links between demographic trends and sustainable development including is to stimulate further thought and analysis of conceptual approaches and encourage . population growth and environmental outcomes such as degradation in. The relationship between environmental problems and population growth is Human population has seen exponential growth over the past few hundred years . . The sudden development of often huge refugee camps can affect water . and innovation to accelerate decoupling, and an analysis of how far. Relationship Between Population,Environment and Development. on the earth's natural resources/Environment as I will discuss this below. If the population growth is higher, the natural resources will be over thefreeemoticons.info is.
In the world population is more than 7. The United Nations estimates that the world population will reach 9. For most of our existence the human population has grown very slowly, kept in check by disease, climate fluctuations and other social factors. It took until for us to reach 1 billion people.
Since then, continuing improvements in nutrition, medicine and technology have seen our population increase rapidly. Human population has seen exponential growth over the past few hundred years. Our World in Data. The impact of so many humans on the environment takes two major forms: This is an understandable fear, and a quick look at the circumstantial evidence certainly shows that as our population has increased, the health of our environment has decreased.
The impact of so many people on the planet has resulted in some scientists coining a new term to describe our time—the Anthropocene epoch. Unlike previous geological epochs, where various geological and climate processes defined the time periods, the proposed Anthropecene period is named for the dominant influence humans and their activities are having on the environment. In essence, humans are a new global geophysical force. We humans have spread across every continent and created huge changes to landscapes, ecosystems, atmosphere—everything.
However, while population size is part of the problem, the issue is bigger and more complex than just counting bodies. There are many factors at play. Essentially, it is what is happening within those populations—their distribution density, migration patterns and urbanisationtheir composition age, sex and income levels and, most importantly, their consumption patterns—that are of equal, if not more importance, than just numbers.
A formula for environmental degradation? The IPAT equation, first devised in the s, is a way of determining environmental degradation based on a multiple of factors. At its simplest, it describes how human impact on the environment I is a result of a multiplicative contribution of population Paffluence A and technology T. As well as bringing the link between population and environment to a wider audience, the IPAT equation encouraged people to see that environmental problems are caused by multiple factors that when combined produced a compounding effect.
Population and environment: a global challenge
More significantly, it showed that the assumption of a simple multiplicative relationship among the main factors generally does not hold—doubling the population, for example, does not necessarily lead to a doubling of environmental impact.
The reverse is also true—a reduction of the technology factor by 50 per cent would not necessarily lead to a reduction in environmental impact by the same margin. The IPAT equation is not perfect, but it does help to demonstrate that population is not the only or necessarily the most important factor relating to environmental damage.
Focusing solely on population number obscures the multifaceted relationship between us humans and our environment, and makes it easier for us to lay the blame at the feet of others, such as those in developing countries, rather than looking at how our own behaviour may be negatively affecting the planet. Population size It's no surprise that as the world population continues to grow, the limits of essential global resources such as potable water, fertile land, forests and fisheries are becoming more obvious.
But how many people is too many? How many of us can Earth realistically support? Carrying capacity is usually limited by components of the environment e. Debate about the actual human carrying capacity of Earth dates back hundreds of years. The range of estimates is enormous, fluctuating from million people to more than one trillion. Scientists disagree not only on the final number, but more importantly about the best and most accurate way of determining that number—hence the huge variability.
The majority of studies estimate that the Earth's capacity is at or beneath 8 billion people. PDF How can this be?
Population and Environment
Whether we have million people or one trillion, we still have only one planet, which has a finite level of resources. The answer comes back to resource consumption. People around the world consume resources differently and unevenly.
An average middle-class American consumes 3. So if everyone on Earth lived like a middle class American, then the planet might have a carrying capacity of around 2 billion. However, if people only consumed what they actually needed, then the Earth could potentially support a much higher figure.
But we need to consider not just quantity but also quality—Earth might be able to theoretically support over one trillion people, but what would their quality of life be like? Would they be scraping by on the bare minimum of allocated resources, or would they have the opportunity to lead an enjoyable and full life? More importantly, could these trillion people cooperate on the scale required, or might some groups seek to use a disproportionate fraction of resources?
If so, might other groups challenge that inequality, including through the use of violence?
Population and Environment
These are questions that are yet to be answered. Population distribution The ways in which populations are spread across Earth has an effect on the environment. Developing countries tend to have higher birth rates due to poverty and lower access to family planning and education, while developed countries have lower birth rates.
These faster-growing populations can add pressure to local environments. Globally, in almost every country, humans are also becoming more urbanised. Bythat figure was 54 per cent, with a projected rise to 66 per cent by While many enthusiasts for centralisation and urbanisation argue this allows for resources to be used more efficiently, in developing countries this mass movement of people heading towards the cities in search of employment and opportunity often outstrips the pace of development, leading to slums, poor if any environmental regulation, and higher levels of centralised pollution.
Even in developed nations, more people are moving to the cities than ever before. The pressure placed on growing cities and their resources such as water, energy and food due to continuing growth includes pollution from additional cars, heaters and other modern luxuries, which can cause a range of localised environmental problems.
Humans have always moved around the world. However, government policies, conflict or environmental crises can enhance these migrations, often causing short or long-term environmental damage. For example, since conditions in the Middle East have seen population transfer also known as unplanned migration result in several million refugees fleeing countries including Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The sudden development of often huge refugee camps can affect water supplies, cause land damage such as felling of trees for fuel or pollute environments lack of sewerage systems. Unplanned migration is not only difficult for refugees.
Having so many people living so closely together without adequate infrastructure causes environmental damage too. Population composition The composition of a population can also affect the surrounding environment. At present, the global population has both the largest proportion of young people under 24 and the largest percentage of elderly people in history.
As young people are more likely to migrate, this leads to intensified urban environmental concerns, as listed above. Life expectancy has increased by approximately 20 years since While this is a triumph for mankind, and certainly a good thing for the individual, from the planet's point of view it is just another body that is continuing to consume resources and produce waste for around 40 per cent longer than in the past.
Ageing populations are another element to the multi-faceted implications of demographic population change, and pose challenges of their own. For example between andJapan's proportion of people over 65 grew from 7 per cent to more than 20 per cent of its population. This has huge implications on the workforce, as well as government spending on pensions and health care.
Inthe U. National Academy of Sciences published The Growth of World Population 7a report that reflected scientific concern about the consequences of global population growth, which was then reaching its peak annual rate of two percent. InPaul Ehrlich published The Population Bomb 8which focused public attention on the issue of population growth, food production, and the environment.
Clearly, efforts to understand the relationship between demographic and environmental change are part of a venerable tradition. Yet, by the same token, it is a tradition that has often sought to reduce environmental change to a mere function of population size or growth. Indeed, an overlay of graphs depicting global trends in population, energy consumption, carbon dioxide CO2 emissions, nitrogen deposition, or land area deforested has often been used to demonstrate the impact that population has on the environment.
Although we start from the premise that population dynamics do indeed have an impact on the environment, we also believe that monocausal explanations of environmental change that give a preeminent place to population size and growth suffer from three major deficiencies: They oversimplify a complex reality, they often raise more questions than they answer, and they may in some instances even provide the wrong answers.
As the field of population-environment studies has matured, researchers increasingly have wanted to understand the nuances of the relationship.Overpopulation – The Human Explosion Explained
In the past two decades demographers, geographers, anthropologists, economists, and environmental scientists have sought to answer a more complex set of questions, which include among others: How do specific population changes in density, composition, or numbers relate to specific changes in the environment such as deforestation, climate change, or ambient concentrations of air and water pollutants? How do environmental conditions and changes, in turn, affect population dynamics?
- Chapter 4: Population and Human Resources
How do intervening variables, such as institutions or markets, mediate the relationship? And how do these relationships vary in time and space? They have sought to answer these questions armed with a host of new tools geographic information systems, remote sensing, computer-based models, and statistical packages and with evolving theories on human-environment interactions. This review explores the ways in which demographers and other social scientists have sought to understand the relationships among a full range of population dynamics e.
With the exception of the energy subsection, the focus is largely on micro- and mesoscale studies in the developing world. This is not because these dynamics are unimportant in the developed world—on the contrary, per capita environmental impacts are far greater in this region see the text below on global population and consumption trends —but rather because this is where much of the research has focused We have surveyed a wide array of literature with an emphasis on peer-reviewed articles from the past decade, but given the veritable explosion in population-environment research, we hasten to add that this review merely provides a sampling of the most salient findings.
The chapter begins with a short review of the theories for understanding population and the environment. It then proceeds to provide a state-of-the-art review of studies that have examined population dynamics and their relationship to the following environmental issue areas: In the concluding section, we relate population-environment research to the emerging understanding of complex human-environment systems.
The future size of world population is projected on the basis of assumed trends in fertility and mortality. Current world population stands at 6. The revision of the United Nations World Population Prospects presents a medium variant projection by of 9.
All of the projected growth is expected to occur in the developing world increasing from 5. Africa, which has the fastest growing population of the continents, is projected to more than double the number of its inhabitants in the next 43 years—from million to approximately 2 billion. Globally, fertility is assumed to decline to 2. The medium variant is bracketed by a low-variant projection of 7.
Fertility in the former is assumed to be half a child lower than the medium variant, and in the latter, it is assumed to be half a child higher. Consumption trends are somewhat more difficult to predict because they depend more heavily than population projections on global economic conditions, efforts to pursue sustainable development, and potential feedbacks from the environmental systems upon which the global economy depends for resources and sinks.
Nevertheless, several indicators of consumption have grown at rates well above population growth in the past century: Global GDP is 20 times higher than it was inhaving grown at a rate of 2. In the case of CO2 emissions and footprints, the per capita impacts of high-income countries are currently 6 to 10 times higher than those in low-income countries.
As far as the future is concerned, barring major policy changes or economic downturns, there is no reason to suspect that consumption trends will change significantly in the near term. Long-term projections suggest that economic growth rates will decline past owing to declining population growth, saturation of consumption, and slower technological change Here we review the most prominent theories in the field of population and environment. The introduction briefly touched on the work of Malthus, whose theory still generates strong reactions years after it was first published.
Adherents of Malthus have generally been termed neo-Malthusians.