In the back of everyone's minds (among all of the problems of society) looms one very big, yet seldom thought-about, problem - the rapidly increasing population of our world. We, the human race, are the root of all the earth's environmental problems, including the degradation of land and water resources, widespread deforestation, and the inevitable global warming due to air pollution. Before we can find solutions to all of these smaller contributing causes which may lead to catastrophe, we must find a way to control the ever-increasing population. The more people occupying our planet, the more pollution, waste, and resources consumed.
Inhabitancy in the year 2000 has been predicted by the United Nations to reach 6.25 billion, and to hit 8.47 billion by 2025. Most recent population growth is occurring in developing countries, especially in Southern Asia and Africa. Southern Asia will account for 31% of the total increase during the 1990's and Africa will account for 23%.
If our society continues escalating at these astonishing rates, soon just meeting basic needs will be critical. Currently developing countries have to import approximately 110 million tons of food, which is met by the food surpluses of other nations, mainly the United States and Canada. What will happen when global warming causes rising temperatures and drastically changing weather patterns to decrease North America's crop yields?
I think the answer lies in our own personal decisions and all of us makes a difference. We need to look forward and envision what life will be like for our children and grandchildren. With sweltering temperatures, devastating periods of drought, worldwide distress, and starvation, what is your choice? Do you really need five or more children? Although this issue is not a problem in the United States (and other industrialized nations), it is something to consider. We have a fairly balanced population with a birthrate of 1.9 children per woman, which is below the national deathrate. But in developing nations, population increase is a major problem, with a birthrate of 3.9 children per woman. It would require drastic measures to change this.
To begin solving this problem the government needs to step in and limit the number of children citizens can have and then strictly enforce it. The limit should be averaged so the birthrate is below the deathrate, therefore balancing our quickly climbing population. If we could get the population growth under control, we could approach and solve other problems more easily. ^
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.