Human Population in the Future

Polemic Paper 2017 10 Pages

Environmental Sciences


Currently, there is more human population than the available natural resources to sustain such rising numbers of people (Mittal & Mittal, 2013). The highest rates of population increase are in the developing countries which are also characterized by poverty among other social problems. It follows therefore that these countries need to move with speed to tame and regulate the surging populations because failure to do so may mean less or no survival in the few coming years. Third world countries need to come up with policies to regulate population as this would be the only way out of the problem we could be heading into because of large populations and less resources to sustain such populations (Mittal & Mittal, 2013). It is evident that while world populations keep on increasing, the natural resources we depend on keep on reducing which means that there is too much pressure on the environment to provide what it cannot. Biodiversity is now threatened and so is the human population because humans depend almost entirely on the environment.

It is worth noting that there is more population increase in third world countries than developing countries. This difference in rates of population increase could be attributed to lack of policies to regulate population in African and other developing countries. Further, because of the uncontrolled birth rates, there is a rise in demand for many things some of them being food and shelter (Mishra, 2002). While the natural resources can easily provide us with what we want, it is important to note that we can only depend on natural environment but not for so long. The demand for food and shelter exerts pressure on agricultural land as there is need to construct more houses to cater for the rising populations. The effects of these populations on the environment are that they increase pollution, consumption of energy and also the depletion of arable land (Mishra, 2002). As it turns out, a continued increase in populations without a thought on how these populations would be sustained is suicidal. In what is termed as the ecological footprint, the population upsurge does not mean well for coming generations whereby there would be more than two billion people added on the current number of over seven billion.

A good example of the effects of uncontrolled population is Lesotho and Kenya which have been highly rated among the poor countries. In these two countries, there has been uncontrolled population growth which have ultimately led to sporadic shortages in food and almost prompted famines each year. The pressure being exerted on the environment by the upward trend in the population in these countries is becoming too much that the available natural resources cannot sustain. Further, because of uncontrolled birthrates there has also been encroachment of water catchment areas such as the Mau forest in Kenya which has been a sources of both the country’s water and also a source of political animosity between those who want to conserve the environment and those who have been forced to look for new homes because of the population pressure in their areas.

In his hypothesis, Malthus related population increase to environmental degradation and thus cautioned the world on the need for checking population trends lest they end up without something to sustain them. However, Esther Boserup disputes this on the basis that when the population increases, there would be more pressure on governments to increase its agricultural production to cater for the rising demand for food for instance (Gould, 2015). The question worth asking is, where would these lands for agricultural expansion come from when an increase in population results into demand for housing?

In Somalia, another country in the developing world, there are more than five million people being affected with famine each year. For instance, according to a United Nations report in 2016, more people were at the threat of dying from hunger because of lack of food. This included over three hundred thousand children fifty thousand of which were totally suffering from malnutrition (Iyengar, 2016).Somalia is one of the countries professing the Muslim faith which allows men to marry as many as four women most of whom have more than three children each. This does not mean well for Somalia unless certain measures are put into place to address policies on population control.

Another case is Nigeria. Nigeria has the largest number of people in Africa. As such, it does not require a genius to figure out the implications of tens of millions of people in a country on the environment. The impact of Nigeria’s population on environment has been worsening each year to the extent that congestion, soil depletion, climate change scarcity of food has become the order of the day (Theodore, 2006). While relating the scientific concept of matter occupying a limited space, Theodore (2006) argues that human beings (whom he refers to as matter) occupy a limited space (the environment). Further, he says that space is limited and the upsurge of Nigeria’s population running into hundreds of millions would be disastrous if left unchecked.

It is estimated that there is an annual increase in population by over ninety million people. This comes from the statistics from the year 2005 of about six and a half billion world population coupled with an annual growth rate of about 1.5%. In Nigeria alone, the population increase rates are already at over 2.5% (DPR Nigeria, 2005). Further, in Nigeria in a similar way as Somalia, there are quite many Muslims who are reported to encourage early marriages that have apparently contributed to the overwhelming rise in populations in the country. Theodore (2006) goes on relating the effects of population on pollution and climate change. For instance, high populations contributed to over twenty four million metric tons of carbon emissions in the year 2001. Compared to the rate of population increase stated above, one can easily conclude the impacts of such a population on the environment in the year 2017 and years to come (United Nation, 2011). Theodore concludes by crying for Nigeria as he does not see Nigeria being able to sustain its population in about twenty seven years’ time. He notes that by then Nigeria could have reached its maximum carrying capacity and probably that’s when the government would come to its senses but it would be too late to revert.

Secondly, most third world countries are still behind when it comes to many sectors. One of them is the agricultural sector which is still undergoing changes including embracing technologies among others. Consequently, the level of production seems to be lower than its levels of consumption. This has resulted in the increased importations of food products such as rice and maize. With this kind of production mess the third world countries are in, it does not support any forms of promotion of population growth. Some of these countries have been having problems feeding their growing populations in earlier years. What then could be their ability to feed their future populations which would be more compared to previous numbers coupled with unavailability of arable land among other factors of production? Definitely, the countries would be unable to cater for their rising populations.

Because of lack of creativity or regulation of their population growth rates, these countries which are still struggling with their agricultural sectors have failed to become innovative in terms of expanding their production. They have kept on relying on agriculture as the main source of livelihood and failed to take other issues such as controlling their population into concern. They have stuck on agriculture even when their arable land is being overwhelmed and depleted (Mittal & Mittal, 2013). Further, these countries characterized by massive rates of poverty have been ignorant of the need to control how they utile their natural resources by embarking on development projects that in turn come to harm the environment. While other countries in the developed world are busy researching on how to produce for instance environmentally friendly cars and products, these peasant countries are still struggling with social problems they could have averted had they put in place proper laws and policies. As such, it becomes a concern especially when populations increase yet the same means of sustaining themselves are being degraded (Mittal & Mittal, 2013). It follows therefore, that unless these countries concentrate on other means of production, they would end up depleting all their resources leaving their overwhelming populations to die in hunger and from effects of global warming among other factors that they could have avoided had they put in place the right policies on population control et al.

Third world countries have had clean environment and a lot of resources were still unexplored. This was so in the early nineteenth century but now things have drastically changed. With improved health developments in the world they can now be declared free of any diseases. This has in turn reduced mortality rates prompting an increase in population throughout the developing countries. Despite changes in world technology among other areas, poor countries have stuck to their old ways and instead of thinking of years to come, they keep on sleeping and thinking that all is well. Consequently, their populations have continued to increase thanks to medical advancements resulting into pressure on the environment. Resources have continued to be depleted by the increasing populations leading to climate and environmental concerns.



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Title: Human Population in the Future