Chrystal Savage, Culture Editor|
Overpopulation reigns as one of the most eminent dangers facing mankind today; and conveniently remains tremendously overlooked. Most people can acknowledge the threats of global warming, the lack of food and clean drinking water, the epidemic of nearly 6,000 new children being placed in orphanages each day in the United States alone; sadly, more than 14,000 of them will grow up never having been adopted (“Orphan statistics,” 2017). But, not nearly as many people recognize the root of the problem: the exponential growth in the population of human beings (“Effects of overpopulation,” 2013, Nov. 20).
The Earth’s resources are vastly limited and will reach a point of complete, total and utter depletion if a more sustainable global population and way of life is not achieved. The Earth currently supports nearly four times the sustainable human community (“Current population,” 2017). This optimum population, is measured and defined by the European standard of living (which annually consumes, by comparison, only half, that of a single American) (“Current population,” 2017) (Hantal, 2016).
The planet cannot, does not, and will not support a world community of 7.5 billion individuals-the current global population (“Current world population,” 2017). Despite projections that the statistic of 9.5 billion people stands as the absolute maximum population that could exist on Earth, the lifespan of this existence would be short lived and is expected to be reached by the year 2050 (Wolchover, 2011, Oct. 11) (Kochhar, 2014, Feb. 3).
In America, energy is primarily consumed through products of nonrenewable sources; only 10 percent of the total energy consumed was through geothermal, wind, biomass, solar, hydro, tidal or other renewable energy outlets. Nearly 90 percent of the globe’s energy consumption is obtained through sources that take centuries, even millenniums to form. At the current rate of depletion, these resources will not exist for the next generation (“World energy use,” 2017).
A variety of reasons exist as to why an individual would even consider intentionally bearing offspring. Millennials, more than any other generation, consider the effects being had on the future of the planet as compared to blindly bringing children into the world. Certainly, ignorance has contributed to the exponential growth in population and unfortunately remains too relevant today. If one was educated and “conditioned” from birth that they as an individual should only have one child, and that their first option should be adopting an orphan, this would maintain and balance the population.
Clean water is yet another issue that causes detrimental effects to the people of the world. Water waste in America is rampant. From the 13 gallons of clean, drinkable water quite literally going down the drain to flush toilets to the 17 additional gallons wasted annually in the shower, we quite clearly are failing to make any efforts as to sustainability (“Toilet,” 2017) (“Showers,” 2017) (“FAQs,” 2017). Meanwhile, nearly 800 million individuals suffer consequences of dehydration, poisoning and other repercussions as a result of issues in the clean water supply; more than 16,000 of these individuals die daily (“Facts and figures,” 2013).
The resource of Land is also being depleted exponentially and will need to see a total overhaul and redesign of farming practices if it is to sustain any human population in the next century. Unfortunately, we are already living as if we have access to more land than we do; the earth cannot sustain a population any larger than what it is today. Already, one in 3 people do not have shelter and more than eighty percent of the total surface area of the earth is “unusable” for human purposes of housing or agriculture ( Shah, 2013, Jan. 7) (Pianka, 2017) (Sharp, 2012, Sept 17).
The connection between unemployment, a failing economy, and unavailability in shelter is evident-the cause: overpopulation. Certainly human reproduction is natural and necessary to some extent, for the species to survive; and ironically so, provided the fact that reproduction may be the thing that wipes humankind off the face of the planet forever.
The government has a liability to look out for its people. Through education, great advancements can be made to saving and ensuring the progression of society. Certainly more benefits would follow, such as a potential for world peace one day, eliminating national strains and bonds over nonrenewable energy, shifting human ideologies to highlight the power of its resourcefulness and not its accumulation of materialistic items, instilling a desire to give back and be rich in life and experiences rather than dollared wealth. While a sensitive topic this issue requires advocation.