What are the things you need to survive? Humans all need resources, and in this lesson, we will discuss how the growth of the human. Population Growth, Resource Consumption and a Sustainable World If current predictions of population growth prove accurate and article commentary Politics & International Relations · Social Sciences · Sports and. Read chapter Population Growth, Resource Consumption, and The The relationships between human population, economic development, and the natural.
The pressure placed on growing cities and their resources such as water, energy and food due to continuing growth includes pollution from additional cars, heaters and other modern luxuries, which can cause a range of localised environmental problems.
Humans have always moved around the world. However, government policies, conflict or environmental crises can enhance these migrations, often causing short or long-term environmental damage. For example, since conditions in the Middle East have seen population transfer also known as unplanned migration result in several million refugees fleeing countries including Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The sudden development of often huge refugee camps can affect water supplies, cause land damage such as felling of trees for fuel or pollute environments lack of sewerage systems. Unplanned migration is not only difficult for refugees.
Having so many people living so closely together without adequate infrastructure causes environmental damage too. Population composition The composition of a population can also affect the surrounding environment. At present, the global population has both the largest proportion of young people under 24 and the largest percentage of elderly people in history.
As young people are more likely to migrate, this leads to intensified urban environmental concerns, as listed above. Life expectancy has increased by approximately 20 years since While this is a triumph for mankind, and certainly a good thing for the individual, from the planet's point of view it is just another body that is continuing to consume resources and produce waste for around 40 per cent longer than in the past.
Ageing populations are another element to the multi-faceted implications of demographic population change, and pose challenges of their own. For example between andJapan's proportion of people over 65 grew from 7 per cent to more than 20 per cent of its population.
This has huge implications on the workforce, as well as government spending on pensions and health care. Increasing lifespans are great for individuals and families.
But with more generations living simultaneously, it puts our resources under pressure. Population income is also an important consideration. The uneven distribution of income results in pressure on the environment from both the lowest and highest income levels. They may also be forced to deplete scarce natural resources, such as forests or animal populations, to feed their families.
On the other end of the spectrum, those with the highest incomes consume disproportionately large levels of resources through the cars they drive, the homes they live in and the lifestyle choices they make. On a country-wide level, economic development and environmental damage are also linked.
The least developed nations tend to have lower levels of industrial activity, resulting in lower levels of environmental damage. The most developed countries have found ways of improving technology and energy efficiency to reduce their environmental impact while retaining high levels of production.
It is the countries in between—those that are developing and experiencing intense resource consumption which may be driven by demand from developed countries —that are often the location of the most environmental damage.
Population consumption While poverty and environmental degradation are closely interrelated, it is the unsustainable patterns of consumption and production, primarily in developed nations, that are of even greater concern.
For many, particularly in industrialised countries, the consumption of goods and resources is just a part of our lives and culture, promoted not only by advertisers but also by governments wanting to continually grow their economy.
Culturally, it is considered a normal part of life to shop, buy and consume, to continually strive to own a bigger home or a faster car, all frequently promoted as signs of success. It may be fine to participate in consumer culture and to value material possessions, but in excess it is harming both the planet and our emotional wellbeing. More clothes, more gadgets, bigger cars, bigger houses—consuming goods and resources has big effects on our planet.
The environmental impact of all this consumption is huge.Overpopulation – The Human Explosion Explained
The mass production of goods, many of them unnecessary for a comfortable life, is using large amounts of energy, creating excess pollution, and generating huge amounts of waste.
To complicate matters, environmental impacts of high levels of consumption are not confined to the local area or even country.
This enables them to enjoy the products without having to deal with the immediate impacts of the factories or pollution that went in to creating them. On a global scale, not all humans are equally responsible for environmental harm.
Consumption in relation to population, environment and development.
Consumption patterns and resource use are very high in some parts of the world, while in others—often in countries with far more people—they are low, and the basic needs of whole populations are not being met. The reverse was also true—for example the population of North America grew only 4 per cent between andwhile its carbon emissions grew by 14 per cent.
Individuals living in developed countries have, in general, a much bigger ecological footprint GLOSSARY ecological footprintThe impact of a person or community on the environment, expressed as the amount of land required to sustain their use of natural resources. The ecological footprint is a standardised measure of how much productive land and water is needed to produce the resources that are consumed, and to absorb the wastes produced by a person or group of people.
Today humanity uses the equivalent of 1. This means it now takes the Earth one year and six months to regenerate what we use in a year. Global Footprint Network When Australian consumption is viewed from a global perspective, we leave an exceptionally large 'ecological footprint'—one of the largest in the world.
While the average global footprint is 2. To put this in perspective, if the rest of world lived like we do in Australia, we would need the equivalent of 3. Similarly, an American has an ecological footprint almost 9 times larger than an Indian—so while the population of India far exceeds that of the United States, in terms of environmental damage, it is the American consumption of resources that is causing the higher level of damage to the planet. What is the solution?
Population and environment: a global challenge - Curious
How do we solve the delicate problem of population growth and environmental limitations? Joel Cohen, a mathematician and author characterised potential solutions in the following way: Advances in food production technologies such as agriculture, water purification and genetic engineering may help to feed the masses, while moving away from fossil fuels to renewable power sources such as wind and solar will go some way to reducing climate change.
In the United Nations Environment Programme UNEP released a report titled ' Decoupling 2 ', which explored the possibilities and opportunities of technology and innovation to accelerate decoupling, and an analysis of how far technical innovation can go.
Funding and research should be a high priority in these areas, but we must accept that technology can only do so much, and is only part of the solution. Investing in clean energy is one way to reduce our environmental strain on the planet. Birth rates naturally decline when populations are given access to sexual and reproductive healthcare, education for boys and girls beyond the primary level is encouraged and made available, and women are empowered to participate in social and political life.
Continuing to support programs and policies in these areas should see a corresponding drop in birth rates.
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Similarly, as the incomes of individuals in developing countries increase, there is a corresponding decrease in birth rates. This is another incentive for richer countries to help their poorer neighbours reach their development potential.
Providing a health, educational or financial incentive has also proven to be effective in combating some population issues. However, there are debates about incentive programs such as paying women in India to undergo sterilisation. Opponents question whether accepting these incentives is really is a choice, or whether the recipient has been coerced into it through community pressure or financial desperation.
Education is the foundation for our future, and not only because it helps to reduce unsustainable birthrates. Fewer forks can also cover another complicated area—the option of seriously controlling population growth by force.
- Population and environment: a global challenge
- Consumption in relation to population, environment and development.
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China has done so in the past and attracted both high praise and severe humanitarian criticism. This is a morally- economically- and politically-charged topic, to which there is no easy answer. Less is more The better manners approach seeks to educate people about their actions and the consequences of those actions, leading to a change in behaviour. This relates not only to individuals but also governments. Individuals across the world, but particularly in developed countries, need to reassess their consumption patterns.
When current economic production has been the overriding priority and inadequate attention has been given to environmental protection, local environmental damage has led to serious negative impacts on health and major impediments to future economic growth. Restoring the environment, even where still possible, is far more expensive and time consuming than managing it wisely in the first place; even rich countries have difficulty in affording extensive environmental remediation efforts.
The relationships between human population, economic development, and the natural environment are complex. Examination of local and regional case studies reveals the influence and interaction of many variables.
For example, environmental and economic impacts vary with population composition and distribution, and with rural-urban and international migrations. Furthermore, poverty and lack of economic opportunities stimulate faster population growth and increase incentives for environmental degradation by encouraging exploitation of marginal resources.
Both developed and developing countries face a great dilemma in reorienting their productive activities in the direction of a more harmonious interaction with nature. If all people of the world consumed fossil fuels and other natural resources at the rate now characteristic of developed countries and with current technologiesthis would greatly intensify our already unsustainable demands on the biosphere. Yet development is a legitimate expectation of less developed and transitional countries.
However, in the last decade food production from both land and sea has declined relative to population growth. The area of agricultural land has shrunk, both through soil erosion and reduced possibilities of irrigation. The availability of water is already a constraint in some countries. These are warnings that the earth is finite, and that natural systems are being pushed ever closer to their limits. We believe that this goal can be achieved, provided we are willing to undertake the requisite social change.
Given time, political will, and intelligent use of science and technology, human ingenuity can remove many constraints on improving human welfare worldwide, finding substitutes for wasteful practices, and protecting the natural environment.