More Means Worse

The global population level fluctuates at different rates throughout the world. In some countries, the growth rate steadily increases. In other countries, the population is leveling, and in a few more it decreases with time. For many countries, population growth allows development and economic growth. Unfortunately, an increased population can also create a scarcity of resources. On the other hand, a decreasing population can potentially weaken a country’s economy but also create an improved availability of resources. Depending on where population change occurs and in which direction it heads, both pros and cons result from a shifting population level. In the debate over the concerns of increasing world population, researchers incorrectly claim that an increased population is not a troublesome issue as countries invoke methods to control the growth of the planet’s residency. Moreover, further evidence suggests that a growing population heightens the difficulties already present in the world today.

Narration: The exponential growth of the world’s population generates apprehension of the future for a number of people as time progresses. Some argue that it is not an issue, while others find it threatening to the world as a whole. Since I am an Environmental Science AP student, curiosity filled me as I wondered what my teacher’s viewpoint on this topic was. He is as a greatly opinionated man with over twenty years of practice in the science world; his knowledge about environmental problems does not lack, to say the least. So I proposed the question: “what is your stand on the world’s growing population?” His reply was quick and direct as though he knew I was going to ask. He declared that an increasing population acts as the root of all the world’s problems, and that the intense effects of the advancing global population exacerbates any currently pressing problem of the world. His response was intriguing to me, and it provoked me to study the effects of population growth. After conducting my research, I had discovered a variety of problems that intensify as a result of an increasing population.

Refutation: Although some people claim that population explosion increases as a worldwide problem, evidence demonstrates that a declining global fertility rate, contraceptives, and female education in developing countries serve as stabilizers for the world’s population. In an article from the New Internationalist in 2010, the author begins his argument by describing the total fertility rate of the world or “how many children women have during the span of their reproductive lives” (Facts). Since the 1970’s, when shortages in resources were becoming noticeable, the average fertility rate of the world has fallen down to 2.5 children per woman. Although this decrease remains unremarkable for some countries, for countries like China (1.5 children per woman), this drop means a decrease in fertility rate by 2 to 3 times. Moreover, the fertility rate has dropped “below replacement level” in “76 countries” (Facts). The lowering of fertility rates will continue to decrease to the point that eventually the Earth’s population will reach a stable level, or even begin to drop as a whole. If population patterns continue to drop, the future will hold promise for a decent sized population. Furthermore, claims have been made that “contraceptive use around the world” brings the fertility rate to such a low level (Facts).


Contraceptive devices help in causing infertility and lowering the chances of pregnancy in women. About thirty-five years ago in the late 1970s, “only five percent of women” in Morocco used contraceptives (Facts), but that number has multiplied by a little bit more than twelve times. With technology in the modern era, contraceptives have become increasingly successful. Since more and more women begin to utilize these contraceptives, the population can reach a level of equilibrium. Additionally, improved education for women around the world also lowers the birthrate. According to researchers, education “delays childbearing, encourages greater spacing between children, or even opens out the option of not having children at all” (Facts). Education and fertility rates play ever so important roles in a cycle in which one factor causes an increase of the other; if a woman receives an education, she often pursues a career. After she obtains an occupation, she becomes more concerned with it instead of bearing a child and working simultaneously. Although not an immediately obvious benefit, having a limited amount of children increases education. With fewer children, more money remains (if spent correctly) “available per child for education” (Facts). An influx of money allows children to receive a better education; thus, they become more concentrated on learning and following a career path. Subsequently, the cycle begins once again. Therefore, the global population increase cannot be described as a threatening situation to the planet; with many ways to control the population, the need for worrying about it is minimal.

Confirmation: On the other hand, a vast amount of people worry about the population and how increasing levels threaten the well being of Earth. Foremost, food scarcity already poses a problem to many throughout the world. Over “three billion people” live in “poverty” and one third of them “suffer from severe starvation” (Chowdhury). Additionally, the production of food and the population of the earth increase at different rates, so “food scarcity [is] inevitable” (Chowdhury). If the population continues to grow any higher, more people will have to endure the burden of hunger. Most people in America have the ability to access food at any point in time; however, people in second and third world countries lack such benefits. They wake up every morning and wonder not what they are going to eat, but if they are going to eat that day. The unavoidable issue of food scarcity is already threatens a little under half of the world’s population, so any increase in the amount of humans that reside on this planet only aggravates the problem of hunger. As a matter of fact, humans should make an effort in slowing the growth of the population and work on distributing food to the hungry so that all people can live healthy lives. Moreover, the increase in population acts as a disturbance to the environment. The “burning [of] fossil fuels” creates “toxic trash [that] is overloading our life support ecosystems (Rich). Carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere reach all-time highs, litter fills the oceans, and extinction threatens more and more animals every day. Sadly, the list of current environmental problems goes on for much longer. On an even more unfortunate note, our population “continues to grow in leapfrog fashion” (Rich). The effect of having a greater number of people is that all of the previously listed problems become progressively worse. For example, carbon dioxide works as a greenhouse gas to keep the Earth at life sustaining temperatures. With increasing amounts of it, however, the atmosphere gradually warms up with time. As more people inhabit the planet, they release more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere; thus, global temperatures continue to rise. As the temperatures rise, the polar ice caps melt. The melting of this much ice will cause ocean levels to rise and submerge a great portion of land. Unfortunately, since the population will be so high by this point, a loss of land will also mean a more crowded Earth. The severity of carbon dioxide is devastating in itself. With a population explosion, as my teacher said, all the other problems exacerbate as well.

The picture above shows the effect of a population explosion; an overpopulated and overcrowded city. These conditions are not in any way favorable. The city is unsanitary, crowded, and an unhappy place to have to live. Although more is sometimes better, crowded conditions are not good to live in; disease can spread like wild fire and sanitation becomes a major problem. Furthermore, all countries of the world seek economic prosperity, and many believe that an increased population remains a boon for the economy. While population increase does not parallel economic growth, it can also be threatening. In an article from the Earth Island Journal, author Deborah Rich suggests that “having too many people […] is much more likely to result in the end of economic progress, via ecological collapse, than having too few” (Rich). The author corroborates that environmental problems will cause the economy to falter. Conversely, in a smaller economy, there will still be consumers and producers, but not as many environmental concerns. An economist once said that “everybody is potentially a producer and a consumer, if [there is] one less producer in […] society, [there is] also one less consumer” (Rich). If the production of a country decreases due to a loss in population, it lacks significance because consumption rates have the same outcomes. Thus, a smaller economy proves to be as equally successful as an economy on a larger scale. With this knowledge, countries around the world realize that a population decline or halt is not negative for the economy. Fortunately, the economies would still be successful, and environmentalists could throw away their concerns. Thus, while some argue that a population increase does not threaten the globe, researchers convey that any increase in the number of humans can increase the severity of problems throughout the world.

Conclusion: The concern of a population explosion remains a serious issue. Although some people believe that the population is stabilizing, evidence disproves these thoughts. The world becomes a worse place to live in everyday; the problems that humans face augment all the time. Our reproduction rates encompass some of the blame, which means that every individual, intentional or not, extends the issues of the world. Population growth proves to be the root of all of our concerns, and the time has come for us to resolve them, bring peace to the world, and ultimately save the planet.


Works Cited

Chowdhury, Mahfuz R. “The Burden of Future Population Growth Will Fall Mainly on Developing Nations.” The Financial Express. (2008). Gale Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 18 Jan. 2012.
“Population Explosion.” Gale Opposing Viewpoints in Context. (2010). Gale Power Search. Web. 24. Jan. 2012.
Rich, Deborah. “Continued Population Growth Will Harm Economies Worldwide.” Earth Island Journal 24. (2009). Gale Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 23 Jan. 2012.
“The Facts Refute Alarmist Concerns over Global Population Growth.” New Internationalist (2010): 5-8. Gale Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 18 Jan. 2012.

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