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Реферат: Demographic Changes - Overpopulation /english/

Alexander V. Myskin, gr. 301


The surge in population is both a cause of the changed relationship and
one of the clearest illustrations of how startling the change has been,
especially when viewed in a historical context. From the emergence of
modern humans 200,000 years ago until Julius Caesar’s time, fewer than
250 million people walked on the face of the earth. When Christopher
Columbus set sail for the New World 1,500 years later, there were
approximately 500 million people on earth. By the time Thomas Jefferson
wrote the Declaration of Independence in 1776, the number had doubled
again, to I billion. By midway through this century, at the end of World
War II, the number had risen to just above 2 billion people.

In Other words, from the beginning of humanity’s appearance on earth to
1945, it took more than ten thousand generations to reach a world
population of 2 billion people. Now, in the course of one human lifetime
– mine – the world population will increase from 2 to more than 9
billion, and it is already more than halfway there.

Overpopulation is often defined as the condition of having more people
than can live on Earth in comfort, happiness, and health and still leave
the planet a fit place for future generations. To most
environmentalists, the data suggest that the planet is already
overpopulated. Because of differing concepts of carrying capacity,
however, experts differ widely over what level of population is
considered too high.

Some project that if everyone existed at a minimum survival level, the
earth could support 20 to 48 billion people. This anthill existence
would require that everyone exist only on a diet of grain, cultivation
all arable land, and mining much of the earth’s crust of a depth of 1.6
kilometers (1 mile). Other analysts believe the earth could support 7 to
12 billion people at a decent standard of living by distributing the
world’s land and food supply more equitably and shifting from less
abundant resources (such as lead, tin, uranium, oil, and natural gas) to
more abundant resources (such as aluminum, glass, and various forms of
solar energy).

Proponents of population regulation point to the fact that we are not
providing adequate basic necessities for one out of five people on Earth
today who don't have the opportunity to be a net economic gain for their
country. They see people overpopulation in MDCs (more developed
countries) as threats to Earth's life support systems for us and other

These analysts recognize that population growth is not the only cause or
our environmental and resource problems. They believe, however, that
adding several hundred million more people in MDCs and several billion
more in LDSs ( less developed countries) will intensify many
environmental and social problems by increasing resource use and waste,
environmental degradation, rapid climate change, and pollution. To
proponents of population regulation, it is unethical for us not to
encourage a sharp drop in birth rates and unsustainable forms of
resource use to prevent a sharp rise in death rates and human misery and
a decrease in Earth's biodiversity in the future.

Despite promises about sharing the world's wealth, the gap between the
rich and poor has been getting larger since 1960. Proponents of
population regulation believe this is caused by a combination of
population growth and unwillingness of the wealthy to share the world's
wealth and resources more fairly. They call for MDCs to use their
economic systems to reward population regulation and sustainable forms
of economic growth instead of continuing their unsustainable forms of
economic growth and encouraging LDCs to follow this eventually
unsustainable and disastrous path for the planet.

Recently, the Population Crisis Committee complied a human suffering
index for each of 130 countries based on ten measures of human welfare.
They found a high correlation between the level of human suffering and
the rate of population increase in countries. The 30 countries falling
in the extreme human-suffering range--all in Africa and Asia--averaged a
high annual rate of population increase of 2.8%. The 44 countries with a
high human suffering rate--all in Africa, Asia, and Latin America--also
had an average annual population increase of 2.8%.

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