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Is Limiting Population Growth a Key Factor in Protecting the Global Environment?

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Is Limiting Population Growth a Key Factor in Protecting the Global Environment? In 2011, the United Nations released its 2010 Revision of the World Population Prospects in which they raised their previous demographic projections. In it they estimated that world population would reach seven billion by late 2011 [1]. In regards to projected figures, the general consensus is that world population numbers are increasing even more rapidly than anticipated, and that it is likely to exceed nine billion by the year 2050 [2]. As is seen in Issue 13 of the book Taking Sides [3] some see this increase as something to encourage or even celebrate, and that any attempt to try to curtail population growth is a violation of human rights, as is the view taken by Steven More (former director of the Cato Institute). Others see the increase as a threat to our prosperity, or even to our very existence, as increased numbers would lead to inevitable worldwide food and natural resource shortages, such as the view held by Lester R. ...read more.


One example of such a concern is of the 19th Century campaigners in Britain who were publishing and distributing an illegal manual on birth control called Fruits of Philosophy by Charles Knowlton, because of their derogatory view of the working classes [6]. It is therefore easy to consider the potential human rights issues which may arise from either forced or implied population control measures. Even so, would it not also be a human rights issue if those who choose to adopt family planning techniques would not receive the correct education and help they seek? Lastly, he suggests that some scientists maintain that feeding nine billion people is perfectly achievable. To do this we would just need to improve crop production, use water and nutrients more intelligently, reduce food waste, dedicate croplands to direct human food production and halt farmland expansion [7]. However, in 2008, the global food crisis saw prices of produce such as wheat, rice and cooking oil rocketed, which lead many analysts to conclude that overpopulation was the culprit [8]. ...read more.


Even with advances in technology and careful use of resources, there will inevitably be a breaking point with a disproportionate increase in population. If this were to happen the damage done may already be too late to repair. Conclusion It is concluded from this paper that limiting population growth is indeed a key factor to protecting the global environment. However, one should bear in mind that it is not the only factor. Other considerations, such as the avocation of sustainable development, also play a key role in helping to protect the global environment. Much of the discussion of population control has been linked it to the plight of women in developing countries, in particular discussing women?s control over their own fertility. However, while most agree that better access to family planning, is a positive development, there is strong disagreement about how this matches with the goals of population control advocates. Nevertheless, it is clear that improved access to birth control would not only mean better health for women, but would also enable the slowing down of excessive growth in populations of which would have a positive impact both on economic development and the environment. ...read more.

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