The Book of Genesis tells the story of creation of man. God said to man, "be fruitful and increase in numbers; fill the earth and subdue it." Prior to the nineteenth century, it was believed that God would provide for those who came into the world (Day 101). But, in 1798, this view was shaken by Thomas Malthus’ An Essay on the Principle of Population, in which he concluded that while population increases geometrically, agricultural production only increases arithmetically. Current evidence shows that this theory may not be far from the truth.
The world population reached 6 billion on October 12, 1999, and is expected to reach 9.3 billion by 2050! The impact of population growth is already felt by a majority of nations. The U.S. population has increased by 78% since 1950. Growing at 3,000,000 per year, U.
S. population is expected to approach half a billion people in 50 years. A number of factors drive this growth. At the most basic level, it is because far more people are born each year than die. Advances in nutrition and health care have increased survival rates and longevity for much of the world, and shifted the balance between births and deaths.
The demands of increasing population magnify demands for natural resources, clean air and water, as well as access to wilderness areas.
In the future, when there are not enough resources to go around, we will see significant scarcity, and a backlash of poverty. A number of problems lie behind scarcity and poverty. Ultimately, our own numbers, and the lifestyles many of us choose to live, drive all the critical issues we confront. Left unchecked, the combination of population growth and consumption- along with increasing inequity between rich and poor individuals and nations-will soon threaten not only the well-being, but even the lives of a majority of people on this planet.
When population levels reach a critical threshold, we then see both a decline in the resource base, and damage to the environment, which supplies all those resources. These trends reinforce each other – the damaged environment provides fewer resources, and the shortage of resources causes us to further damage the environment.
World energy needs are projected to double in the next several decades, but no credible geologist foresees a doubling of world oil production, which is projected to peak within the next few decades. Many ‘growth’ advocates will argue that the natural ingenuity of people will overcome any problems that population growth creates. Advocates of ‘sustainability’ argue that increasing population and consumption are already causing massive damage to the planet and that soil erosion, extinction of species, pollution of air and water, and deforestation are all indicators of exceeding carrying capacity. Deforestation is driven by a wide range of social and economic forces, but underlying them all is the severe growth of human population and the rising demand for land and forest products such growth creates. Due to overpopulation, and hence over-exploitation, the world’s oceans are being pushed beyond their breaking point. Eleven of the fifteen most important oceanic fisheries and seventy percent of the major fish species are now fully or over-exploited, according to.
It is impossible for people to live without forests, food, or water. Yet the world’s supply of these necessities is gravely threatened by thriving population growth.
Another issue concerning population is employment. Some growth advocates argue that their economies will suffer as the citizens age if populations do not continue to grow. Some industrialized nations with stable populations already face shortages of younger workers. The advocates believe that not only may there not be enough workers to keep up production, they suggest that there may not be enough workers to pay into retirement and medical plans to support older citizens.
As far as economic concerns, there is no shortage of workers. Instead, there is a shortage of work, with roughly one billion people unemployed or underemployed. Worker shortages in industrialized countries may be resolved by importing workers from developing regions, and by keeping older workers who choose to stay in the job market. Thus there is no need for a larger population. With the abundant growth of world population at some point there will no longer .