We Are In An Overpopulation Crisis: What Does This Mean?


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above view on crowd. big amount of people.

Jerel LaLone, Writer

As of the beginning of the new year, our world’s population has hit 7.9 Billion; just shy of hitting eight billion people. While some may be fascinated that there are this many people in our world, it does continue to increasingly raise concerns for many, but more specifically, scientists and researchers around the world are beginning to become confused about how we will begin to accommodate such a large population adequately. To put this lightly, we have a population crisis in the world which will not only begin to cause issues for our species, but is only going to cause more issues for other animals around the world as they face food shortages, habitat destruction, and so much more.

Within the last few decades alone our population has experienced an extreme population boom. While for most of us living in the United States will not yet be able to experience the effects of overpopulation, people in other, less fortunate areas or countries around the world will begin to likely experience even poorer living conditions because of overpopulation. The reason for me saying that the United States will not yet experience many effects of this is because we are what is considered to be a developed country compared to others, meaning we have enough money and power to continue to supply America for a much longer time as our cities continue to grow due to population increases, unlike other less developed countries that do not have such power financially to support growing populations and have even been struggling to support their current populations as is. 

Over the last five decades our population has exponentially grown, as Sophia Scott, a staff member for Harvard’s writing team wrote in her article “Public Health and Overpopulation: The United States Takes Action”, “In 1800, Earth had approximately 1 billion inhabitants, which rose to 2.3 billion in 1940, then 3.7 billion in 1970, and approximately 7.5 billion today. In the last five decades, Earth has experienced an extreme population boom. This phenomenon is known as overpopulation, where the condition in which the amount of humans currently existing on Earth outstrips future resource availability and earth’s carrying capacity.” Because of this, we have used roughly 175% of what the Earth has for us as natural resources.

What this all means is that we are unable to provide as best as we can for all of our people in the world. There are many reasons as to why we are in a crisis of overpopulation now, such as the decrease in the death rate of humans nowadays, with humans beginning to live longer and longer. According to the article, “Overpopulation: Causes, Effects, and Solutions that are Seriously Eye Opening”, they claim that “The discovery of agriculture by our ancestors was one factor that provided them with the ability to sustain their nutrition without hunting. This created the first imbalance between the two rates.”

Alongside that factor, there is also the great technological advancements that we have made within the medical field, which has allowed us to create and provide better care & treatments towards many diseases that had once been able to wipe many of us out. Once you combine this with the easier access to food in many areas of the world, it is a lot easier to see how we are living much longer than before, and in turn able to increase our population. 

Of course with these advancements in our technology and way of life comes the unfortunate downsides of overpopulation, one being the destruction of our environment because of the increase in CO2 emissions, and the overuse of coals, oils, and gasses in general which has affected the quality of our air and led to being a huge contributor to global warming, which then melts our ice caps and allows sea levels to rise faster. Along with this, we are also destroying the habitats of animals all over the world for our own sake to produce more housing and buildings to accommodate for the increasing population. We are not just hurting ourselves and our environment with overpopulation, but we are hurting and destroying the lives of many different species of animals around the world, which is beginning to bring many of them towards the brink of extinction. 

With the increased population also begins to beg the question of, “Where do we house and feed all of these people?” which means that overpopulation begins to create a housing crisis and a general rise in overall homelessness and costs of living going up everywhere around the world; just look at apartment rent costs and food costs compared to what it was in earlier years for example. 

To summarize, the issue of overpopulation will and has already began to show all over the world, and while it may not be as evident in the United States, it is evident in less fortunate countries already, and evident in places like Alaska and Antarctica where animals habitats are being destroyed as we speak, causing them to die of hunger or attempt to find a new place to live in hopes that their habitat will not be destroyed there either. There are many potential solutions as to what we can do to stop or prevent this, but it will need to come with people willing to adjust to a new lifestyle and cut back on things that they are used to currently. With this should also come better education and awareness on these topics, and what we can do to slow our climate crisis and overpopulation for future generations.