can achieve a better balance if people in high-income areas agree to practice lower-carbon emission lifestyles. Luckily, in some forward-thinking geographies, this is very well the case, and cities set themselves up with benchmark emission goals that they are striving to meet.
Other places, on the other hand, have different opinions on the topic. Some believe that countries with high production industry like China should take responsibility for their greenhouse gas emission rate, while some think that consumers should also adjust their demands.
Currently, alternative and renewable energy sources are being developed and with rapid advancement, some of these main issues can be adequately dealt with. Also, there is no point in speculating whether we will be able to sustain a population of 11 billion in the year 2120 because 2 billion people won’t just appear out of thin air. It is very possible that once the population reaches 9 billion that the numbers will start to decrease, so it makes no sense to worry about that now.