«

»

Jul 24

Print this Post

America’s Population Problems…

Culling the Human Herd

According to Science Daily, the world's most pressing environmental issue isn't global warming: it's overpopulation.  From the moment the very first Homo-Sapien climbed down from a tree, it took all the way until the end of the 1800's for humanity to reach its first billion…

"The 21st century is not yet a dozen years old, and there are already 1 billion more people than in October 1999 — with the outlook for future energy and food supplies looking bleaker than it has for decades. It took humanity until the early 19th century to gain its first billion people; then another 1.5 billion followed over the next century and a half. In just the last 60 years the world's population has gained yet another 4.5 billion. Never before have so many animals of one species anything like our size inhabited the planet."

-"What a population of 7 billion people means for the planet,"  By Robert Engelman for Yale Environment 360, part of the Guardian Environment Network

 

"Overpopulation is taking a toll on our planet."

[Image from News Lincoln County]

While global warming has taken center stage in our environmental concerns, population levels will have a much greater impact on our children than the threat of a shrinking ozone layer.

"There are two major trends in world population today.  On the one hand, chronically low birth rates in developed countries are beginning to challenge the health and financial security of their elderly. On the other, the developing countries are adding over 80 million to the population every year and the poorest of those countries are adding 20 million, exacerbating poverty and threatening the environment." 

-Bill Butz, Population Reference Bureau's President

While population levels in developing countries are increasing, this environmental crisis isn't something that is going to continue to be someone else's problem.

 

Why Overpopulation Isn't Just a Third World Problem…

According to the Population Reference Bureau, the United States is the third most populous country in the world following China and India. The U.S. population, currently more than 265 million, is growing by about 2.5 million people each year, making the United States one of the world's fastest-growing industrialized nations.(1)

 

The United States
Image via Wikipedia

 

According to a study by the Alan Guttmacher Institute, "Sixty percent of pregnancies and 40 percent of births in the United States are unintended. Among industrialized countries, the United States has one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy."(2)  In addition, and perhaps more alarming than the numbers, are the effect that The United States' population has on the environment:

  • Americans constitute five percent of the world's population but consume 25 percent of the world's energy. On average, one American consumes as much energy as 2 Japanese, 6 Mexicans, 13 Chinese, 31 Indians, 128 Bangladeshis, 307 Tanzanians, or 370 Ethiopians.(3)
  • In the last 200 years, the United States has lost 50 percent of its wetlands, 90 percent of its northwestern old-growth forests, and 99 percent of its tall grass prairie.(4)
  • Because Americans eat a diet heavy in beef and other animal products, U.S. per capita grain consumption is four times higher than that of developing countries.(5)
  • The United States is responsible for 22 percent of the world's industrial carbon dioxide emissions, a leading cause of global warming.(6)

"Environmentalists have long been concerned about the resources threatened by rapidly growing human populations, focusing on phenomenon such as deforestation, desertification, air pollution and global warming. But the worst-case scenario for people experiencing overpopulation, according to Lawrence Smith, president of the Population Institute, is a lack of fresh, clean water.

"If the water goes, the species goes," he said.

"That sounds kind of alarmist," Smith conceded, "considering there's water all around us, but 97 percent plus is saltwater, and the freshwater that we use to sustain ourselves is just native to 3 percent. … So the accessibility of water, the competition for water, the availability of water is going to be a major, major threat," he said, noting world population growth estimates at more than 9 billion people by 2050."

-"Overpopulation could be people, planet problem" By Ann Hoevel, CNN

While the near future of America may not look like something out of a Mad Max movie; and water may not be more valuable than gold; one thing is certain: the human population of the world is growing at a steady, and predictable pace.  As can be seen in the chart below, in less than 40 years, our country will have grown by another two billion people.

"Where we go, nature retreats. We are entering an epoch scientists have begun calling the Anthropocene, a break with the geologic past marked by humanity's long-term alteration of the natural world and its biota. We are inadvertently bringing on the sixth mass extinction not just because our appetites are vast and our technologies powerful, but because we occupy or manipulate most of the land in every continent except Antarctica. We appropriate anywhere from 24 percent to nearly 40 percent of the photosynthetic output of the planet for our food and other purposes, and more than half of its accessible renewable freshwater runoff."

-"Overpopulation could be people, planet problem" By Ann Hoevel, CNN

 

A few hundred years ago, mankind thought that the Earth was the center of the universe.  We were wrong, of course.  And today, by our own actions (if not our communal beliefs) humanity still considers itself the most important creature on our planet.  If these numbers don't change, we will be proven wrong again; but no one will care.

Life won't exist on this planet anymore…

 

(1) 1996 World Population Data Sheet, Population Reference Bureau.  (2) Contraceptive Use and Teenage Sexual and Reproductive Behavior, Facts in Brief, Alan Guttmacher Institute. (3) 1995 U.S. Statistical Abstract, p. 868.  (4) The 1993 Information Please Environmental Almanac, World Resources Institute, p. 159.  (5) Full House, Lester Brown and Paul Kane, p. 63. (6) Stabilizing the Atmosphere, Population Action International, p. 33.

http://www.overpopulation.org/USAFactsZPG.html

Enhanced by Zemanta

Related posts:

Permanent link to this article: http://peterusagi.com/2011/07/24/americas-population-problems/

2 pings

  1. Do We Have To Fear Or Even Worry About What Might Be An Overpopulated Earth? | EssayBoard

    […] America’s Population Problems… (peterusagi.com) Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInStumbleUponEmailPrintLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. ‹ Older Post Star Wars The Old Republic Newbie Review […]

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The comment’s server IP (72.232.7.41) doesn’t match the comment’s URL host IP (76.74.254.120) and so is spam.

  2. Do We Have To Fear Or Even Worry About What Might Be An Overpopulated Earth? | EssayBoard

    […] America’s Population Problems… (peterusagi.com) Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInStumbleUponEmailPrintLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. ‹ Older Post Star Wars The Old Republic Newbie Review […]

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The comment’s server IP (72.233.61.93) doesn’t match the comment’s URL host IP (72.233.69.6) and so is spam.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: