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Overpopulation: The Facts and Solutions

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Overpopulation: The Facts and Solutions

This post is part of a series of Care2 Earth Day posts. Click here for more in this series.

There are currently about 7 billion people in the world…and that number continues to rise.

Overpopulation can be caused by a number of factors, including an increase in births, a decline in mortality rates, an increase in immigration, and/or an unsustainable habitat (in this case Earth) and depletion of resources. Why is overpopulation an issue? Unfortunately, it is the root of most environmental and economic concerns, such as:

- Over-harvesting of timber
- Depletion of oil
- Loss of arable land
- Ocean depletion
- Food and water shortages
- Air and water pollution
- Flooding
- Plant and animal habitat loss
- Extinction of other species
- Global warming
- Unsustainable debt-based economies
- Poverty
- Starvation
- Disease
- Elevated crime rates
- Mortality

“The world population is currently growing by 74 million people per year – the equivalent of a city the size of San Francisco every three days.”
-ABF U-Pack Moving

The Solution

When I say solution, it’s not as black and white as the word implies. Solution tends to imply “fix,” which in the case of overpopulation the only way to truly fix the problem would be to reduce the number of people. Since that is not a viable option, “solution” really means “maintenance” in this case. So when I say solution, I mean what is being done and what you can do to help the cause. Let’s start with what is being done:

- Government policies: Many believe the answer is in government policies that will ensure current and future human needs are met. These policies revolve around global issues like poverty, agriculture/food, environmental concerns, and access to reproductive health.

- Accessibility to sexual health care: There are countless organizations dedicated to helping women and youth have access to sexual and reproductive health care. Over 150 million couples do not have access to contraception worldwide, so some suggest an increase in reproductive services would be vital to the cause. In the most extreme cases, some governments have put restrictions on reproduction, such as China.

“Unlike plagues of the dark ages or contemporary diseases we do not yet understand, the modern plague of overpopulation is soluble by means we have discovered and with resources we possess.”
- Martin Luther King, Jr – May 5, 1966

-Environmental protection and research for alternative resources: A population can only grow as much as its resources, so various initiatives are aimed at preserving the environment (which is being damaged by this overpopulation issue) and looking into alternative sustainable resources. By decreasing our reliance on non-renewable resources (or ones that don’t reproduce as quickly as we consume them), some organizations are looking for a long-term solution that will help repair what damage has already been done.

- Education and empowerment: Many believe overpopulation is a result of ignorance and inaccessibility. So to curb it, many suggest that programs aimed at spreading awareness will help minimize population stresses.

There are other solutions constantly being explored, and it isn’t a one-word answer. Rather, all of these are working together to stop the overpopulation crisis.

Next: What You Can Do

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Adria Saracino

Adria Saracino is the Head of Outreach at Distilled, an Internet marketing agency, where she connects businesses and helps them establish meaningful partnerships. You can also find Adria talking and tweeting about fashion through her blog, The Emerald Closet.

87 comments

+ add your own
11:14AM PST on Feb 14, 2014

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man s needs but not for every man s greed'
- Mohandas K. Gandhi

11:10PM PDT on Jun 1, 2013

Same copy of this article is posted here:

http://peakoil.com/enviroment/overpopulation-the-facts-and-solutions

11:06AM PST on Mar 8, 2013

I have a slow but perhaps workable solution.
While the problems are many, I think we can agree that many would work against attempts
to control population, either for greed, religion, selfishness, etc. The cure is to "allow" people
to suffer the consequeces for their actions.
To that End, I'd sugest Changing the way emmigration works world wide. Allow any to emmigrate anywhere they like....as long as they can find someone to trade places with them.
that way. population pressures are internal, and those countries will have to deal with it.

9:32PM PDT on Oct 3, 2012

i think people shud realize that taking care of the environment is in our best interest, nature doesn't give a crap. it might take a million years or so but nature will end up aight its us thats effed.

3:55PM PDT on Jun 16, 2012

You`re quite right Marie. W,
when I was a child they were saying that the world population could comfortably stand on the Isle of Wight, which is a small island off the south coast of England, and thereby considerably smaller than Texas !

No doubt they`ll wait until the world population brings us to the verge of apocalypse, and then glibly announce that the world population could comfortably stand up in Alaska !

3:45PM PDT on Jun 16, 2012

The world population has just officially reached 7 Billion and there are morons out there celebrating the fact. I`ve done all I can, including keeping my commitment to never have children. Unfortunately, I feel my efforts are being trampled on by those who either won`t listen, don`t give a damn, or who are in ignorance !

5:48PM PDT on Jun 14, 2012

Check out the video's on Overpopulation is a myth! http://www.project.nsearch.com/video/7-billion-people-everybody-relax?xg_source=activity

6:39PM PDT on May 6, 2012

Thank you. Interesting for sure!

10:50PM PDT on Apr 25, 2012

Cont.
How would we ensure proper sanitation and effective waste disposal? Overcrowding, combined with inadequate sewer systems, resource scarcity and lack of infrastructure, is bound to lead to the outbreak of disease, civil unrest, conflict and destitution.
The truth is, people need much more than just the land they are standing on. In order to be healthy and safe, they need space that far exceeds the .025 acres that Texas would offer.
So take that old canard and give it the burial it needed long ago.

10:48PM PDT on Apr 25, 2012

How I hate the stupid idea="world's current population could comfortably live within the state of Texas." Its a red herring- totally misleading.
First, the initial calculation was done by Thomas Sowell in 1984, when the world's population was 4.4 billion. Its now 7 billion and growing.
It's irrelevant to discussions of overpopulation, because it does nothing to address resources or the distribution of them. Great, everyone can have 1000 square feet to squat in! What about food or water? Power- going to have any lights on?
And you could fit all the cars of the world onto the freeways of Los Angeles, but could they function? It’s one thing to “fit” into an area, and it is an entirely different issue for people to live and thrive in that same space.
The “Population in Texas” fact is often cited by people who do not understand the concept of carrying capacity. Carrying capacity estimates the number of people a certain area of land can sustain without compromising its viability.
In fact, if the entire population of the world actually lived within the Lone Star borders, each person would have just .025 acres of land on which to drive, live, go to school, grow food, and do everything else a person needs space for. It takes 0.17 acres of arable land just to feed one person a vegetarian diet without the use of pesticides or other chemical bolsters. Where would we build our houses, schools, fire stations, and hospitals? How would we ensure prope

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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