When taking a closer look at the statistics it is obvious – the population is growing and growing (1). But what happens when there are too many people? What happens when we don’t have enough resources to supply everyone and what even is overpopulation? To answer all of these questions this essay has been divided into three informative sections, Understanding, Impacts and Solutions of Overpopulation and then the conclusion at the end.
Overpopulation in general describes the state when the limit of the population density is exceeded (2), that means when the final stage of the population growth is reached (3), but it can also often be seen as the moment when the population is bigger than the capacity of the ecosystem (3). Reasons that are causing overpopulation can be medical breakthroughs, increased birth rates, declines of the overall mortality rate or immigration (3). The problem of high population densities however is not everywhere the same (4).
One of the biggest impacts, when taking a closer look at the economy, is definitely the shortage of jobs and the resulting decrease of wages because of the extensive demand in contrast to the limited job opportunities (5). Another aspect is also the food shortage because the economy won’t be able to adapt as fast as the population is growing (5). In addition to that there is the risk of more violence and political unrest because of more people having more opinions. This then could put democracy as a form of government in danger (4). The most important impact is although the negative influence on the climate catastrophe (6). With more people living on the earth, especially in cities, the demands of resources like coal, gas, oil and wood automatically increase (7), which in return leads to a higher pollution rate, pollution of water resources, biodiversity, air, higher emissions and deforestation (6).
A solution for overpopulation could be introducing laws that restrict child marriage, eliminate baby bonuses to shift over to a different way of thinking about getting a baby, make education obligatory to a certain age and legalize contraceptives and abortions without any negative stigma (8) but also introducing family planning programms (9, 10). Another idea then would be optimizing living by building houses acting similar to trees, so taking carbon dioxide and absorbing oxygen (11), or allowing open spaces to help reclaiming the wildlife and plants (11), but also allocate a certain percentage of the ground for farming (11) and make the farming and production more efficient to help with the food shortages (10).
Taking all of these aspects now together it is for sure that overpopulation has a lot of negative impacts and definitely could be a problem in the future. Although, most of the consequences, such as food shortages (5) for example or also climate change (6), lead back to a decline of the population rate, which means that the impacts themselves would often solve the problem of overpopulation. Also the aspect of an economy too slow to serve the needs of essential resources is with high probability not such a big problem because with more people there is also more ideas and progress in general (11). The aspect of climate change however is probably a lot more problematic. The usage of fuel has to be reduced otherwise a catastrophe cannot be prevented (12). A larger population may not be helpful to reduce the emissions but reducing the population is not solving the problem either.
- Earth – Place Explorer – Data Commons (additional source)