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More or Less People? Why are environmental issues caused by population difficult to address?


looperacorn 1 / -  
Feb 11, 2015   #1
More or Less People?

Since we are living in a planet with limited resource, population has been a important environmental concern for many years. Even though population growth rate is decreasing globally, population size continues to increase (Brennan, 2005). Unchecked population growth would inevitably mean less, food, space and wealth per person, which can damages the environment by means such as over-harvesting, forest degradation, etc... One of the major difficulties for addressing population issue is the polarized population growth rates between the global South and global North countries. On the one hand, developing countries in the South are suffering from "over-population" that has caused severe social and environmental problems (e.g. India/China). Nevertheless, in order to develop, a large amount of labor force is continuously needed for production/industrial services. Due to limits in technology and economic development, many developing countries' population often exceed the governments' management ability, w starvation. Moreover, since most of the Earth biodiversity is concentrated near the equator, and the issue of overpopulation often accelerates the urbanization process, which requires a massive of land space. Thus, deforestation and loss of biodiversity is happening in most developing countries. According to the demographic transition model, developing countries' population "should" eventually stabilize to a, the demographic transition model may not be universal for the current developing countries. Even though it has occurred in many western countries, there are other culture and religious factors such as gender equality and emphasis on child birth that can lead to a non-decreasing population growth even when a developing country reach the post-industrial stage. Therefore, in order for a developing country to survive and successfully transit to a developed country, it must control its population growth. On the other hand, many developed countries with good sanitation, health care and food are having a similar but opposite problem - "aging population". For instance, the combination of low fertility and high life expediencies due to advancement in technology has caused a severe shortage of workers to maintain basic services for the aging population in Japan. As a result, a large portion of Japan's population is in need of care and financial assistance, which also increases taxes for Social Security and Medicare. Moreover, the Japanese government has to import a large amount of foreign workers, which is clearly not a globally viable strategy. In Europe, the aging issue also forced various developed countries to provide incentives to encourage families to have more children. Hence, many developed countries actually want to raise their population growth rates, it would be impractical to ask them to control their population growth. Therefore, the conflict of interest between developed and developing countries makes it particularly difficult to have international collaboration for resolving the population issue.

Other major causes for environment issues can also reinforce the impact from population. For instance, the issue in Japan is closely related to the nature of capitalism. Since capitalism relies heavily on the idea of continuous economic growth and expansion, a negative or zero population growth can pose serious problems for a capitalist society. If the required labour force for continuous economic expansion cannot be met, it can lead to a regression in economy and disrupt the stability of the society. Moreover, since capitalism is inherently expansionist, it eventually and inevitably must alter natural habitats for economic purposes, which will lead to loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Therefore, population growth works in conjunction with capitalism, which creates a notion of "more people = more wealth" that encourages people to neglect the environmental damages due to overpopulation. In addition, consumerism also works in conjunction with the previous two causes. Since production and demand is constantly increasing in overpopulated capitalistic societies, consumption would in turn lead to a heavy extraction of natural resources that can cause irreversible damages to the Earth. For instance, the world's current primary energy source is fossil fuel, as consumption increases, more fossil fuel would be burn, which produces more waste and pollution that can cause global climate change and economic loss. In particular, affluent capitalist societies have enormous resource consumption and waste production, since they have the financial capability to extract resource from other countries for profit, and create huge ecological footprint. For example, an average American has as much environmental impact as 4.5 Chinese or 10 Indians. As a result, the ecosystem is likely to be further damaged by the increasing demand of resources due to the amplified consumerism from the combined impact of the previous two causes.

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Essay instruction:
1. an argument, based on data from lectures and readings, for why the cause, or one particular aspect of the cause, is particularly difficult to address; eg, it is difficult to change values related to consumerism, because spending on consumer goods stimulates the economy, which is seen as a good thing;

2. analysis of the way in which the cause examined works in conjunction with two other causes addressed in lectures 6 to 11; eg; population growth by itself increases the human impact, but it also works in conjunction with values of consumerism so that we have both more people and each of them consuming more; however, that combined impact of the two causes can be further increased to the extent we adopt new, environmentally damaging technologies or decreased to the extent we adopt environmentally friendly technologies."

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Hi, I am looking for some advice for smoothing out my Environmental Science essay. Our instructor has said that we don't need to follow the traditional essay format, and write no more than 800 words. Thanks!

Vns9x 102 / 236 16  
Feb 13, 2015   #2
Since we are living in a planet with limited resource, population has been an important environmental concern for many years.
etc... this is incongruous!
. Due to the limits in technology
create a huge ecological footprint.
Some grammar issues in your essay!


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