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Population increase is an environmental problem

India is the country with the highest number of births per year. In total, 27 million, which is approximately one in every five births that occur in the world. Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state in India with about 200 million people, would be the sixth most populous country on Earth if it were considered as a nation. Most of these births occur in rural areas. About a hundred years ago, there were about 1.6 billion people on planet Earth. One hundred years earlier, in 1800, the world’s population was less than 1 billion.

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Population increase

Just twelve years ago, the figure of 6,000 million people was exceeded and, shortly, we will exceed 7,000 million. The growing population means more people who feed and clothe more water needs, education, ultimately more resources. Precisely on a planet where natural resources are increasingly scarce. The issue is far from new.

At the end of the 18th century, Thomas Malthus, an economist and considered one of the first demographers in history, posed the problem that the natural limits of space and food could pose. The human being could take two paths before this dilemma: follow his instinct, so that the population will grow more than his means of subsistence, or give in to the fear of not being able to feed his children and decide, then, not to have them.

He formulated, for Great Britain, what is known as the “Malthusian catastrophe”, which was finally not fulfilled: he thought that at the end of the 19th century, the population would be 176 million and the resources for subsistence would reach only 55 million; therefore, 121 million people would die of hunger.


Fortunately, this did not happen. Mainly because, after the Industrial Revolution, food production in rich countries increased considerably. Of course, at the cost of degrading the environment, losing surface area dedicated to forests and using chemical fertilizers that damage the soil. However, at present and from a global perspective , the Malthusian catastrophe is occurring.

If the population continues to grow, it will lead to an economic collapse and the extinction of the human being as a species. Later, in 1972, a report entitled The Limits to Growth was produced . It was a report commissioned by the Club of Rome and prepared by the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), which assessed the continuous growth of the population, the ecological footprint of food production processes, pollution and other factors, concluding that in a hundred years there would be no resources for the entire world population. In 1992 the data in the report were reviewed and it was concluded that the planet’s carrying capacity had already been exceeded to sustain the entire population.

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