Global warming and climate change are, and will continue to be for many decades, the two great problems of the 21st century. However, although the causes of these problems are linked to human activity and, especially, to the emission of greenhouse gases from the use of fossil fuels such as coal and oil, there is an element that is clearly in tune with this problem: global overpopulation. Overpopulation leads to increased consumption of natural resources, which, in turn, also leads to further degradation of the environment and ecosystems. In fact, if we do not manage to efficiently manage global overpopulation, its causes, consequences and solutions, we will face the destruction of life on Earth as we know it today. If you want to go a little deeper into the subject, keep reading AgroCorrn and we will tell you about it.
Causes of global overpopulation
Although the study of population comes from ancient times, Thomas Malthus (1766-1834) could be considered as the first thinker who raised the problem of overpopulation. Malthus himself already established in his time that, due to the limited resources available, the Earth could only host a specific number of human beings . Anything beyond these limits would lead to a scarcity of natural resources and, consequently, social conflicts.
In this way, the first indirect cause behind overpopulation would be the very finiteness of the available natural resources, be it water, food, energy or simply space to live. If resources were not limited, there would be no problem for the population to grow infinitely. However, having a limited amount of resources, one can speak of overpopulation when the number of individuals (in this case of human beings) who can satisfy their needs with the available resources is exceeded without putting the resources of generations at risk. future events and the cyclical recovery of these resources.
Consequently, another cause of overpopulation would be the increase in population. As there are more human beings, the resources that are consumed are more and, therefore, this causes that we can speak of overpopulation by exceeding the consumption of resources that allow responsible consumption. Regarding the causes of this population increase, we should speak of multi-causal elements. That is, of various causes. In this sense, the causes of global overpopulation could be:
- Improvements in the quality of healthcare, which leads to an increase in life expectancy and a decrease in infant mortality.
- Technological improvements, which allow an increase in the quantity and quality of food.
- Urban concentrations, more than 50% of humanity lives in cities.
Destruction of natural resources
The consequences of global overpopulation are various. First of all, it is worth mentioning the accelerated destruction of available natural resources and, above all, the consumption of resources that do not allow their cyclical recovery. This is what we mean when we say that “we are consuming the natural resources of future generations.” In other words, we consume more than the Earth can produce, and this entails the destruction of the natural means of producing resources.
Destruction of ecosystems
Another direct consequence of global overpopulation, and that is related to this overconsumption of natural resources, is the destruction of ecosystems and means of production of these resources. By abusing available natural resources, we end up destroying them, which means that they cannot be used again in the future. A good example can be seen in the abusive use of water from aquifers. Due to excessive consumption of this water from aquifers, they become dry and, consequently, they can no longer retain new water from rainfall. Consequently, a natural resource such as the water from the aquifer in question, and if it had been consumed responsibly, it could have continued to be used, is irreparably destroyed, thus destroying not only the natural resources present, but also the futures. This also happens with soils, ecosystems, or energy resources.
Solutions to global overpopulation can be approached from three basic perspectives, we will explain them below:
Reduce the population
On the one hand, a simple solution can be provided by reducing the number of people who consume natural resources. This is the most complicated of all of them, since it requires the passage of time and the natural generational leap that can allow the reduction of the population at a global level. This possible solution seems unlikely, and all the indicators affirm that, in the next decades, the world overpopulation will continue increasing. However, a possible strategy inspired by this proposal would be to give up having children and, in the case of having them, opt for adoption instead of reproduction. In this way, the consumption of natural resources is reduced, since the population would not increase, but the existing population would be relocated, which would not increase the demographic pressure on the planet.
Consume fewer natural resources
On the other hand, another of the basic perspectives to solve the problems of global overpopulation would be to reduce the consumption of natural resources. This is one of the most effective and easy solutions to perform in the short shot. In reality, the limit of natural resources depends to a great extent on the rate of consumption that takes place. To give us an idea, on average, a North American or European citizen consumes thirty times what a citizen living in an African country does. This means that, for every Western citizen, the planet could support thirty citizens of African countries. As you can see, this is a very big difference. In this way, changing our consumption habits,We can reduce the effects of global overpopulation. Something as simple as dispensing with your own vehicle in favor of bicycles or public transport, opting for a plant-based diet, or reducing the number of items of clothing we buy, allow the planet to have a greater range of endurance to the time to manage global overpopulation.
More efficient production
Finally, the other basic perspective that must be taken into account when providing solutions to global overpopulation is to improve the efficiency of human activities . Efficiency is the relationship that exists between the resources or energy necessary to perform a job, and the cost of that energy and resources that are necessary to perform that job. In other words, improving efficiency is getting more for less. An example of efficiency can be found for example in hydronic crops. These crops do not require soil to grow, as the plants grow in containers of water. This makes it possible to release a large amount of soil, as well as to dispense with the use of pesticides, since hydroponic crops are grown in cultivated environments. In this way, the needs for natural resources are reducedto obtain the same results, which allows, at the same time, to also reduce the pressure exerted on the planet. However, to improve the efficiency of human activities, it is necessary to carry out R&D processes (Research and Development), which are what allow the development of new technologies that, later, will have applications in the different areas that influence the wellbeing of the planet. In this way, it is a field that cannot go unnoticed when it comes to providing solutions to global overpopulation, although it requires more time than solutions that reduce consumption in the short term. In the following AgroCorrn article we will talk about hydroponics, a more ecological and sustainable agriculture .
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