Overpopulation, Overcrowding, Poverty and Conflict

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Overpopulation, Overcrowding, Poverty and Conflict

At present, there are 6.5 billion people in the world and the number continues to multiply. In contrast, there are only a limited number of natural resources. On a global basis, the human population has shown a J-shaped pattern of growth over the past two thousand years, while the availability of natural resources mandatory for human survival is in slow decline. The implications of this are not limited to mass starvation, poverty and overcrowding of poorly sanitized cities. In fact, the current stress created by the imbalance between a burgeoning population and a finite number of resources are also one of the main factors contributing to the rise of violent inter-group conflict. Clearly, something must change in order to insure our own survival and the survival of our planet.

Unfortunately, human nature adopted its current manufacture and consumption habits during a time when the balance between the number of humans and their available resources was not nearly as stressed. The world’s population early in the agricultural revolution (about 8,000 BC) was probably no more than 10 million. (Southwick 159) In addition, the number of natural resources available for human use was much greater. Thus, humans are continuing to live as though there were an unlimited amount of natural resources, setting themselves up for dire consequences in the future. According to a contemporary anthropologist and writer, “Most ecologists consider human population growth to be one of the greatest problems in global ecology and a major driving force of environmental degradation. They see excessive consumption as an equally important cause of pollution and environmental deterioration....

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...ver before. If we can maximize this connection by adopting policy compatible with those ecological and demographic areas it might affect, than we might work together to solve the greatest crisis that we will ever encounter.

Sources:

Dolan, Edwin G., Ch. 5 from "TANSTAAFL: The Economic Strategy for Environmental Crisis" 1974, pp. 55-72.

Ehrlich, Paul R., "Ch.11: Gods, Dive-Bombers, and Bureaucracy" in Human Natures:

Genes Cultures, and the Human Prospect, Island Press, 2000.

Homer-Dixon, Thomas. Article in Klare, Michael T. and Ghandrani, Yogesh; World Security: Challenges for a New Century. Bedford/ St. Martin’s. NY. 1998.

Miller, GT. 1992. Living in the Environment: An introduction to Environmental Science. Belmont, CA: Wordsworth.

Southwick, Charles H., Ch. 15 from "Global Ecology in Human Perspective" Oxford Univ. Press, 1996, pp. 159-182.

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