The Enviromnetal Degradation As A Result
Of Overpopulation Essay, Research Paper
There are merely excessively many people on our planet, and the population is non demoing any marks of
decelerating down ( see Figure 1 ) . It is holding black effects on our environment. There are excessively many
deductions and interrelatednesss to discourse in this paper, but the three substances that our Earth
consists of: land, H2O and air, are being destroyed. Our woods are being cut down at an alarming
rate, bearing tremendous impacts on the wellness of Earth. Our oceans and seas are being polluted and
overfished. Our ambiance is injected with increasing sums of C dioxide, which hurts the
full planet. All of these jobs can be traced to our vast, quickly spread outing population, which has
stressed our universe far excessively greatly.
In 1994, the universe population was 5 602 800 000. This population had a doubling clip of merely
forty-one old ages ( De Blij and Muller, 1994, p.527 ) . The monolithic sum of people has had extremely
destructive impacts on the Earth? s environment. These impacts occur on two degrees: planetary and local. On
the planetary degree, there is the accretion of green house gases that deplete the ozone bed, the
extinction of species, and a planetary nutrient deficit. On the local degree, there is eroding of dirts ( and
the loss of flora ) , the depletion of H2O supply, and toxification of the air and H2O. The Earth
is dynamic though, all of these facets are interrelated, and no one impact is wholly isolated. All
of these destructive elements can be traced to our tremendous population. As the population additions, so
make all of the economic, societal, and technological impacts.
The construct of impulse of population growing is one that must be considered. It states that
countries with traditionally high birthrate rates will hold a really immature construction age. Therefore, a lessening in
the birthrate rate will still ensue in a greater absolute figure of births,
as there are more possible female parents. Populations are really slow in seting to lessenings in birthrate
rates. This is particularly scaring when sing that South Asia has a population of 1 204 600
000 ( and a doubling clip of 30 two old ages ) , Subsaharan Africa has 528 000 000 ( duplicating clip: 30
one old ages ) , and North Africa/Southwest Asia has 448 100 000 ( duplicating clip: 20 seven old ages ) ( De Blij
and Muller, 1994, p. 529-531 ) and all of these countries have traditionally high birthrate rates.
Although 3rd universe states do hold a far larger population than industrialised states, and
the tendency is invariably increasing, their populations should non bear the duty for our
population-enduced degrading environment. The impact we make on the biosphere is sometimes expressed
mathematically by ecological economic experts as I = PAT. I being impact, P population, A richness
( ingestion ) , and T engineering ( environmentally bad engineering ) ( Ehrlich and Ehrlich, 1990, p.24 ) .
Concern sing population additions frequently focuses on the 3rd universe, since it is at that place that growing is
exponential. Yet, it is necessary to acknowledge that people are by no agencies equal or identical in their
ingestion, and therefore their impact on the environment ( see Map 2 ) .
? The sky is held up by the trees. If the forest disappears the sky, which is the roof of the universe
prostrations. Nature and adult male perish together. ?
– Amerindian fable
Forests are a cherished nexus in the life systems of our planet. They are a portion of these critical
ecosystem services without which Earth would non hold been habitable by the human species in the first
topographic point and would surely hold become inhabitable once more. Forests have important functions in the C,
N, and O rhythms that nourish and sustain life on Earth. They protect the water partings that
support agriculture and influence clime and rainfall ( Lindahl-Kiessling, 1994, p.167 ) . They save the dirt
from eroding and are home to 1000s of species, and forest peoples whose lives depend on them. They
are besides a beginning for industrial and medical intents.
In developing states, much deforestation is for both local intents and for export. The UNFPA
( United Nations Fund for Population Activities ) said in it? s 1990 study that population growing may hold
been responsible for every bit much as 80 per centum of the forest land cleared between 1971 and 1986 to do
room for agribusiness, cowss ranching, houses, roads and industries ( Ramphal, 1992, p.55 ) . It is
estimated that in that period about 60 million hectares of forest were converted to farmland and a
similar sum of wood was put to non-agricultural utilizations. This is tantamount to the mass of 12
hundred square meters of wood added to the population ( Ramphal, 1992, p. 57 ) .
Quite frequently, countries of forest were cleared in such a manner ( ex. : cut and burn ) that they will
ne’er turn back. After a forest country has been converted to croping lands or intensive agriculture, the dirt
will merely prolong it for a few old ages. Then the land is left lifeless.
The increasing demand for fuel wood as populations expand is another of import factor taking to
deforestation. In most developing countries, wood is the primary beginning of fuel. In many of these countries,
the demand for fuel wood is lifting at about the rate of population growing, and in front of the devastation
committed by lumbermans ( see Figure 2 )
( Hardaway, 1994, p.201 ) . Peoples are distributing out farther and farther to make fresh forested countries to
run into their fuel demands. It should besides be noted that when wood is unavailable, carnal droppings is burned for
fuel. This diverts a great value of nutrition from the dirt.
Developed states deplete their woods at a rate that is merely as alarming, and are a great
beginning of the demand for wood from developing states. The primary usage of this wood is for industrial
intents, i.e. the building of goods and capital goods. Again, the ingestion of persons here
is far greater than those in the 3rd universe, so their impacts are non much different overall.
The decrease of forest land possesses two chief environmental dangers. Forests are great natural
depositories of C. Trees breathe in C dioxide and shop it, moving as C reservoirs. As
such, they are priceless agents in maintaining the degree of C in the ambiance stable. As woods
are destroyed worldwide, particularly by firing, C dioxide is released into the air, adding to the
stock of nursery gases that are now warming our planet and altering its clime. The adverse of this
negative consequence of forest loss on clime is the positive function of woods in modulating the ambiance
and climate through their life-support services ( see Tables 1 and 2 ) ( Ramphal, 1992, 69 ) .
Forest land is besides the universe? s chief depot of species, the workss, animate beings, birds, and
insects with which Earth has been blessed. Tropical woods expand approximately between ten grades North and
South of the equator. In a little part of the Earth lies about half of Earth? s biological species,
many endemic. The rapid rate of deforestation is wipe outing our bio-diversity.
Desertification is closely related with deforestation. Again, woods are rather frequently cleared in
an particularly destructive mode, rendering them lifeless. This finally leaves the land waste.
Agricultural force per unit areas are the other premier population-enduced beginning of
desertification. Increasing populations in developing states drive people into desiccant and desiccant
parts to farm. Trying to farm in countries that are already hapless or unsuitable may
damage the dirts irreparably. Another indirect cause is as population additions in these small towns, so
does the figure of caprine animals, which are a beginning of meat and milk. The caprine animals ( which multiply quickly as
good ) are left to roll the countryside, and gnaw the dirts greatly while making so ( Lourdes, 1994,
p.376 ) ( see Map 1 ) .
Our woods are priceless resource to all. Not merely for the wood, but as they maintain life on
Earth. They are go oning to be destroyed at a rate that will non allow their return when humanity
recognize its mistakes. Our woods are possibly the most threatened facet of Earth as a consequence of
population growing, and the 1 that we can least afford to lose.
Axial rotation on, thou deep and dark bluish Ocean & # 8212 ; axial rotation!
Ten 1000 fleets sweep over thee in vain ;
Man marks the Earth with ruin & # 8211 ; his control
Michigans with the shore.
– from Childe Harold, by Byron
In the early 1990? s, the province of the universe? s piscaries made headlines. Many coastal countries of
North America have tried to restrict their gimmicks, or hold them all together. It has been recognized that
farther harvest home could destruct a valuable nutrient resource and aquatic bio-diversity. Our population
growing has begun to out gait that of the aquatic life.
These stairss against huge ocean harvest home are change by reversaling the tendency of recent decennaries. A planetary
seafood crop of 20 two million dozenss in 1950 increased to one hundred million dozenss in 1989 ( see
Figure 3 ) ( Brown, 1994, p. 82 ) . For the mean individual, seafood ingestion doubled. All of this did non
occur without effects.
The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization concluded that 17 of the universe? s major fishing
parts are presently harvested at or beyond their capacity, and nine are in a province of diminution ( Ramphal,
1992, p. 35 ) . A deficiency of proper direction will merely take to farther. As the idea of a hereafter planetary
nutrient deficit looms, overfishing could go particularly destructive.
Whereas overfishing is a direct method of humanity and overpopulation consuming fish stocks
worldwide, pollution is an indirect manner. The Aral Sea between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan yielded 40
thousand dozenss of seafood in 1960 ( Brown and Kane, 1994, p. 94 ) . The river that fed it was diverted for
irrigation. The sea became progressively salty, and is now biologically dead. Approximately one tierce of
the universe population lives within 60 kilometers of a coastline ( Ehrlich and Ehrlich, 1970, p.125 ) .
This obviously leaves the oceans and lakes vulnerable to a great trade of pollution ( see Map 1 ) . The
run-off of H2O tainted with phosphates from fertilisers is a major subscriber. In many developing
counties ( and to a lesser extent, developed states ) unprocessed sewerage
and industrial waste is pumped or dumped straight into riv
Ers and oceans. Global heating besides has an
consequence on the universe? s piscaries. The increased extremist violet beams that enter our ambiance kill
phytoplankton in the Arctic by an increased 20 per centum ( Brown and Kane, 1994, p. 118 ) . These are a
great resource of marine production, as they are the beginning of the aquatic nutrient concatenation.
As populations of many municipalities grow, their sewerage intervention installations are rapidly
outgrown. Industry grows every bit good, spiting a huge array of contaminations into our H2O supply: lead,
detergents, sulphuric acid, hydrofluoric acid, phenols, benzines, ammonium hydroxide and so on ( Ehrlich and Ehrlich,
1970, p.203 ) . As population and industry grow, so does the demand for increased agricultural production.
This consequences in a heavier water-borne burden of pesticides, weedkillers and nitrates. A consequence is the
spread of pollution in watercourses, rivers, lakes and along coasts. This spread of pollution is non
confined to merely these parts, as it besides enters the groundwater where purification is about
The oceans are a cherished beginning of nutrient. If they were lost, there would be a greater focal point on
agribusiness. Agricultural streeses are already destroying the planet. Therefore, the oceans must be carefully
monitored, to guarantee that they are non being overexploited. Pollution into H2O is besides destructing the
fish and aqua civilization. This could take to a great loss of the planet? s bio-diversity. That in itself
has untold effects.
Think how the Crown of Earth? s creative activity
Will slay that which gave him birth,
Rending out the slow uterus of Earth
– from The Golden Gate, by Vikram Seth
The H2O vapor and C dioxide of course present in our atmosphere absorb and block merely
plenty get awaying heat to maintain the planet at an mean temperature of 15 grades Celsius ( Ramphal,
1992, p. 97 ) . As the sum of C dioxide in the ambiance increases, more and more heat is kept
in. Carbon dioxide is besides the gas emitted when we burn fossil fuels ; therefore an addition in the sum of
dodo fuel burned consequences in more C dioxide in the environment. We besides add new nursery gases
like CFC? s which are compounds of our ain devising. Together, these two groups of emanations, produced
chiefly by developed states, history for some 80 per centum of planetary heating ( Arizpe, 1994.
p.12 ) . Carbon dioxide emanations and CFC? s are removed really easy from the environment. The
Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change warned that? even if all human made emanations of C
dioxide were halted by the twelvemonth 1990, about one half of the addition in C vitamin D!
ioxide concentration caused by human activities would still be apparent in 2100? ( Ramphal, 1992, p. 119 ) .
Carbon dioxide histories for half of planetary heating, and fossil fuels account for two-thirds of
manmade C dioxide ( Ehrlich and Ehrlich, 1970, p.134 ) . The ingestion of energy from fossil fuels.
Coal, oil, and natural gas used for industrial, commercial, residential, transit and other
intents consequences in big emanations. Therefore, the energy sector histories for about half of planetary heating,
40 six per centum. Industry through CFC? s, histories for about another one-fourth, twenty four per centum.
The staying one-fourth or so is shared by forestry, through deforestation, and by agribusiness
through methane from farm animal and rice cultivation ( Ramphal, 1992, p. 201 ) . With action to phase out
CFC? s already spurred by the dismay over depletion of the ozone bed, it is
clearly the ingestion of energy from fossil fuels that attending must be focused on if humanity is to
face up to the deductions of planetary heating ( see Map 2 ) .
Highly caustic sulphuric acids and azotic acids are formed when oxides of S and N
combine with H2O vapor in the air ( Lourdes, 1994, p.158 ) . These oxides are spewed out as gases
chiefly by electricity-generating workss, smelters, and industrial boilers that burn coal and oil.
Nitrogen oxides besides come from car fumes. The acids return to earth in rain, snow, and fog, and
are besides deposited straight from the air and trees. The pollutants travel long distances on prevailing
air currents, of class taking no history of national boundary lines, so that the S dioxide produced in one
state frequently ends up in another.
Many polluted countries rainfall in the universe can fall every bit low as 3.5 on the pH graduated table, which is
between the acerb content of apple juice and lemon juice ( Ehrlich and Ehrlich, 1990, p.182 ) . Most fish dice
at pH degrees below five. Therefore, many lakes and watercourses around to a great extent polluted countries are left without
fish. Even at 3.5, which is the OECD norm, we are accepting rain that is a hundred more times acidic
than it should be ( Brown, 1994, p.182 ) . Not merely fish and lakes and rivers are deceasing, but woods as
The IPCC estimated that if emanations of nursery gases continues to turn as presently
projected, planetary mean temperatures will increase at the rate of about 0.3 grades Celsius each decennary
over the following century, which is a rate of addition greater than that of all time seen over the past 10 1000
old ages ( Ramphal, 1992, p. 77 ) . These predicted alterations seem little, but are really of great magnitude. A
rise of even a grade or two could hold terrible reverberations, changing forms of rainfall,
escalating drouth, raising the sea degree, doing inundations and storms, and impacting agriculture, the
handiness of nutrient, and
wellness ( Ramphal, 1992, p. 77 ) . What nature has tried to convey about over millenary may be achieved in
four decennaries. It may besides look that this gradual heating may profit states
in the upper latitudes, but in the long tally at that place would be no victors. These alterations will be to sudden
for ecosystems to get by.
The addition of nursery gases into our ambiance could besides speed up the terminal of life on
Earth. The depletion of the ozone harms virtually all facets of life. The woods are the lone factor
maintaining this under some grade of control, and they are being destroyed. The ozone bed has shown
recent marks of convalescence, and it is perfectly necessary.
Humanity is engendering itself into a corner. If population growing continues on its current way,
ecosystems will be subjected to greater and greater emphasiss of assorted kinds. Since the universe is so
dynamic, and all the types of impacts made on the environment, including those non straight mentioned in
this paper, are interrelated, fault can non genuinely be laid on any one subdivision of the universe. Not on the
developing states with the bulk of the population and fastest growing, nor the developed
states whose richness extremely exceeds that of those in the developing states. A conjunct
attempt will be required by all states to minimise their impacts.
The primary end for most developing states should be to cut down their birthrate rates. This
will necessitate a great trade of birth control and household planning. Medical demands and engineerings will besides
be required to better conditions so that households do non experience the demand to hold every bit many kids. There
is a minor fright that if conditions are improved excessively greatly, that these people will seek and obtain the
richness of those in the developed states, and potentially go even more destructive towards the
Developed states must seek to cut down both their richness and ( environmentally bad )
engineering. Government ordinances must go stricter sing the impacts made on the environment
by all sectors of the economic system ( industrial, residential, etc. ) .
Economicss is closely associated with population related environmental debasement. With the
increased population comes an addition in demand for perfectly everything. Industries compete to acquire
their merchandises and services out at the lowest possible cost, frequently without much respect towards the
Overpopulation of our planet could turn out to be cataclysmal. The following few coevalss may populate in
a universe that is far, far worse off than we presently are. If society
is to go on along it? s current tendencies, the environment will fall in, and drag humanity with it. It
will merely non be plenty to seek and better engineering. Birth rates must be
drastically cut, in a the most humanist manner possible. Merely concentrating on one specific facet of these
impacts will non do other. The biosphere is woven in a really complicated mode. We are unknoting
it rapidly, and it must be stopped to continue Earth in all its beauty.
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3. De Blij, H.J. and Muller, Peter O. Geography: Realms, Regions and Concepts. New York: John Wiley
and Sons, 1994.
4. Ehrlich, Paul and Ehrlich, Anne. Population Explosion. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1990.
5. Ehrlich, Paul and Ehrlich, Anne. Population Resources Environment. San Francisco: Wilt
Freeman and Co. , 1970.
6. Hardaway, Robert. Population, Law, and Environment. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1994.
7. Lindahl-Kiessling, Kerstin. Population, Economy, Development and Environment. Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 1994.
8. Lutz, Wolfgang. The Future Population of the World. London: Earthscan Publications Ltd. ,
9. Ramphal, Shridath. Our State, The Planet. London: Lime Tree, 1992.
10. Schlaepfer, Rudolph. Long Term Implications of Climate Change and Air Pollution on Forest
Ecosystems. Vienna: IUFRO, 1994.
11. Stanford, Quentin H. Canadian Oxford World Atlas. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1993.
Table OF CONTENTS
Our Population 1
Our Forests 3
Our Oceans 6
Our Atmosphere 8
List OF FIGURES
Figure 1 13
Toatal Projected Population 1990 & # 8211 ; 2100 Harmonizing to Scenario
Figure 2 16
Time Series of Fuelwood and Charcoal Production
Figure 3 17
World Fish Catch, 1950 -1992
Map 1 18
Map 2 19
List OF TABLES
Table 1 14
Effectss of Global Warming
Table 2 15
Certainty of Climatic Change and It? s Direct Effectss on Vegetation