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The Impacts of Overpopulation on the Earth

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The increasing or an extreme number of people occupying a particular area at a certain time within limited space with different mindsets is often termed Overpopulation. The Earth’s total population in 2015 has reached exactly 7.3 billion and was assumed that before 2050 it will increase rapidly up to nine billion or ranges between 9-12 billion. And that suggests it clearly as the actions and outcome of uncontrolled natality rates and or advances in medicine and immigration rates by the population which easily accelerate the changes in ecological niches by destroying all the biomes in different diversities (Sala et al., 2000; UN, 2015). Out of the 49 least civilized countries, their yearly population growth status is exactly 1.2% and these will be tripled by the developing regions in different hemispheres of the globe with an estimation of 1.2% annually in 2009 (UN, 2009). The constant diminishing and degradation of biodiversity will be a classical result of accelerated population growth worldwide (Harte, 2007). Rapid population growth has resulted in a decline in the bio-capacity, that causes desertification and global warming. And these are the points or ideas that will be elaborated further in the following paragraphs.

The human consumption rate of resources is accelerating rapidly when the Earth’s population has boomed over the past years. And that actions simultaneously erupt and rise by putting more pressure on our environment through the continuous elimination of its purity at an alarming rate. And that is often called the decline in Biocapacity. Biocapacity is the sum of resources available to people at a specific moment in time to a specific population, supply and to differentiate it between ecological footprints that is the demand constructive to the half of the growing population in a regional ecosystem. Vinod (2012), stated that; “A rapid growth of the Earth`s population between the previous centuries has provoked the destruction of various biomes in different geographical locations that affects their ecological diversities (niches) by permitting species to extinct’’. An increase in the global population can result in a decrease in the biocapacity. The World`s population increases rapidly at an annual or yearly rate of about 2% between 1960 to 2000, which caused ecological unsustainability which has produced the population growth ability to triple every 35 years (Bloom, 2011). The availability of water at productive hectares of landmasses in a geographical isolation`s Biocapacity tends to sucks up carbon dioxide excretions (Ecological Footprint Atlas, 2010). Biocapacity reduces to extreme points when ecological or environmental resources are under great stress or pressure, and as a result, the total number of the Earth`s population could not be supported fairly in terms of consumption (daily requirements) depending upon the resources available. The WWF Living Planet (2012) stated that; “In 1961, the individual’s biocapacity has reduced from 3.2 global hectares (gha) per capita to somewhat unbelievable figure compared with that of 2002 which was 1.8 gha, despite the rapid changes encountered in overall biocapacity around the globe”. The Ecological follow-ups and traces highlights and points out that a fast-growing population’s needs will not be met in required locations in terms of waste consumption or removal because overpopulated areas would mean more waste being used and the landfills would overflow with waste and absorption (Wackernagel & Rees, 1995). The sustainability of the ecological resources with its utilization and consumption rates can track the availability of resources for later usage. The Ecological Footprint accounts stated that; ‘’ There has been a major demanding increase between 1961 to 2010 in terms of the natural recycling of renewable resources up to 18.1 billion global hectares compared with 7.6 billion hectares back then, accompanied by an indication status that it is unsupportive or not valid (Global Footprint Network, 2015). On the other hand, an ecosystem’s habitat cannot be sustained which results directly in species loss and extinction. For example, overpopulated areas cannot be supported with limited availability of resources. Advances in technology satisfy the increasing demand for human needs and mismanagement of resources contributes or causes the environment to lose its freshness together with other related factors like carelessness such as agricultural practices results in or causes deforestation.

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Deforestation is the permanent removal or clearance of large areas of trees. It occurs primarily as a result of overpopulation globally. Forest cover about 30% of the Earth’s landmass and plays an important role in sustaining life in different biological ecosystems globally. Deforestation occurs as the result or consequences of overgrazing, practice of shifting cultivation, adverse effect of industries, need for progress, requirement of raw materials in larger quantities, need for fuelwood and the continuous increase in demand in terms of food supply in order to meet the basic needs and wants of the overpopulated areas with larger populations. Deforestation is a problem that has been happening all over the world that affects many ecosystem functions and has been for many years. Urbanization, agriculture and other developmental reasons or purposes stated above has erased the rainforests at an alarming rate upon human satisfaction. Overpopulated areas tend to sacrifice our rainforests for short term benefits without realizing the long term environmental side effects of it in terms of habitat destruction. In addition to that, continuous rural to urban migration changed forest areas into residences and settlements that forcefully changed or causes the land to lose its life sustainable fertility through bad usage of it. According to the World Migration Report (2015), In India; ‘’the migration rate increased from rural to urban between 1981 to 1991 with a sum of 11 million which then erupted to 19 million from 2001 to 2011’’. And to sustain such bulk of population, more agricultural practices which mean clearance of rainforests must be done or practiced upon the reason to feed many mouths or to meet their daily needs and wants in terms of food. Because agriculture is the major source that causes deforestation widely by clearing hectares of forests in a single minute globally. On the other hand, the natural beauty of the rainforests slowly diminishes when more pressure has been exerted on it which directly promotes species extinction leaving the soil unsupportive or lifeless. The rapid change in population growth resulted in landmass shortage due to the distribution and practices of land usage skills or patterns upon sustainable reasons. Examples include the usage of fuel, wood, agricultural products, timber, and many others. For instance, the result of an economic survey conducted in India in between 1989 to 1999 from Nagdeve, which had been published in 2002 reported or suggests that; ‘’In order for the conversion of large hectare of landmass (rainforest) to residences, agricultural and industrial places, there are certain laws and amended regulations established that govern the individual to act upon in an understanding to preserve and conserve their or our rainforests’’. Although it was a good conservative and preventive measure individuals seem not to understand its risks and consequences due to overpopulated areas with poor educational understanding regarding related environmental issues globally. Moreover, Depletion of natural resources by over-crowded human beings occurs or accelerates nowadays through human attitudes such as hunting of wildlife and cutting down trees unnecessarily accompanied by increased production pollution from agriculture through factories that accelerates ecosystem dysfunction and habitat loss or flora and fauna extinction. The impacts of overpopulation changed our environment greatly. For example, continuous logging, burning of wood and fossil fuels together with other toxic emissions increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere because there are fewer plants or trees on Earth for the compensation of oxygen for every molecule of absorbed carbon dioxide. Overpopulated towns and cities produced carbon dioxide at a larger amount into the atmosphere daily. Moreover, Deforestation is also described as one of the driving factors behind the enhanced greenhouse effect and does as a contributing factor towards global warming.

Overpopulated areas produce or resulted in a gradual increase in the temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere due to the constant increase of gases such as carbon dioxide that causes a greater change in the general weather conditions in a particular geographical location or area over prolonged periods. And that is often called Climate change. Global climate rapidly changes over the past decades and continues nowadays to a greater extent without nobody’s concern. Carbon dioxide is the most prevalent greenhouse gas in the atmosphere that contributes mainly and badly to global warming. Climate change starts to occur since the industrial revolution begin. Factories, power plants and the usage and burning of fossil fuels such as oil and coal by trucks and vehicles release a large amount of carbon dioxide and other gases into the atmosphere. These greenhouse gases trap heat beside and or near the Earth through a naturally occurring process called the greenhouse effect, and thus results in decreased trees to maintain the absorption of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere during photosynthesis together with other emissions from factories, burning of fossil fuels, and various carbon-containing compounds in larger quantities in order to meet and satisfy the demanding population’s needs. Previous analysis and reports on issues related to the changes in climate highlighted an increased frequency and destructions beyond the weather patterns pointing towards an expensive and unwanted reduction of an individual’s wellbeing or lives together with other infrastructural developments (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007). The Levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been overloaded in the mid-19th century with over or approximately 1100Gt, in terms of fossil fuels usage by the overpopulated towns and cities worldwide (IPCC, 2001). On the other hand, agricultural activities and practices had been increasing to a greater extent as the demand for food supply by overpopulated regions increases, provoking the release of carbon dioxide to about 300 billion tons. An example would include the production of methane from other agricultural practices such as livestock breeding and rice farming. In addition to that, the total amount of greenhouse gases that have been emitted into the atmosphere in 2014 through agricultural activities or sources was about 24% compared with the world in terms of emission in 2010 (IPCC, 2014). Moreover, continuous emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere destroys the ozone layer by allowing the ultraviolet rays to penetrate and reach the Earth directly. And that forces the albedo or polar icecaps to melt which results in sea-level rise and floods all the sea areas and small islands around the world. Weather patterns continue to change with more frequent hurricanes, together with severe droughts that can become more common in warm areas will cause a major decline in sustainable biodiversity which accelerates species extinction because floras and faunas will be unable to survive or take time to adapt to their new ecological niche or habitat. Environmental changes and destruction occur constantly in overpopulated areas because their demand for natural resources is very high while the supply is very low. And that is a contributing factor towards global warming and climate change because overpopulated areas or developed nations release larger amounts of greenhouse gas annually. In addition to that, long term exposure towards ultraviolet radiation from the sun can also cause skin cancer especially the Caucasians, rapid evaporation rate by ecosystems, and many other related problems. Overpopulated countries with higher annual income generation in terms of revenue should be known as a possible cure when or as their population status declines and reduces to a certain rate because their carbon dioxide production and emission are very high compared with that of developing countries (Rosnick, 2014). With that in mind, we need to change the toleration and mode of our energy usage by using other forms such as tidal, solar, wind energies with advances in agricultural activities to help reduce the global issue about or on changes in climate as a consequence of overpopulation.

Finally, Overpopulation has changed the face of the Earth’s ecosystem with related practices and activities that resulted in a declined biocapacity, deforestation and climate change. A handful of preventive and conservative measures had been developed globally to eliminate the related problems associated with overpopulation. These brilliant ideas take time with increased population growth problems. Therefore, powerful and effective measures must be made known to every citizen globally so that the explosion of the population should be minimized.

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The Impacts of Overpopulation on the Earth [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jun 16 [cited 2022 Dec 5]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-impacts-of-overpopulation-on-the-earth/
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