Causes of Overpopulation in Developing Countries Term Paper

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Causes of overpopulation in developing countires.

Overpopulation of the human race is an important issue for many developing countries, as well as the rest of the world. While some groups will argue that there is no such thing as overpopulation as such because there is no way for humans to become so numerous that they cannot compensate with intelligence and relocation. However, most well informed individuals agree that there is in fact a problem with the growing population of the human race. There are many factors that have led to people overpopulating in developing countries and elsewhere in the world, and statistical analysis reveals the patterns of growth that created today's population situation and where population is expected to go in years to come. The overpopulation of people in all areas of the world leads to negative consequences for the environment and people; there are specific consequences for people living in developing countries. Many solutions have been proposed to helping curb the population growth and alleviate the negative effects that this overpopulation has started to cause. Some of these policies have been put into effect already, while others remain theoretical and may be implemented at a later date. It is difficult to say which of these methods will be most effective at solving the problems caused by human reproduction.

Human development of medicine, technology, and application of intelligence may be one of the mot significant factors that created the overpopulation growth rates. "Even our present population growth was brought on by technology which prevented or cured disease and allowed large gains in food productivity (often by increased use of fertilizers and pesticides, and cruel treatment of farm animals)." (Hanauer) Humans have removed themselves from the natural cycle of life, placing themselves at the top of the food chain and having no natural predators whatsoever. Some of the reasons that people give for continuing to reproduce even though their numbers are too many include that procreation is an undeniable biological urge, wanting to continue the family line. Many people believe that their genetics should live on to the next generations because they are somehow superior to the genetics of other people and it would be doing the world a disservice not to do so. In many areas, especially in developing nations where poverty is such a concern, children may be desired to help on the family farm or to support the family business. Others chose to have children because they want someone to care for them in old age, and in many cultures it is common for the child to care for the elderly. Some cultures and social groups put focus on needing to have children in order to obtain or maintain social standing within a community. Others wish to have children in order to embody the love that exists between the to-be parents or to provide another living being with the love and good things that the parents may not have had. Of course, religion plays a major part in the choice of many to have children, believing that they are obligated to have as many babies as possible to glorify God, or simply that they are forbidden from taking precautions against getting pregnant. Culturally, having babies is often just what happens, it is what people do because it is what they are expected to do, and very little thought it often put into the consequences. In developing nations especially, the information regarding overpopulation may simply not be available to the public. Additionally, the means by which to prevent pregnancy is likely not available, and seeking an abstinent world is not realistic or fair.

There are people that will deny overpopulation is not actually a threat to our world or to our existence, and that the number of people alive today is perfectly natural and reasonable for the amount of space we have in which to live. However, experts will generally debuke that claim and give evidence to the contrary. "My answer to the question is 'YES"there is a problem. The scale of human activities is now so large that we are appreciably affecting the climate and ecosystems in the U.S. And the world." (Bartlett 1998) The total impact that the population has on the environment is calculated by multiplying the average impact of each person by the total number of people. In developing countries, much focus is put on increasing the standard of living to match that of American life. In doing so, the average consumption of goods and resources rises, and with the rising population numbers also being a factor, the negative impact that developing nations have on the environment is growing significantly.

The official statistics from the United Nations state that 70% of the world's population lived in developing nations in 1960, and that number jumped to around 80% today. While 80% of the population of the world lives within these countries, a disproportionate 95% of the world's population growth takes place within developing nations. Africa, for example, has actually tripled in population since 1960 and it continues to rise steadily and fastest among other developing areas of he world. Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean -- all developing nations -- have experienced a double in population since 1960. In most developed countries, population growth has actually slowed or stopped, where it continues to rise in developing countries. (NGS 2001) Compound this rise with the growing consumeristic lifestyle of these countries and the potential consequences become frightening.

Currently, it is estimated by the United Nations that more than a billion people worldwide are deprived of their most basic needs of food, clothing, or shelter. "Nearly three-fifths of the 4.8 billion people in developing countries have no basic sanitation. Almost a third lack access to clean water. A quarter have no adequate housing, and a fifth go without modern health services." (NGS 2001) Obviously, there is a dangerous problem in developing countries that is not going to go away on its own. People who are not concerned about the rapid growth of populations in these areas are most likely not taking these situations into account; if there is already a lack of these supplies for families in developing countries, what will the situation be when the population grows even more?

Globally, there are many serious issues caused by overpopulation. One concern is global warming. The increasing world population of people is releasing greater and greater quantities of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, and whether or not one believes the increasingly convincing theories about global warming, these pollutants cannot be good for the planet. The damages caused by industrial emissions may not be reversible and the more people there are polluting the atmosphere, the more quickly we may see the consequences. These are problems that will be dealt with by our children and grandchildren, as the effects of what we release into the atmosphere today are slow acting; while continuing to repopulate the world may often be motivated by visions of the wonderful lives and opportunities that will be available to our offspring, we may actually be guaranteeing that they will not have the resources needed to live fulfilling lives. Additionally, the destruction of the ozone layer is another environmental factor resulting from the increase in pollutants released by humans in ever increasing quantities, and this can lead to dangerous ultra-violent light reaching all plants and animals on earth.

Food supplies are also running short compared to the growing population. "The Worldwatch Institute reports that global annual per capita production of grain dropped from 346 kilograms per person in 1984 to 313 kilograms per person in 1996. This is a drop of 9.5% in just 8 years." (Bartlett) The production of grain has actually leveled off to a relatively stable amount, which means that as the population grows larger, there is less grain produced per person. Fish is a staple in the diets of many people in developing countries especially, and the amount of fish available per person has also been declining. Major fishing areas that were once overrun with a supply of fish are now almost completely empty. As people continue consuming more food and creating more people to feed, this problem will continue to grow. Finally, perhaps the most important staple for any population is also in danger of shortages. "A report in January of 1997 from Stockholm indicated that by the year 2025, two-thirds of the world's people will suffer from water shortages, and the report noted that the rate of use of fresh water was growing at twice the rate of world population." (Bartlett) As countries develop and strive towards creating a lifestyle similar to that of the countries already developed, resources will continue to be depleted. Depleted resources in developing nations will lead to famine and suffering, and the people will extend to rainforests or grazing lands that cannot sustain them, and consequently bring about destruction.

In order to combat these problems, many solutions are being looked into, including better ways of producing food…[continue]

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