Nobody can deny that world population is growing at a rapid pace. In 1820 world population was one billion which crossed six billion marks in 1990 and it is now more than seven billion (estimated 7.6 billion in 2018). Some centuries ago the birth rate was higher than today but the equally higher death rate was the balancing factor that used to keep population overgrowth in check.
Increasing birth rate with declining mortality rate has made it possible for the world population to cross seven billion marks. The world is collapsing under the pressure of population overgrowth. It is making people's life miserable and depleting the resources of this planet at a brisk rate. Population overgrowth has a negative impact on environment, social-political structure and overall health of the people.
However, some people reject the idea of population overgrowth. They don't accept that population overgrowth is a real thing. They argue that is has no negative impact on the world so far and will never have as the population stability will be achieved. According to them the world has sufficient resources to feed every person on this planet and they attribute the reasons of increasing rate of poverty, crimes, environment destruction etc. to the greed of rich people who control the world economy. Population growth is a myth for them. They further claim that some countries are in fact facing acute shortage of people to run their economy.
But this is not true. Population overgrowth is not a myth. Thomas Robert Malthus (1766-1834) was the first person to recognize this problem. In his famous 1798 book ‘An Essay on the Principle of Population’ he propounded that increase in a country’s food production improves the well-being of the populace, but this remains temporary because it leads to population growth, which restores the initial per capita production level. He was severely criticized for his theory. Definitely his ideas had many flaws, but he was not absolutely wrong. We should examine why population overgrowth is not a myth.
We are comparatively big size animal: We are not as small sized as ants or rodents are so that our numbers won’t make any impact on this planet. Doesn’t the overgrowth of mice make life hell? In fact the overgrowth of a small sized animal can disrupt the balance of the planet considerably. You can imagine yourself what impact of a big sized animal like us on this planet can be. We need more space compared to any other creatures. We need big houses, big infrastructures, big facilities that are resource hungry.
Being a human being you need more than food and shelter: Animals require nothing more than food and a space for living. They don’t need facilities like cloths, means of entertainment, means of transports, places for shopping, a system for disposal of wastes, etc. We need schools, shopping complexes, big markets, roads, means of transportation, big factories to manufacture all the stuffs.
You cannot imagine to live like tribal people: We cannot simply live like those tribal people who don't abuse nature. They don’t drain out resources from nature. In fact, they simply coexist with nature. But you cannot say this for the so called modern civilized man.
We have developed a system which is resource hungry and demands extensive use of energy. We depend on that system for food, cloths, shelter and other things. Just consider a small thing of your life. Can you imagine how your breakfast reaches to you? The bread you eat comes from agriculture fields in which it need a lot of things to grow wheat. That wheat is harvested and sent to the factories to make flour. That flour goes to the factories where bread is made of it and finally it is transported to the local shops from where you buy it. For buying bread you need money and for earning money you need to work. On the other hand the herbivorous animals feed on grass etc. and the carnivorous animals feed on them. They don't need resources to grow food like us.
So you can see that in every step loads of energy and technology is involved. You need manual labor or machines to cultivate crops. You need a transport system to deliver things from one place to another place. Those machines, trucks etc are manufactured in factories where energy and raw material is needed. That raw material is obtained from mines which also need many resources to get and extract minerals. So, it is a long chain of various processes in which every component is linked with many other components. It is a very complex system which is responsible for the deforestation from large areas. Deforestation has its own impact. It is eating away the green cover of our planet, making various animal and plant species to go extinct, raising the carbon foot print, increasing global warming and ultimately making life hell for every living thing on this planet.
Not only consumption but also the disposal of wastage has become a big problem. When biodegradable waste posses a become problem to dispose off, what else we can say about the non-biodegradable waste. Hundreds of tons of waste materials are produced in big cities. That needs lots of trucks to transport that wastes to the junkyards and landfills. Plastic and electronic wastes have surpassed every limit. It has devastated oceans as well. It is projected that by 2050 oceans would contain more plastic than the total weight of the fish. Humans also produce wastes as per their natural calls. We need to construct numbers of toilets, sewage system and sewage treatment plants. In many parts of the world untreated sewage is directly being flush into the rivers and seas. They pollute every nook and corner of our planet.
Just think about the food production. Some people are vegetarian, some are non-vegetarian and some prefer both. With the increase in population demand for the higher production of agriculture products increased. We are now in a state to produce food for every living human but the cost of the agriculture growth was tremendous. We cut forests to convert forest land into agriculture land; and we used chemical fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides and genetically modified (GM) seeds to increase food production. Those things also impacted the world environment badly. These chemicals are destroying earth while GM seeds are a big threat to the genetic pool of the crop species. Meat industry is notoriously known for the cruelty against the animals.
Social and political impact of overpopulation also matters: Someone says a few countries are facing acute shortage of proper numbers of people to drive their economy. So, these countries have opened the gates of their borders and welcoming immigrants. Definitely, European states accepted refugees of war trodden middle Asian countries like Syria but are they not concerned about the rapid incoming of these people? Why the sentiment of jingoism is rising in these nations? Why the various countries like the USA, India etc. are mulling over to seal their borders for illegal immigrants? This is happening because every country has its own culture and way of life. Immigrants come with their distinctive culture and social-religious structure. Their presence stirs the social-religious and cultural outline of the countries where they take shelter. They can outnumber the original citizens of these countries. Democracy counts heads and the numbers of immigrants, if provided citizenship, will definitely disrupt the political scenario of a nation. This is a bitter truth which many are not willing to accept because they don’t want themselves to be labeled as racist and conservative.
The future: With the progress of technology our population is becoming jobless. Many countries are progressing economically as their Gross Domestic Production (GDP) data suggests but this economic growth is not creating enough jobs. Condition of unemployment is soaring. Our present economic model is not in the position to provide jobs for every person. Development in robotics and automation is rendering youngsters jobless. What will happen when our machines would become more intelligent than us? Combination of 3D technology, Nano-technology, robotics and Artificial Intelligence will render a big part of our population jobless and therefore useless in the upcoming economical model. How will governments handle that problem?
We need a realistic approach towards population growth. We cannot invalidate the facts related to the bad impact of overpopulation. Overpopulation is not a myth. With the increase in every block of population pressure on the resources of the planets also builds up in the exponential rate. It may seem an exaggerate statement but truth is that increase in population demands construction of more roads, more buildings, more schools, more hospitals, more factories and more infrastructure. This overburdens our limited resources. We cannot increase the size of our planet.
You can attribute the burden on resources on rich people but truth is every human being likes to lead a decent life. Everyone likes to afford a big house, a big car, more space and thus more recourse for oneself. Can you forbid people to use their cars? Everyone likes to have a car. Increasing numbers of cars need more wide roads, which needs more parts of the land to be used for this purpose that ultimately leads to falling of trees. Also, it needs more fuel stations, more oilfields, more use of energy and more pollution. Nobody can expect people to live like ascetics or tribal people. Everyone has his own ambitions and those ambitions cannot be fulfilled without exploitation of the resources of this planet. For example if you visit any big city of India, you will realize what population over growth is and what impact it has on resources of the planet. Once it was possible for us to live in jungles with no help from the governments but it is not possible now. We don’t have left such jungles that may provide shelter, food etc. to us. We already have destroyed much of them and the rests are in no position to sustain under the pressure of our population. Population overgrowth is also making us slave (I'll write on this someday). People are still unaware of this fact.
So, it is evident that population overgrowth is not a myth. It is real. It doesn’t matter if you accept it or not.